What do you consider 'small' ?

toomuchglassSeptember 12, 2007

To some people -- 1,500 square feet would be small . Maybe - to some --- 2,000 square feet would be small . To some , 900 ft. would be small . It's all an opinion !

What would be "small " for you ?

******** For me - I don't think I could live in anything under 900 sq. feet. That's small ( in my mind ) .

What about you ?

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We are currently at 1100 square feet with 5 people. I wouldn't want to go any smaller with 3 kids.

I have lived in 620 square feet with just three of us-that was small (to me).

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 9:13PM
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I am in 1350 square foot with my husband, daughter and three cats. I grew up in 900 square feet with my mom.
This is a large house in my opinion.

We were in a bigger house for a while, but I felt as though we had too much leftover space in that house. LOL

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 9:30PM
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We were pretty comfy in 800 sq/ft until our child came along. We are currently in 1600, and will be down-sizing to 1200 when we build in a couple years. I think now I would find 800 too small. A lot of it depends on where you live, also. Here in FL, you don't need much house, since you can be outdoors so much. I think I'd go crazy in a small house in northern VT, by comparison.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 8:47AM
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Our house is 1,500 sq. ft. and we're empty-nesters. When DS was at home there were three of us. We live in the Northeast and I agree about smaller houses in colder climates. I could live in 1,000 sq. ft. in a warm climate where I could be outdoors for a good part of the time. Here, where the weather forces you to be housebound at times, under 1,200 sq. ft. would be difficult (for me).

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 9:16AM
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My home is 940 sq ft. It is ok for 1 or 2, but otherwise crowded because of my tini-tiny kitchen, and only 1 bathroom. I would not like to like in something smaller unless the floor plan was re-configured. My house before that was 1600 sqft, and I thought that was big! LOL

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 1:32PM
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My 1910 brick bungalow-esque house is about 1500 sq. ft. and change. It's plenty big for just me and the pooch, but it was one of the few affordable homes in my city at the time I bought it. Almost everything else was larger for families and my two sons are grown and out on their own. This house feels big because the rooms are large and I have 9 ft. ceilings. A long hall is wasted space, but then....the house is almost 100 years old and that's how they planned them back then.

I'd love to build a small home for my "golden" years, but that would take a lot of "gold."


    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 5:54PM
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Well, DH and I have gone from 300sf to 600sf to 850sf to 2000sf to 1900sf and next week are moving to 1500sf. I have lived in a 220sf studio apartment and spent my teen years sharing an 800sf 2/1 bungalow with my parents, so I'm no stranger to tight quarters. For the two of us, under 1000sf is "too small, end of story". We CAN do very small but frankly, we just plain don't want to. We have found that we do best in the 1200-1500sf range since we are both very independent people who need our "alone time", plus we live on nearly-opposite schedules. I have gotten tired of cramming our friends into a series of tiny living rooms where half the group has to sit on the floor - we're all getting too old for that. ;-) The tiny kitchen routine is something we're sick of too, since we like to cook together and sometimes get our friends in on as well.

I would have loved to have found a bungalow or cottage or even a ranch of about 1200sf that we could work with, and we did put a bid on one that we didn't get. Unfortunately, there were very few small houses in our budget with anything even remotely resembling an efficient layout, and remodels to reorganize/improve the functionality just weren't financially feasible. The house we're moving into was built in 1900 and is something under 1500sf; like Teresa's, it has large rooms, high ceilings and large windows, so it feels very spacious. We are probably going to have some storage issues WRT the tools (like DH's lathe which is about the size of a large chest freezer - I don't know WHERE we're going to put that), outdoor stuff and suchlike because we're going from a generous 2 car garage and generous walkout basement to a dirt-floored partial cellar and a ~1910 structure I call the "garashed" in need of serious restoration (like a new foundation, since its current one is comprised of railroad ties!), but I think everything will be copacetic as far as the normal "inside" stuff goes even though we're downsizing by about 25%.

I do agree that it's easier to live in smaller digs if you are in a climate where you can spend a lot of time outside, create outdoor living spaces (porches, decks, screenhouses), etc.... I can attest that midwinter in a very small house in New England is a distinct drag, especially on the third day of a big snowstorm. :-)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Ours is about 1800 and we always considered it big, even when 2 DDs were here and we entertained a lot. 8 rooms, 4 BR, 2-1/2 baths good size LR, DR and master/full bath, smaller but adequate FR.

But compared to what they've been building for a while its become a small home. I could maybe go a bit smaller, but would still want 3, 1-1/2 for 2 of us. (We seem to live in different time zones so need 2 br. and computer room.)I think layout is as important as SF plus, as previously stated, climate. Love the enclosed sunporch but its useless several months of the year due to cold. Sandy

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 12:25PM
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Our little 50's cottage is around 730 sq.ft. Tiny for sure by today's standards. It was even smaller before we enclosed the little front porch and also opened the utility room to the kitchen. We have storage issues. We do have crawl attic space. We do have a screened porch off the kitchen, 6'x12'. I do have a garden shed where my washer also resides, the shed is 6x8 and I also store toilet paper, paper towels, etc. out there. DH has a work shop, we have a small barn, a storage building stuffed to the hilt and also have another small shed 8'x10'. Since we live in s.e. FL I am outside as much as possible, gardening is my favorite hobby. If we do ever move somewhere else, we would love a larger place, but not too large as we like keeping our expenses down.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 2:39PM
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Oh goodness yes, 1 1/2 baths was mandatory AFAIC. Crass though it may be, it only took one bout of food poisoning for me to learn the wisdom of having two toilets. It was truly a disgusting experience.

I would love to add another shed to our yard so DH could have the garashed for a workshop once we ran electric out there (after adding more capacity to the electrical panel and fixing the back wall and the half-dozen broken windows - he is SO learning how to glaze windows!) but I don't think there is anywhere to do so, stay within our setback requirements, and have enough room for the dog to do more than turn around! I suppose we could put in a small retaining wall and put one behind the garashed. I adore our new house but a little part of me does wish we'd gotten that ranch on two acres!

breenthumb, it stuns me how many people who have come through our house for showings thought it is "small"... yes, the DR and LR are smaller because of the first-floor master suite, but come on!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 4:34PM
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My house is small..but we make due..I have a 3/1 with 5 people... it hit's just under 1000SF.
I'd like a bit more room and atleast 1 more toilet..but by the time we'd get around to "expanding" some of the boys would be gone..so pretty pointless.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 5:27PM
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This house is 1660 and I feel it is big. The livingroom is just a big entry, no one sits in there, we go back to the family room. It's a ranch with 1241 sf basement and 3 car garage, on an acre we already owned. Had it built 2 years ago, we have another acre several miles away if we want to build again later, there's just the 2 of us (60 yrs.) and the peke, don't know if we want to move again....LinnZ

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 8:58PM
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I am living in 460sf presently...and yes,it IS small!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 10:02AM
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For Two of us we're building 1176sf.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 11:28PM
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Cute house! And perfect size. :)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 12:23AM
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skagit- I love that house! That's just the kind of place I'm trying to design for the 2 of us. The floor plan is giving me fits, though. How many rooms do you have? What were your priorities? I'd love to see a floor plan sketch.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 7:01AM
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Thanks. I don't have my camera here to take a shot of the floor plans but will do it next week. Priorities were to have a contemporary version of a traditional design, "easy" care, open and light, lots of storage, front and back porches, arranged to entertain friends, a separate processing kitchen are the one's that come to mind right now. Here are two more photos to see the design and windows

There're 9' ceilings and acid stained concrete floors with hydronic in-floor heating. Furniture as the study desk, living room sofa, computer/bills cabinet, book cases window seat, fire wood boxes and dinette are all built ins. The sofa, window seat and dinette all have storage below. The sofa is also sized to be a guest bed. The master bath has a walk-in shower. DW has a spa room with a soaking tub that will also be the guest bath. The walls on each side of its door have built in wall to ceiling cabinets 15x18". The bottom half opens into the small hallway and the uppers into the spa room. Master bedroom has door to back porch and courtyard. We are still waiting on a price to see if we'll go with a bookcase/murphy bed in the study. There's a 380sf storage attic accessed by a ships ladder that is inside what looks like a linen closet. Since we raise/grow most of our food we wanted an area to prepare for freezing and canning, make sausage, and make wine and cheese. It's nice having a separate area for all that and from past experience we have a floor drain in that floor. Well I've probably gone on way too far so will stop. Tom

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 9:28AM
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Tom ~ I am duly impressed ;o)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Skagit, great job fitting all of your needs into a small home! It is beautiful. I'd love to see a floor plan, too.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:25AM
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I agree, great house Tom. (BTW, what kind of goats?)

Our home is just under 900 sq ft. It's plenty of room for myself, DH and DD the resident scholar, though before she married, other DD lived here too.

The smallest real home I've lived in was 400 sq feet. It was absolutely the perfect size for DH and I and oldest DD when she was a wee thing. For comparison, like judithva, the largest house I've lived in was 1600 sq ft with three full time and sometimes as many as 7 part time children, DH and myself.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:11PM
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little dog - Alpines. We have two does and a buck. We have 1176sf, the goats have two acres. Tom

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 11:36AM
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I have a question about the hydronic system. How long does it take to, say, heat up a room from ambient temperatue (say, to bring a room from 50 degs to 70 degs) ? How does the energy consuption compare to forced air heating? Would electric floor heating work better than hydronic?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 3:22AM
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From the people with hydronic in-floor I've talked to it will take about two days after starting the unit to get it to the desired heat range. But as far as day to nite to day heating goes there is little fluctuation in the heat because of the concrete slab being a heat-sink. You can turn down the flow meter or thermostat but the house won't cool off quickly. Although the house is small we set up four heat zones. The bedrooms have one each and have less tubing than the other areas. That allows us to keep them cooler than other areas. The baths are on a circuit so we can still heat their floors a bit if needed during our not so warm summers. Then the living/kitchen/processing areas are on one. I've had no personal experience with these so it's going to be a learning process. Our contractor doesn't like to use thermostats for hydronic and uses flow valves instead. His other clients with this system told us that they have to adjust the flow valves about 3x/yr for seasonal weather changes. Below is a photo of the roughed in manifold. Heated water is from a Munchkin boiler. I think electric would be easier for remodels or for doing single rooms as baths. I don't know if it would be approved for use in shower floors though. Tom

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 8:45AM
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skagit - thank you for the great info and the picture.

What about the possibility of pipe bursting in the floor? How easy is that to detect and repair? Also, how accessible are the pipes in the floor? Are the pipes "solidified" inside of the concrete, or are they relatively loose?

Sounds like the system is quite "inert". Indeed, concrete is a poor conductor of heat. This would have pluses and minuses in different scenarios.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:34PM
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There are so many things to worry about in life that a bursting pipe didn't make the list. Contractor said he's never had one break in 17 years. The concrete slab is poured over the tubing so they're in there solid. Your points are valid and we found that in-floor heating and acid stained floors are not for everyone. Hope to have pictures of the floor next week. Tom

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 8:27AM
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I don't put a number on what is too small. I base it on my comfort level which includes having enough storage to put things in their proper place, i.e., not having to store kitchen items in the BR closet because that's the only place I have. I like enough room to have my simple functional pieces of furniture and be able to bend over to clean under things without bumping my butt on a wall or aother piece of furniture. Don't like anything too big because it's just too much to clean and too expensive to keep comfortable. I have better things I can do with that extra money I don't have to give the gas/electric companies for trying to heat or cool an extra "room" that is up there in no man's land by them vaulted ceilings!! I can hear the echo as I type the words. I just can't grasp that entire 20 plus foot ceiling thing that are in a lot of houses today. Why does anyone want to pay to keep all that dead space heated and cooled? I know the answer, it looks fabulous, but still makes no sense to me. Our ceilings in the new house are 10 ft. and that's plenty high enough.

With the energy crisis as it is you would think people would scale down those ceilings.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 11:31PM
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Once the pipes are into the concrete the only reason they might break is if they froze. (The floor will stay warm for several days even if the power to the pump is off.) Todays infloor heating tubes are superiour to 50 years ago when they used metal and the would corrode, Or even 20 years ago.

Our current house is around 1100 sq ft. We live here for over 30 years. Its big enough for Hubby and I but when the 3 kids were here it was crowded. We were always tripping over someone.
Our son is buying this house and he has 3 kids, we are moving into our "castle"(thats what the grandson of 3yrs old calls it)hehee 1600 sq ft.
To us its huge. I guess there are lots of people that would say its small. Personally I dont care to live in a big house.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Our first place (2 adults, 1 dog), was 400 square feet, current is 1750 with kid. That's more than enough 'for us'. I might someday think I 'want' more, but I certainly don't need more.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 11:10AM
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I've been looking for a house and posted a 540 sq ft. I saw on the mls on the house buying/selling forum. I haven't actually seen it but I think that even for me, just one person it'd be a wee bit too small. Mostly because of kitchen space and storage. It does have a basement though so that leaves the kitchen. If it had outside porches and barns like flowerlady6 I might reevaluate.
See it did make me wonder what my minimum would be. I think around 800 with a good sized garage/tool area. But 1100-1200 feels both roomy and cozy to me so would probably be my perfect.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 8:10AM
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Hi all. I've been frequenting the garden and kitchen forum fo ra while, but only just saw this one - living in a small cottage as I do, it's great to see!

My 1928 bungalow started out as a 525sf house. Sometime in the 60's (we're guessing - we're not sure) a previous owner added an 11x20 (ie full width, 11' out) extension, thus expanding it to 735sf.

There's three of us (3-1/2 if you include the large hairy dog) and we're just opening up the attic to gain about an extra 400-450sf of useable space (full attic, but the eaves render some of it "dead" space), so I guess all told we'll be at around 1100. For our small family that will be IDEAL - we're very excited at how much better it will allow us to use the space we have.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 11:31PM
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