Does a small home mean square footage?

lavender_lassSeptember 13, 2013

I'm asking, because the 'Not So Big' houses are often larger than 1500 square feet. So, maybe 'Not So Big' is a better description, than small.

I'm thinking of homes that have one living room, one dining area, a kitchen with a place to visit with the cook...and maybe an office. Bedrooms and a few bathrooms, depending on number of people, living in home.

When you have a large family, you need larger rooms, so if the layout of the home is 'Not So Big' does that qualify for smaller home. Or maybe more efficient home? Either way, I think it would be a more inviting home :)

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marti8a

I think you are right. When you read real estate listings, they always point out the multiple living and dining rooms when explaining that this is a big home or a luxury home, and the smaller homes have one living area and one dining. Even if the square footage of the smaller home is greater than the one with two living and dining, it doesn't sound larger.

And I quite agree, it is more inviting. What is more comfortable than the family gathered around the kitchen table?

I love the tv version of the dining room, with fireplace, and everyone dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner, and a smiling mom, with perfectly fixed hair putting the turkey in the middle of the perfectly decorated table. But the truth (at my house) is that my hair is a mess, no makeup, and I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt with tennis shoes on my aching feet. Oh sure, I intended to change clothes and roll my hair before everyone got here, but just never found the time. And it's impossible to try to get anyone in my family to dress up (except my mom). My kids would howl in protest if I wanted them to wear a dress just to stay home on a holiday. And it's that way every year.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:26PM
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lavender_lass

Marti- LOL! My mom is the same way...but she usually has damp hair and slightly dressed up. But the turkey tastes delicious...and I cannot compete with her gravy :)

I like a house that's large enough to fit everyone into the same room to eat. I've lived in enough small homes to know seating 6+ at the dining table is not always easy (Air Force housing) and I've always wanted room for 8-10 people!

That's probably why I've always wanted a country kitchen, too. I guess you often long for the 'ideal' of what you didn't have, when growing up. Both my grandmother's had larger kitchens and were wonderful cooks. I miss those kitchens and want to have that for the nieces and nephews.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:55PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Friend of ours just bought a smaller home as in 3 and 2 with living kitchen dinning room all open to each other not quite 1400 SQ FT. Different arrangement then we have here other then it is open floor plan. And it is interesting because this is an older home she bought. And I do not recall open floor plans back then. She has a large family and will be living closer to all of them when she gets moved in. Picturing large family gatherings for her.

Her house up here was 6 bedroom and three bath 2600 SQ FT and yet her new house has a much better entertaining lay out for the big family dinners than her old house has. Better kitchen too.

DH was never fond of the double living room or living room family room lay out. I would have been fine with it because I wanted a studio. Now I have my studio in one of our bedrooms and we did make it over sized just for me. SO I am glad I do not have to clean more house. LOL

Kind of an interesting question LL. For me I would rather have fewer ,and larger, rooms in our smaller house than more smaller ,walled off, rooms in a not so large house.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 1:30AM
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camlan

Growing up in a family with seven kids, we lived in a variety of houses, thanks to Dad's military career. You'd think with nine people in the family, a small house would be out of the question, but we lived in some undoubtedly small houses.

At one point, the military housing we were given was a small ranch house--three bedrooms, a galley kitchen, and a rectangular living/dining room space, one bathroom. Plus a small laundry/storage room off the kitchen. No attic or basement. Probably around 1300 square feet.

We survived. The master bedroom was the boys' room, with two sets of bunk beds. My parents and the current baby had the next smaller room, and my sister and I had the smallest room. The large walk-in closet off the front entry was turned into a tiny office for my father.

For one thing, we didn't have a lot of stuff. And we were sent to Catholic school, so we had our school uniforms, a dressy outfit or two and a few things to wear for playing around the house. So everything fit. And we had a large backyard to play in, and a playground within easy walking distance and a very safe neighborhood on the base.

We lived in 3 or 4 variations of that house, although all the rest had 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. We never seemed crowded, although a lot of that is most likely due to the fact that we never accumulated a ton of stuff--with every move, we weeded and discarded things.

We also lived in what I still call a "mansion." Formal living room, formal dining room, 20' x 20' kitchen, two pantries, a servant's room, five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a music room and a sunporch. Plus the huge front porch and a small back porch. And a full basement plus attic. Lots of built-in cupboards and closets in the upstairs hallways.

Funny how everything expanded to fit that space. More of us had rooms to ourselves. We had a separate TV/family room, instead of having the TV in the living room (my parents disliked the TV in the living room, but had no choice in most of the places we lived). We accumulated more stuff, but it never seemed like it, because there was so much more space.

While my mother really liked that house (and it was a lovely older house), it had problems. It was so big that calling everyone to dinner was a problem. Stuff got scattered around the house and no one picked it up, whereas in the smaller houses, it was easier to see when something was out of place. And easier to put it back, because you didn't have to walk so far.

I'm convinced that smaller houses work better than larger houses--easier to clean, easier to tidy up. But the house has to be carefully planned. Adequate storage has to be built-in. The use of the rooms has to be thought out. I don't think it matters if you have one open living space or separate living/dining rooms and a separate kitchen, so long as the space works for the way you live.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 12:21PM
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pekemom

Sometimes homes up to 2000 sq ft are considered small, our house is 1642 sq ft with a 1242 sq ft unfinished basement. We also have a 3 car garage and the home is on over an acre, to me there's nothing small about it..our last home was 1265 sq ft over a finished basement of also 1265 sq ft..so there was more actual living area there, but we had 3 kids, several pets too. Here it's just me, hubby and the peke. We feel it's plenty big enough...didn't really need a separate living and family room but I do like the floorplan..

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:03PM
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egbar

the intro to the forum defines small houses as being 2000 ft or less. We have never lived in a house over 1300 sq ft. Current home is approx. 1000 ft and has enough space for us to live in comfort. The way the space in a home is used makes all the difference!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:46AM
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nickel_kg

shades_of_idaho, you said "this is an older home she bought. And I do not recall open floor plans back then" ... which made me smile. In the late 1940's, my grandfather built an open concept home. Picture a square, split down the middle. Three evenly sized bedrooms run along one side. The other side starts with a small bathroom, then an L-shaped kitchen, open to a dining table, open to the living area with couch, chairs, and tv. Back then it was called a "cabin", and I'll confess the bathroom was really a washroom for many years before they retired the outhouse. So I always giggle a bit when HGTV is gushing about open concept living -- "all that money, and they can't afford walls?" I can imagine my grandpa would say.
On the other hand, we spent many happy summers in that cabin, kids and grown ups and families all together. Can't blame people for wanting that feeling of togetherness.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:27PM
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mrspete

I think you could find exceptions to the rule, but overall I like your definition. I know that I was surprised when I read the Not So Big series and saw houses much bigger than my current house, which I consider average at 2400. I am looking to decrease square footage.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:32PM
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