Consider a 2/1 house?

nutellaOctober 17, 2006

Hi all! I'm in the market for a small historic bungalow, and up till now I quickly pass over the listing when I see the house is a 2/1. 2/2s and 3/1s are okay, but I just think of a 2/1 as too tiny.

But I'm a single person and I really don't need too much room. So I'm wondering if this is just a mental block against 2/1s, or is it really too small? There are a bunch of them out there, so apparently people live in them just fine!

Any opinions and experiences welcome :)

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Well, the only disadvantage I would see is that in every house I've ever lived, there's been a period of time when one or the other bathroom was out of commission - either we had to regrout the tile and it took 48 hours to dry or the toilet broke on a weekend and we wanted to wait til Monday to call the plumber or etc. With only one bathroom, you're stuck. Our last house was a 1 3/4 bathroom (had a small dumpy stall shower in the powder room) and I was very very thankful to have that shower several times - we had a lot of plumbing problems with the other bath! I guess if you have only one bathroom, you should become good friends with at least one neighbor so you can use their bathroom in emergencies!

Oh, and the 3 bedrooms would allow you to have a separate roof for office/hobby and still keep one for guests. However, I have seen many magazines and decorating shows where they had a home office that converted into a guest room via a murphy bed or pullout sofa or even inflatable mattress. So if you don't have many guests (or the guests you have don't expect luxury accomodations, LOL!), a 2 bedroom house should be just fine. It's the one bath thing that concerns me, but I just have bad luck with plumbing...plenty of folks have only one bath and do just fine.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 7:11AM
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I agree that the extra bath is a beautiful luxury :)
That said, I just moved from an ancient 3/2 to a cute 1950's 2/1 four months ago and am absolutely loving it. I live alone so this space is perfect for me. Much easier to maintain and a cynch to keep clean. Even after four months, I draw a happy sigh every time I come home.

You can find small bungalows where, out of necessity, improvements were made to basement space. I ended up with half of the basement finished, which makes a very nice guest/rec room. It has a weird retro feel (wood panelling!) and some of my friends actually insist on hanging out down there rather than the living room! This extra space meant that I can use the 2nd upstairs bedroom as a home office.

So I think the trick is just to keep looking until you find the perfect wee bungalow. I did :)

Here is a link that might be useful: My perfect wee bungalow

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:14AM
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My husband and I are in a 2/1.5, but the ".5" is actually just a walled-off toilet in the basement, so it's really more like a 2/1.

The full bathroom is on the second story with the bedrooms.

I grew up in a 2/1 and my husband grew up in a 3/1, so we're both used to having only 1 bathroom. If you're having to adjust downward, though, it may be more difficult.

Would the layout of the house you're considering allow for the addition of a .5 bath above or below the existing bath? That would enable you to add a bath later using existing plumbing lines.

I guess resale can be an issue, but this house has always sold briskly in the past.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 12:54PM
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LKPlatow, I do know what you mean about the second bathroom coming in handy during emergencies. When I lived in my old apartment, I had one bath and during a problem at least I was able to go up to a neighbor or use the one in the pool area. Also, I currently live in a 1/1.5 - it is nice to keep "my" bathroom private and have day guests use the 1/2 bath. Funny though, I just remembered looking at apartments in another building last year and noting that there was very little closet space - the realtor replied that lots of people in the building use their 1/2 bath as a closet LOL.

Chris, cute house! Small as it is, you do seem to have a good amount of room, with the basement, plus the outbuilding. Shows that a 2/1 doesn't necessarily mean teeny tiny.

McGillicuddy, I'm not considering any particular house at this time, but good point about the layout and the ability to add a bath. I think I'll now consider a house if this is possible.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:58AM
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If it's just you, I think one BR will be just fine. But, when I was a kid, I swore when I grew up, the ultimate luxury would be to have 1+1/2 baths. I wasn't asking for much now,was I.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:48AM
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I'm with momcat... I grew up always with one bath and spent from 11-18 in a 2/1 bungalow with my parents, and that extra half bath was one of my dreams as well. That was something RICH people had! LOL After one bout with food poisoning I decided there was always going to be more than one toilet in my home from then on. We would have had a lot more selection had I been willing to go with a 3/1 instead of a 3/1.5 which is what I wanted; we ended up with a fire-saled 4/2.5 (better for resale in this excellent school district and still 1900sf)... my bath that's been under construction for a year is finally mostly finished and it will be an incredible luxury! That said, I have seen some 2/1s that were bigger than 3/1s in terms of square footage.

Have you talked to a realtor about being able to turn over the house should you need to (say, you meet Mr or Ms Right and two is too many for the space?). It can be tricky to turn over a small house in some areas.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 4:40PM
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It's true that our ".25" bath (just a toilet) in the basement comes in handy sometimes. When we have guests/visitors, I send the guys downstairs and the ladies upstairs. The guys don't seem to mind.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 2:10PM
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I currently live by myself in a 2/1 with 1100 s.f. I find I don't need a 3rd bedroom, BUT I do wish I had an extra bath. I usually have family members stay with me and having one bathroom can become problematic. Even when entertaining (and the beverages are flowing :)), there is always someone waiting. I am saving up right now to expand the house - for a bathroom!
Doesn't everybody just love small houses? Less to clean! I am so glad I found this forum.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 6:36PM
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I grew up in a house with only one pot and I swore that when I had to live with someone again the place would have at least two! I kept to my word for over thirty years until we sold our main home and moved into our 2/1 cottage. It's just me and hubby, but I hate sharing! We bought a small home in NC and it has 3 pots! Bathrooms are minuscule (one is in the basement) but I feel like it's the ultimate in luxury! LOL!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 9:26AM
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Heh, this is turning into a discussion about multiple toilets in a small house.

Case in point: I had a major plumbing disaster on SATURDAY. Plumber came out (overtime) but was unable to fix. Took all day Monday to repair. I did without drains or water for two whole days and had to camp out at a friend's place. Needless to say, while I love my small house (as stated previously), I would love a second toilet even more :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 10:15AM
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It would totally depend on the price difference to me. DH and I lived for many years with just one bath - but I certainly prefer having 2 now. As a single, I would consider it a luxury item.
I have a camping toilet that we used on occasion in the past - comes in handy when the plumbing goes.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 3:34PM
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I think, as a single person, you could be fine with a 2/1 as long as you keep in mind that the ability to add another bath if your family expands will be important. Our family of 5 shared 1 small (2 1/2' x 5') half bath for about 3 weeks this summer while we were remodeling our other baths and it was ROUGH. Doable, not tragic, but not fun. Even just an extra toilet tucked (many times not-so-elegantly) into the laundry room or basement can be a lifesaver (and not that expensive (~$1500) to add if there's already a waste line and water supply nearby).

Good luck in your search!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 11:48AM
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If I lived alone (I don't), I would consider buying a 2/1 if there were room to add to a small half bath. Bungalows are often charming houses, and many of them were built as 2/1 houses. But there's never been a bathroom built that did not occasionally have difficulties. You need an emergency bathroom.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 12:55PM
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My first home was a 1929 2/1 Tudor bungalow, with a den and a breakfast nook off the kitchen. I lived there as a single woman for 6 years and never missed a second bathroom. One advantage to historic homes: they tend to be in historic neighborhoods, which tend to have great empathetic neighbors. There won't be ANYONE in the neighborhood who hasn't dealt with a plumbing crisis or a reno, and would probably be glad to let you "borrow" their facilities for a day or two.

When DH moved in, we found the home too cramped (1,100 sq. ft.) but the one bathroom wasn't the issue. It was more about closets and a need for a music room/office.

I wouldn't rule out considering a 2/1 (preferably a 3/1, or a 2/1 with some sort of other room for "office"-type purposes) as long as it's in an area, or a market, where you can resell it as a 2/1 in the future.

BTW, our current home is a much larger (2,600 sq. ft.) 1925 bungalow, and having 2.5 baths really doesn't make a difference if the plumbing problem is in the main sewer line . . .

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 3:30PM
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DH and I live in a 2/1 (though it's actually a big old house) and while a 2 baths would be nice.... it's not essential.

Yes, you can have a plumbing issue... but we have had a septic issue and no number of bathrooms in the house would help in that case!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 1:19PM
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I keep coming back to this thread and I think I'm going to consider a 2/1 after all. If two people can live in a 2/1, then 1 certainly can! Less towels to launder ;)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 7:16AM
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My husband and I live with our 3-year-old in a 2-1 and LOVE it. We just downsized from a 2,500 sf, 4/2.5 to this 1,100sf and we are just loving it. Just think of it as less to clean and less room to furnish. You can always "make do" when company comes.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 1:53AM
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I also live alone (well, with the cats) in a 2/1, in a neighborhood where this is common. I also had a 2/1.5 for about 5 years. If you have people staying with you a lot, at least a second half bath is great. I don't have people staying that much, so it's not a problem. I have several parties a year with 20 - 35 people, and it's never been a problem. Find a house you love!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 4:44PM
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