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Old 08-27-2009, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Just a few miles outside of St. Louis
1,921 posts, read 5,159,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
All my thoughts exactly. More to clean and more storage space for junk...
Reminds me of that stand-up that George Carlin used to do about "Stuff". I think it was one of funniest things he ever talked about.
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:16 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,118,884 times
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This is kind of interesting because of all the respondents that said they wanted a smaller home, none have actually lived in one. When my first wife and I got married, she was 19 and I was 20 and we needed a home, so I staked out a spot and started building a house...a modest 480 square foot home. In less than two years we added on because it was just too small. There is all kinds of reasons to live in a smaller home I know, but until you actually live in one, you don't realize there is just a need for more space.


So then the house got up to 900 square feet. That was not too bad...about right size wise for a wife and husband and a couple of dogs...until the baby came along. Then again, it was just too small. A baby takes up a lot of space! So then it was another addition that brought the house up to 2100 square feet. I admit the last addition was bigger then it needed to be, but all in all I like the overall design and wouldn't change anything about it.

Overall I think my house is greenier then most because it is super-efficient, and I used as many wood products as I could from the forests here. That is I cut down the trees and used the family sawmill to make lumber, and I used the family shingle mill to side the house with cedar shingles, and the gravel came from a gravel pit we have on the farm, so all in all I think its pretty green. I also think it follows along with what families of yesteryear did...that is growing as the years go by.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,090 posts, read 10,735,593 times
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I don't think I could live in a really small home, I have in small apartments (smallest around 550 sqft) and I was really unhappy. I think there is really a happy medium for my family to have enough elbow room and space to put/do everything we would ever possibly need in life between 1,400 and 2,600 sq feet. I know my parents have a house that's 2,400 sqft and it's huge, even for 4 people (fantastic house though).

However, I have one set of family that has a 5,000 sqft house out in the rural Midwest...the thing is enormous, almost too much. I can see why they got it, they had 4 kids and their kids each have at least 4 (I'm not sure who is pregnant now) and they get together a great deal. Their family is not the norm even in our big extended family, but most of the people there try to judge themselves off that measure of success and try to get big houses.

To each their own though, if people need it then they get it...but doing it for the reason to keep up seems silly to me (consuming to display wealth is always to me).
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,308 posts, read 59,575,988 times
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Easy solution: Don't buy a new house. Plenty of older homes out there fall at less than 1,000 square feet.

After living on my own for almost 30 years before finding a partner, I need a little space away of my own, away from him. My old 900 square foot house might have been a little tight for us; our 1,200 square foot house wastes no space, but gives us a little room to breathe.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
10,354 posts, read 14,211,191 times
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If I didn't have family I could easily see myself in a 500-700 sq. ft. house. (Too many books to go much smaller)
We raised two kids in a 900 ft house until they got a little older and needed separate bedrooms, then we went to a 1300 ft house.
I always wanted to move up to a 2000 ft house but it never happened and in hindsight I'm glad. I was amazed at how much "stuff" I had collected over the years and stuffed into that 1300 ft house! Ditched most of it and am committed to keeping it simple this time around. The kids are grown now and I just downsized to 1000 ft. home. Wanted to have enough room still to be able to house my kids and any future grandchildren for short visits. The tiny houses are appealing , but I don't think they would fit my needs in that respect.

Oh, and yes, it's not difficult to find smaller homes under 1000 sq. ft. in many towns and cities. A lot of them are in working class neighborhoods, but that's a long way from slums. Sometimes you can even find newer neighborhoods that feature smaller upscale homes, there are a few in the city where I used to live. You just have to know where to look.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,884,246 times
Reputation: 3838
I've seen his website before and another book about small house designs. It's all very fascinating to me because I draw house plans as a hobby. Love efficiency and organization. One of the precepts in the book which is a little different theory than his is that you can spend more on fit and finish in a smaller house which makes it extra special. (stained glass, etc) And regard must be paid to cute little rooms such as a sunporch livingroom with fireplace and built in bookcases.

I grew up in several fine old mansions and of course it meant we needed cleaning help which is the first thing I think of when I see these new big houses on tv. In snow country even normal houses tended to be a bit bigger as you're inside so much in winter. I've recently bought an older trailer as a retirement home (abt 1500 ft) and am pleased as punch at it's efficiency and the fact that it has several rooms, enough for four bedrooms if you consider the daybed on the sleeping porch/diningroom. The LR/K are open and good sized as is the master BR. I'm not sure that I would like the entirely open concept for a small home as my friend's home is. To me, it's like a boat, you want a couple of places to hide out even if they're small as long as they're seperate.
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:15 PM
 
190 posts, read 615,987 times
Reputation: 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
I thought to myself how much I would love one of these 300 or so sq ft homes on a few acres of land. That would be perfect for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
A small home (say 1000 sq ft or less) would be far, far more efficient and Ďgreení than what we are forced into buying these days. Think of the savings on urban sprawl, power consumption, building materials, inflated house payments, time, etc, if homes were typically that smaller size and built efficiently. It worked just fine for our grandparents (in fact better). Why canít it work for us?
To me the above two statements seem a contradiction? Even if everyone moved into a small homes if we all want to be surrounded by acres of land, urban sprawl will be as bad or worse as it is currently. Unless you are planning to farm the land I don't see it as an efficient use of space or green.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Nowadays, if you truly want a small home, you have to go to the slums (what used to be just normal folks in normal sized homes). Thatís a reason I havenít wanted a home--I donít want to live in a slum, yet I donít want an inefficient barn for a home.
Nonsense. There are plenty of small homes in older urban areas that are not slums.
I've lived in a 900 sq ft home (family of 4), 600 sq ft apt (family of 3) and currently 1500 sq ft home (family of 4). All were in older suburban communities. A huge feature for me was proximity to services (within a couple of miles I can walk to almost everything I could possibly need). I have a small yard that I grow fruit and vegetables in.
I am looking forward to downsizing again but a major criteria for me will be an older mixed use neighborhood with stores, offices, apartments and houses intermingled.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,357 posts, read 9,820,047 times
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My yearning is for a small house, cunningly designed to have lots of built-in spaces, even built-in niches for beds (just add mattresses) and bump-out's (bays) for home offices--one each for the two of us.

I'm kind of a minimalist, so I like the thought of designed-in furniture. And yes, I'd like to incorporate maximum insulation, passive solar as well as geo-thermal into the design...and wind, too, if the site and local winds make that practical.

Built-in planters would be wonderful, as would a little stream running through the house with a micro waterfall for that lovely feng-shui sound of running/falling water.

If the design and usability were done with care, I think the two of us could happily share an 800 foot home--as long as privacy was made available for each of us when we want solitude...perhaps two work pods at either end of the public spaces?

Formal dining rooms and living rooms--don't want 'em...just a great room (I love the name 'gathering' room) open to a kitchen with lots of light and the focal point being some kind of fireplace--maybe a pellet stove. Or large windows oriented to take in the wooded view or long-range view...

The TV would be hidden away behind some artwork or something. I hate the blank eye of a turned-off TV screen...

Good music system and surround sound, built-in, so speakers wouldn't be seen or obvious.

And the kitchen? Organic and resembling nature such as a forest (wood cabinets, dark green or terra cotta Spanish tile, no marble or granite, thank you) and definitely no stainless steel. I want warm and organic.

That's my little home...a place for everything and everything in its place. And while we're designing this little mini-palace, I'd like the world's most powerful vacuum system that would suck the clutter right out of the house (along with the dog hair)!

Anyone else find this appealing or am I just wacky??
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:58 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,851 posts, read 10,521,459 times
Reputation: 9513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter View Post
To me the above two statements seem a contradiction? Even if everyone moved into a small homes if we all want to be surrounded by acres of land, urban sprawl will be as bad or worse as it is currently. Unless you are planning to farm the land I don't see it as an efficient use of space or green.
In that situation, that would be my intent. There would be absolutely no reason for my to have any land at all unless I used it productively (for food). If it were in town, I’d have only a very small yard. Big lawns and flowers don’t do it for me. They really serve no purpose (for me).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter View Post
Nonsense. There are plenty of small homes in older urban areas that are not slums.
I've lived in a 900 sq ft home (family of 4), 600 sq ft apt (family of 3) and currently 1500 sq ft home (family of 4). All were in older suburban communities. A huge feature for me was proximity to services (within a couple of miles I can walk to almost everything I could possibly need). I have a small yard that I grow fruit and vegetables in.
I am looking forward to downsizing again but a major criteria for me will be an older mixed use neighborhood with stores, offices, apartments and houses intermingled.
We tend to call things based on our surroundings. I don't get a chance to travel all that much these days. So I don't see many other areas. What I will say is that in my area, I would estimate the average new home to weigh in at 2500 sq ft plus. They just do not make small homes (other than apartments) around here. In fact, as I said, most of the municipalities in this area will not allow a single family dwelling under a certain size. I don't remember the exact number, but I do remember it's head-shakingly large. There are older homes around here from the 30's 40's and 50's that are maybe 700 to 900 sq ft, but they tend (not always, but quite often) to be in dismal neighborhoods--which is sad. These are my favorite types of houses, but most have not been maintained and have sort of gone to hell (so to speak). I really like the architecture for small houses from the early 20th century. I think they have a lot of character, even though they are relatively simple in design. That's probably a big reason I like this tumbleweed homes site. He bases his homes on those styles. I’ve been scouring the internet for the past few days and have found some more sites (architects) who specialize in smaller homes. There are some very nice designs. The more I look at them, the more impressed I am with the designs and the concepts behind them.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:01 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,851 posts, read 10,521,459 times
Reputation: 9513
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDolphin View Post
My yearning is for a small house, cunningly designed to have lots of built-in spaces, even built-in niches for beds (just add mattresses) and bump-out's (bays) for home offices--one each for the two of us.

I'm kind of a minimalist, so I like the thought of designed-in furniture. And yes, I'd like to incorporate maximum insulation, passive solar as well as geo-thermal into the design...and wind, too, if the site and local winds make that practical.

Built-in planters would be wonderful, as would a little stream running through the house with a micro waterfall for that lovely feng-shui sound of running/falling water.

If the design and usability were done with care, I think the two of us could happily share an 800 foot home--as long as privacy was made available for each of us when we want solitude...perhaps two work pods at either end of the public spaces?

Formal dining rooms and living rooms--don't want 'em...just a great room (I love the name 'gathering' room) open to a kitchen with lots of light and the focal point being some kind of fireplace--maybe a pellet stove. Or large windows oriented to take in the wooded view or long-range view...

The TV would be hidden away behind some artwork or something. I hate the blank eye of a turned-off TV screen...

Good music system and surround sound, built-in, so speakers wouldn't be seen or obvious.

And the kitchen? Organic and resembling nature such as a forest (wood cabinets, dark green or terra cotta Spanish tile, no marble or granite, thank you) and definitely no stainless steel. I want warm and organic.

That's my little home...a place for everything and everything in its place. And while we're designing this little mini-palace, I'd like the world's most powerful vacuum system that would suck the clutter right out of the house (along with the dog hair)!

Anyone else find this appealing or am I just wacky??
Yes, that all sounds appealing. Great ideas.
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