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Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 AM
Location: Madison, AL
3,287 posts, read 4,741,908 times
Reputation: 2613


Yeah, but even on Sim City you can build a McMansion.....the horror!!!

Old 03-08-2014, 10:02 AM
12,632 posts, read 14,638,128 times
Reputation: 14151
Originally Posted by whatisthedealwith View Post
I can never wrap my head around this.

I live in NYC, moved from LA last year. I am part of a couple. We have a small dog. Our co-op in NYC is about 950 square feet, which to me is PLENTY of space. Our place in LA was right around 1100, which frankly felt huge for two people.

Recently I went house hunting with friends (a couple) who are looking for a place in New Jersey. They went on and on about how they HAVE to have at least 2500 square feet, they just could never deal with anything less. Bigger is better.

But the facts are that they have no intention of starting a family. They both work very high pressure jobs and travel a lot for work, so they are not home much at all. They have no pets. No major hobbies which require a dedicated space. Not even a lot of furniture. They live in a place right now that is about 1800 square feet and they have rooms that they literally never go into and they have to hire people to clean. When guests visit, they rarely stay with them (because of their schedules and hours) and more often than not book a hotel or even crash at my place because I live in the city (and not in Jersey..no offense to anyone, but Manhattan has much more of a draw for visitors).

So, why is there this obsession with space? It seems uniquely American to demand a much bigger house than you could possibly use. Don't people understand that you have to heat, cool, clean, furnish and do upkeep on all that additional space? Why do people want to have rooms that have no function?

If you have a large family, space is paramount of course. But a single person? A couple? Can anyone explain this to me?
My parents were in their 80s when they bought their last house. They bought it because their other house wasn't "big enough." There were only two of them. I didn't understand, either, why a couple needed that much space, but to them it was necessary. They were used to spreading out, I guess. They had 80 acres before they had to sell that because my dad had prostate cancer and couldn't take care of it. They had accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, obviously, although they weren't hoarders or anything.

I'm not as extreme as my parents, but it would bother me to live in NYC or someplace like that where people live on top of each other. My husband and I have a smaller house, but it's just the 2 of us so it works out perfectly. We have the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and laundry room as common areas and then he has a family room downstairs, I have the living room upstairs, I have an office, and he has an extra bedroom where he keeps stuff he collects, and he has the garage. The deck is mine. It's much better than living in an apartment where you are stuck in the same couple of rooms together.
Old 03-08-2014, 10:06 AM
11,615 posts, read 19,743,871 times
Reputation: 12051
Originally Posted by Zenstyle View Post
What many of you in the "I want what I want and what's it to you" camp are willfully missing is the fact that the resources you're wasting belong to everybody. Our water, our gas, our electricity. Just because you can handle your monthly utilities bills doesn't mean you're not pigging more than your share. Therein lies the rub.
I think this argument is weak because when people move from older homes to newer ones the newer homes are often MUCH more energy efficient than older ones. 5 people use the same amount of water whether they live in a 10,000 sf house or a 2,500 sf house. The same goes for gas (we use for cooking/dryer not for heating). People don't dry more clothes or cook more food because their house is larger.

As far electricity (or gas if you use for heating/cooling) it really depends on the situation. When we moved from a 2,500 sf house built in 1969 to a 3,500 sf house built in 1999 our energy usage was significantly less in the larger house. When we moved from a 3,500 sf house to a 6,000 sf house built in 2006 our energy usage increased, but not much. Our current house is more energy efficient than our last one so our energy usage only increased a tiny bit. We have more zones in our current house so we only cool what we need to cool. Plus the new units are more energy efficient than the older ones (we replaced 2 of 3 units when we moved in).
Old 03-08-2014, 10:24 AM
494 posts, read 645,255 times
Reputation: 714
Originally Posted by whatisthedealwith View Post
Not so sure about that.

Small space has been described as cramped, cluttered, and undesirable. Many have made the argument that they can buy a much bigger space because that is what they can afford, which implies small space is cheaper and only an option for people with low incomes. One poster said that small spaces were all old homes or something to that effect.

There is judgement on both sides. I am very forthcoming with my judgement of others.
People on this thread have said what they find undesirable about smaller homes, and that has included cramped, cluttered, etc. I don't think anyone has tried to attach perceived motivations people might have for wanting less space. And certainly no one has judged people who want less as foolish, wasteful, conspicuous, or whatever negative attribute you want to use to describe people based solely on the size of their home.

The smugness of this thread is amazing. People have all kinds of motivations for buying big or small houses. Sure, some people may do it to show off wealth, but others have many legitimate reasons for wanting more space.
The contempt you seem to have for people who have chosen a different lifestyle from you is dripping from all your posts, but you don't understand when all the people who you are insulting get a little defensive?

I think it's funny when you say people who live in the suburbs/have big house are "not as cool as you think you are", when it's clear you are trying to tell everyone how cool you are for living in your small place and living the lifestyle that you think is appropriate.
Old 03-08-2014, 10:36 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
4,941 posts, read 4,237,738 times
Reputation: 16439
Originally Posted by whatisthedealwith View Post
Judging from the number of times I have been repped on this thread, I am not alone.

I will come out and say it. I think this whole discussion betrays how entitled and absurd American attitudes about "lifestyle" have become. It makes me sad.
there is
I grew up poor in what is frankly a slum. My mother cleaned houses for a living. She would have loved to have a humungous McMansion because she thought that was what "rich people" had. Like many, she equated copious amounts of space with having made it.

From this perspective, I should be drooling over the drywall construction and gated communities of the suburban US. But frankly, I think they are disgusting. When asked "why do you do this" many of you have responded "why do you care?? Mind your own business! Socialist! Communist! Stuck up Manhattanite! Entitled generation!" and on and on.

Some of you gave valid reasons for space. Hobbies. Kids. Not wanting to see neighbors. Others just come across like spoiled brats.

So yeah, I am judging. I own that. I disagree and have no respect for certain life choices that are bloated, self congratulatory and thoughtless. Not that any of you care. Just know that you aren't nearly as "cool" as you think you are, living in your cookie cutter temple to consumption and statis. You can afford it? Fan-freakinitastic.
Just know that you're not as cool as you think you are either living in your "I'm so green and smug about it" world. It's clear that you have no respect for others' life choices, and really what does that make you? Just because others have different values than yours does not make your values better. In your mind maybe, but really do we need another form of intolerance in our society? Don't assume you know anything about someone or their values by looking at their home and pre-judging them. I grew up dirt poor too, I wish I had the choice to give my mom a bigger place to live too, but she died before I had that chance. We chose our large home in part to make sure we had room for my MIL to move in with us when the time came and she could also have a room/bath and space for herself when she became too infirm to live alone. I guess that would fall under your guidelines of a "valid reason". Thanks but no thanks, I don't need your validation. Prejudice comes in many guises...
Old 03-08-2014, 10:53 AM
Location: Georgia
4,514 posts, read 3,785,519 times
Reputation: 15512
To the OP: Judge much? I love my home -- it's about 4,500 square feet, and it holds my family, welcomes my extended family, my friends, holiday gatherings, occasional extended-stay friends who need a hand, my husband's office, my office, our dogs, my studio, my husband's workroom, and our garden is a place of peace, relaxation and pleasure . . . and no, I do NOT feel one iota "guilty" because of it. Yes, there are maintenance issues, but it's a small price to pay for the pleasure it adds to our lives.

If an ascetic lifestyle suits you, great. Have at it. Just don't diss MY space because you don't "approve".
Old 03-08-2014, 11:01 AM
Location: Chicago
3,395 posts, read 3,569,344 times
Reputation: 7773
Originally Posted by whatisthedealwith View Post
It is a preference. Exactly that.
But saying something is "just a preference" doesn't really explain anything. In fact, "it's just a preference" is a phrase people usually use to avoid explaining.

The OP is onto something. The average size of American homes has increased pretty steadily over the past few decades. In 1973, the average American home was around 1,500 sq. feet. By 2011, the average size of an American home had increased to 2,233 sq. feet. Did everyone's individual "preference" increase all at the same time?

Business Record: Size of U S homes increasing
Old 03-08-2014, 11:09 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
4,941 posts, read 4,237,738 times
Reputation: 16439
Not everybody's, obviously not the OP's. I think it's a reflection of the economic growth over the last 40 years. We had an extended period of growth and increasing personal wealth, until 2008. Things are starting to pull out of the downturn and I believe that we have to pull together as a country and not pick each other apart. There's room for everybody's preference and budget constraints without looking down on others for their choices when those choices harm no one else.
Old 03-08-2014, 11:10 AM
2,226 posts, read 4,412,500 times
Reputation: 4982
My brother and his wife have no kids, and retired to a 3000 sq. foot house that's a little larger than the one they lived in before moving in January. If they want to pay almost 10K in property taxes and pay to heat that behemoth because they "need" two guest bedrooms that are used a week or so every year and a finished basement, an eat-in kitchen and a dining room, a living room and a den, that's their business. Some people are very caught up in showing the world they're successful and can afford expensive, showy cars and houses.

Me, I'd rather have my little beautiful custom-built home in the woods and not spend so much time cleaning or so much money paying for heat and taxes. They would find my house much too small, but it's larger than an apartment and I live alone, so it's actually more than I even need. I spend my money traveling. But that's my choice. To each his own.
Old 03-08-2014, 11:37 AM
2,287 posts, read 2,497,671 times
Reputation: 7000
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
And I agree that OP is not trying to understand anyone's needs for space, just trumpeting his own virtuous "small is good" lifestyle. I don't care what size anyone's home is.

This. OP wasn't asking a honest question he didn't understand, he just wanted to blast people who don't agree with him.

Its just me and 2 pups and my house is huge, even bigger than advertised. Why? Because it was the best deal I could find. Houses half the size, were twice the cost. And I've always stocked up on food and supplies, doesn't matter the home size. I buy on sale in bulk. I truly don't get why you care so much how others choose to live. When you pay my bills, have at it.
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