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Old 01-05-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,179,255 times
Reputation: 22373

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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Years ago I got a small writing fellowship and lived in a contemporary design cabin (cathedral ceiling, large glass windows) in the woods for several months, the happiest experience I ever had in a dwelling. So well designed, no clutter or knicknacks, no enclosed feeling. Open, airy, clean.It must have been all of 800 sf.

Many contemporary-design small homes, including separate office/studios at home, are perfect for retirees. Well designed galley kitchens are great for cooking even the most gourmet style. Many Europeans live this way in small quarters but in style without suffering any lifestyle loss. It's a smaller footprint on the planet, living light and simple.

www.1kindesign.com/2011/04/11/living-large-in-61-square-meter-swedish-apartment/ (http://www.1kindesign.com/2011/04/11/living-large-in-61-square-meter-swedish-apartment/ - broken link)
I wish I had posted here for help with the tiny mountain house I am working on now. I lived there from May to November this past year, trying to rectify deferred maintenance issues - and figuring out ways to best use space. I looked all over the web and never found this wonderful link you posted, NEGirl. I am pouring over the photos right now and have already gotten one idea from a photo! YAY!

Our tiny place is only 900 sq. ft. (and a "round house" - odd angles to work with). I have a teeny studio downstairs, bisected by an iron spiral staircase (where I knocked my head so hard it threw me back on the floor - dear me). I did figure out a way to use overhead empty space to add a closet/storage area in the master bedroom (wh/ hardly has enough room to turn around in - but it is en suite - so it is convenient even if close to being cramped. I also took out a window and installed a door in that bedroom wh/ turned out to be one of the best renovations I made this summer. So so useful . . .

We bought the place in '93 with the intention of adding on and eventually retiring there. Lots of life events have happened since then . . . not sure that this plan is still feasible. Haven't figured out the finances to add on to the place and not sure that is the best idea, anyway. I did find that being there by myself - I can survive without cabin fever just fine. But start adding other people to the mix and wow - hubby and I stumbled all over each other.

Really appreciate all the great ideas, suggestions and "what I would do differently" comments. It is helping me plan the next phase of "re-dos" on this little house.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
This might help with the head injuries :

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,982,141 times
Reputation: 15649
Stay small in retirement, small is beautiful and affordable. Go to BN and find books on the whole "small housing" and "cottage" movement. You;ll be truly inspired by the photos you see. Don't expand, just knock out non-weight-bearing walls. A tiny well designed kitchen has produced many a gourmet meal. Invest in cabinetry rather than expansion. It's well worth it to get a consultant in for an hour or two (I got one here who only charged my $90 for some great ideas). You don't need an architect, just someone local who will do the renovation. Believe me, when you're 80 you'll thank your lucky stars that you stayed small.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I wish I had posted here for help with the tiny mountain house I am working on now. I lived there from May to November this past year, trying to rectify deferred maintenance issues - and figuring out ways to best use space. I looked all over the web and never found this wonderful link you posted, NEGirl. I am pouring over the photos right now and have already gotten one idea from a photo! YAY!

Our tiny place is only 900 sq. ft. (and a "round house" - odd angles to work with). I have a teeny studio downstairs, bisected by an iron spiral staircase (where I knocked my head so hard it threw me back on the floor - dear me). I did figure out a way to use overhead empty space to add a closet/storage area in the master bedroom (wh/ hardly has enough room to turn around in - but it is en suite - so it is convenient even if close to being cramped. I also took out a window and installed a door in that bedroom wh/ turned out to be one of the best renovations I made this summer. So so useful . . .

We bought the place in '93 with the intention of adding on and eventually retiring there. Lots of life events have happened since then . . . not sure that this plan is still feasible. Haven't figured out the finances to add on to the place and not sure that is the best idea, anyway. I did find that being there by myself - I can survive without cabin fever just fine. But start adding other people to the mix and wow - hubby and I stumbled all over each other.

Really appreciate all the great ideas, suggestions and "what I would do differently" comments. It is helping me plan the next phase of "re-dos" on this little house.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Texas
15,891 posts, read 15,302,081 times
Reputation: 62658
I retired in 2007 and really made no changes to my living situation. I bought my house back in 1978 when it was new. I have 1980 sq ft. It's probably a bit too large for just me but I can keep up with the cleaning. I pay someone to take care of the yard and the pool.

The one thing I made sure to do before retiring was paying off the mortgage. Sure, I still have insurance and taxes but they really don't bother me. I live in a state that has no state income tax and that has made a huge difference all these years. My income in retirement is really not all that much less than it was during my working years. I retired after 37 years with the federal government. The perks are wonderful.

I consider myself to be very lucky with my life in retirement. I do what I want to do and if I prefer to spend the day reading then I do that (and often). I can travel within reason and have a nest egg in the form of the TSP (an opional savings account for fed. employees). Wow, I'm so glad I listened to a friend who insisted I take advantage of the program back when it first started.

I know my neighbors. Most of us bought at the same time. We rely on each other and actually like each other. Not a one of them is intrusive and neither am I.

I'm so happy with my life in retirement. I've made few changes. The biggest one is that I seldom have to set the alarm clock for the morning.

One more thing we did before I retired: My sister and I moved our mother into an assisted living situation near us. We moved her from the family home 200 miles to the west of us to a place near us both. That first summer of retirement we cleaned out mother's house (a craftsman style home built in 1925) and sold it. We had gotten to the point that we were scared she would burn the place down with her cigarettes. She is now very happy in the assisted living location. We found one that had a separate unit called "Memory Care." Sure enough she was diagnosed with dementia and it was very easy to move her into that unit where she has her own little apartment. It took about 6 weeks for her to settle into assisted living and she now loves it because everyone is so nice and she doesn't have to cook. Heck, that sounds very good to me, too. Oh, she can't smoke indoors there so she just quit.

And so, everyone is happy. Can't ask for more than that.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:39 PM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,262,559 times
Reputation: 3490
I'm not quite there yet, at retirmement, but I'm getting close. I've owned a single-family home as well as condominiums. I presently live in a condo. I live alone. I'm considering five retirement living options:

1. Stay where I'm at but take-in someone to share the apartment and expenses. It's a 2,000 sq. ft. 3-bedroom unit with annual expenses of about $20,000 (i.e., mortgage, assessments, real estate taxes and utilities).

2. Stay in Chicago but downsize to a 1-bedroom condo.

3. Move to a 55+ community condo in Florida.

4. Move to a 55+ community townhouse in Arizona.

5. Relocate to Mexico where the cost of living can be substantially less than Chicago or elsewhere in the USA. Depending.

Reducing my monthly expenses and living as maintenance-free (including anything requiring me to fix it) as possible will be my No. 1 priority.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Stay small in retirement, small is beautiful and affordable. Go to BN and find books on the whole "small housing" and "cottage" movement. You;ll be truly inspired by the photos you see. Don't expand, just knock out non-weight-bearing walls. A tiny well designed kitchen has produced many a gourmet meal. Invest in cabinetry rather than expansion. It's well worth it to get a consultant in for an hour or two (I got one here who only charged my $90 for some great ideas). You don't need an architect, just someone local who will do the renovation. Believe me, when you're 80 you'll thank your lucky stars that you stayed small.
I look at some of those small places - and get claustrophobia. Also matters a lot if you're one - or two - or more than two (e.g., if you have an elderly parent move in with you). Two retired people in a 900 sf house is really tight IMO.

I think the goal should be to have an amount of space and a level of maintenance you can live with/afford. Doesn't make much sense to have a tiny house just for the sake of having a tiny house if it's old and "needs work" and/or property that needs a lot of maintenance you can't do (unless you can afford to pay someone to do it).*

If I had the house anifani has - and could afford to expand it - I'd probably tear it down and build a new one instead (building from scratch can often be cheaper than expensive renovations). Also - building new allows you to design/build for how old you are now - and how old you'll be 10-20 years from now. Also - a new house may be more energy efficient - cheaper to insure - and require less maintenance for a long time.

BTW - I don't know what you mean by a tiny kitchen. Ours is 12x14 - which is IMO perhaps just a bit on the small side when it comes to 2 people cooking at the same time OTOH - if there's only one cook - or you eat out a lot and rarely cook - smaller would work. Robyn

* I love our property but it requires work we can't do ourselves. We had our annual tree work done today. Five guys with chain saws - ladders - pole pruners - and a chipper shredder the size of a dump truck (we filled up about 3/4 of it). They worked for 4 hours - and accomplished what it might take my husband and I 4 years to do .
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomexico View Post
I'm not quite there yet, at retirmement, but I'm getting close. I've owned a single-family home as well as condominiums. I presently live in a condo. I live alone. I'm considering five retirement living options:

1. Stay where I'm at but take-in someone to share the apartment and expenses. It's a 2,000 sq. ft. 3-bedroom unit with annual expenses of about $20,000 (i.e., mortgage, assessments, real estate taxes and utilities).

2. Stay in Chicago but downsize to a 1-bedroom condo.

3. Move to a 55+ community condo in Florida.

4. Move to a 55+ community townhouse in Arizona.

5. Relocate to Mexico where the cost of living can be substantially less than Chicago or elsewhere in the USA. Depending.

Reducing my monthly expenses and living as maintenance-free (including anything requiring me to fix it) as possible will be my No. 1 priority.
Will you be on Medicare? If so - I would rule out #5 (unless you're very close to a decent US city with good medical facilities on the other side of an easy border crossing). Robyn

P.S. Chicago is really different than Florida/Arizona. Do you like living in Chicago?
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:32 PM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,262,559 times
Reputation: 3490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Will you be on Medicare? If so - I would rule out #5 (unless you're very close to a decent US city with good medical facilities on the other side of an easy border crossing). Robyn

P.S. Chicago is really different than Florida/Arizona. Do you like living in Chicago?
I've lived in Mexico, for 6 years previously, so I understand the challenges of locating good medical/hospital care. I believe it's limited to less than a half-dozen cities in the country. All well into the interior of the country. Not along the USA/Mexico border.

Arizona's a place I've lived, also. Tucson. I liked it and believe I'd like it again and my sister is there as well as a group of friends of mine. I haven't lived in Florida, though. But I've spent time there and I have family in Orlando. I wouldn't want to live in Orlando, though. I think I'm more of an Arizona person than Florida one.

Chicago's a wonderful city. In a perfect world I'd have a place here and elsewhere.

I also have family in Ireland, where I'd enjoy living for 4 or 5 months of the year. I've taken extended trips there. A month at a time, though.

Cost containment will be my priority if I retire at 66. More so than if I were to work until 70, which I don't want to do. But, the economy/investments will be the driving force.

I'll be living on SS and investment income. But not a lot of that income. Enough to live comfortably if I shed my current residence, though.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,741,213 times
Reputation: 3716
One thing I do not see much of here is how different/varied would ones decision be if another person to consider/respect/live with verus live alone.

I believe that could put a much different slant on things.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:22 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
Reputation: 29076
Quote:
Originally Posted by accufitgolf View Post
One thing I do not see much of here is how different/varied would ones decision be if another person to consider/respect/live with verus live alone.

I believe that could put a much different slant on things.
I'm sure it could. In our case, my wife and I were both in total agreement. Had we not been I can see where that would have been highly problematic.
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