How do you feel about the size of your house?

Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/are-mcmansions-making-everyone-unhappy/ar-AACII3K

McMansions making everyone unhappy?

So I came across this, and as the owner of a 1700 (give or take) square foot home in a neighborhood of roughly similar sized homes (though the furthest back street in the development has the largest homes - built on various sized lots, some are even smaller lots than ours is built on which kind of strikes me as weird!) - I started wondering if there are homeowners whose experience with their home purchase is the same as what the article discusses. Have you bought a house and been pleased for the first year or so, only to drive past a new residential development with *even larger* homes and become dissatisfied? Did you suddenly feel the urge to put your house on the market much sooner than you would have otherwise, all because you wanted to get into a much bigger, newer, fancier home? Do you think that this whole "Keeping up with the Jones' (or Kardashians? Lol)" thing is getting out of control? Honestly, it might be better if more people were making a conscious decision to prioritize what's necessary - a house that is big enough to contain what you need it to contain, spending what you can afford to spend without extending yourself beyond what is sensible, and if you can't figure out where those limits are at - going to an expert who can help you do that. An expert who can give you a rational explanation not an overly optimistic-without-significant-evidence-supporting-such-optimism one.

The mister and I wanted a house that would have space for children (we are licensed foster parents and adopted two kiddos officially in December 2018), ourselves, and wasn't so huge that it would mean losing most of the weekend every week keeping it maintained and clean. At a little over 1700SQFT we have 3bed/3bath, plenty of closet space, a nice open living room and kitchen on the main floor without things being *too open*, a basement, laundry room, and attached garage (critical when you live in Nebraska but don't leave for the winters). We don't *need* a bigger house! My parents' home in a neighborhood 10 minutes away is a HUGE, 3bed/3.5bath, walkout basement with two 'unfinished' rooms that are under their 3 car garage that at least one of said rooms is intended to provide protection in the event of a severe storm/tornado direct-ish hit. I can't see myself or the mister wanting to spend the amount of time involved keeping a home the size of my parents' clean. My brother and my SIL have 4 kids, 3 of them are boys - I get why they have a bigger house, and why it has a door at the top of the stairs going down into their basement level rooms (lol). The mister and I were living in a 2story loft townhouse back in SoCal with 986squft, the layout lacked a presence of walls where one would need them (needed walls enclosing the loft upstairs which was the bedroom and had the walk-in closet along with the only bathroom so any guest who needed to use the restroom had to traipse through our bedroom area) and besides the lack of privacy that meant leaving the house if you needed to spend some time away from each other, there wasn't room for even just 1-2 kids to live there.

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Chi

Ours is 2100 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. It's just me and DH for now, and sometimes it feels too small! I know that means we have too much stuff. We have the master bedroom, a guest room, and we both have offices. The 5th room belongs to one of my cats. The other 3 have the rest of the house. :)

We eventually want a couple of kids so we will probably get a bigger house. We have enough bedrooms but they are small, and I'd like to move our home gym from our formal living area into a bedroom.

We just remodeled our kitchen though so I'm not moving anytime soon!

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arthurm2015

We have a cat heaven, a backyard, a side fence with a hole in it so you can go next door and get supplies if you run out of stuff.

This is the little Greece part of Sydney. Where you must extend your house to impress other Greeks.

Seriously, the Children have grown up and left and the two spare bedrooms come in handy to store surplus junk.

Outside, the avenue is lined with evergreen trees.

Photo added via edit. My dad built this shade house just for me.


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colleenoz

I’m happy with our house, been in it 30 years. It’s 90 years old and the bedrooms are a reasonable size, though not huge. Three bedrooms, one bath and a separate toilet, office, kitchen, living room, family room and laundry. More than enough for two. I wouldn’t live in a McMansion if I won it in a raffle.

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gyr_falcon

We've lived in houses ranging from 225sq' to 2500 sq'--contrary to some opinions, I find larger homes much easier to keep clean and organized. We are currently in a house that is close to the perfect size for the needs of the people living here; quibbles are minor, such as wishing there was a laundry room rather than the machines being in the garage. There is no drooling over larger houses, although I do longingly look at larger lot sizes because gardening is a passion. Our lot is quite small, although adequate and not the smallest of the houses we considered purchasing.

But my feelings don't change in relation to other houses in my area. I think the McMansion envy article is just someone that needed to write something for an editor, and fished for an idea that sounded plausible to them.

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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I lived in a 3000 sq' home (for two people) and I found that too large. Now it's two people again in a 2140 sq' home, two large bedrooms with baths, another central bathroom, and TV room and office in addition to good-sized living room, dining room and kitchen, and it's perfect. It sits on two hilly acres in the country and it's my idea of the perfect home.

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arcy_gw

I think it is more about how you live in your space than how much space. If you are working from home, if you entertain, if you have hobbies that need their own dedicated space...we live in a 1970s ranch that has not expanded from its original footprint. With the kids gone it is more than enough room for the two of us. As it is there are many rooms that no one enters except on garbage collecting day just to be sure. I have no need for bigger or smaller. It will for sure be cozy if ever there are holidays with grandkids etc. For a few days I think we will manage!!

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Raye Smith

I agree with Falcon, I find it easier to clean a larger home than a small one since there's more space to maneuver. I occasionally host large parties and enjoy having the ability to do so. The only thing I've wished is that the PO's had done some tree planting since a wind-break is so important here.

Here's why I enjoy true classic architecture of the McMansion miss-mash: https://mcmansionhell.com/101

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cecily 7A

On a related vein, I read somewhere that 40% of middle aged Americans have no retirement savings.

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lurker111

I have a 4200 sf 1 bedroom, 3.5 bath house on 12.5 acres with a 2.5 acre pond, 3 car garage with a large bay for an rv, pool house/gym, and a work shop. Thinking about adding a couple of bedrooms.


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rob333 (zone 7a)

I have a 1400+ sq ft (I think it's another 23 sq ft) and I love it. My older sister (the one with money) called it "cute" the other day. Ugh. Other than dealing with those sorts of views, and not being able to host parties bigger than about eight people (I have five siblings, all with significant others and all with multiple children), I love it. It fits like a glove. It's easy to clean, holds just the right amount, and it makes me happy. Everyone tells me it's the perfect house for me. And they're right. After my son gets fully settled into adulthood, I'd say another 10 years, I'll downsize. For now, he gets the entire top 1/2 floor and it proves all I really need is about 800 sq ft. I'd like more yard, but that's another story. I've made mine work well enough.

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

@gyr_falcon

Whether the article was a "dunno what to write but I gotta write something" kind of thing or not, even though it wasn't like...award winning journalism...it did get me thinking about why people buy homes that exceed the space they need and also about the trend of people who over-extend themselves financially on their home purchase no matter which state they reside in. Home prices are astronomical on the coasts, but people still manage to over-extend themselves in 'flyover country' when it comes to buying a house!

@Chi

You have 4 cats, of course the house feels too small! It probably is, for them. ;)

@arthurm_2015

My mom has more empty spaces in her house than anyone else would consider acceptable; the two semi-unfinished rooms in her basement, those are empty except for the one with the window has her artificial Christmas tree stored in it. I'm still working on convincing her that we can have two different opinions about how much stuff is too much stuff, and my house will always have more stuff in it than hers will - it's how we are and it's okay to do things differently! At least now she doesn't feel an urge to 'help' me clean the house when she visits - and by 'help clean' I mean ask me whether I need this or that and if I don't then can she take it to donate/throw away for me just to make sure it actually leaves the premises. Lol

@ingrid_vc, @arcy_gw:

If it works for you then it works! Life is too short to live in a house you hate forever, but sometimes there's nothing that can be done about it - finances, suitable other houses, work location, there's various reasons why someone would end up stuck in a home for the long term. With the increasing income inequality, it seems reasonable to assume that there will be more people unable to leave a residence they would otherwise wish to move out of ASAP and into a home more ideal for their needs. Being able to afford a different house, a different house being available in the place they need it to be located...

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

@lurker - just ONE bedroom but all that other stuff and square footage?! How did this happen? Was the home built in this particular configuration or were changes made afterwards? You have a *LOT* of acreage - now that, is something I wouldn't want to have to take care of, but I understand others might, or there wouldn't be rural properties with homes sited on substantial (at least for the average home) acreage.

@rob333 - When I first bought the townhouse in SoCal, I was annoyed by how many people would remark on how *cute* it was. Made me want to remind most of them I'd actually bought it and they were renting, but then I realized how not nice that would come across and wisely held my tongue. ;) When it was just me there was sufficient space, but after the mister and I discussed how silly it was for him to continue his lease when he was NEVER at his apartment because he had started almost exclusively staying over at my house by that point, he let his lease lapse and moved in. In retrospect, I might have suggested finding a bigger place together a t that point, but it could have ultimately complicated our ability to move across country in 2017 so it is what it is and we did what we did when we did it. :P

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HamiltonGardener

I can’t believe someone did research that basically concluded that “keeping up with the Joneses” is a “thing”. Postdoctoral fellow. Excuse my sarcasm.


Jenn, to answer your question, We are happy with our relatively small house. Relative to income, you might guess that we make about a quarter of the income we actually do. I see the people in our income bracket “trading up” all the time. Get a raise? Look for a bigger house. more modern. New renovation.


We live in what is known in Ontario as a Victory home, built just after WWII. See the link. http://www.ontarioarchitecture.com/Victory.htm


We wonder sometimes why people would stay in perpetual debt in order to finance bigger and bigger homes but... keep in mind that everyone has something different that makes them happy.

I want a small house with big yard to garden in.

Other people like a big house with small yard entirely of lawn.

Modern subdivisions do not have a large enough yard for my tastes. Unless the Jonses have a big yard with a big veggie garden, I really don’t care to keep up with them.

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daisychain01

We have 1800 square ft and a family of 4 (but older teens, so likely will be just DH and I soon). We find it just right. Occasionally, I wish for extra space and then we purge and realize how much junk we've collected. Once we clear out stuff we aren't actually using, we find we have lots of extra space.

Neighbour next door has same size house for one person. Her house is full to the brim with "stuff". Every bedroom has closets full and things stacked on the beds. That would drive me nuts.

ETA: When we bought 20 years ago, we were able to do so without a mortgage. Being debt-free is important to us, but I realize things are different now and it would be almost impossible if we were just starting out.

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aviastar 7A Virginia

We’re two adults, two toddlers, one on the way, two dogs, and a cat in 1100 sq feet. Workshop is detached on the property so that helps A LOT. We have 3 acres, 2 porches and a stone patio so we use that outdoor space often. It works for now while everyone is little, but we know an addition is the future, probably another 1000 sq feet. Don’t think the teens will want to share the loft in mom and dads room the same way the toddlers do . It is a challenge to keep it ‘company ready’ because there is so little space to put things away, even though we’re pretty ruthless about managing stuff. It’s a very old house so things like recycling bins and coat closets have to be rigged in. But no, I don’t look at huge houses with envy, kids can share rooms, our electric bills are super reasonable, we spread out outdoors when it’s nice.

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lurker111

The house was built in 2001 and designed by my neighbor. Yes, it was built with only 1 bedroom. A very big bedroom. :)

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loonlakelaborcamp

My hubby and I live in a 988 sq ft home with a double garage. 2 BR 1 Bath. It fits us. Former owners lived in it 40+ years, raised 4 children in it and ran a daycare. This is a good sized home in most of the world, too small for most in USA.

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Debby

I live in a 1959 built 1000 sq foot house. I do not have an upstairs. I do have a basement that is 50% developed. In total, my house is 2000 sq feet. I raised 3 kids in this four bedroom, 2 bathroom house. Would I like a larger house? Yes. BUT: larger homes means more cleaning and I hate cleaning. And larger homes mean tinier yards and I have a very large yard. It's just my husband and I now and I don't need the extra footage inside my house. I've actually thought about selling my house and buying a tiny house (1/2 the square footage, no basement). The amount of junk I could get rid of and live a minimal life would be wonderful.

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

Right now the two kiddos are on one set of bunk beds in their bedroom, but there's another set of bunks unoccupied because we don't have any foster placements right now. That will probably be the case until right before the next school year begins, since the DCF department that administers the foster care program has determined that when an adoption (or two at one time, since the kiddos are biological sisters) takes place, it's a good idea to give the family time to adjust to their new arrangements.

Most of the utilities are reasonable, but our water bill goes up quite a bit once the landscape maintenance crew turns on the irrigation for the season and we have one of the larger lots so there are many sprinkler 'zones' that connect to our water service. There is also a 'baseline fee' for both gas and electric, so no matter how much is used, that's added on top of the base fee just to have the connection hooked up. Very different from the way it was set up in SoCal, and our townhouse water usage wasn't something we were billed for as an individual household - it was located in a HOA gated community so the association dealt with that expense, I'm sure that a portion of everyone's association dues went towards paying the water bill. So I could take showers that lasted more than an hour, do laundry, run the dishwasher, and not worry about how much the bill was going to be. :P Given the amount paid in monthly association dues, how much water we were using didn't concern me at the time. Lol - oh how things have changed now that we pay that bill! ;)

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eld6161

I would have liked something a bit bigger and configured in a different way. That said, when we bought this house 25 years ago, I thought, this would still be fine for just the two of us. We raised our two DD's and now it is just us.

We renovated the basement which was a huge plus. All sleepovers, GS meetings etc could be done down there.

Each DD had their own room. A lower level room was already divided into two rooms so one became an office for DH.

I think it is not so much how large, but the space itself. Kids don't need a 500 square foot bedroom. But, it is nice for them to have their OWN bedroom and space.

We are lucky to have 1/3 of an acre with a wooded area behind us. House's worth triple ours in this neighborhood have no yards and back up into other houses.

Homes in my neighborhood and town are becoming larger. It is rare to see a house bought and moved into with just inside reno. Most are torn down and tripled in size. It is true that some might have "extra" children. (more than 2)

I am not sure about the Jone's thing. I imagine some have the need to entertain in a grand style and therefor need a grander house.

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OklaMoni

I am divorced, and on my second house on my own. Sold the first one, to chase a dream that didn't work out.

My second house (hopefully my forever house) is in a much much better area, as I can walk to a grocery store, restaurants, drugstore, even home depot! I can ride a mile and be on a bike path that goes around a lake as well.

The house has 1100 square feet. 3 bedrooms, kitchen with washing machine in it, dinning corner/end in the living room, 1 bathroom. It is all on one level.

It fits me. I still liked the other house better, but the location is sooooo much better, and with a lot of paint and sweat, and work it looks better and is feeling like home now.

For a while I had a room mate, which worked out surprisingly good, and at present one of my daughters lives with me.

But I am looking forward to live here solo again.

My house is paid for. My improvements are paid for. My yard/garden still needs a lot of work, but that keeps me busy, and out of trouble.

In all honesty, I don't care what others think about if my house is cute or what ever, it is paid for, and works for me. I do NOT lust after anything bigger.

Moni

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jama7

With more reasonably sized homes, I don't think it's the SF ao much as it is the layout and utilization of the space. I've seen 1400sf homes that are more suited to a family than a 2200sf one. There are some horrible architects out there which is confirmed when I see these "plans" people want help with on the forums here!

It's not the larger spaces nowadays I'd find to be too much as far as cleaning/maintaining but the cost of heating and A/C in colder climes. Even with multiple zones if you've got kids, you have to be looking at some pretty obscene bills since you really can't shut down zones very much. I shudder when I open ours and there's just 2 of us in a 3 bed/2.5 bath, 1800 sf, no garage, no finished basement antique home and we run a VERY energy efficient home.

I've lived in 4500 sf and 900sf happily. The larger homes had rooms that weren't used much but they were great for visits...and stuff....lol. We didn't buy for their size but for their wonderful locations and remodel potential...they were dumps in other words!

As someone mentioned,....I didn't mind downsizing but did we have to downsize my garden area so much?? :(

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

We also own our house outright, but this probably wouldn't be the case if not for the worth of our previous home in SoCal and the amount it was sold for.

Location is definitely important, but what makes for the ideal location will vary!

Right now the third bedroom off of the open den area in our basement is serving as my home office and craft area, but it may end up becoming the bedroom of one of our girls at some time, right now they *want* (I know, it sounded weird to me but they've said they prefer this room arrangement) to share the one on the main floor and it's next to the full bath with the tub+shower.

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Lucille

I worked with a teacher who had a small house and raised several children with her husband. She wanted a big home but both of them had only modest incomes. After the children were grown and gone, and she was in her 60s, she and her husband had a large two story house built. I'm happy for her, because she wanted a big house and got it. It just goes to show that people can be friends and yet have completely different ideas of what a perfect environment is.

Right now my 700sf apartment is perfect for me. Enough space for my needs and no maintenance to worry about. I miss my outdoor gardens, but I don't miss the weeding and trimming that was beginning to be a chore, and I have quite few houseplants to help fulfill my plant nurturing desires.

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jerzeegirl

Ours is 1650 SF (not counting the lanai and spa area) and I admit I could use a bit more space. I work from home and have commandeered part of one bedroom; my DH is an artist who is using the office/third bedrooms as his studio. Would love to build a small separate studio in the back yard but HOA rules do not permit that. So yes I sometimes envy larger homes but NEVER McMansions (which to me are symbols of excess). And I agree with whoever said it's easier to clean larger homes - with smaller homes you keep bumping into the clutter. When an animal sheds in a small home, the fur absolutely everywhere!

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HamiltonGardener

People always compare to what is the norm around them. If you live in a city where 1500 sq ft is normal and you have 1500 sq ft, you are happy. If you live in a city where 3500 sq ft is the norm, that 1500 sq ft house feels like poverty.

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floodwaters

we recently downsized to 2 acres and a home with 1800 sq ft. A nice stocked pond, a new chicken house and a log cabin as well as a 24 foot camper traier set up permanently in the back. We enjoy a 50 foot deck with a spa. Weve spent a lot of time landscaping and re doing a few things. Its like living in a park wild life abounds, the eagle is cool but a concern to my waterfowl. We loved the old place, built in 1835. Newer home are nice but just don't have the character of a old post&beam plank built home. I don't care about comparing. Every place along here is well kept. happy Valley is what the area is known as, and its appropriate.

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Bunny

1300 sq ft. My cats think it's unfair that when I have visitors they get bumped from their own room, so they howl at the door during the night. So, they'd prefer a larger house with their own wing. For me, this house is a good size.

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Current Resident

I think part of this story should be how god-awful poorly designed so many of these Mcmansions are. Is it the size per se or the fact that your space has all the intimacy and charm of an over sized hotel lobby. I don't know if its feng shui exactly... but I do think people respond to visual and spatial perceptions ... whether they are conscious of it or not. Some houses you walk into feel immediately sheltered and safe - others not so much.

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Current Resident

My best space ever was a 300 sf studio with kitchen, bath, living/sleeping area & small storage area in the basement - up on 3rd floor with great views of rooftops and treetops. Nice big windows and light. The small size meant that I had to really pare down, I could only bring in new things by phasing out other things I didn t like so much. At the time I thought having a small space was a problem but now I look back on that as a happy and comfortable place to live in. I remember having a meeting of a group I was in in the living room and amazingly about 10 people squeezed in there along with my two cats who loved all the laps.... and it was just fine

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Kathy

I have lived in a 700 sq ft house when we were younger and had 3 kiddos, all of us sharing one bath. Yes, it can be done. Now 3 baths later we have no kiddos at home and rooms are going to waste and store more junk than I need. If We could get rid of the junk collected because we have the room, we could move to a more efficient home with no stairs for our old age.

I find there is a need for more efficient style homes for seniors with more luxury appointments. At our age we have become accustomed to more luxury and need less space.

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nicole___

We're two adults and a cat. In order of importance: Big heated garage, Big heated shop, Covered deck, dirt trails or sidewalks(no walking in the street), low utility bills, Wifi

After that....a big laundry room, a big mud room, a big shower, a nice kitchen, casual not fancy.....any size house would work.

6428 sq feet, no mortgage. I'm still working on the unfinished parts....not loving it ....yet....

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AnnKH

We bought our 2000 sq ft split entry 30 years ago. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a living room, family room, laundry room. 6 years ago I remodeled the kitchen (it was a spec house; the kitchen was terrible), but the rest of the house has suited us just fine. When the kids were teenagers a little more room might have been nice, but on those rare occasions we had company stay over, one kid gave up his room for company.

More than just the house, we love our yard (it's on the edge of a park), and our neighbors, and our location. In a part of the country where everyone drives everywhere, we are within walking distance of the library, hardware and grocery stores, movie theater, several restaurants. We will live here until we can no longer manage the stairs, or if we decide to live in a different part of the country when we retire.

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terilyn

We are in 3800 square feet and 10 acres. 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. There are three of us, 4 dogs, a cat and a guinea pig. The only thing I don’t care for is the master bedroom is upstairs and laundry room is downstairs. I love our outdoor area, pool, fantastic gazebo and a stocked pond. We have a lot of woods so also a lot of wildlife.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Remodeled and went from 850 to 1700 sf. We could have had less sf and still been more than fine, but the advice was to go larger for a better return on investment. I do wish the lot 3600 sf lot was larger for more gardens, but that’s because this area planned for vacation bungalows — Venice of America.

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Lars

My brother and I moved from a 900 sqft 2 bedroom, 1 bath house in Venice near the beach to a 1535 sqft 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Westchester, about seven miles from our house in Venice and about 2 miles further from the beach. The summers are slightly warmer here, but the winters are the same. We get a bit less coastal fog than we did in Venice. Both houses have attached garages that are not directly accessible from the house, but in this climate, that is not an issue. The house in Venice had the garage in the back, was carpeted, and I had my workout equipment there. I would always open the garage door when doing my exercise so that I could look at the back yard, which was very large for the neighborhood and went all the way to the next street, which is why the garage could be at the back. The house in Venice was built in 1954; the one in Westchester in 1950 with only 840 sqft, but it was significantly remodeled/added onto in the 1990s to include a large master bedroom with en suite and a dining area with additional living area that has access to the back yard. From the front, the house still looks like it did in 1950, as the garage is beside the house. Our new garage has concrete flooring, and we use it for storage mostly, and we have an additional refrigerator plus a stand-up freezer. We have four bicycles that are hung from the ceiling. We used the bikes more in Venice because we were on a bike trail (or half a block away from it) that went through Marina Del Rey, which I enjoyed, although eventually the bike paths got too crowded. Venice is an extremely popular tourist destination, with many of the tourists coming from Europe and Japan. That became tiresome after a while, not to mention the heavy beach traffic. We're on a very quiet street now and have a back yard that is approximately the same size as the yard in Venice - it's just shaped differently. The yard was much bigger before the addition was built, but it is still adequate. In both places, lot value is triple (or more) the value of the house.

I'm fine with the space we have now, but we did feel a bit cramped in Venice, although I did stay there for fifteen years. We mainly wanted to have two bathrooms and much more closet space, and Kevin now has an art studio, although he does not use it as much as he could. We did a lot more entertaining in Venice than we do here, but in both places, entertaining is done outdoors, and the weather is nice all year, except for the few days that it rains. Heating and cooling costs are minimal, and we did not have central A/C in Venice, since the summers were mostly cool and we could open windows to get cool air most of the time.

We are buying a second home in the Coachella Valley that is exactly the same size as the house in Westchester, but the lot size is significantly larger (land values are much lower there), but we get a pool and a two-car garage with direct access to the house. This house was built in 1991 in a subdivision where all the houses still look fairly similar. In Venice, the neighborhood was extremely eclectic; in Westchester many of the houses do still look somewhat similar, but some have been torn down and replaced with two-story houses, but very few. McMansions are not practical in the desert, as it would cost a fortune to cool them, but the house we are buying there has solar panels, and that will help keep energy costs down.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

We have 2300 sf. 4 beds 2 1/2 baths. 7 kids, oldest almost 16 youngest 4.

The size is perfect, bedrooms could be a bit bigger but we want to encourage gathering in family spaces and we don't want to end up with too much house when everyone moves out. More storage would always be nice but, we have barns lol.

I prefer just-big-enough houses in general and I don't ever feel tempted by large new mcmansions; any time I've been in them I'm unimpressed. I am more likely to feel tempted by a small cottage of bungalow!

Love your new handle Jenn, when I saw it on another thread I thought "I wonder if it's worth making get an offer" and then I saw this! :-D

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functionthenlook

Families needs for sq footage changes as the family changes and grows. I chuckle when I hear about older people should downsize. We are both retired and this is the largest home we owned (2470 sq ft ). We went from a family of 4 to a family of 9 and still expanding. It is just hubby and me that live in it, but the kids and granddaughters live local. Every room is used with family gatherings and the granddaughters staying over one night a week. It is nice to have a dining room that we can all sit down at the table at once and a living room where we are not stepping over each other.

What I don't agree with is that people are made to feel that every kid should have their own bedroom and bathroom and every person should have their own sink or they are living in sub standard housing.

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maifleur01

Even though it is just me now in a 1275/2500 sq ft house, yes different ways of measuring depending on what it was measured for, I would like to expand my house. I would love to have a bathroom as large as my second bedroom, 10X12 but the traditional for the time 1950 bathroom works. Thinking that within the next five years will need to move to a different living situation and have been looking at what is available. Usage is so tied to how things are arranged as somethings with much smaller sq footage have seemed much larger while others that do have more sq footage have seemed cramped. I am seeing less open concept and more ability to close off rooms or areas of dwellings as builders are starting to receive requests for things that will save energy.

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nycefarm

We built a 2400 sq foot house 3bd/3ba on family land, though it is only DH and me (+3 dogs). We really didn't need that much space, but the flow and design of the house suited us well and the site deserved a house that was more than just a shack... We only use about half of it unless we have company.

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VedaBeeps SoCal 9b/10a

Our current house is 952 sqft 2/1 built in 1914. It’s a beautiful house with wonderful details and the size is perfect, I even run a business out of it.

We’re looking around because we need more space outside of the house. We’re looking for 2-4 acres of flat usable land, no pond, no pool, no hills so we can have 2 20x40 buildings for our cars. It’s been extremely difficult to find what we’re looking for because all the houses on larger properties are bigger than we want!

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

@Miss Lindsey - the longer we've had kids in the house, the more I find myself longing for even a short amount of unscheduled--in-some-way time, to nap. Even if I don't have something officially on the schedule for a specific time slot, there's going to be one thing or another in the day that has to be done and then I have to get on with whatever's next that *is* officially scheduled. Working from home so much as I do, B.K. I could squeeze in time for a nap. Now...not so much. Lol!

The dog gets to sleep in the bed with myself and the mister, the kids end up in our bed on stormy nights which gets *really* crowded (I'm thinking about telling the mister to get an air mattress...for him...for those stormy nights ;) I'd feel badly about having the girls sleeping on one though...). The dog has always slept with me and would probably think she was being punished if she got her own room. Yeah, the dog is kind of co-dependent but she's 13 years old now and deserves to continue having the best life we can possibly give her with all the belly rubs and treats she can handle - and I'm making the most of the time I have left with her (at 13, I'm realistic about how long that time period is likely to be).

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

My neighborhood is all 1941-1950s built cottages, capes, ranches and 2 stories, 2-3 bedrooms, some with basements and some not, ranging from 850-1000 sq feet originally. Many, like mine, have had one or two rooms added -- mostly in the back, because our lots are deep more than wide.

Some residents are content with raising their children in a smaller home (they don't mind having the kids share bedrooms, or that the bedrooms are pretty small by today's standards). Others feel they need to leave their "starter home" once they have 2 children. I don't think most have McMansion envy, though, or they wouldn't have moved here in the first place.

An unfortunate, IMO, phenomenon that is starting to pop up though is some love the neighborhood and don't want to leave but want a much larger house; and instead of just using back yard space they are pushing the sides of the house out to within a foot of the lot line. I don't think that they are considering that their neighbors might not want to have another house sitting within a few feet of their own -- there are subdivisions that are built that way, ours was not and that is part of its appeal.

In another part of town, also with older and smaller (not as small as ours though) ranches, I am starting to see the tear down, split the lot and build 2 large all house- little yard- builds- that- hulk- over- the- neighbors phenomenon. I can't imagine why the city approves this.

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always1stepbehind

LOL...I must be tired this morning...I read chi's "2100" as 1200 and thought "wow, 5 bedrooms in 1200 sf"....I'm losing it!!

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

5 bedrooms in 1200sf = each bedroom is about the size of a closet. ;)

Either that, or the kitchen is on the back porch, and everyone dines standing up out on the front porch. :P

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jama7

"An unfortunate, IMO, phenomenon that is starting to pop up though is some love the neighborhood and don't want to leave but want a much larger house; and instead of just using back yard space they are pushing the sides of the house out to within a foot of the lot line."

Don't you have setback requirements? We can't go within 12' of another structure.

It is sad to see all these darling smaller capes and cottages being torn down in order to build mega $$$ condos and 2 family homes/condos (HOA fees of $600 per mo!) that tower over their neighbors. And ours is a very historic town....well, they can only limit so much I guess.

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DawnInCal

I'm good with it. Our house is about 2000 square feet. We have three bedrooms, one we sleep in, one that is hubby's office and the other is my studio which doesn't leave a room for guests. Ideally, we'd have another bedroom/bathroom for company. But, we have a house in town and guests stay there when they are visiting so it works out and I don't have guests constantly underfoot.

I do sometimes find myself lusting after other houses though. A friend of mine has a house next to a river. They often catch dinner while standing in their backyard. Every time I visit her, I think how nice it would be to live in that location and sit out on the deck watching the river go by. She also just did a $100,000 remodel - everything in her house is brand spankin' new and that also gives me something to lust over.


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chisue

Location is still paramount. I think of McMansions as massive Toll Bros. developments of four-layout 2-story houses, all with one pretentious brick elevation on the front, on farmland with the good topsoil sold off, convenient to...nothing.

Today's equivalent is 'gated communities' of cookie-cutter houses on small lots -- also 'nowhere' -- whose senior residents don't want to pay for schools, park districts, etc.

We (a couple/1 DS) lived 28 years in under 2K sq ft: 3 BRs 2.5 baths, one floor, 2-car attached gar., on .25 acre in an established suburb north of Chicago. Top schools and a 1-hour commute for DH, but on an edge of the town -- a former subdivision of the fifties -- with more development looming -- more highways, air traffic, more dense building.

After DH retired, we built a not-so-different-layout house 900 sq ft larger: 2BRs 3.5 baths, one floor (w/full height attic for a future owner to double the living space), on 1.3 acres in an established town twice as far north of the city. We wanted more quiet and privacy, and something hard to find in existing real estate: A small house with big rooms on one floor in an established neighborhood. We are on a 'country road' with larger homes on larger lots, 5 minutes from the town center. We tore down an old ranch, getting mature trees and 'instant landscaping'.

Currently you can by a lovely big home (not a McMansion) here for half what it cost a dozen years ago. Homes under 5K sq ft bring more per sq ft. People don't want to pay huge taxes or maintain unused space.

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greenshoekitty

I have 875 sq foot 2 story house . One more room would be nice. The main thing I would love is a bathroom on the first floor . This is a two bed one bath house with large old houses on each side.

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amylou321

It's just the two of us and the fur heathens in a home that is just under 2000 sq ft. 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths. Its perfect for our needs. One of the bedrooms is fully furnished but largely unused but I like having it. The other spare bedroom has my treadmill and my Christmas stuff and some stuff in storage. Just what I need. Both of us wish we had some more land and wish we were further off the road for more privacy, but the house itself I am satisfied with. We lived in our other house together for a couple years, and it didnt work at all. 1200 sq ft 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. Nope nope nope. That wouldn't even work for me alone,let alone both of us. I dont know how he lived there with a wife and kid for so long. Maybe they just were not as spoiled as me. But he loves it here too. I wouldn't want a much bigger house, but I would find it very difficult to live in anything much smaller.

As for cleaning,well, even though I don't enjoy housework,I enjoy having a house to fuss over,as i thought I would NEVER have one of my own. And I do find it easier to clean and tidy this larger home than the smaller one we lived in. More storage, more room to move around and scrub.

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biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

We are three adults (DH's daughter is living with us while she goes to college) and three cats in a 4BR, 2.5BA foursquare. Technically the house is 2,000 square feet, but we have a finished attic (an additional 1,000 square feet) and an unfinished basement (so another 1,000 square feet). It is the perfect size for us currently, although the foursquare layout means that we have more room than we need in some areas (dining room and foyer) and less than I would like in others (kitchen and baths). Still, the efficient layout and beautiful proportions make me happier than a bigger bathroom would. This won't be our forever home, as we intend to move away from NYC for retirement (if not before), but I don't anticipate moving within our area either to upsize or downsize.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

raee reminded me of the place I was renting before I moved. It was an affluent neighborhood and nice houses (I'm pretty sure I complained on here about this right before I moved out. Drove me crazy!). They added an entire 3640 sq ft house in their backyard.


Do you see the two houses on this one lot? The city describes their lots size, both of them, as 0.00 acres. Worse, I felt like anything we did in the backyard was fodder for their entertainment as B's front faced across the backyards. I hated that.

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Anglophilia

My house has 2800 sq ft. When we bought it 35 years ago, it was for my husband and myself and our then 12 yr old daughter; 14 yr old son was going to boarding school. At that time, we spent the summer elsewhere. The house worked just fine except when my son was home for vacations. He was HUGE - 6'4", very broad shoulders - a water polo player. He took up a lot of space. We would never have bought this house if he had been staying home for high school or college.


Daughter grew up and moved out. Just my husband and me. He died nearly 14 years ago, so now it's just me and 2 small dogs. And the size is just fine. I think I must have been "traumatized" by our small 2 BR apt where my parents and I lived for 6 years. Ha!


I'm an only child and I need my space. I like still having a nice sized LR and a formal DR. They are not used often, but when they are needed, I'm very glad I have them. I enjoy just walking through those rooms.


I would actually live in a larger house than this if I could afford to do so and the "right" house came on the market. Actually, the house I would love to live in is the one in which my late husband grew up. It has 4200 sq ft, not including servant's quarters over the garage and breezeway. I love that house.


Since I've lived in my present house now for 35 years, I'm clearly not someone always looking for something "bigger & better". My former DIL fell in that category. First of all, we could never afford something "bigger & better", second, I hate moving, and 3rd, it's taken me 35 years to finally get the house and garden exactly the way I envisioned it when it was purchased 35 years ago!

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gyr_falcon

Wow, rob. That is an awful case of McMansionism. At least you were renting and didn't have to try to sell the property next to that thing.

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milliecat

My house is 2700 square feet on 1/2 acre in a small town. It has ten rooms one and a half baths and four bedrooms. The house is 180 years old and is clapboard with three fireplaces two of which we never used. We also have two koi ponds which are a royal pain. Daughter thinks we ought to downsize and buy a smaller house in her town which is beside mine. We've lived here 36 years , half my life and I don't want to move. We have two steep staircases which I travel many times a day. I laugh when I go to the gym and see people on the step master. I want to invite them to my house. It's hard to find handymen to hire but husband thinks he has found one now so we'll see.

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chisue

"Appropriate" is another measure of good housing. One structure is seldom 'best' for all stages of our lives: Singles, couples, growing families, empty-nesters, independent seniors (couples or singles), and seniors no longer independent. Some measures are size, layout, conveniences, location -- and affordability! (A house isn't a bank. After indexing for inflation, our home of 28 years realized a small profit, beyond, of course, having been a nice home.)


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Kathsgrdn

I live in a 1400 sq. foot ranch on 1/4 acre in a 1980s subdivision. Three bedrooms, 2 baths. The kitchen is tiny with an eat-in dining area. I live in 3 rooms of this house, my bedroom, my bath and the kitchen. One bedroom is full of my son's belongings and the living room is now full of my daughter's. Even before she brought her things for temporary storage, I never used the living room. Would love to have a smaller home on the same size lot or bigger. I have looked at the prices of tiny homes but they cost more than my current house! I've also looked at retirement communities but they are way out of my budget and I don't think I'd be happy with no garden space. Wish I had the money to tear down this house and build a cute little cottage with an upstairs with custom half step stairs for my short legs/bad knees and landscape the yard the way I want it with a large vegetable garden, small greenhouse and back patio. Going to tear off the sunroom in the next year or two and slowly do some clearing out of the backyard. It is overgrown with trees and bushes the previous owner planted.

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OutsidePlaying

Ours is right at 3000 sq ft on 9 acres. We built it on one level with retirement in mind, and with wide doorways and hallways, so some space is taken up by unusually large empty spaces. And we have larger rooms we live in like our master bath, bedroom, great room, dining areas. Our 2 spare BRs have small walk-in closets, there is a utility room and a study where we have computers and a piano, and I can’t complain about storage space.

If I were building again today, I would tweak a few things but overall it is an easy house to maintain and entertain in. I don’t really need to clean one end of the house that often where the 2 bedrooms and guest bath are located unless we have guests. Sometimes I am envious of the newer technologies built into houses that we have had to retrofit. And I would someday like to update a few of the hard elements in the house, but they are fine and functional for now.

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sheilajoyce_gw

We bought this house over 40 years ago to raise our young family. Between the purchase date and the completion date, we had a surprise baby.

We are empty nesters now, so it is bigger than we need as a rule, but at holidays and family gatherings, our family of 5 is now 13 strong, with sometimes as many as 11 spending the nights here.

Since that is a stretch with the grands sleeping on the floor and the port a crib, I wish we had 2 more bedrooms at least.

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Lindsey_CA

We bought this house brand new (it was in the framing stage) in 1990, and we own it free and clear. Just under 2300 sq.ft. on a shade under 1/4 acre. We're on the curve of an L-shaped cul-de-sac so our lot is kite shaped (some call it pie shaped). Creek running around the rear of the property so no houses directly behind us, except on the other side of the creek (and you can't build within 60' of the creek, so those houses are a nice distance away). Upstairs we have three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Downstairs there is one bedroom and a full bathroom, laundry room, formal living room, formal dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room. Fireplaces in the family room and master bedroom. Three-car attached garage. Pool in the backyard. My husband and I and our cat are the only occupants. The downstairs bedroom is the guest room. We have the master suite upstairs, and the two secondary bedrooms upstairs are our "offices." The only thing I don't like/would change is a master suite on the ground floor now that we're getting older (I'll be 70 in August), but size-wise, the house is fine.

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nickel_kg

McMansions make me unhappy but not because I want one! The term "McMansion" to me implies a huge house on a tiny lot, the house displaying about 12 roof gables too many, with cheap materials under that fancy facade. Huge ceilings, open floorplans, a monster to heat and cool. A tasteless waste. Yuck. But that's my opinion, it doesn't have to be anyone else's.

DH and I retired and downsized to a house literally half the size of our former house. It was a good first step to getting rid of possessions we no longer needed and kept out of habit or sheer laziness. We have enough space for DH and I every day, and one tiny guest room mostly for when our daughter visits -- we rarely ever had overnight guests even at our former, larger, house. Our utility bills are so much lower with less square footage to heat and cool. Cleaning takes less time. DH and I bump hips when we're both working in the kitchen at the same time, but that's kind of fun! My only regret having less wall space for artwork.

I will say that both of our homes fit mid-range in their neighborhoods. There aren't any large houses in our current (1940's - 1960's) neighborhood and there weren't any small homes in our former (1990's - 2010's) neighborhood. So I don't know how I would feel if I lived in a house outside the norm.

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grapefruit1_ar

Our home is around 2300 sq. ft. on 2 acres. It is three bedrooms and 2 3/4 baths. We have been here for 33 years, raised our children her, and hope that we never have to move...alive. We love our home/land and have no desires for anything bigger.

We have a second home 4 1/2 hours away to be near our grandkids. It is about the same size as our main home, we surely could live there if we have to, but have no plans to.

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ldstarr

We're 2 adults living in about 1400 sq ft. 1 Bedroom, 1-1/2 Baths. It is comfortable and easy to care for. Someday we'll put up an addition to house a master bedroom/bath on the first floor. Until then, a 1 bedroom suits us just fine.

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Feathers11

What matters more to me is function. Poorly designed spaces are difficult to live in no matter the size.

Our current home is perfect for our family right now, and we did some remodeling early on to make it functional for us. Soon, I'll be downsizing, and I'm beginning to plan in my mind how I want a functional space to be.

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marilyn_c

This is the largest house I have ever lived in @ right at 2400 sq ft, but I would hardly call it living, since it is unfinished and basically we live in one room. When we bought the house and started the remodel, my husband was a tow boat pilot, and the plan was to hire everything done.


He fell on the tow boat aand broke both knees. Following surgery and rehab, he started back to work. Got a job, went for a physical and a huge kidney stone was found lodged in his kidney. Too big for lithotripsy, they had to cut into his kidney. Out of work another six months. Then he had a huge bladder stone and they had to go in and remove that. And then he got Vibriosis, the flesh eating bacteria. In hospital 3 weeks with that. And then he was diagnosed with asbestosis and pulmonary fibrosis, which just about curtailed everything.


Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey came and though the hurricane did no damage here, it went inland, turned around, and came back as a tropical storm, stalled out over us, and flooded the house and just about the whole world down here.


So never been able to recover from these set backs, we have sold the place and will be moving to east Texas. Have a small trailer on that place, and though it has been well taken care of, it is 40 years old...so we plan to build a small house or what is called a "barndominium ". I haven't had time to give it a lot of thought as to what I want. A large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, is on the list and a sunporch across the back. A separate storage area for the freezer and another separate space for laundry room. A covered car port to drive in during bad weather.

Some space in the kitchen for my dishes and collection of yellow ware bowls. And outside, a koi pond. I have kept koi for over 50 years...lost my big ones in the flood, but I have about a dozen and a half little ones.


The things I like about this house are the huge sunporch and the center hall. I like all the old architectural elements we incorporated into it. And I like the 26 acres we have here...had 50 but sold some...but it is mostly wooded and on a bayou, and not the best place for my horses.


To me, the most important thing is land. I have got to have enough that neighbors aren't right on top of me. The new place we are buying has 34 acres.


I have never been envious of people who have bigger houses and fancier things than me. A lot of people live beyond their means. We don't have any debt and seldom have had any. I have known people who live on their credit cards and can't pay their light bills. I don't hang out with a lot of people anyway. I almost no family....one daughter and sil, but no grandchildren. I raise waterlilies and hang out with my horses, cats and dogs. Those are the things that are important to me...not a big, fancy house.

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satine_gw

I have about 1300 or so square feet with two beds, two baths, living room dining room combo and small kitchen. I moved here from a five bedroom four bath home so really had to ruthlessly downsize. I live alone so in reality there is enough space but I wish I had more storage and would love a sunroom. I could add one but there are other projects which need to be done and the cost would be too much for me to handle.

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Kool Beans

Our house is 1700 sf as well. We were older before we lived in an area we could afford to buy in and this is the only house we’ve ever owned. We’re happy here, the size and floor plan are a good fit, it has tons of storage, a larger sized lot and park like setting.

When we bought, we could have easily afforded more house but we didn’t need or want it. The best part is we’re not house poor.

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aok27502

We built 3000 sf 25 years ago. Four-bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, planning for children who never happened. We have two acres of woods and very little yard. It's plenty big for the two of us, and we will be downsizing soon. We are really downsizing, to a 43 foot sailboat. We will have some sort of home on land, at least for a while... But that probably won't be much to write home about.

I have no envy of McMansions. There are some adjacent to our subdivision, the largest I believe is approximately 8500 square feet. The family has either two or three children, and I have no idea what any family could do with that much space.

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Jenn "My kingdom for a nap!" Mom

@grapefruit1_ar

Hah - you say you don't want to move from your primary home alive, I've told the mister we are dying in our current house because there's no way I will move to another in our lifetimes. I was the one who did the packing of boxes and all the other tedious but obligatory stuff in preparation for moving from our previous home - he only had to go see houses and take a ton of pictures of the ones visited, my parents helped out with the realtor-given property tours for because they already lived in Nebraska where we moved to. My mom ended up taking 'supplemental' photos because the mister was getting a little frustrated at the fact that I didn't think the ones he'd taken were sufficient nor showing all possible angles/views. :P

My mom is a prolific photo taker, and she's super detailed (like I am) about things so really I should have just asked her to take all the photos while she and my dad were doing the home tours with the mister. I'd have gone out to Nebraska myself, but I had to stay and properly wrap up things with my legal practice, not to mention pack/be on site for showings/get the place ready including letting in various professionals to clean the chimney-replace sink hardware-add more lighting fixtures-etc...We decided to go ahead on moving in May 2017, put the house on the market in June 2017, had the place sold and escrow closed at the end of July 2017. My old car was sold and the title handed to the new owner a few days into August and the mister and I stayed at a nearby hotel with the dog until our flight out of LAX on August 5th. His work vehicle was already at our new house, but once we dropped our luggage off we went over to the dealership to pick up my new car - the transaction was done primarily online so it was super easy and convenient. The mister got a job offer out here right before I did, but his was on a shorter timeline before he'd have to give his now-boss an answer about whether or not he wanted to accept the position. Renting a place here at the same time as looking for a home to buy would eat up a lot of funds we really wanted to keep in the home purchase category of the budget. I also needed to put aside enough for taxes on the townhouse in SoCal that we sold (and other taxes related to both of the property transactions).

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Martha Scott

I'm not sure how many sf our house has but the rooms are large (except for the kitchen -- LOL) but there aren't many of them which is great for the two of us. A large living room and dining room, a tiny kitchen and a small breakfast room (which we added on) two bedrooms upstairs with a sitting room off of one of the bedrooms (that extra space that everyone needs) and a nice large bath.

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sealavender

I have decided that 1400 sf is the maximum I can clean/maintain myself. Happy just under that for 2 of us.

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chisue

sealavenler -- The Dutch have a maxim that people should be able to clean their own houses. (Completely foreign to our fascination with wretched excess.)

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Elmer J Fudd

Careful, chisue. Aside from small places like Monaco and Gibralter, the Netherlands has the highest population density in Western Europe and small homes as a result. Yes, we've all seen the lovely scenery of cows grazing in dike bordered pastures and flowers growing in fields but after you subtract that, there's little room left for housing and their dwelling sizes reflect that. The Dutch also have a firmly established common man, anti privileged ethos.

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cherryfizz

I think my house is 73 years old, 1 -1/2 story, 1200 sq feet. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, full unfinished basement, unfinished upstairs (used as an attic). I grew up in this house with 6 siblings and 2 parents. I don't know how my Mom did it because I am finding the house isn't big enough for me and my stuff. I could use one more room but other than that I like my house. I have 40 foot front yard and 55 feet in the backyard. I don't think I would want a house with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms if there are only 2 people living in it and a large mortgage payment to go with it. I am happy I am mortgage free so I am happy to be in my little house.

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chisue

Elmer -- It's the ethos part that fits, apropos our discussion of McMansions. Yes, land is limited, but I view this as a pious admonition and a rebuke of ostentation.

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Elmer J Fudd

Sure, chisue but not unlike other groups with other group held beliefs, they can be hypocrites about this. As one might expect.

I've intentionally stayed out of this conversation. I personally don't like the McMansion approach because I think they tend to be unattractive and make the neighborhoods undesirable but if someone wants one, great! (Hey, you want a gable, let's put in 10. Dormer windows, sure a half dozen here and a half dozen there)

We live in a large house, larger than others have mentioned. It's not ostentatious, it's not showy and it's plain in a way. It's not to impress anyone. We raised a family of kids here and like the space we have. It's not a McMansion, not squeezed in between neighbors, nor is it out in the country on acreage. There is a middle ground.

The size of house someone lives in is a matter of choice and economic means. I don't think it's something that should be of anyone's concern. Now, if people are bragging and boastful about what they have, that's a different story. People like that do that with more than their house anyway.

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phoggie

I drew it...had it built on a beautiful little lake, and it is perfect for me!

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