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If I wanted to be cramped, I'd live in Manhattan or Tokyo
Old 03-04-2020, 10:30 AM   #21
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If I wanted to be cramped, I'd live in Manhattan or Tokyo

Whenever DW and I considered a home improvement project, we learned to ask the question: "How big should this be so that we'll never wish we'd made it bigger? After all, we'll probably think of new things to do with the space as we use it more."

Then we'd take that estimate, add 50%, and that would turn out to be just right.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:37 AM   #22
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I recommend reading the "The Not So Big House" books.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:39 AM   #23
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If you have houseguests, is the upstairs large enough for a bed, etc? Also, if I were a houseguest upstairs, I would appreciate a toilet on the same level as I was sleeping. Just a couple of thoughts.

My house is 1670 and I lived there with my two teenage sons before they moved out. I now have two spare bedrooms that are not used regularly. But I can close the door if I want. However when both boys come to visit, there is plenty of room for us all.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:40 AM   #24
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My wife is designing a 2nd empire style house, but very small (about 1000 square feet across two floors, not including the tower room with Mansard roof).

I am wondering if that is maybe too small.
My ex and I and our (toddler) daughter lived in a 3 bedroom 976 sf home from 1980-1984. It was big enough that we didn't even use the third bedroom except for storage.

Right now, as a single person, I'd be perfectly happy in a smaller house than that. The layout is important but with your wife designing that, I'm sure it will be just fine. My present home is 1500 sf and much of that is closet space, since it has more closets than any place I have ever lived. Even so, I don't need or use several of the rooms at all.

Bear in mind that you will need more space if you plan to entertain, have parties with dozens of people, host out of town guests, and so on. Personally I am such an introvert that I don't have to take any of those possibilities into consideration.

My suggestion is to calculate how many sf of your present home you actually USE regularly, and make the new home that big.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:35 AM   #25
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.....

Edited to add: Best closet we ever had was in a 3 bedroom apartment. IT was the coat closet nearish the front door but it was double deep. Rod hanging across the front for coats. But when you parted the coats you could step through under the rod and there was basically an additional closet worth of space. Overhead strong shelving and a couple areas left open below perfect for vacuum, carpet shampooer and wrapping paper container. When you pulled the coats together you never saw it.
We have a stairway with a landing half way up in our Oregon house; the stairway turns back on itself. We did a deep closet that has a high coat rod in front and then two tall file cabinets for our rarely accessed files behind under the upper run. Great hidden cabinet area. Under the landing is a less handy area that houses boxes of LPs, cases of paper, all the network/modem/router stuff. We can access that area from both sides - one side has a glass door with stereo gear and we can reach the wiring on the back from the other side. Not wildly handy as it is low and we pile stuff there, but not bad. Lights in both areas of course.

Down south we are in a single story 1500' 2003 house with master bedroom & bath, a smaller bedroom we use as an office, a second bath and a smaller bedroom that is mostly closed off. Good size kitchen with very handy pantry, and a dining/living area.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:42 AM   #26
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I live in a 1200 sq ft house. It's a 2/1. It's the perfect size for me and my dog. I wouldn't want another person living in the same space. It would feel too crowded. Yet that is probably my personality, more than the space itself.

75 years ago, when this house was built, 1200 was about the average size for a full family home (I think it was actually a little less than that). So times have changed, and home sizes have expanded exponentially. Expectations about the space we need have changed, too. It all depends on what you're used to, and how close you mind living to your spouse.

Personally, if I had another person living in this space, I'd feel like they were right on top of me all the time, and it would annoy me. But again, I prefer to live alone, because I like the freedom and space to myself, so part of that is just me. Since you're married, you're probably different.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:55 AM   #27
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It’s too small for a 2 story. The smallest 2 story I have lived in was 1600 sq ft. We live in a 1400 sq ft home single story and it’s perfect for 2 people. We have a one car garage and a huge shed. I have happily lived alone in 869.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:59 AM   #28
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You can live in just about anything. However, I think 1200 is a bit small. We have a 1700 sqft ranch with no basement. I'm okay with that for just me and DW. However, it's a 3br 1-1/2 bath that is not the best use of the space for us at this time in our lives. I'm okay with not having storage, but instead of the family room, I would have liked the master bedroom to be a couple feet wider and longer (I think it's about 10x12 and 12x14 would be better with a king size bed). I would also prefer two full baths. I like the tree bed rooms because that give me and DW each our own space (office).

The bottom line is that it depends on what you want from the house. If you want guest space and personal space 1200 is going to be hard to accommodate that. If you just want a place to sleep and eat, it would be plenty.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:00 PM   #29
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For resale it is a 1 bedroom with a living room. If you call upstairs a bedroom no living room which would be deal breaker for most people I think.

I echo the concern about the stairs You never know when something will happen that will make stairs difficult/ impossible. Would be content living on the first floor only? Where would hang out in daytime? If you are limited for stairs it is likely you will be spending more time at home
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:07 PM   #30
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We sold our two story 5 years ago when DW got ill. One level is great now that we are in our 70's. It's too big though (1,976 sq ft). 1,700 sq feet would be optimal in my opinion.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:17 PM   #31
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We're quite happy in a 1000 sq ft bungalow. Bear in mind that with a 2 storey you will lose 80 - 100 sq ft on each floor for stairs. But 1000 sq ft can be enough for many people if it's laid out correctly.

Rather than a breakfast nook and a pantry, my choice would be with an island with seating and a few extra feet of cabinets. If you really want a 2 story price out the cost of an elevator (seriously).
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:20 PM   #32
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I am thinking about expanding it to maybe 1600 feet and work in 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms instead of 1.25 bathrooms.

No bigger than 1800 sq ft, but sounds like for resale we should be in the 2 bedroom 2 bath area.

Normally I would not care so much about resale but you never know what life is going to throw at you.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:38 PM   #33
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We're quite happy in a 1000 sq ft bungalow. Bear in mind that with a 2 storey you will lose 80 - 100 sq ft on each floor for stairs. But 1000 sq ft can be enough for many people if it's laid out correctly.

Rather than a breakfast nook and a pantry, my choice would be with an island with seating and a few extra feet of cabinets. If you really want a 2 story price out the cost of an elevator (seriously).
Certainly true. I grew up in a 1,200 sf 2-story house with one bathroom and there were often five of us living there.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:47 PM   #34
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Yes to good view, if possible.
Our small house has a sizable raised deck off dining area that overlooks a beautiful lake. Even in winter it expands our "living space" as we cook and eat inside. When it snows, it is even more beautiful.
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:05 PM   #35
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I am thinking about expanding it to maybe 1600 feet and work in 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms instead of 1.25 bathrooms.

No bigger than 1800 sq ft, but sounds like for resale we should be in the 2 bedroom 2 bath area.

Normally I would not care so much about resale but you never know what life is going to throw at you.
Yes, definitely 2/2 at a minimum.... and for resale it is both price and time to sell... IMO a 2/2 would sell quicker that a 1 bedroom... more demand.

In Florida we have ~1,400 sf on one floor that is very comfortable for 2 and includes a guest bedroom... and our footprint is roughly 50'x28'
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:02 PM   #36
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Too small! We live in a 1200 SF house in FL, and DW keeps saying "This is perfect! This is all the house I need". My reply is sure it is, as long as we have that 4400 SF storage unit we live in up north.

Personally, I would not be happy full time in anything under 2000 SF, and probably closer to 2500. Unless, of course, I had a very large barn/shop/garage/storage building also available. I need places for my tools and workshop, as well as kayaks and bikes and things like that. Also I want an office area, although that could be a guest bedroom when someone shows up.

To each his own, obviously, but I like a little space.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:06 PM   #37
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Well remember we have a 30 acre parcel of mountain land outside of town with a 1200 sq-ft pole barn and a 1200 sq-ft concrete floor shop so this is just a place in town to live, not to store our toys or work on big projects (all electric 1966 corvette I am looking at you!)
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:14 PM   #38
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I just cannot identify with those who need so much living space. My spouse and I have lived in a 400sf studio, 600sf 1br and 1000sf house. We found the house more than comfortable. We spend most of our time in the living room, dining or kitchen area. The only time we spend in our bedroom is for sleep, it doesn't need to be big. Certainly layout matters.
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:21 PM   #39
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I just cannot identify with those who need so much living space. My spouse and I have lived in a 400sf studio, 600sf 1br and 1000sf house. We found the house more than comfortable. We spend most of our time in the living room, dining or kitchen area. The only time we spend in our bedroom is for sleep, it doesn't need to be big. Certainly layout matters.
Well, we currently live in a 580 sq-ft 1bd 1bath apartment and have been for 3 years so we are used to small spaces. Our sailboat has even less living space.

I was more concerned about building something that would take 4 years to sell because the market didn't like it at all. On the other hand, I don't want to build something too big that is hard to heat or has large property tax if we end up staying here for 20 years.
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:44 PM   #40
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Another option is to build a 1 bedroom and to lay it out so that a 2nd bedroom can be added in the future by simply building a wall or 2. You get to enjoy the extra square footage of living space now and if you want to sell in the future you have the option to turn it into a 2 bedroom house.
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