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Old 03-04-2020, 03:53 PM   #41
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I think 1000-1200 sq/ft is fine, especially for just two people. Heck, we raised our daughter in 750 sq/ft for over 18 years and were quite comfortable. My wife's family raised eight kids in less than 700 sq/ft, but that's probably a little extreme.

We built our own 1456 sq/ft three bedroom, two bath, house in 2003. 2003 - Building Our Own House Now that our daughter has moved out it feels like a mansion to us.

I think the size of your proposed house is fine, but do have a few recommendations if you are planning for this to be your forever home. Most important, make it one level. Climbing stairs gets difficult as you age, and if you need a walker or wheelchair you're basically shut out of the upper level. My wife's grandmother spent her final years sleeping in her living room because she couldn't get upstairs to her bedroom. Not to mention stairs and elevators are expensive and take up valuable floor space.

Make all doorways 36" wide in case you need to use a walker or wheelchair later in life. Wider doors also make it easier to move furniture in and out, and just make things feel roomier.

Try to design a roll-in curbless shower in your bathroom. Install grab bars, or at least ensure blocking is installed behind the walls so you can install grab bars when you need them.

Try to minimize hallways. They waste space, and can be difficult to navigate with walkers/wheelchairs if too narrow. They can also make it difficult to haul furniture in and out of rooms. When I designed our house I made sure every room had a straight shot from the front door for bringing in furniture. I've hauled enough furniture up stairways and through narrow hallways to know I never want to do that again.

Remember, smaller spaces cost less to build, less to heat and cool, have lower taxes, cost less to maintain, and are easier to keep clean.
In addition to 36 inch wide doors use sliding or pocket doors to the bathroom/s In addition you might check your bathroom arrangement to see that it is easy to get to the toilet, i.e. not in a tight corner, as well as a very low threshold shower. This does of course call for more bathroom square footage. For bathroom layout you might visit web sites for assisted and independent living and look at their bathroom layout. (Typicaly a 48' space between the shower and the sink/toilet with at least a 18 inches on each side of the toilet. Also look at grab bars (could also double as towel rackls)
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:55 PM   #42
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We have a one level just shy of 2000sf. We most definitely could live in a smaller home but I really do like the extra space thou.

I have a small 200sf cabin at the ranch and would be totally content to live there if not married. It is cozy, convenient and low maintence and love the small area when I'm there.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:00 PM   #43
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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.
Yes, this is the current floorplan (updated). The 2nd bedroom is going to start off as a board/card game room, open on one side to the living room but with an easy addition of the wall to be turned into a 12 x 14 foot bedroom.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:05 PM   #44
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If I was going to build a house that small I would not consider making it two stories...
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:18 PM   #45
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If I was going to build a house that small I would not consider making it two stories...
It is the second empire look. Has a tower too. If I was going to build a single story rambler, I would just look around and buy something.

It is a bit like this:
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:13 PM   #46
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If I was going to build a house that small I would not consider making it two stories...
Me too. BTW we are rebuilding 2200 sqft single story ranch house from studs up. Re-framing for minor changes done, water plumbing done, electrical in progress.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:52 PM   #47
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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.
I've often thought that if I was building for myself with no consideration to resale I'd build a one bedroom 1/1 bath house with a large kitchen and a sun room and a utility room. That's it. No dining room, no foyer, no living room, no extra bedrooms. And a 3-car garage, of course.

But that would be a tear down after I died, no way to resell it. So in your case I'd do at least a 2/2. But we both like to cook, and a tiny kitchen is a PITA.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:04 PM   #48
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In addition to 36 inch wide doors use sliding or pocket doors to the bathroom/s
I know they are trendy now, but I have never been a fan of barn doors or pocket doors. For one they don't really close tightly around the opening, so smells come out and I can't help but fear eyes peering in.

From a practical standpoint, a barn door means you can't put anything on that wall (photos, bookshelves, etc.). Pocket doors don't allow space for utilities (plumbing, electrical, heaters, speakers, etc.) that are normally built inside the wall. You can certainly work around these issues, but it limits your options.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:08 PM   #49
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No garage = no good for resale
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:19 PM   #50
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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.
The floor plan makes a big difference in how space is used. Our home is only 1456 sq/ft. Our master bedroom is 12'x16' with a 10'x10' master bath and 5'x10' walk-in closet. The other two bedrooms are 12'x14' each with a large 6'x8' guest bath. Except for a 6'x8' central hall room, we have no hallways in our house.

My sister-in-law and her husband are preparing to build a large 3000+ sq/ft house. The first thing I noticed was how small the rooms were for such a big house. Most of it is eaten up with hallways, nooks, or other areas that are essentially unusable.

We've toured many large "street of dreams" type homes with similar layouts. Huge homes with very tiny rooms, lots of hallways, and wasteful layouts.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:19 PM   #51
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My first house was a cute 1930's Sears home in suburban Chicago: 900 sq ft, two-story, two bedrooms + a nook, one small bathroom, galley kitchen, full basement. Fine for one person, probably crowded for two. The previous owner and his wife raised two kids there - don't know how.

When I moved from a 2200 sq ft condo to a 1700 sq ft ranch, the only thing I missed was storage space (no basement in either place). Even passionate minimalists acquire a certain amount of cr*p, and this stuff needs to be stored somewhere. Something to consider!
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:23 PM   #52
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I don't like judging a home by its square footage. Poor design and wasted space can be so misleading. Superior design and creative use of space can seem almost magical.

Figure out the dimensions that you prefer for each room that you plan to have. Be sure to include more storage space than you think you'll ever need.

Remember, if you're building it yourself the labor for 20% larger rooms & slightly higher ceilings is nil. Small and simple doesn't have to feel cramped.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:15 PM   #53
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I would love to design and build a smaller house. I think it could be done easier because of storage design, wall hanging TVs, and no need for entertainment centers. Would still be nice to have the 3 car garage though, built high for a room above for storage.

So here's my fledging design: (BTW, the internal walls would be sliding to open the rooms when needed--https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/18yy8VY-pfryFVpBLCDDAv4ink98JKKQV0Iei5NL6y0w/edit?usp=sharing

My first house was 375 Sq', and I really maximized that property. Window air provided all the AC I needed. Still had a king-size bed, large TV. Drawers under the bed were designed to go all the way under the bed, providing lots of storage. It also had a Convection, microwave oven.

One thing I've never figured out--Why do houses have living-rooms? Seems an oxymoron. For the most part, unused.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:19 PM   #54
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I mentioned that we're quite happy in a 1000 sq ft house (me and GF, part time daughter) but we also have a full basement which has the laundry, furnace, and storage which frees up more space on the main floor.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:24 PM   #55
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We were quite content in a 1200 square foot flat in Great Britain. It was extremely well designed, with 3 bedrooms and an unfurnished storage area that was shared with another flat. Storage space is critical. The previous occupants had three kids (two shared a bedroom) and said it was their favorite place to live!
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:14 PM   #56
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First house with DH was only 1400 sq ft, but a wonderful layout. I'd gladly live there again. We had one baby at the time, but it might feel a bit tight now with our 2 teenagers. It would be fine again in a few years though.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:21 PM   #57
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I know they are trendy now, but I have never been a fan of barn doors or pocket doors. For one they don't really close tightly around the opening, so smells come out and I can't help but fear eyes peering in.

From a practical standpoint, a barn door means you can't put anything on that wall (photos, bookshelves, etc.). Pocket doors don't allow space for utilities (plumbing, electrical, heaters, speakers, etc.) that are normally built inside the wall. You can certainly work around these issues, but it limits your options.
On the first part, therapy may help.

On the last part... yes, you certainly can work around them and IME it doesn't limit your options very much. We have 11 interior doors in our home... 3 are swing doors and 8 are pocket doors (and two of the swing doors are to closets). Pocket doors are incredibly space efficient. Our pocket doors are all six-panel solid wood doors.... not the cheapo luan pocket doors of my youth.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:15 PM   #58
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Personally, I would not be happy full time in anything under 2000 SF, and probably closer to 2500.

I agree with this. I like having a "cave", DW likes her "nest", by the time we add in the other rooms 2000 SF is the minimum we would be comfortable with.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:23 AM   #59
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One of my friends was just telling me that his 1,200 sq ft home was perfect size for him (one person household). I think I'd be okay with that size for 2 as well.
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:58 AM   #60
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My father was a general contractor from 1950 to 1980 or so. When he started out, most families lived in houses that were less than 1200 sq ft or so. These families saved diligently for the big "dream home".

He had many customers with size regret after the "dream home" was complete as people tend to dream with the kids in mind and not toward the inevitability of empty nest years. They really didn't need 3000 sq ft, double ovens and triple garages anymore.

I prefer the smaller homes, particularly in my waning years.
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