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February 3, 2012
by Erin B

For years I’ve been a fan of the small house movement.   If it were just me, I would likely have said the tiny house movement but as gorgeous as those Tumbleweed houses to go are, you can’t fit a family of five plus bunny in one.  Although, if T was better at stairs, I would be seriously lusting after a B-53.  At 874 sq ft, it isn’t that much smaller than our 1006 sq ft house, plus I’ve always said that you could easily loose about 200 sq ft out of this place and not only not notice, but also have a better functioning house for the way we live.

This last month, I mostly solved that wasting 200 sq ft problem.

I have been reading “The Not So Big House” series by Sarah Susanka, borrowed from the library, of course.  This  link goes to Amazon and you can look inside to get a feeling of what they are like.  While I think Sarah has very different ideas about how big is not so big, I like her attention to detail.  Her formula for how big is “not so big” is take the size of house you think you need, make it 1/3 smaller but spend the money you have saved on the finishing and details so that your space is better designed to function well and be beautiful.  While I agree with that wholeheartedly, it also means that some of the houses in her book are a mere 5000 sq ft instead of 6650 sq ft.  Architecture books always feature grand houses, after all.  I was thinking more in the 2000 sq ft middle class family home could easily be 1320 sq ft and function better than most of what is on the market.

I know that just because I want less than 1000 sq ft doesn’t mean that I can expect everyone else to.  I also believe that most houses have a lot of unused space in them, but that is getting better locally since there is a housing shortage.  Many new builds around here are smaller and more carefully thought out than the houses that are 20 or 30 years old.  Of course, once you get into the 50+ year old houses, the space is smaller again.  People hadn’t bought into the McMansions idea yet, but that’s a different story.

To better use the space that I have, I made the desk in the kitchen functional.  I actually spend my computer time there now instead of at the kitchen table.  I also re-arranged the furniture in the living room.  The living room is long and narrow and feels a bit like a bowling alley at times.  I moved all the furniture towards the dining room and tightened up the grouping so that it feels like a standard size room.  This left about six or seven feet of empty space between the back of the couch and the wall.  I have set that space up as a play space for Little girl.  Her pony toy and art easel are set up back there.  She can make tents off of the back of the couch and generally throw her toys around.  I don’t have to see the mess, and more importantly, step on the blocks.  A Lincoln Log under foot is a recipe for disaster.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. LAT permalink
    February 3, 2012 11:05 am

    I totally agree with making spaces more functional. I tend to want to change things around way more than L. does though, and admittedly sometimes she does stop me from implementing a truly odd change. Right now we really only use the main floor of our home. We could add on a few square feet and not need a basement at all. Really, our perfect home would be all on one level, but that’s more expensive.

  2. Erin B permalink*
    February 3, 2012 12:02 pm

    The one thing I wish had been different when our house was built is the sunken living room. It is such a pain and it blows my mind that someone paid extra for that.

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