(House) Size Matters


By all accounts, Americans are hungering after bigger and bigger houses, while families are getting smaller and smaller. In 2007, the average home is 4 bedrooms 2.5 baths. And, not surprisingly, even though these newer homes are more energy efficient, their environmental footprint is every bit as dramatic, if not moreso, because of the square footage now required to air condition and heat.

Over a year ago, b and I bought our first new house here in Bellingham. It’s a lovely and has (you guessed it) 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The yard is relatively low-maintenance and shady and the kids love their colorful bedrooms.

But I miss my sweet little cottage. The small spaces and one-bedroom easy cleaning Willow that I lived in with my girls. In the end, kids with their forts have it right: There is something comforting about small spaces, with low-ceilings, and white appliances. Something sweet and pure and lovely.

When you have kids, or get older, or both, creating and sustaining a home that feels safe, secure, and cozy, seems so much more important. In my 20s, I could move every 6 months just for the fun and sport of it. Now I want to create a home that feels warm when you walk in the door. Meanwhile, my longing for home is channeled into surfing for real estate all the time…

How about you? What’s home to you? Are you a secret real estate hussy like me?


17 Responses to “(House) Size Matters”

  1. May 26, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    My favorite place I have ever lived was 450 sq ft and filled with old spirits.

  2. May 26, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Having just moved from an 870 sq hovel to a bright and shiny 1200 ft home, I know me some real estate. If you plopped your house in my area of Seattle, you’d easily get over 600K. Crazy, huh?

  3. May 26, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    4 bdrm and 2 1/2 bath’s here as well. I miss my 3 bdrm./2 bath “cottage” as we speak. Well actually I miss the easy cleaning part. Too bad we couldn’t have moved the cottage to the school district we wanted.

    Also, I’m a “real estate hussy” as well. But it’s not really a secret. I was online yesterday looking in fact.

  4. May 27, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I am happy with my relatively small 1744 square foot house. It isn’t huge but with a full basement for storage there is plenty of room. Superhubby and I built it ourselves so price wise we did great.
    My favorite TV shows are house hunters and flip that house, actually anything that you can nose around in other peoples houses. A couple of people in my family have decided to move to town lately and I love going house hunting with them.

  5. May 27, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I totally think the warmth you create depends on the layout and vibe of the house, though I’d agree that cavernous spaces preclude this. I love our house, even though it’s somewhat large (but NOT a McMansion). The key, is, it isn’t cookie cutter new construction, which I loathe. And it has enough spaces and nooks and crannies to feel cozy, and have been told so many times by visitors. We also have 2 acres with gardens and space for the kids to run and play. I want to stay for a long time

  6. May 27, 2007 at 10:09 am

    I love real estate. I wish I could own a dozen different properties, reno them and flip them and start all over…

    However, that said, it is important to the hubs and I to have one home for the kids to grown up in and not move about. We moved to our property for the land and lived in a 640 square foot hovel for four years while we saved our sheckels. Eventually we got rid of the hovel and built our home. It’s cozy, only 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and just shy of 1600 sq feet…with no basement or stairs. I love every inch of it and it’s quick to clean too!

    My best friends just showed me their house plans for the house they are building…it’s a small McMansion and I shudder to think of living in it.

    To me, smaller is better.

  7. May 27, 2007 at 11:53 am

    As you know, I like the small cottage vibe…

  8. May 27, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I loathe the McMansions or “Garage-majals” as we call them. I’m a Realtor in the midwest, so I’m fortunate to get to see houses in every size, shape and price range. It helps me appreciate my 1950’s ranch with 1308 square feet, with a basement and 1/4 acre lot.

    Your house looks lovely!

  9. 9 mama featheren
    May 28, 2007 at 6:56 am

    This hits home for me, as my husband and I may be potentially moving from our current sweet little cottage to find a larger (newer?) home in Western MA (new job for him AND larger home may= having more children)fairly soon.

    However, I LOVE our little house (ceilings in bedrooms – 6 ft.)It’s 115 years old, and we’ve put our blood, sweat and tears (literally) into transforming it from hovel into home. My 1950’s-diner style kitchen (complete with a booth!), the N.E. beach colors of the living room (and 10-min. walk to the beach!), even the roses in the backyard.

    This is the home where he proposed.

    This is the home where we conceived our bambina, and where we brought her home from the hospital.

    This is the home where my heart is.

  10. May 28, 2007 at 10:52 am

    This is only the second house I’ve lived in with my husband and it’s the one we’re staying in. We just keep adding on.

  11. May 28, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Just moved house last week and am only just getting on line today! We have the Cranky guest suite ready.

    Everyone in the UK is a real estate whore. Your property in my area would be worth around 2.4 million dollars.

  12. May 28, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    We did extend a bit [er …..addition?] but that’s it = too much too clean otherwise.

  13. May 29, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Obsessed. Absolutely obsessed with real estate! Before becoming a mom, I’d regularly hit the open houses just to see what else is out there. Love it!

    We’re in a big house now … “upgraded” from 950 square feet to about 2700 sq feet – and I miss my little home. The Husband and I have been talking about downsizing and although I know we wouldn’t fit in 950 sq ft anymore, I’d certainly love something a bit smaller without so much to clean!! We’ll see …

  14. May 29, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    I’m real estate obsessed, though generally I find it depressing. Like, shit, if we only made $100,000 more a year, we too could afford a split-level house in Chadds Ford, PA. Sometimes I just don’t get the market or how people live in it.

    That being said, we are in the process of moving to an even bigger house. 6 beds (though 2 of the beds are stretching it). Both our families live out of town, and it’s not uncommon for us to have more than one couple wanting to stay with us, so we wanted a bigger, more comfortable guest space where guests could have their own bath as well.

    It’s a 1920s house, really great for my architectural conservator husband, stone and stucco. And affordable, though we sacrifice good public schools, and will now have to figure out how to do private.

  15. May 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I dream of owning a large house… but here in Silicon Valley, a small fixer upper (the size of most midwest garages) cost a million dollars. I am serious folks. Chances are, if you live in SV, you rent or own a really small house.

    I am contantly in awe of large homes. Yes, I have house envy. I love our charming house (charming equals small), 1925 bungalow, but for what we paid, we should be living in a mansion!

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