Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living Small

My husband and I have embarked on a 7 to 10 year plan. Soon, our children will be grown and we will be able to move on from here. I want to move closer to my parents who are getting older, so that I can help them as they age. But I do not want to live in the same household as them (been there, done that, not gonna do it again).

Hubs and I have been looking at various house plans and houses in the area (Montana) to get ideas. I am in LOVE with the Tumbleweed house plans by Jay Shafer ( I see the plans as very well thought out, and practical arrangement for two people, possibly three. I have also been reading a lot of books on living in small spaces, by writers like Sarah Susanka and others. It is fascinating to me to see how small space can be made more efficient and open just by being more creative and thoughtful. We don't necessarily need MORE space, we need to be more mindful in how space is used.

Talked with my father about our ideas. This is a man who has drawn up plans from scratch on at least three houses that I know of, remodeled two others. He has an associates degree in drafting. So, he knows how to make house plans. Also, we are CURRENTLY living in a house of less than 900 square feet with four people, four dogs, two cats, and a chinchilla. I only feel "cramped" when we have guests. Otherwise, I feel like I have adequate room in my house.

My father told me that we need to have 1,200 square feet minimum for our next house and the plans were were looking at (less than 800 square feet) were too small. Are you KIDDING ME?! There will only be two of us, possibly three (depending on boomerang adult kids). Why would we need more square footage in the future than we have currently?

In my mind, if we start from scratch building, my husband and I get the golden opportunity to build in all the wonderful ideas we glean from Sarah Susanka and others on how to capitalize on the space! To utilize every last inch of what we have with built in bookcases, built in eating areas and things such as that. Why waste space?

I have always envisioned myself as I age living in a smaller space. Either in a studio area, a small cabin with a loft, something along those lines. My "mental picture" had always been around 400 square feet. So, to me, 700 to 800 square feet is HUGE. Spacious! Practically as big as what I currently have, just with less people in it. What in the world will I do with all that space?

Sorry for my rant of the day. I just don't understand the bigger is better concept.


  1. I know where your dad is coming from with encouraging a little more square footage. I have seen my parents go through this....... after all us kids moved out they downsized thinking it was just the 2 of them, then us kids got married and started having kids and when everyone came to visit grandma and grandpa it was TOO CRAMPED! So my parents "upsized" again. I agree that living in a small space can be done well, but just remember that your 2 kids will someday have spouses and kids of their own that may come to visit often and make you want a little more square footage. :)

  2. good point! But you have to think of the space's use for 75% of the time or more, not just those small visits. I'll think about that tho.

  3. I like the way you think. Awhile back I was on a big push to add on to our house before we have kids. After listening to me whine for awhile my husband finally pointed out that his grandma raised 4 kids in our house and did just fine. That was a reality check for me. Our house is actually really big but I need to take lessons from you and learn to use it more efficiently!