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FairyChatMom
02-20-2005, 08:28 AM
As I surf, HGTV is on the TV across the room, and I happened to look up at a remodeling show where a couple increased their house to over 5000 sq ft. And I know there are houses out there that are much larger - you can see them all over. How much space does a family need? This place ended up with a living room, a family room, an office, a media room, a dining room, a breakfast room, a gigantic kitchen, a laundry room, 5 bedrooms, bunch of baths, high volume ceilings, 2-story foyer... Holy guacamole!! :eek:

Yeah, I know this isn't about need - it's about what people want. And let me say here that I'm not telling anyone how much house they're allowed to have or anything like that. And I suppose I'm looking at this from my practical point of view - a bigger house is lots more to furnish and clean and heat and maintain. I've shaken my head in wonder many times over folks who build their "dream home" after all the kids are gone, since they can finally afford the place - do they spend their golden years dusting?? Sorry, that's how my mind works.

I like the house we have - just under 1700 sq ft of living space, plus the same space in an unfinished basement workshop. The lot is a bit bigger than I would have chosen, had the house not existed - 3 acres - but it's still manageable. Really, the only change I'd want to make is to have this house on the Chesapeake Bay. And if it was reasonably possible, I'd trade some of the living room area for a slightly larger master bathroom - 5' X 8' is too cozy when 2 of us are trying to get ready for work. The way I see it, we have space to be comfortable, plus two bedrooms for guests, but it's not so large that we spend hours and hours every week maintaining it.

But the point of my thread - How much house is enough? With my imaginary powers, I grant you the house you want on the lot you want. I'm not giving you a staff to maintain the house or the grounds nor will I furnish or decorate it, so you're on your own there, but in my magical world, getting the house is a given. So, what would you have me give you and why?

Fiveyearlurker
02-20-2005, 08:32 AM
I'm the opposite of conspicuous consumption, but the one thing that I'm willing to spend money on is a house. I want a big house. Of course, I'm from Manhattan and now living in San Francisco. So 5000 square feet would be HUGE to me, but that's about what I would want. On three acres.

And that would cost me approximately the GDP of France in San Francisco. So, I shop for a two bedroom and hope for 1500 square feet.....

Metacom
02-20-2005, 09:05 AM
Yeah, I don't get the "huge house" thing either.

It's especially glaring in places where real estate prices have skyrocketed--on my last trip through Ventura County in Southern California, all the new developments were huge houses on very tiny lots with a huge price tag.

But what struck me the most about the houses were just how utterly fucking boring they were. Huge stucko boxes, with no interesting architectural details, and I doubt they were any more interesting on the inside. It's like the middle-class "bigger is better" ethos has slipped loose and run rampant.

If I was gonna spend that much money on a house, I'd much rather have a smaller place that was built in a more costly (but more interesting) manner. Heck, I just bought a house, and it's bigger then I wanted (~1800 sq ft--I'm not using two of the bedrooms at all), but if I went much smaller I would have been in some total dumps...

Chefguy
02-20-2005, 09:16 AM
I don't want to have to go hunting for my spouse in some huge, rambling, expensive to heat, difficult to maintain, impossible to keep clean monstrosity with a mortgage the size of a T-rex. Our place is about 2000 sq.ft. With both of us working, upkeep is a problem. There was an article about a guy here in town who built a 10,000 sq. ft. trophy house, which to me is just obscene consumerism.

DoctorJ
02-20-2005, 09:27 AM
I can't remember our square footage, but I want to say it's about 1100 square feet, with an unfinished basement.

As for what I really want, I would have no limits on size of the house or the lot, as long as I had the money to do what I wanted to it and to pay people to help me take care of it. Our current house is only managable because we have someone who cleans for us every other week.

We'll be moving within the next few months, and what I'm going to look for is something just a little bigger than what we have now. What I'd really like is a small farm, with a house a bit bigger than this one, and a barn that could be "finished" that could house a craft studio and workshop for CrazyCatLady and a music studio and writing haven for me. That is probably do-able, but maybe a few years away.

Lissa
02-20-2005, 09:34 AM
I grew up in a giant old house. It was built in the 1830s, and probably had close to 5000 sqaure feet. It also had twelve-foot ceilings in every room.

I feel claustrophobic in modern houses. The tiny, cramped rooms and low ceilings are uncomfortable. I feel almost like I'm living in a doll house.

When Hubby and I were house shopping, we found a happy medium. The house in which I live now is about 2500, with ten-foot ceilings, and spacious rooms. It's certainly not as roomy as my childhood home, but it's much, much more comfortable than the last house in which we lived. We lived there for three years, and I never got comfortable.

Lissla Lissar
02-20-2005, 09:34 AM
Not very big, unless we have lots and lots of kids, which I don't think will happen. My parents' house was smallish, and I liked it. I also hate running around dusting everything.

Three bedrooms, a catch-all workshop basement space, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living-dining area? We really don't need or want lots of space. Of course, what I just described is three times the size of our apartment, and we're doing fine here, although it gets crowded when we have houseguests.

GingerOfTheNorth
02-20-2005, 09:36 AM
I can't say for sure what we have now, I think it's about 1200 feet of living space, with an unfinished basement. It's not enough. We currently have the baby's room and office combined - that's not gonna work for much longer. We have set up a guest bedroom in the basement, but even with the nice rug and cozy bed, it's still just brick and concrete. I'd say a four bedroom would suit us best, two bathrooms, and a decent sized kitchen. We currently have a galley with about three feet of clearance between the cabinets.

In lieu of four bedrooms, a basement which we could finish into a work space. Dave works from home and absolutely needs an office.

dangermom
02-20-2005, 09:37 AM
I would ideally like just a little tiny bit more room than we have now. We have 1950 sq. ft. and it's a lovely 3 bedroom house which I'm quite happy with, but I would be thrilled to have a little basement space--a half-basement would be fine, but I don't know much about how those work--and a little more room for guests and workspace. But 2300 would be about my maximum; I wouldn't want to buy a house bigger than that. I don't want to spend all my time cleaning.

I understand that 3000 is about the dividing line for having to hire cleaning help; once you get that big, you just can't manage it on your own.

For land, I would very much like to have a larger lot. We live on 1/5 of an acre, and it's nice, but I'd like to have more space and garden to work in, because I like to do that.

The Mermaid
02-20-2005, 09:43 AM
What I'd really like is a small farm, with a house a bit bigger than this one, and a barn that could be "finished" that could house a craft studio and workshop for CrazyCatLady and a music studio and writing haven for me. That is probably do-able, but maybe a few years away.

Oh boy have I got a deal for you!

Our house is 2100 square feet, 4 bedroom, 2 &1/2 baths, situated on 10 acres complete with two barns. A golf course borders our back acres.

Just my husband and I live here now. It is overwhelming and after much deliberation we have decided to put it on the market and look for something a little smaller with less acreage to care for.

We are looking for a 2-3 bedroom, 1,500 sq feet or less place on maybe 2-3 acres.
A brick ranch is preferable but we would consider an older place with character in the same general area.

FairyChatMom
02-20-2005, 09:46 AM
Trophy houses - that's an appropriate term. I have to wonder exactly how much of those mega-houses people actually use on a regular basis. How many home gyms see workouts beyond the first few weeks? For that matter, how many dining rooms are used other than on Thanksgiving, if then? (In our last house, we used the dining room maybe 6 times in 4 years.) I suppose just having a media room is its own reward, huh?

MissGypsy
02-20-2005, 09:55 AM
I understand that 3000 is about the dividing line for having to hire cleaning help; once you get that big, you just can't manage it on your own.

A former boss of mine had a truly stunning house, probably 7000-8000 sq. ft. She also had a full-time housekeeper, because as she told me, ďDonít buy the yacht if you canít afford the gas for it.Ē With her career, there was no way she could have kept up with just the east wing of that house, let alone the whole thing.

Thatís when I figured out I donít have the energy, time, nor the inclination to clean more than about 2000 sq. ft. of house. Ideally, Iíd like a cozy little 800 ft. cottage that I could clean in two hours or so, but we need room for four kids.

mike1dog
02-20-2005, 09:55 AM
These houses are kind of silly to me. They just seem to be a regular house blown up to monstrous proportions. I sometimes wish these people would build a house with an interesting design that may cost more to build rather than those huge houses.

Foible
02-20-2005, 10:07 AM
Our house is under a thousand square feet and it's just fine for two people. My wife wouldn't mind a bigger house but I know our habits so I'm not anxious to trade up. We fill our extra space with clutter so if we had a bigger house we'd just have more clutter. We would not magically become more organized, we'd have more junk filling the extra space.

Bottle of Smoke
02-20-2005, 10:38 AM
I'd like about double the space we have now. We are in a 1,200 square foot ranch, which was fine when we bought it becuase we had a two year old and a baby.

Now we have three kids (ages 5 to 10) that like to run amok, so 1,200 square feet for a family of five is feeling a bit tight.

I figure a four bedroom house with about 2,400 square feet would be great.

Mr. Blue Sky
02-20-2005, 11:19 AM
I'm in an 1800 sq ft ranch (3 br, 2 bath) and there's four of us.

Plenty of space, although I'd love to have one room as a home theater.

aruvqan
02-20-2005, 11:46 AM
Well, I know what mrAru and I would like -

Master Suite - we like to spend quality snuggle social time, we dont just sleep and bonk in bed....we do morning coffee and watch tv together [we like starting the day off with news and weather] and we like our quality snuggle time and coffee just before bed, usually a movie. We want a bedroom that has a kingsized bed, and at least 5 feet of space on the 3 sides other than the head, we need space for the entertainment center at the foot at the bed. We each need a closet/dressingroom/private toilet [watercloset and sink] with a shared bath [shower, hot tub, vanity sink with mirror, and a double medicine cabinet so we can each have our own side. But only 1 sink, we dont need 2] Somewhere there we need room for a small cube fridge and coffeemaker for our morning and evening coffee=)

Live in kitchen / great room - we love to socialize and a serious portion is cooking and eating, so we would have the typical greatroom that has a U shaped kitchen with large country dining table/extra workspace centered in it [instead of a useless island] and a fireplace, with a tv/dvd jukebox and a comfy sitting area. We dont really need a 'formal' dining room, we are very casual=)

small formal sitting room - more of a place to show off some good art we happen to have where we can control the environment better than in the greatroom=) and it is nice to have a small sitting room for 'formal' visitors like police asking about stuff in the area [we recently had the police in to visit asking about some funky part of a boat that the neighbor had stolen, we didnt see anything that night, but the chickens were a bit upset and loud so we think someone was creeping backyards in the area looking for stuff to steal. Hope htey enjoyed wiping chicken crap off their shoes=)] or random visits from people trying to get us to donate money or whatever=)

Guest bedroom - we are somewhat social, and do like to have space for a houseguest or 2, maybe 2 bedrooms, one with a queen and one with a twinset.

Library - mrAru and I are book addicts, we have around 5000 books living in boxes in our barn for lack of space. I would love to be able to have them all out at one time instead of rotating through them by hte boxload [put a box of them on the shelves, and when we are totally bored with reading that 500, boxing them up and dragging out a couple more boxes and putting them on the shelves.]

Computer room would be mixed in with the library, we both play World of Warcraft, though right now we only have one computer it will play on, we actually have 3 computers for the 2 of us [one is my laptop that the cat pissed on and screwed up the screen, I use a spare monitor with it and do my email, web surfing stuff on it=)]though all roms would have networking enabled=) laptops are great in the kitchen for looking up recipes=)

hobby space - I sew, rob does all sorts of crafts but we can make do with basement/garage space as I can drag out a sewing machine or quilting frame and set it up in the sitting area when I would need to use it=)

So we would like something in the range of 1800 - 2100 square feet for the 2 of us.

Elza B
02-20-2005, 12:05 PM
We're almost about to close on our first house, which is 1440 sq feet, plus about half of that in an unfinished basement. We have no kids, just us and two cats, but I'm kind of worried about it being too small soon - not because we NEED a bigger house, but because I really want my piano in our house, and we need to find a place for it. We have a family room and den on the first floor, but the den is more like an extra bedroom which we plan on making into an office/sewing room. Until we start our family, we can probably use the second bedroom for this.

We'd originally had a contract on a house that was 2200 sq feet, not including an unfinished basement, a two car garage and a sun room. We're actually glad it fell through for now because I think it would have been overwhelming for us. We have a hard time keeping our two bedroom apartment neat, much less a house that large.

I have to admit a small hatred of the new McMansions that go up. There's no uniqueness to them around here - they all look the same, and inside, they are NOT what one would expect from a house that large. We love our house - it's 80 years old and what we lack in size, we make up for in uniqueness.

E.

StGermain
02-20-2005, 12:46 PM
I was raised in an 1880's home built by someone who'd made a killing in the fine timber industry in Michigan. I don't know how many square ft, but on the first floor there was a livingroom, parlor, dinigroom and huge kitchen with another 120 sq ft as eating area. There were stained and leaded glass windows in several of the rooms, and bookcases with leaded glass fronts beside the fireplace in the livingroom. There was a foyer and a wrap-around porch. On the second floor were 4 bedrooms, (with two having bay windows) and a bathroom. Main staircase and servants stairway. On the third story was the old nursery and the maid's room, along with a lot of attic space. We didn't have a maid, but my oldest sister loved that room, because it was like being in a treehouse. There was a full basement with laundry facilities, a large workshop for my father and an antique shop my mother ran. Out back was a two-story carriage house that was probably at least 1800 sq ft. The house and grounds sat on 1/2 a city block, so there was always room for a kick-ball game. As a child, I appreciated having enough room that we weren't in my parents' hair. Although it was large and there a lot of antiques to dust, there were five kids to help out, so it never seemed like too much work. Truth be told, the house was the best part of living in that small Michigan town.

StG

Left Hand of Dorkness
02-20-2005, 12:57 PM
Our house is about 2000 sq. feet. It feels too big for me, since there are just two of us living here, but I imagine when young'uns come along, it will quickly seem smaller. My ideal house would be an old bungalow with a front porch, between 1200 and 1500 sq. feet.

burundi
02-20-2005, 12:59 PM
That's me in the above post, not LHoD. He thinks our house now is the perfect size, but I like things a bit cozier.

Magiver
02-20-2005, 12:59 PM
I plan on getting a larger house but I'm not sure how many sq ft I would need. My fantasy house (which I will never see) would have:

- (2) 12x15 bedrooms
- (1) 20 x 20 master bedroom
- (1) 20 x 20 library/office
- (1) 15 x 20 kitchen + separate pantry
- (1) 25 x 35 great room for entertainment
- (3) full baths
- partially finished basement for excerise room
- 3 car attached garage
- 2 car detached garage

I could combine the library/office and entertainment room into 1 large room

That's probably over 3000 sq ft.

meanoldman
02-20-2005, 01:26 PM
Well, we have about 2100 sq ft. Which on some days is too much, other days too little. Got a 16 y.o. kid who thinks he's in a band. When the kids practice in the basement... the house is too small. When I want to REALLY crank up the tunes (500-watt with surround, 300 watt sub-woofer.... and it isn't loud enough) then it is also too small. When the mother-in-law who lives with us due to health reasons wanders off and we don't know where she went or what she's "helping" with..... house is too big.

Starting to generally think the idea of the "American Dream" of home ownership is a crock. Add up the cost of property taxes, insurance, upkeep, and etc..... even _if_ the house were already paid for, that's a big chunk o' change tied up into something that I can't easily sell. Once the Mrs. and I become empty-nesters, I'm going to see about seeling this place and renting a small place with really thick, soundproof walls.

I also agree with Foible.... for us, a larger house would just be filled with more clutter.

Qadgop the Mercotan
02-20-2005, 01:51 PM
Ours is about 6000 square feet, with a library, formal dining room, extended kitchen, living room, master bedroom suite, two smaller bed/bath suites, guest suite with auxiliary living room and kitchen, west wing with bunkroom and rec room oriented towards serving the beach/lake activities (we live on Lake Michigan), another rec room with home theater, downstairs family room, work room, storage room, and a total of 7 bathrooms and two fireplaces.

It's on 70 acres, and I inherited it. I'd never have built or bought a house this size, but I love it. It's on the site where I grew up, and it's home! It's big and rambling and you can see either the water or the woods/fields from most windows. Sometimes we have trouble locating each other in it, which is especially noisome when there's a phone call for someone and it takes 5 minutes to find them, or walk over to where they are.

The taxes are horrible, and I'm grateful I have a job that pays enough to be able to live here. Someday we may decide to give it up, and then we'll downsize, but for now, we're living large! :D :D

Kilvert's Pagan
02-20-2005, 01:57 PM
Not to be perverse, but what if this thread was entitled How big a 401(k) is big enough?

My point being, of course, that some home purchase decisions aren't only driven by need or "trophy-ness". :) My house isn't huge by any means, but it's sure been a better investment than anything I had in the stock market.

FairyChatMom
02-20-2005, 02:10 PM
Kilvery's Pagan, there are lots of variants one could discuss, but I'm just interesting in how much of a house people think they want/need and why. I don't care whether the house is off the grid or built completely of recycled materials or constructed of all-virgin materials by unpaid itinerant laborers. Getting into investment values is a thread in its own right. I don't mean to be snarky - I just hope this doesn't get hijacked too far afield.

sj2
02-20-2005, 02:24 PM
I think we watched the same show this morning--the brick house in the Chicago suburbs? That WAS a bit much.

Anyway, 5000 sf would be too much for me...but I do live in a 4 bd, 2 1/2 bath 2000 sf house and it's just the 2 of us and the pets. Believe me, you do stretch out. The small nursey room next to our bedroom is now the king of walk in closets, the guest room doubles as a second office/storage, the 4th bedroom currently houses el hubbo's drumset and the futon I refuse to throw away.

Really though, we only use about 1/2 the house. The front room is for entertainment and the dining room is hardly used. More than DOUBLE the house--no way. Who needs 3 livingrooms, a study and a library? Maybe if you have a HUGE family, but the rest is overkill. Too much keeping up with the Jones's, I think.

What I'd love...

A bigger kitchen. We have the standard galley style and it gets a bit cramped since everyone loves to hang out in the kitchen. We have a large section that is useless since there is a door and window and laundry area.

A workshop...I haven't parked in my garage in years since we are always building or remodeling something in there.

A BASEMENT! Man, I would love to have one of those for laundry (currently in the kitchen) and storage and the drumset!

Mr. Blue Sky
02-20-2005, 02:26 PM
... but for now, we're living large! :D :D

:eek:
Qadgop the Mercotan is really Enzyte Bob?

Kilvert's Pagan
02-20-2005, 02:40 PM
Kilvery's Pagan, there are lots of variants one could discuss, but I'm just interesting in how much of a house people think they want/need and why. I don't care whether the house is off the grid or built completely of recycled materials or constructed of all-virgin materials by unpaid itinerant laborers. Getting into investment values is a thread in its own right. I don't mean to be snarky - I just hope this doesn't get hijacked too far afield.My apologies - you are correct, of course.

pasunejen
02-20-2005, 03:09 PM
You have too much house when it's possible to be sitting in the basement, want something that's in your bedroom, and decide that it's just not worth the travel time to go get it. Or if you feel like a marble rattling around in a refrigerator box when you're there alone.

I speak from personal experience. My parents' house is nice, but nuts in some ways. Especially now that their last kid's getting ready to leave the nest.

Assuming ample financial resources: Big enough means that everybody in the house has their own comfortable space--somewhere to play, hang out, do work, etc. It should be possible for everybody to be in a comfortable living space without having somebody else in the room (maybe this is just my introversion talking). And there should be one or two places for comfortable gatherings, whether it's family, friends, or an office party. No room should be either claustrophobic or ridiculously huge.

Rooms I want: Master bedroom, bedroom for each child (1 or 2), guest bedroom, study/library, living/family room (possibly both), kitchen, dining area, finished basement w/ media room and a play area for kids.

pasunejen
02-20-2005, 03:18 PM
I've shaken my head in wonder many times over folks who build their "dream home" after all the kids are gone, since they can finally afford the place - do they spend their golden years dusting?? Sorry, that's how my mind works.

I also wanted to address this--I don't understand it either. My parents bought and renovated their big house a couple years ago with the understanding that it was an investment they'd probably be moving out once my brother and sister were both in college. They would never want to have to maintain it during retirement! The place is a nightmare in terms of logistics--three separate HVAC systems to maintain, and on and on. Ugh. Who needs that once they've left the stress of work? And yet there are several people in our neighborhood who moved there after all their kids were out of the house. My parents' actual dream home (they've been looking at retirement places) is something much more like a farmhouse, still with plenty of space to have family Christmases and such, but nothing like the grand scale some people think ideal. I've always preferred the cozier model of living myself.

Proudest Monkey
02-20-2005, 05:07 PM
My house is perfect and I love it. We have about 1600 square feet--adequate kitchen, laundry room/half bath (added by us), big dining room/den/computer room, living room on the first floor; 3 bedrooms, bath, storage room on the second floor. Front and back stairs, unfinished basement, no attic. It was built in 1905, has high ceilings and wonky angles where things have settled unevenly. Since our daughter has gone to college, there are only the two of us here, and it's just right.

The bad news, however, is that I hate the lot it sits on--no privacy, shared driveway (unpaved), and not enough space for outdoor living. It's also on a busy street and the zoning has allowed an "adult boutique" down the street.

We think about moving. We go to open houses and have even worked with a real estate agent, but nothing I see is as nice as what we have in a price range we can afford. We think about building but that's expensive too. I wish I could buy a piece of land and move this house onto it. Not really feasible. Maybe when we get daughter out of college, everything will move (HA!) into place.

BTW, when I first read the OP, I thought she had a 5' X 8' bedroom! Had to go back and reread! :eek:

FairyChatMom
02-20-2005, 05:43 PM
BTW, when I first read the OP, I thought she had a 5' X 8' bedroom! Had to go back and reread! :eek:Our bedroom isn't huge, but it's bigger than that! We have space for a king size bed, a chest, a dresser, and 2 night stands, leaving enough room for the dog to sneak in at night and trip me, should I get up...

In the biggest house we owned (about 2400 sq ft), the master bedroom was something like 15 X 26. That was waaaaaaaaay too big - the way it was configured, there was lots of wasted, unuseable space. I loved the house, but hated that room.

StarvingButStrong
02-20-2005, 06:24 PM
Oooooh, dream houses! I love fantasizing about that.

What I want, though, isn't a house at all. Lawn? Garden? Garage? Pfui. I hate everything related to mowing/gardening/car maintenance. Let someone else maintain the lawn, grow the veggies/flowers, shovel snow, and so forth. We will live within walking distance of work places, and otherwise use taxis or rent cars for short trips.

Give me a nice two bedroom condo/apartment in a huge, upscale building in a big city. (Yes, the Trump Towers in NYC would do.) I want the master bedroom to be large enough to hold the usual furnishings (including a queen sized bed) plus a small private sitting area (a love seat, an upholstered chair, maybe a rocker, table, and a decent sized television.) The second bedroom would be mainly used as a writing room/office for me, but there'd be a murphy bed. The idea being, there would be enough space for guests when I want them, but not enough for unwanted ones.

Otherwise, one and a half baths. A large 'public' area that can be used a living room/dining area/media room as current needs dictate. A small galley kitchen for when I want to cook, and a telephone with speed dial settings for the ten or so excellent varigated restaurants in the building that deliver when I don't want to. :)

No attic/basement/storage areas: they're mainly trash bunkers ime.


Oh, make the main bathroom big enough to hold a washer/dryer as well as separate shower and bathtub, and two sinks, one of them a large/deep one for hand washables.

I have no idea what that adds up to in sq. footage, but it suit the way I want to live to a tee.

Finagle
02-20-2005, 06:55 PM
I live by myself in an old Colonial and it's a mix of too big and not big enough. The realtor claimed, I think, 2100 sq ft, but lied through her teeth. I can't imagine it's more than 1600 sq ft.

I spend most of my time in one or two rooms, but those rooms really aren't big enough. Well...ok, they are, but I wish they were bigger -- I envy people with cathedral ceilings and enough room to have entertainment consoles. I have several rooms that I never use except to drop boxes of stuff in. And the basement is too small and dark for a decent woodworking shop.

So I wouldn't actually use the space in a bigger house, but visually and aesthetically, I'd appreciate it.

ZebraShaSha
02-20-2005, 06:59 PM
Personally, I really enjoy the size of the house I am living in now, even though it is 3700 sq. ft. Really, it doesn't feel that big at all, since it is a three story house with huge ceilings. The heighth is greater than the width and almost greater than the length. With only a loft, kitchen, dining room, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and living room, it begins to show what kind of house I enjoy most - open ones. Ideally, my house would be fairly large, but architecturally unique while remaining open, sprawling, inviting, and whatever in that vein. Maybe it is my vanity, but I really enjoy larger houses. (McMansions I detest, though.)

Oh, and this lot is almost perfect. We live on a couple or so acres, but the people behind us own 37 acres of fields and woods. What's more. our house is in the middle of the woods, complete with a creek in the backyard, yet minutes away from basic necessities. Even if a house is larger than all get out, as long as it is on a similar lot I'll be sastisfied.

lorene
02-20-2005, 07:02 PM
And I suppose I'm looking at this from my practical point of view - a bigger house is lots more to furnish and clean and heat and maintain. I've shaken my head in wonder many times over folks who build their "dream home" after all the kids are gone, since they can finally afford the place - do they spend their golden years dusting?? Sorry, that's how my mind works.


Unfortunately, some of them don't spend their golden years dusting, and their houses fall into disrepair. My mother lives alone in the house I grew up in. It's an 8-room house (4BR, kitchen, dining room, living room, family roon, 1.5baths). She had made many, many comments over the years about selling the house and moving to a condo, but decided about 2 years ago that she could never do that. The house has too much sentimental value, she says.
Well, never the best housekeeper in the world (and she is physically in fine health, lest anyone think she just can't get around enough to clean), she has allowed her house to become cluttered and dusty. She herself occupies one of the bedrooms, but the other 3 are just heaped with books and sewing supplies and paperwork, etc. The downstairs floors were worn from years of owning pets and not cleaning up well after them, and now she rarely actually dusts the florrs. My sisters and I have offered help, or discussed the idea of having someone come in to clean for her, but she genuinely thinks it's not so bad. It's not a health hazard, or like those houses you see on the news that the neighbors are trying to get condemned, but it's certainly "too much house".

chaparralv8
02-20-2005, 07:39 PM
Depends on whether garage space counts or not.

If it doesn't, my parents' 1600-sq-ft house is certainly big enough for everything. The trick is to have a relatively large attic and basement for storage and play, and two floors; this leaves four levels of 800 square feet each without the giant footprint and cleaning difficulties of a larger house. It was certainly big enough for the four of us and wasn't cramped when two or three relatives came for a couple weeks. It also has enough room for the machine shop my father never got around to building (nothing overly fancy, just a lathe, a bandsaw, and a Bridgeport). I guess more than that would be wasted on me.

However, when you start adding garage space, look out. I intend to own no fewer than three cars at any given time, just for myself, plus karts. In addition, I would like to be able to disassemble, overhaul, and rebuild any part of any car I'd own; this'll be important in the summers. So, figure on a four-car simple garage (no bigger than the average three-car garage), plus my Workshop Space. Ever see the Nextel Cup garages on television? I want something that's essentially a small fraction of that; 20x25 of tile floor, a huge Craftsman or Allen tool box, what appears to be the entire Ingersoll-Rand catalog of air tools, a massive selection of SAE Grade Eight and aerospace-grade hardware, and enough space for two cars - a shell and all the machinery.

Bambi Hassenpfeffer
02-21-2005, 01:44 AM
I like the size of where I live now. It's a house we've owned for years, and we subdivided one of the bedrooms (16 x 13) into two smaller rooms with a shared entry from the rest of the house. The two rooms are now a bedroom (8.5 x 8.5, MOL) and an L-shaped den thing, 6 x 13, with a 4 x 7 hallway thing connecting the two, which taken together form the L. Add in the connected bathroom and walk-in closet, and it's about 250 sq ft. This space is ideal for me, as I don't entertain, and I don't have (or intend to have) a family. If I were to add a kitchenette and laundry area to this, it would be my perfect space and under 400 sq ft. Everything I own (which isn't much; not too material) fits comfortably in here -- a desk with computer and chair, a loveseat, a coffee table, entertainment center with surround and largish TV in the den thing; bed, bookshelf, and recliner in bedroom; 75 gal aquarium in hallway; all my clothes and other such in the closet -- with plenty of room for me and my two cats.

So, no, I cannot understand any place with 5000 sq ft. Who wants the hassle of taking care of such a place, or having half (or more) of a house that you don't see on a daily basis? Feh.

alice_in_wonderland
02-21-2005, 01:48 AM
I would like it if my place was a bit bigger - I've got about 1,000 SqF, and two bedrooms - a third would be really nice to use as an office - right now my confuter is in the spare bed room, but the spare bedroom is done in antique furniture, and the confuter looks god awful in here.

What I would really like is a bungalow. However, a decent bungalow around these parts starts around $285,000, which is out of my price range - I have to be able to buy shoes, after all. ;)

On the upside, I'm installing new flooring in my whole place (Funky vinyl, if you can imagine!) and it's going to be pretty cheap. Yeah! :)

FairyChatMom
02-21-2005, 05:40 AM
Depends on whether garage space counts or not.Nah, I follow realtor rules - unheated/non-air-conditioned spaces don't count. Just actual living space. We've got an oversized 2-car garage, which I love, but it, and the storage sheds out back, and the attic, and the basement don't count. If we finished and included the basement, we'd be around 3400, way more than the 2 of us would ever need. Instead, the basement has the laundry room, a storage area, and most of it is workshop. We talked about finishing part of it, but that's not going to happen.

swampbear
02-21-2005, 08:18 AM
I live alone (well, mostly) and my house is just over 2100 sq. ft. Sometimes it is a big ol' PITA to keep clean but I like the size of it when people are over, plus I love love love my huge bedroom and the huge screened in back porch. ACBG (the squeeze) has a house that is about 1500 sp. ft. He has too much stuff in it for the size house (what, he admits it!) he has. What's funny is, his stuff would be just right in my house and my stuff would be just right in his house.

I keep thinking about enclosing the garage and extending the dining room and kitchen but I don't know why. I don't really want even more to clean. I just have this vision of how lovely it would all look.

Then, I think, one day I'll sell this place and go for something smaller. I'd like something with two big bedrooms, each with its own bath and an open kitchen/dining/living room area, the whole place being around 1300 - 1400 sq. ft. With a small yard. Plus a nice screened or glassed in back porch with a hot tub. And an oversized garage. I have no idea how to make all this work.

Athena
02-21-2005, 08:18 AM
Our house is about 5000 square feet, which for 2 people is horrendously large. We didn't set out looking for a house this big, although we did want something at least 3000 square feet finished. We both work at home, and wanted offices that were not right next to each other since we spend too much time in each other's faces when we have adjoining offices.

We took our time looking for a house - we wanted the PERFECT house, and we weren't in a hurry. When we found this one, it was everything we wanted - a great layout, on 11 acres, and right in town. We liked the style, and it had a lot of the extras we'd wanted but were not deal breakers (high ceilings, lots of wood). The only thing was that it was WAY too big for us. The price was slightly above what we wanted to pay, but affordable nonetheless. We went for it.

Truth be told, we actually use most of the house. Unlike my home in Colorado, where we rarely even set foot in the formal dining room and formal living room, this house has a great room. We use it all the time. We have our home gym set up in the finished basement, and we built a sauna down there. We use our home gym - almost every day in the winter, less in the summer, but we're still down there quite a bit. We both have our offices, and we have a guest room.

I really like having all this space. I didn't think we'd use it at first, but it turns out we do. I never have to go searching for storage space, and when people come over it never feels crowded. We use our library (a loft that overlooks the great room), we use our basement, we use our great room. Do we need it? No, but it's nice to have.

Annie-Xmas
02-21-2005, 08:27 AM
A 32 room, 7 BR, 9 full and 4 half-bath on 5 acres house was listed on our MLS. The taxes are $234,715.

Now that is a trophy house.

Walkabout
02-21-2005, 08:42 AM
The house we live in is almost perfect for our family of four. It's about 2800 sq. ft with 3 bedrooms plus a large room downstairs that doubles as a guest room and kids' hangout room (it's great for sleepovers). There are 3 1/2 baths, a large living room, a dining room/kitchen, a family room, and an unfinished part of the basement we use for a workshop, a pool table, and storage.

There are a few things I would change if I could. I'd make all of the bedrooms larger - I'd love to have a sitting area in the master bedroom, and the kids bedrooms are very small. I only really want a formal dining room about twice a year, so I could do without that, but in its place I'd have a library. I love to look at house plans and look for the perfect space, and I've found that I'd need around 3500 sq ft for my dream house.

At the moment, though, the house we're in is pretty close to ideal.

Q.N. Jones
02-21-2005, 08:46 AM
I'm single, and I find a 1200 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment to be about right. It's nice if there's more than one bath, but I'm not picky about that. I'd actually like it to be about 200 square feet larger to include a storage room, but that's hard to find.

I don't want anything bigger, because I'm a hoarder and a slob. The more rooms there are, the more mess there ends up being, and it gets to be more than I can handle. Any smaller than 1200, and rooms are way too crowded, and the mess is concentrated to an unbearable point.

The only time I really give a :rolleyes: to people who seem to have a too-big house is when they build a McMansion that just looks like some big boxes on the outside and is all white and beige on the inside--with no character. So much money, so little imagination! This is the style of big home that predominates in Iowa. And they stick them on tiny little lots with no trees in the middle of what used to be a cornfield, which just looks stupid.

I also don't understand peoples' desire to have vaulted (cathedral) ceilings. All they do is run the heating/cooling bills sky high. I much prefer a house with ceilings a foot or two higher than the norm. They don't feel like a cramped rabbit warren, and yet they don't cost an arm and a leg to heat. But to each his own.

I do think there's a definite pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" with respect to square footage. Mom knows lots of people in her age group (50s and 60s) who traded up after the kids left, but their homes are mostly empty, sometimes with rooms that aren't used at all.

Athena
02-21-2005, 09:00 AM
I also don't understand peoples' desire to have vaulted (cathedral) ceilings. All they do is run the heating/cooling bills sky high. I much prefer a house with ceilings a foot or two higher than the norm. They don't feel like a cramped rabbit warren, and yet they don't cost an arm and a leg to heat. But to each his own.

Since when? We have 25' vaulted ceilings in our great room (it's a big A-frame kinda thing). Our heating bills in this house are suprisingly low - in fact, we pay about the same for heat here as we did in our previous house, a 2000 square foot normal-ceilinged house, albeit with an older furnace. And we live in the frozen north, where heating costs are usually quite high. The vaulted ceilings don't seem to add anything at all to the heating bill.

Q.N. Jones
02-21-2005, 09:06 AM
Since when? We have 25' vaulted ceilings in our great room (it's a big A-frame kinda thing). Our heating bills in this house are suprisingly low - in fact, we pay about the same for heat here as we did in our previous house, a 2000 square foot normal-ceilinged house, albeit with an older furnace. And we live in the frozen north, where heating costs are usually quite high. The vaulted ceilings don't seem to add anything at all to the heating bill.

My parents have a ceiling that high, and the bills are murder--way higher than when they had a colonial. Mom bitches about it every month. They totally redid the heating system, and it didn't improve matters much. Obviously, YMMV.

ZebraShaSha
02-21-2005, 09:14 AM
Yea, QN, assuming other factors aren't at work, our house is solar electric. We have a giant wall of pure windows facing southwest and an equally large wall of sheer brick 1 ft thick for collecting of the heat. Surprisingly, it's an effiecent (cheap) system.

Lissa
02-21-2005, 09:39 AM
The only time I really give a :rolleyes: to people who seem to have a too-big house is when they build a McMansion that just looks like some big boxes on the outside and is all white and beige on the inside--with no character. So much money, so little imagination! This is the style of big home that predominates in Iowa. And they stick them on tiny little lots with no trees in the middle of what used to be a cornfield, which just looks stupid.

I agree. I put my foot down on that one: I absolutely refuse to live in one of those neighborhoods.

My mother-in-law lives in one of them, where every house looks exactly the same, a sort of post-modern ranch. Exactly. There are only three permitted paint colors and they're all shades of brown and grey. There is very, very little variation allowed in design.

Their house cost $250,000. I'd estimate it's about 2000 square feet. It's strange to me that someone would pay so much for a house that has no character or charm. Personally, I wouldn't pay more than $100,000 for it. Other than its location in an expensive area, it doesn't have anything which I feel justifies a quarter of a million.

But everyone seems to want to live in those neighborhoods. I'm quite sure we'll have trouble re-selling the house in which we live now because it's in one of the old neighborhoods in town, and there are small houses around it. (There goes the neighborhood! Poor people may move into them!) I sort of like that ecclectic feel. At least I don't feel like I'm surrounded by Republicans! :D

Athena
02-21-2005, 10:04 AM
My parents have a ceiling that high, and the bills are murder--way higher than when they had a colonial. Mom bitches about it every month. They totally redid the heating system, and it didn't improve matters much. Obviously, YMMV.

Yup, YMMV. I wouldn't automatically assume that all vaulted ceilings are heating/cooling problems. I'd guess the building quality means a lot - our house, like any other up here in the Land of Big Snow, is very well insulated. No drafts, windows that shut tightly, and a good furnace help immensely. Our vaulted wall includes windows from floor to ceiling, and like I said, our heating bills are just about what you'd pay for any good sized house, vaulted ceilings or no.

Elret
02-21-2005, 10:30 AM
My ideal house would be pretty big, actually. My dream house is an old brick Victorian with a huge verandah and:
- a proper foyer big enough for a bench, an umbrella stand, and a small desk
- a mud room (maybe around back or at the side, or off the kitchen maybe) where muddy dog feet can be towelled and scarves and boots and coats donít clutter up the whole house)
- a big kitchen with lots of counter space, cupboards, drawers, a large pantry, and a big sunny eating area
- a sitting room with a fireplace
- a family room, also with a fireplace
- a formal dining room
- at least four good sized bedrooms, including a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom (then two bedrooms for kids and one for guests)
- a bathroom on every floor, plus one in the master bedroom, and ideally one in the guest room
- an office
- a library/den
- a playroom (ďnurseryĒ, I guess)
- a gym area
- a studio for painting in
- a sunroom
- a back staircase
- a main or second floor laundry room, big enough to iron in
- a big basement (not necessarily finished, but in good enough shape and with high enough ceilings to have a nice, big, organized storage area, preferably with built in shelves and some cedar cupboards for off season clothes) with a workshop

I'd love to have a few acres with some woods and a small barn, as well.

That would end up being pretty big, I know, and I also know Iíll never have it, but boy, being able to have a place for everything would be such a wonderful thing to me that the cleaning would be a happy tradeoff.

Long Time First Time
02-21-2005, 11:01 AM
Having moved last summer (and needing to have 4 bedrooms) I saw a fair number of McMansion type homes. Yes, they were large. But the space allocation was pretty crazy, IMHO. They had HUGE master bathroom suites. Usually the master bath was larger than any other bedroom. Other luxury "must haves" were there in spades, at the expense of space that people would actually use when they lived in the homes.

The dining and living rooms were present, but in many instances looked like vestigal organs. Tiny and off to the side.
Now, I like taking showers as much as the next person, but I don't need to play polo outside the tub. I enjoy a walk in closet, but not if my children can't fit a bed, dresser, and desk into their rooms.

Around here, no matter what the cost there was shoddy workmanship on the trim, hollow doors, and no built in or anything to give the home character.

I cam to the conclusion that these new, huge houses are designed to sell, not to be lived in.


I ended up buying a house built in 1960. It is not as large as most McMansions, but the space is usuable and the lay out makes sense, so it feels larger. It was also about $100,000 less than a new house of comparable size. That's because everyone wants new. The materials used and construction is actually much better than what can be found in a new house.

anu-la1979
02-21-2005, 11:22 AM
It depends-if it was just me or me and an SO I would be happy with a cape.

If there were two/more kids involved I would want a room for each and a room to spare, a finished basement and another family room.

I grew up in historic Massachusetts before the mansionization craze so I'm not used to the concept of a big house and I don't really have big house dreams. Our house in Canada was really modest as well.

I guess I have small-scale dreams in terms of house size b/c I never grew up with anything too large...should an SO want a McMansion or whatever in the future, I wouldn't protest-my main issue would be resale/investment potential of what he wanted.

Nava
02-21-2005, 12:33 PM
Spanish here, ok.

My mother's house is a penthouse, about 1200sq ft of "flat" plus 500 sq ft of terrace (about 100sq ft of which are a greenhouse). 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one with tub, one with shower), a very large kitchen with a tiny balcony (from which you reach the laundry lines), a huge living room and a 4th "bedroom" which she uses as a smaller living room.

I've just signed the lease on another flat in the same building; no terrace but still about 1200sq feet, etc etc. Three bedrooms, huge living room, big kitchen (smaller and more square than Mom's), another room that I plan on setting up for storage/ironing/etc. I'm single, so I intend to search for a roomie among medical personnel: the local hospital gets 4 new residents every year (they stay for 3 years) and there are also doctors who live out of town but need a local place for "presency guards" - they have to be less than 15 min. from the hospital, but not in it.

I loved an apartment I had many years ago: 500 sq ft, but the only doors were the one for the street and the one for the bathroom. Big walk-in closet, the kitchen was just fine, and by furnishing the big space with a huge table and two sofabeds I had enough room for myself and 3 guests :D

Shirley Ujest
02-21-2005, 12:33 PM
Our house is 1800 sq ft. It is the smallest house on our block ( that Mr. Ujest built.) we have the lowest in taxes, mortgage and maintence. I know, we have everyone's paperwork for the costs.


I likes it alot. ALOT!


Big house means more money in taxes and keeping up with the Jones.

Not.for.me.