Looking For A Home? Don’t Ignore Small Houses!

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Kitty PoP loves the big windows that make our little house feel big, too!

So recently I was reading a post over at Savvy Financial Latina where she mentioned that they’d started house shopping, but had found that the 1,300sqft homes they started looking at seemed way too small, so they had increased the size-range of homes that they were looking for.

But, as I gave in my unsolicited advice to Savvy Financial Latina (and really, this post is just an expansion of what I what I really wanted to share), not all small houses are created equal.

Design matters. Big time.

Design influences that way that a house FEELS, which when it comes down to it matters a whole lot more than what the measuring tape shows.

This really hit home when we were shopping for our first house.

 

A Funny Conversation

Four years ago, I called my mom up and gave her the good news. (No, not that Mr. PoP and I had eloped… that conversation was a week later.) But that we had picked out a house to buy.

Me: It’s a great house. A nice 3/2 with a pool and a garage. It’s 1,100 square feet, so I think it’s even a bit bigger than your house! (Side Note – I lived in my parents’ current house between the ages of 4 and 18 so felt pretty comfortable with the comparison points.)

Mom: You’ve got it wrong, dear. Our house is way bigger than that. It’s 1,600 sqft.

Me: No. That can’t be right! Your house is a 3/2 (I know, I had to share a room with [my sister]!), and this one even feels bigger than your house when you’re in it! I even get a huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom in all that. How does a walk-in closet not fit in your house if you have 1,600 square feet?

Mom: Hmmm, send me a diagram to show me your layout.

So I did. And here it is. It’s not 100% to scale, but it’s pretty accurate.

 

The actual floor plan of our house. The thicker lines are doorways, the blue area is our 1,100 sqft, and the pink rectangles are queen-sized beds.

The blue shaded part is what makes up the 1,100 square foot measurement. But when you include the garage (~350 sqft) and the covered patio (~500 sqft) and the enclosed pool area (~800 sqft), it brings the total footprint of the home to ~2,750 square feet.

Just the covered patio area of our home increases what we consider our “livable area” by 45%. No wonder I swore up and down our house was bigger than the house I had grown up in.

 

There’s No Fat In The Design

When my mom looked at the little diagram I sent her, she had even more to say about it.

Mom: Wow. There’s just no fat in it!

Me: Huh? Fat?

Mom: Wasted space. You have two tiny hallways and that’s it. Think about the incredibly long hallway in our house. And the huge vestibule and entry way that’s never used. That’s all fat. I’ve always hated it.

Mom was right. Our two tiny hallways take up about 60 sqft. (Roomba cleans them in no time flat!)

But my parents’ house is a different story. Between the long and wide hallway and the vestibule, they lose 275 sqft of space. They lose another 250 or so because of the funny shape of the living room and how they’ve arranged furniture in it all these years. Cut out all that, and their square footage is about the same as ours!

But it’s more than that, and when I showed my mom some actual pictures of the place she noted other design elements in our house that made it feel like the Taj Mahal despite being comparatively teeny tiny.

 

Design Elements That Make Our “Tiny” Place Feel “Huge”

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Our Living Room

  • No Fat – Very little wasted space in the layout.
  • Vaulted Ceilings In Main Room – Ours aren’t insanely high, but do go up about 12 feet at the peak, compared to the flat 7 and 8 foot ceilings that are around my parents’ house.
  • Skylights – Natural light makes most spaces feel bigger.
  • Big Windows and Sliding Glass Doors – The windows in the front bedrooms are nearly floor to ceiling, and the doors leading out to our patio (both in the living room and the master bedroom) are huge sliding glass doors that when fully open are about 6 feet wide.
  • 500 sqft Covered Patio – This is like getting 45% more living area free since we have a climate where we can use the space virtually year round!
  • No Bars or Fences – The small windows on my parents’ house look out through burglar bars onto a backyard that’s enclosed by a 6 foot tall cinderblock wall. Compare that with the wide open view onto our little lake where we can watch all manner of flora and fauna. Easy to see how ours might feel bigger compared to the slightly imprisoned view I grew up with.

But Realtor.com doesn’t really let you search on any of these criteria. (Well, except for the waterview. They did add that.)

 

Not Every Tiny House Feels Huge, But…

Having looked through more than our fair share of foreclosures and absolute dumps during some of our more interesting adventures in real estate, I know that our house is unusual in how it feels compared to actual measurements. But what if we had looked at a few houses that were like my parents’ place and decided that there was no way 1,600 square feet was big enough?

It we had set a minimum square footage of even 1,500 square feet in our search for our first home, this little gem would have never even come up in our search.

So please. If you’re searching for a new house – please ignore the minimum square footage option on your search. It might mean you have to look at a few (dozen) more homes before finding your perfect one, but I’m willing to bet there’s a nice little diamond in the rough like this one in there, too!

And really, don’t we all have to kiss a few frogs before we find our prince?

 

How big is your house? Does it have any design elements that make it feel bigger? Or smaller?

 

63 comments to Looking For A Home? Don’t Ignore Small Houses!

  • Cj

    I say it all the time, I love my 740 sq foot condo if it had one more room, and was in a different neighborhood. My place is cozy. I wish they’d of done something more open with the kitchen to give a bit more counter space but I have a pantry and a laundry (has to stack but in the last 10 years, even those options have gotten better).

    We love our outdoor area, too! I wish the roof covered the whole thing so you could sit out there during a rain and have a glass of wine…but…

    My mother in law has a house that isn’t much bigger than my condo and it feels very cozy. Easy to clean and always feels so homey when we go up to stay.

    • When it comes to cleaning I love how small our space is – so quick to clean compared to friends’ homes that are 3x as large!

  • It is far from tiny in my scale, my UK place is about 800 sqft and is considered a nice sized 3 bedroom. In Guatemala it would be considered very small, you can find 1 bed places that are over 1,500 ft. I prefer small places, less maintenance, less cleaning, less taxes and it feels cozy.
    Pauline recently posted..Successful attempt at making money online: Freelance writingMy Profile

    • It’s so neat how the different sizes are viewed in different cultures. Space is certainly at a premium in places like England that are densely populated!

  • I’ve always thought measuring houses by square footage is a lot by measuring people just by weight without looking at their height. Sure you might be able to afford a 2,500 sf house, but is that actually what you want or need. I’m not in the housing market yet, but when I am I hope to find a smaller type home just like yours that doesn’t have any fat.
    CashRebel recently posted..How Much Does It Cost To Hike The Appalachian Trail: Part IIMy Profile

    • Like the height weight comparison! It’s also like using BMI without paying attention to muscle mass. Someone once told me Tom Cruise was obese if all you looked at was his BMI. Composition matters. =)

  • Tara

    This even applies to rentals. My fiancee and I lived in a poorly planned apartment that was roughly 600 sq feet and had a one bedroom but with a hallway and a non-open floorplan, it had a lot of wasted space. Plus it had this weird indention in the floor in the bedroom from a set of stairs below us which made the bedroom even smaller.

    We moved to a two bedroom that is not much larger in square feet, but because it’s long and narrow, it feels so much larger than the old place. The bedrooms aren’t large, but with the high ceilings and the long length, it works out great in size for us!

    • You’re so right! I remember my apt felt way bigger than a friend’s even though we had the same square footage (400sqft). Mine was just long as skinny and felt bigger.

  • Great advice here. Pauline’s point about less maintenance is a good one too. With a bigger house, how much of it would you actually use? And to your point, how much of it is actually usable? I love the idea of a screened-in porch too, though up here it would be much less useful. But the ability to eat outside like that on a regular basis is definitely appealing.
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  • 3000sq ft
    It is huge.

    It also has an open floor plan, giant rooms, and really big windows.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Ask the grumpies: Present for a new TT prof?My Profile

  • Right on!

    We just moved from a home that had 4200 square feed (2800 finished) to one that is between 1400 and 1500 (there is that number again). Throw 2 kids into the mix and people tell us we are nuts.

    As you pointed out, layout is everything. For example, our old house had a living and family room. The living room is a complete waste of space. We never spent any time in it.

    A couple of our past homes also had large bedrooms. Most of the time spent in the bedroom is with your eyes closed. All rooms pretty much look the same when you’re asleep*.

    Our new home is currently a 2/1, but we’re in the process of making it into a 3/2 Our girls will each have their own bedroom, but they’ll share a bathroom. We’ll make things a little easier on them by installing a double bowl vanity.

    The other thing that makes our home work, especially now during construction chaos, is that it has a large garage. I love garages more than just about anything. Bigger is better!

    The outdoor space comment is a good one too and we think along the same lines. Our plans call for building a covered deck that will be about 450 square feet.

    *This is the same reason I don’t mind staying in clean, but cheap hotel chains.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Thursday Rant: Leave RAGBRAI alone, Lance!My Profile

    • Mr PoP wouldn’t complain about a bigger garage since he grew up with a huge garage and workshop, but who knows if we’ll ever actually get there.

      Your girls are lucky that they’ll have their own rooms growing up. My older sister had to put up with a little brat (me) until she moved out at 18. When I got older and realized what a PITA I had been, I felt bad for her. =)

    • Debi

      Mr 1500 may want to rethink the double sink. Instead, consider 1 sink with a larger vanity counter and mirror. We’ve found that sink time isn’t the issue with sharing a bathroom. Additional counterspace and mirror access is more usefull.

  • My 1,200 house is a frog and no amount of kissing will turn it in to a princely palace.

    You are always in a hall or going in to a hall or coming out of a hall at my house.

    I live in a raised bungalow. They are extremely popular here in Canada but they are a space waisting design. 2 sets of stairs instead of 1. A large landing when you come in the door and landings at the bottom and the top of the split stair case.

    A builder beige and brown box with no thought to design or flow.
    Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle recently posted..Erratic Economic Emotions Experienced And Money Quickies For July 11, 2013My Profile

    • I think a design becomes popular and can take over building in different periods. My parents’ neighborhood had a bunch of homes with their same basic floorplan that wasted so much space. You’d think people would stop building it!

  • Our house is 1,200 square feet, but we have a huge finished basement that doubles our house to 2,400 square feet. I love having a finished basement also because it is so much cooler down there and is great for the summer!
    Michelle recently posted..Simple Ways YOU Can Get Rich SlowlyMy Profile

  • Nice, I love tiny efficient spaces. Our house is 1100sqft and I could be ok with a bit smaller. Easier to maintain, cost effective to run, less expensive on taxes and best of all, less to clean!
    GamingYourFinances recently posted..Should we tell our friends and family about our financial goals?My Profile

  • We live in a 500sq/ft condo, which actually seems plenty big for the two of us. We don’t have a dining room table, but a pass through kitchen with bar stools where we east. The bedroom id quite big, since the hallway leading to it is 2ft long! We also have a 159sq/ft deck which increases our liveable shave, especially in the summer. Space is expensive in the big city, so we pride ourselves in loving our small spaces!

    • Space is definitely at a premium in cities, and I sounds like you guys are squeezing a lot out of your little corner! Your deck sounds great for summer!

  • Thanks for this post! I’ll definitely keep this in mind while we search for our house. Your right layout is so important. What I should have said in my post was the layout was not right which made the house feel cramped. On top of really bad foundation issues. It was the first house we saw though. We still have time to see many more.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..The Home Search BeginsMy Profile

  • I would *love* to have a smaller house that’s better laid out. We didn’t even look at square footage when we were buying – it was pretty much price + kitchen size – and we ended up in a 3600 sqft house – for two of us at the time. We have a formal living room and a family room (and a basement!) and while technically the “formal” living room is our TV room, we’re almost never in there. We spend all of our time in the kitchen, dining room and family room – and we wish the kitchen was better laid out. It’s our first major project when we’ve paid off debt – save up to redo the kitchen (and there’s going to be some major renovations in that area).

    The kitchen size was important to us, since we both cook, and 2 cooks in a kitchen can spell disaster if you’re not careful. So we ended up with a bigger house.

    When Daughter Person graduates high school and we move, we’re hoping to build our own house so that we can design it in a better layout for us.
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..What Makes Up Our Net Worth?My Profile

    • Oof! I can’t imagine what the electric bill would be like to use AC in that much space! Hopefully you can find a small place with a big kitchen someday. =)

      • It’s really not that bad – VA’s electric prices are very reasonable. The max AC bill we get in the summer is about $150/mth (and it gets hot in the DC area). Winter is a different story, we have an all electric heat pump for heat, and we’ve pushed $400/mth before we got our new system, now we’re down at maxing out at about $260-$270/mth). We also do a lot of things to reduce it, like run ceiling fans, open windows when it’s reasonable, and have the thermostat set to 78F :) Our electric bill when we don’t use the heat pump at all (spring/fall) runs us about $130, so the AC isn’t costing us all that much.
        Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Cleaning out the basementMy Profile

  • Now that you mention it, our current townhouse seems to have a good design. We love the vaulted ceiling and skylight in the living area! It’s 1200 sq. ft. but feels pretty large.

    My husband found a cool app a while ago – MagicPlan. You just take pics of your rooms and it generates a floor plan of your house! It did well with ours except for one difficult spot.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..Mini-Vacation Financials: Madison, WI for a WeddingMy Profile

  • If I ever buy a house or condo, it will probably be on the smaller end of things. Not one of those ridiculous 400 sqft minimalist houses. But something equivalent to a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment. Anything else would just be far more space than I can currently figure out a use for.
    My Financial Independence Journey recently posted..Recent Buy – Caterpillar (CAT)My Profile

  • This reminds me of apartment therapy! I think you can do a lot with a small space if you are creative. It also keeps you from acquiring “stuff” which become clutter.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..4 Ways To Become an Expert DIY’erMy Profile

    • What’s apartment therapy?

      • Debbie M

        Apartment Therapy is an awesome book about how to make your house work well for you by properly arranging things, getting rid of stuff you don’t use, and making it pretty so that you feel happy in it. It’s probably at your library. Apartment Therapy is also a website, and although it has related cool things like contests for who has the best small house, because websites are so visual, it’s focusing too much on the visual.

  • You bring up a great point. Our house is 1,400 sq ft, but I think it feels really big. We don’t even use about half of that sq footage on a regular basis. If a house has a good layout, I think it’s possible to get by with less in square feet.
    Jake @ Common Cents Wealth recently posted..Weekly Recap – July 12th, 2013My Profile

  • I think we’re in a similar boat (we live in a 1276 feet 3&2, with very little fat). It’s enough space for us, maybe in part because it’s an efficient layout. In fact, we rent out the largest bedroom and the second bath!
    Done by Forty recently posted..Why We…Take Navy ShowersMy Profile

  • Yes, layout can make a huge difference. I liked the high ceilings at our old place, except when it came to cleaning!

    I think NZ houses are generally pretty lean and mean designwise as a rule, actually.
    eemusings recently posted..London, how do I love thee?My Profile

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if NZ houses are more efficient space-wise than ours are. We have quite a bit more land space to spread our in than you guys!

  • Ivy

    Have you read the “Not So Big House” series by Sarah Susanka? We are big fans.
    Our house is a ranch with 1600 sq ft. We got it as a fixer upper and renovated everything over 3 years. The funny thing is, now that I think about it, we got rid of all the corridors, there is just a tiny, 3 step one left, from which you open the basement door.
    – There was a small side corridor, which is now our guest room, only 6 ft wide, but 17 ft long (and we have some creative slim furniture for it:-)
    – There was the entry corridor from the side door, which is now our mudroom/pantry, compliments of easyclosets.com
    – and in the middle of the house there was this transition space/corridor/niche, which now fits our library, an easy chair and a small closet 20×36 ft for the home office (it looks tiny, but is actually not much smaller than some desk spaces at work and very convenient)

  • Great points about houses without wasted space – ours is about 1200 sq. ft. and perfect for the two of us. I’d ideally like one wall knocked down to see the kitchen to give it an even more open feel, it’s surprising how doing so makes an area feel bigger that way.
    anna recently posted..Wedding Stuff Part 1: Church CeremonyMy Profile

  • I love the open layout of your house, and your outside area is really nice! You are right that it can definitely contribute to the overall feel of the house. My parents house had huge cathedral ceilings in the living room and dining room, which made that part of the house feel really open and light. Then they had a long hallway, which all the bedrooms and bathrooms were off of, that made that area feel cramped.

    Our apartment is 600-700 sq ft, but it has no “fat.” You enter into the kitchen, off to the left is the bedroom, behind the kitchen is the bathroom (it’s long) and from the kitchen you just follow the tiles into the living room. Four rooms, nice and simple. I’m all for smaller houses!

  • So true! The house I lived in as a kid was tiny but it never felt like that when I lived in it (only when we moved to a bigger house). I think that was because it had a big yard and was relatively open concept which helped.
    Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses recently posted..The Craziest Week Ever & Why I Don’t Want to Buy Cheap or Used Furniture AnymoreMy Profile

  • Debbie M

    Mine’s 960 square feet, and it’s laid out a lot like yours. Here’s how to make yours into mine: 1) Get rid of the two bathrooms so you can scootch the master bedroom in next to the other bedroom–use the doorway at the end of the hall to get in. 2) Turn the right side of the master bedroom into bathroom that opens into the hallway and a long closet between the bathroom and bedroom. (A cool similar floorplan has two bathrooms in that space, one opening into the hall, the other into the master bedroom.) 3) Move the closets between Mrs. PoP and the front door so they are between Mr. PoP and Mrs. PoP–now you both have closets. 4) Open up the wall by the door to make Mrs. PoP’s room an extension of the living room. (You can still curtain it off to make a guest bedroom.) 5) Move the kitchen to the other side of the dining nook so that there is an L-counter along the master bedroom and backyard plus another wall acroos from the backyard. Put the washer in the kitchen. 6) Shrink the garage and kitchen and turn them into the living room and pantry, respectively. 7) Turn the laundry room into a bar. 8) Carve out space for some hall closets and an HVAC closet.

    I like that we have an open floor plan with big windows. We can see from the front door and front windows through the dining room window, but the kitchen is out of site from everywhere but the dining room. We do have a hallway about ten feet long, but it’s lined with bookshelves (and doors). We don’t have high ceilings, but that would just be extra air that I don’t want to cool. There is nothing obnoxious like a bathroom with two doors or having to walk through one room to get to another. I do wish I had a separate laundry room and covered parking–your place sounds at least 10 years newer (mine was built in 1955). We use every room, though the big living room is used less often than the other rooms–just for dance practice, doing big projects that need a lot of space, having parties, and playing instruments. Plus we have a fabulous double bookcase along the long wall at the end of the house.

    Another good thing is that we have no south-facing windows, which is great when you live somewhere hot like we do. And our north-facing windows, though they are very close to our neighbor’s house, are not facing any of their windows (they also have no south-facing windows). We have chain-link fences, which most people don’t like, but it does give us a bigger vista, which is nice.

    The main thing that makes our house feel small is that we have a LOT of stuff. We have books on virtually every wall. My boyfriend could fill a small bedroom with clothing, so a rather large walk-in closet would be a big help. We’ve also been thinking about making the same kind of big covered porch across the back–possibly with the bedroom end turned into a walk-in closet. It used to be partly because one of us smokes–now I think we’d mostly just like the west side of the house to have a lot more shade.

    We also have a lot of stuff for various hobbies. The two storage buildings in the back yard help. Maybe we should close off the Mrs. PoP room equivalent and use it for storage. But right now it has a couch on one side with the stereo and TV (a computer screen) on the other side, and we don’t need a very big screen in such a small room, so it’s affordable. Plus you can’t see any of this fancy electronic stuff from the front door, which face 90 degrees from the front.

    I can’t help suspecting that no matter how big the house was, it would quickly get filled up, though. My boyfriend’s used to having a spare room that he uses as storage and completely fills with stuff. I also have more stuff than I use and am trying to set a good example. Slowly, because I have issues!

    I like the smaller house because it’s cheaper to air condition, maintain (i.e., has a smaller roof than other houses), and pay taxes on. We also really like the location, so I’m hoping that some major decluttering plus a few tweaks will make it perfect.

  • I agree about the smaller homes as we looked at loads of homes and settled on the one we have which is just a shade under 3000 sq ft not including the double garage. We hardly use all the space to be honest but like you mention the high ceilings really do give the allure of more space. Our ceiling in the living room is well over 20ft high with sky lights up and down. What we do want is not more room in the house, it’s space on the property. Next house will have that but the house doesn’t have to be huge.
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  • Great post.I was cat sitting the other day for a couple with a 2-bed condo. The layout was really wonky and although the actual sq footage was probably more than our condo it felt really small. Our high ceilings and nice layout make out place feel much larger than it really is (for that I’m very thankful).
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  • One place I lived we had to try to sub lease; had to relocate long before we expected to. Finally I found a guy interested in it; he lived in the same housing complex but in one of the buildings that had 4 units rather than the 3 in our building. So we had 100 ft more in square footage; his wife was skeptical. $50 more each month for 100 square feet? Then she saw it; it was amazing how well the space was used…with no fat, the rooms were HUGE compared to what they had. So they were going bigger rather than smaller, but the use of space concept was still really important.
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  • Were you and I discussing the Not So Big House book at some point? I think maybe we were. If not, check out that book. You’d love it.
    AverageJoe recently posted..The Stack: My Huge Income EditionMy Profile

  • Layout matters a LOT! My parents house is only around 1400 sq feet but its laid out so it has no hallways which makes it seem soooo much bigger. It’s all open, too.
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  • […] The PoP’s over at plantingourpennies.com make a great case for seeing the value in small houses and even provides a blueprint layout of there humble abode, see here. […]

  • Boy, is THAT the truth!

    One of the things I’ve never been able to figure out is why people want an entry vestibule to have to keep clean. And long hallways…ugh! My house also has one of those, opening on to each of the four bedrooms, two closets, and a bathroom: 124 pointless square feet to vacuum, dust-mop, and wet-mop. There’s a model in this tract that has three bedrooms — one of them at least twice the size of my master bedroom — all of which open off a very short hallway (just a few steps). The builder also managed to get a closet and a bathroom to open onto this stub of a hall. It’s SO much better designed, and it leaves space in the master suite for a gigantic bathroom/dressing area and a large master bedroom. Don’t understand why they didn’t lay out all the houses like this.

    Sarah Susanka and Kira Obolensky wrote a whole series of books on designing, remodeling, and decorating the “not so big house.” They’re full of ideas for how to make a smaller house suit your needs, with elan.
    Funny about Money recently posted..Why Do You Want to Do That?My Profile

  • This is sooo true! Our house is about 1500 sq feet (give or take 100sq feet) but my sister-in-laws 1100 sq ft home feels much bigger. Her design is better and just makes way more sense than our layout. I would definitely not search for homes based 100% on size.
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  • Great post, Mrs. PoP. Small houses can be wonderful! Our old suburbia home was pretty big and had 14ft ceilings in the main living area. It always drove Rick crazy: he wanted to just plop a ceiling halfway up and add a couple of more rooms to the house. :-)
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  • […] Whenever prospective tenants came to check out the place, they’d love the high ceilings that made the little unit feel bigger, the new cabinetry and dishwasher. But they’d always ask if that was as good as the floors got. […]

  • […] Looking for a Home, Don’t Ignore Small Houses by Planting Our Pennies […]

  • Anoop

    Came here from a comment on MMM. The design looks really lean and very efficient.

    I had a few questions to understand the design better.
    What is the length and breadth of the “blue” area? 26×42?
    What is the size of the land it’s on? Is it the larger rectangle in green or do you have more land around it?
    Is the front door right on the road, or do you have some space between it and the road.
    Does the Kitty Pop room have windows and do they open out to the road?

    House design in India (where I am) is very different and I would love to understand the design principles that went into your house.

    Thanks for the post, it was very educational.

    • I’m pretty sure the slab that the blue area (indoors) + the garage is on measures 32 feet x 46 feet, and our total land area is about 1/4 acre (not quite 11,000 sqft).
      The window that Kitty PoP is looking out of in the picture faces the suburban street we live on into our front yard, which is pretty big and shaded mostly by a giant oak tree. Kitty PoP probably spends more time staring at the squirrels in the tree than the neighbors walking their dogs on the road, but both are easily visible as I think the road is maybe 50-60 feet from the front of the house.
      The grassy part of the backyard is smaller (without the pool it’d probably be similar in size to the front yard), but opens up to a lake that’s probably about 0.75 acres in size so the view goes on for quite a ways uninterrupted.

      What are homes around you like? India is a country I’d love to visit someday.

  • […] this was something that we actually did need to start preparing for…” I love our little house, but if our flood insurance premium was increasing to $10K+ per year (it’s currently ~$350), […]

  • JayP

    Nice article and a very salient point about living space vs sq footage. We have a larger home but its very open and does work well. We rented a similar house with identical square footage that felt very small and unusable. It was designed by some architect with lots of entry space, multiple levels, and step downs/step ups. So it was even difficult to maneuver in. Now we also have an unfinished walk-out basement which also is a huge livability plus. Great storage for bikes, man cave, etc. From experience though I would caution anyone who might be selling the home later to think about actual footage and number of bedrooms. Unfortunately, pricing is always based on area comps in terms of price per square foot. A 3/2 seems to always be more marketable than a house with only one full bathroom or only two bedrooms(we found that out the hard way). But if you are going to stay there a long time, buy what works best!

  • […] of the structures we own (our small home and our duplex) are located in SFHAs, but, oddly, a very short walk away from both are areas that […]

  • […] only 4 years old?), and we’ve been DIY-ing just about everything humanly possible around the our little house since day 1. We have done “easy” stuff […]