Room to Grow

Image via  665 Sq Ft Blog

Our house is by no means huge–we have about 2200 sq ft for the 6 of us.  Three bedrooms and two and half baths.  When we finished the basement last year, we added about 750 sq ft of living space, but since it’s below grade, it doesn’t “count” in our official total.  But we use that room all the time, so we really have close to 3000 sq ft to spread out and live in.

Because we have 1 daughter and 3 sons and only three bedrooms on the top floor, all of my boys share a room.  It works, in part because they are still little, but also because it has to work, so we found a way.  We don’t keep any toys in their bedrooms–those are all in the basement play room and wouldn’t be in their rooms even if they each had their own.  We have a set of bunk beds and a single twin bed and three tall, narrow dressers in their room, but it doesn’t feel crowded.  And since one of the two closets in their room is a big walk-in with a window and tons of bright sunlight all day, we put a desk in there and book shelves on the wall and they call it their “office”.  The only clothes they hang up are dress shirts, and those all easily fit in the other normal-size closet anyway.

Since we have all three in one room, Matt and I have often discussed the fact that we would probably “need” to put an addition over the garage eventually and add at least one bedroom upstairs.  We even got an estimate not too long after we moved in so we’d have an idea of what it might cost when we finally got to it, which we figured might be about 3 years from now.

Then I read this–a blog about a family of 5 who live, intentionally, in a house they designed that totals 665 sq ft.  That’s kind of mind-boggling for me–the smallest apartment I ever lived in was over 750 sq ft and it was pretty tiny.  But I read the story and took the house tour and I kind of love it. Every inch of the house works and has function (and beauty) and it’s all so clean and uncluttered.

It got me really thinking.

The thing is, I already hate cleaning all the space I have to clean right now, so I don’t know if I would want to add more.  And even though we have three bedrooms and B has her own room, most nights she asks if she can sleep in with the boys.  And I would far rather spend my money on getting the space I already have exactly how I want it instead of adding more space that needs decorating and designing and finishing. 

And if they can live in 665 sq ft…maybe we can find a way to make 3000 sq ft work for us.  Maybe we can make our space more efficient and intentional and less cluttered and unused.  It’s definitely inspiring and thought-provoking, to say the least.

It got Matt and I talking about how we use each room in the house and how we see the needs of our family potentially changing in the future.  We have some new ideas about ways to make our house work for us as it is now.  And we have lots of other ideas for how we could spend that money we sort of assumed we’d need for an addition.  It’s opened up a lot of interesting possibilities.

I think people these days sort of assume that bigger = better, but it’s not always the case.  What do you think–could you live in a house that small?  Does it give you any ideas or inspiration to better use the space you already have? 

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6 thoughts on “Room to Grow

  1. hamburke

    It has to be the right space, really, or small space isn’t livable. When our second daughter was born, we bought a townhouse not too far away from you guys – 1300 sq ft, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms with a below-grade 220 sqft basement with walk-out to a 12×12 backyard. The only thing I really ever wanted to change was having a bathroom on the main level during those potty-training years. Because of the shot-gun lay-out (12 ft wide, 22 ft long), it was hard to place furniture that had any storage capacity and have flow from one room to another especially while more than 1 person was moving around at a time. I could barely keep it clean b/c of the storage issue. We have now moved to a lovely 4 bedroom 2400 sqft house, big fenced yard, no basement and I actually find it much easier to clean b/c in general, putting stuff away isn’t so much a chore anymore – it just happens b/c there’s a place for everything! ok, so I still don’t like vacuuming stairs but I have fewer stairs to vacuum now!

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  2. Laura Goldberg

    I’d much rather have a smaller house and kids share rooms than one of the huge massive houses you see all the time in new construction. It needs to work, but where there is a will there is a way! Our house is about 1600 sq ft, which might actually include part of the basement. It is three bedroom and two full baths. Right now we have the three kids – one boy and two girls. The girls share a room, but the baby is in our room still. I am nervous to move her. If we have another, god willing, we will have to redesign the rooms depending on the gender. We want to add on eventually but nothing crazy. You are right – bigger house, more decorating, up keep, heating and cooling. It is a lot more than just the cost to build it!

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