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Thread: Would you buy a very small house?

  1. #1
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    Would you buy a very small house?

    I am struggling with this. We found a neat candidate about 1 1/2 hour from my kids but it is extremely small (to me) 1130 sq feet, 2 beds, 1 bath. We work at home and really like having our space.
    BUT, the house is affordable, has enough acreage, and fronts on a stream, which would be extremely cool. It is a craftsman bungalow which is my absolute favorite kind of house. I still regret selling the one I owned in suburban Chicago--it was a little gem.

    This has a barn, which is important for what we want to do going forward. It's in rough shape but it is a glorious bungalow, with wait for it--a wrap around porch!!! Which I had in my first house and loved beyond measure.

    We came out of an 800 square foot house 4 years ago and I said never again, it was too damn small with both of us home 24/7/

    However, this house is a BUNGALOW, and I LOVE bungalows and best of all, it is a bungalow with a barn, a winning combination.

    I know many of you live in less than 1100 square feet and my hat is off to you but I am really torn. We would have to put in another bathroom as it is impossible to have guests with one bathroom, at least we find it unpleasnant. We offer to put the kids up in a motel but they want to stay with us, which is flattering, but they need space, as they now come with grandchildren.

    What do you all think???

  2. #2
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Tybee, you said it has acreage? Are there any restrictions which would limit your ability to add a cottage or two in the the back yard (maybe with a porch between them) to be used for work space/guest space? That would be perfect to me. I've drawn several plans for what I'd build on the home farm and all include a separate music studio/with guest area (because sometimes DH and I just need space from each other for our different interests).
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    No restrictions that I know of. My husband wants a music studio desperately, and he is the noisy one, so that would be a great thing to add. We also own three pianos. . .

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Until we moved up here, we lived in a 1200 sq. foot 1910-vintage Craftsman bungalow in Silicon Valley, and it was wonderful. The floorplan was great for entertaining, as clever use of pocket doors and built-in cabinetry with a passthrough to the kitchen made the space very configurable. And it had a huge porch which we basically lived in during most of the year in the moderate climate.

    What made it work space-wise was a huge yard in front giving considerable setback from the street. and a small yard in the back on an alley, with a small carriage house.

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    What really draws me is how much I loved that first bungalow I had, plus memories of my grandparents' bungalow in Savannah. I would have to do a lot of built-ins I think. I like your idea of passthrough to kitchen--if we had stayed in Chicago one, that is what we wanted to do, as it would have helped a lot with entertaining and just dining as a family.

    Having a barn helps immensely because you can store some stuff there, but I really want to work to having only what we use and what we love, and fewer, better things but use them all the time. And that Sarah Suzanka esthetic--I love that about bungalows.

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    That is the style of house that dominates my neighborhood. I live in one that is about 50 square feet different then what you mention.
    I would think if your interested and debating, then it is worth it to hire an inspector and check it out. (barn structurally sound, what would be needed to put in its music room, wiring/plumbing, could a partial bath be added in the basement, etc)
    It was common for people to modify them. There are places were doors were taken in mine, that pocket doors would be better IMHO. But a lot of people put in built in's. (there is a spot for those who added on in the attic for stairs, that several turned into a cabinet, there are picture windows that are turned into storage etc).
    An extended family home, down the street, was trashed and empty for a lot of years. It was bought, fixed and flipped probably 20 years ago now. Changed to vaulted ceilings, for a loft above the kitchen, upgraded wiring, insulation, plumbing (half bath in basement). The main thing lost was the wider woodwork that they were built with (there are always trade off's/budget issues).

  7. #7
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I say, contingent on whether you can build an addition and/or outbuildings, go for it. Follow your instincts. I'll never again buy a house I don't love. Logic is overrated.

    1130 sq. feet would be a good size for me; I've lived comfortably in smaller.

  8. #8
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I would consider that wraparound porch more livable space! Three pianos???
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I agree with the others who suggest adding outbuildings or utilizing some of he barn as needed. One of the benefits to this plan would be that you could move in and decide over time if you really need more than 1,130 feet. If it turns out that you don't then you have not purchased unneeded space. And that may well be the case since, as others have pointed out, most older bungalows are well thought out to use space efficiently and logically. And also 1,130 feet is significantly more than 800. We lived in a 730 foot place when we first moved here. It was small, but vaguely doable since we also had a private garage to use for storage. We now have about 1,200 feet and it's plenty for us. And if the dining room was replaced with a closet half it's size we would be just as happy.

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    jp1, good point about buying no more than we need and then turning barn into studio/guest apartment. We can always build another animal barn, and this one looks pretty solid.
    Jane, I hear you about needing to love the house you buy. I am so sick of not loving the houses I've been in over the past several years.
    Kay, my husband is a professional musician, and I came with a piano into the marriage, and we have an electric--well, two electric pianos if you count the one we lent to his sister, yikes. So it's actually four pianos. I am thinking we will give one of the electrics to my son for my granddaughter.

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