Small House or, Tiny House? That Is The Question.

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What Size House?

Our family of three, plus a dog, have lived in a variety of size homes. From 1,800 sq ft down to 1,300 sq ft. In two story and single level configurations. All have had their pluses and minuses. Larger and two story homes took more time to keep clean and more resources to cool and heat. Smaller “tract” homes were less optimized for space planning and storage. So, when we started to consider our next home/dream home, what size would it be?

Tiny House

For the last few years, I have been fascinated to see the surge of interest in Tiny Homes. Built on modest budgets with the idea of being financially free, they were very appealing.

But, to be honest, tiny house are just too small, too portable and I couldn’t see myself living in one if I made it to 80 yrs old. I can not imagine living in a home at 80 yrs old while still having to climb a ladder to get into bed. Compounding the issues with a tiny house is my 6’1″ frame. The idea of sleeping in a tiny house loft (with a low ceiling) seemed very unappealing.

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Source: Flickr Rowdy Kittens
Source: Flickr Rowdy Kittens

Aside from that, my wife disliked tiny homes as well. So, I went searching some more.

The Not So Big House

I remembered (from long ago) about Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Houses. They were very nice homes. But, seemed only slightly smaller than McMansions. The difference being NSBs are planned better, filled with higher quality finishes and features than their tract home siblings. This was something that my wife and I liked. But, when we applied a basic $100/sq.ft. finished price it seemed too expensive for us.

Large Home

A large home
A large home

A large home (to us) is anything above 2,000 sq ft. These homes have way more rooms than we need and would be way beyond our reach.

What Did We Want?

A lot of floorplan browsing on the usual sites turned up some homes that weren’t too tiny or, too big. In many cases, something about the layout wasn’t right. But, what all this searching did help us do was to come up with a list of must have spaces for our next house.

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Open kitchen/dining/living room
  • Kitchen pantry
  • Laundry room with space for small chest freezer
  • Coat closet
  • Front porch
  • Attached two car garage
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Enter the Small House

Luckily, a few years ago, I had found out about two small home designers. Small homes are larger than tiny homes and not quite as big as the Not So Big houses. The plus with some of these small homes is that they can pack a lot into their floorplans. This gives us features of higher end, larger homes and more affordable and realistic home sizes.

  • NC-based small home design firm, Tightline Designs, is just down the road from us in Raleigh.
  • A small house designer in Washington state, Ross Chapin

There are others but, these were the two that received most of our attention.

So, where do we go from here? We decide on a small house floor plan. What are your experiences with deciding on a home for your family? Let me know in the comment below.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve never heard of the tiny homes. Sounds interesting but I could not see myself living in one either.
    Anyway, I hope you eventually find (or build) a house that works for you and your family.

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