How big is 'normal'

agnespuffinNovember 15, 2011

I guess it depends on what you are used to. On another forum, a woman is interested in seeing "normal" houses for the two of them, no children.

She doesn't want a mansion, only about 3000 square feet.

How big is your house? If I count the big back porch, mine is about 1800 sq.ft. I don't think I want to have to keep 3000 ft. tidy.

I also like to be able to yell in the kitchen and be heard in the bedroom. Three bedrooms (yeah, one is smallish) means that I can store junk in the closet or have guests.

So, how big is "normal?"

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What is normal is a good question, agnespuffin. Big homes have never attracted me, either, and we live in a 16'x76' mobile home. There is plenty of space for us. Maybe what one is comfortable in depends on what one is used to? I don't know, but do prefer a small home, like you.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 12:16PM
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I'm a big fan of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo (hey, don't judge). The largest estate featured on the show is estimated at 60,000 -- that's SIXTY THOUSAND -- square feet. Pack a lunch if you want to stroll from the kitchen to the front parlor, I guess. lol

Me, I live in about 400 square feet. With two cats and a dog.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:39PM
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I confess that there are times when I would like more space in some areas. The Bathroom, for example. You have to watch your elbows while drying.

Our house is old. It was built before there was such a thing as a king sized bed. I wish the kitchen was bigger. I would love to be able to eat in there.

Soooo, maybe by today's standards, a Normal Size home would be big enough for those things that I want.

But what ever happened to the Cozy Cottage Concept in housing? With the need for computer room, bigger beds, etc. Is "cozy" even possible?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I live in 900 sq feet, which for one person is quite roomy. However, I will admit to being envious at the thought of walk-in closets and a larger bathroom...or maybe TWO bathrooms.

There are neighbors on my street who raised families in these houses....that had to have been VERY cozy.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 4:04PM
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I have been watching a free trial of HGTV this month and am facinated by the shows that have folks buying new houses. From folks who look want five bedrooms five baths to those looking for who want downtown condos with 500sq ft. When someone wants five bathrooms I just think about cleaning them all. Growing up it was one bathroom (but two sinks) three women and Dad shared it. My home is a modest bungalow but yup if I could change anything it would be a bigger bath not enough space to change your mind.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Our one story villa has 1498 sq. feet with two bedrooms, two baths, a living/dining room, a family room and a kitchen with an attached two-car garage. It tickles me to think that DH, our 3 kids under six, and a dog, had a little more sq. footage--1500 sq. ft. instead of 1498--LOL-- but no dining room and one bathroom. We all survived, too!

I'm a fan of "House Hunters" on HGTV and it amazes me the size of the home that is wanted by young couples with no children. They speak of wanting to "grow into the space". No way would I want to try to keep one of them tidy, let alone really clean!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:37PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

I still remember a folk story from gradeschool about the little old couple who wanted a bigger house. When the litle old lady rolled her noodles the rolling pin stuck out the windows. So they went to the wise old man who told them to first bring the dog into the house. That was worse they cried to the old wise man. Each day he had them add another animal, until all the farm animals were in the little house with them. After a week like that, he told them to take all the animals out. Oh they were so happy that the wise man had got them a bigger house without any construction. Size is realtive.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:10PM
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In our immediate neighborhood, the "normal" sq foot is about 23,000-28,000, that's what people want to buy so that's what the contractors build. It's fine with me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Tibs, I love that story. I have 2600 square feet.Two bathrooms and three bedrooms.It is too much house for me and someday will downsize, but for now I enjoy having lots of space and I have to say every closet is full.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:51PM
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gandle(4 NE)

This old Sears home is only 850 sq. ft but the full basement is finished so the 2 of us have plenty of room. Normal here with new home is about 2400 sq.ft.

George has his shop and we do have a large shed with a full basement under the shed. Originaly they called it a cyclone cellar but it is great for storing root veggies..Sometimes I wish the kitchen was a little larger but I suppose thar will never happen.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 10:04PM
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My house is absolutely gigantic for the era in which it was built, but it shrank as it got older. LOL I suspect about 4K square feet plus a cellar. Initially it was a four bedroom but when the plumbing moved inside, the second parlour was turned into a fifth and the bathroom. Yes...five bedrooms and one bath and just thrilled it's inside.

They run the gamut in size in our area from the minimansions to tiny cottages and I suspect folks just sort of migrate to the sizes they feel they need if they're fortunate. I see a trend now for newer homes here to return to more traditional sizes and a lot of McMansions empty and foreclosed. I also did not have any difficulty selling a 780 sq foot bungalow I owned a few years some people still are fine with small.

It makes no difference to me what size home folks think they require and that changes with the economy and culture. However, I think the last few decades have had some buyers biting off more than they can fiscally chew and I see a trend in young first-time buyers who want to skip the 'starter home' mentality my generation accepted as normal. I think programs like HGTV feeds into their perception of what they think they "need". I was in my last year of secondary school before I got my own bedroom and always had to share with my sib. Even some of our very large Victorian homes still only had two bedrooms, but very HUGE ones.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Uhm, just under 2000, methinks. A little more with the addition. Thinking of adding a bigger sun room. The real luxury is the slightly less than one acre for a yard, and half of that fenced in. Gotta have space for the dogs.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 9:23AM
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"When someone wants five bathrooms I just think about cleaning them all."

Frogged, if they can afford a 5-BR/5-BA home they can probably afford to pay someone to clean it for them.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:39AM
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I have lived in two consecutive houses with less than 900 sq ft. Both with three people and only one bath. I would say 1200 sq ft would be best for we three, or now, just we 2, with two bathrooms would be perfect. Not normal, but perfect. Those were just a tad too small. But not by much. If I had what I wanted, well, that would likely be 2400 sq ft. But 1200 is very doable. Come to think of it, we actually had three bathrooms at one point, and we never ever used all three at one time even with three people. Never. Anything more than 2 1/2 is pretty much a waste.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:07AM
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as soon as I posted I remembered something. My first time around getting married, I married into some money (his bonuses were Rolex watches, but his family also had money). We went to Hilton Head on our honeymooon while some of his cousins were using their vacation home down the street. We went to visit them just to say hi and I saw their house. There were two livingrooms, seven bedrooms, five baths, and a nanny for every child. Each child had a nanny!!! That's who owns those kinds of homes. They can have it, I don't want it.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:10AM
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2100 sq. ft. tract design from 1953 double attached garage made over to extra bedroom/storage/laundry. One and 3/4 bath 2 bed and office/family/bed. House next door has same floor plan but was added on to and upgraded. That makes ours the smallest in the neighborhood of 90 houses. Most were built by each owner in the early 50s and varied a lot.

There are only 5 or 6 original owners left and Missy is considered one as she lived next door with her parents till she and her first husband moved in here. The new people that move in tear down to frame or one wall and build mac-mansions 4000 to 10,000 ft. The lots are 1/2 to 1 1/2 acre ours being just under 3/4 and pie shaped narrow at the front.

She has been in this house since 64 and I since 83. If I win lotto I will dig a basement but not change the foot print of the house, may add a second story. Not many basements in So. Cal. and I miss the one I grew up with in Iowa. Also a good base for many solar and passive heat/cold exchange designs. We spend most of our time outside any way.

This neighborhood has one entrance and is in a better part of town so some here still asses for over a million, our value is the lot so we come in at half that or less. There is a 22 acre lake 3 blocks away, city golf course next to the neighborhood and hiking/riding trails all around. There is also an association that is voluntary that gives access to a huge community pool and tennis courts. We have our own pool and don't play tennis so don't belong to it.

The house is adequate but crowded as we both collect stuff (que George Carlin) and any addition would be to house stuff and upgrade the place. We all tend to fit the place we are planted and learn to make do with what we have no matter the size. Home sweet home.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:23AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

I've come to the conclusion there is no such thing as "normal" in housing, and probably no such thing as "usual". One has what they need, or they don't. Has what they want, or not. The wants and needs change considerably with one's age, and the number of relatives living together.

DH1 & I lived in a smallish 900 sf house that had one tiny guest BR and a huge triple-garage-turned-into-rec room. It was perfect for us at that stage of our lives. Then we had a house with about 3K sf (needed more guest rooms, right?) which was wa-a-ay too much. When my world turned upside-down, the dog and I went to a small apt. ~ and didn't miss much more than a few of all those square feet.

I now live in about 1800 sf, which was okay when we bought it, was okay with one child, and is okay now although I sure would like to do some remodelling (it'a not a well-designed house). I never expected to be in that house for more than a couple years, but life has a way of tossing curves so here I still reside.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:47PM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

Ours is 3264 finished + 780 unfinished. Three bedrooms + an office that would be a bedroom if it had a closet, 3.5 bathrooms, and a 3.5 car garage. It's bigger than the two of us need. We were thinking of it as an investment when we bought it. That didn't exactly pan out, but we haven't lost our shirts either. Size-wise, it's on the smaller side in our neighborhood. I do love the openness of it, and I think it'll appeal to a wide variety of families when it comes time to sell. One of the unfinished rooms in the basement is perfect for one of those fancy home theaters with a bar. We've never taken it on because I hate sitting through movies as it is.

We've only ever bought existing homes, and are looking forward to building our own some day. It won't be this big when we do. (And we'll probably go with a 3:2 toilet to butt ratio.) We find ourselves attracted to the ingenuity of stuff like this and like this. Do I want to live in a space that small? Hell no! But I love the modularity of the furnishings in both of those examples. Because we bought an existing home, there are parts of it that we only use a few times a year (like guest rooms), but they take up a lot of square footage. Ideally all guest beds would be murphy beds (which I've already demonstrated an ability to build ;o) or would fold out from daytime furniture.

Basically, I'd like all rooms to be "murphy" rooms. I like the idea of moveable walls, of hidden storage, of furniture on wheels, of multipurpose built-ins, and of open spaces. We do entertain an awful lot. Our front patio with the fire pit is our most used "room" in the summer months, and I'd love to duplicate that in an indoor/outdoor space that would work year-round in Wisconsin.

I don't want a bigger house, but I do want a "smarter" house. And I'd also like to tap in to enough alternative energy sources to subsist "off grid"... but still be plugged in so we could sell any excess, or supplement when possible.

My dad was one of 11 children and was raised in a 3-bedroom, one bath My parents are in the process of building their retirement home. I think it has even more square footage than the one we were raised in, and it's just them and the dogs.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:39PM
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"... an office that would be a bedroom if it had a closet."

If that's the definition of a bedroom, we have a one-bedroom, 12-room house. It's over 100 years old. I'd be okay with it being a little smaller in strategic places, and I'd like my postage-stamp kitchen to be bigger, but in general we have a little rambling room.

The house I grew up in didn't have very many rooms, but they were all nice-sized. Three of us shared a shower. I'm thinking people weren't quite as fanatical about daily morning showers back then.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:39PM
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calliope(6) house is almost 200 years old and it had one closet. The width of the inglenook and one foot deep with no rod. That's what armoires were made for. Hubby built in closets in all the bedrooms on each side of the fireplaces. Every room in my house had one, including the kitchen.

I agree totally with what Michelle is saying. It's more about smart design than size and I've had smaller homes with excellent use of space and large ones with lots of really wasted space and designs so poor that they look chopped up and the walls almost non-functional for furniture placement because of heating systems, door and windows. We could do a lot with new home builds in the way of passive solar design as well and cut our energy uses tremendously.

I don't have murphy beds in this house, but have used things like day beds in rooms with serious mattresses on them so that something like a sewing room can be repurposed easily to a spare bedroom.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 6:35PM
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I just loved that cute little house Michelle! Can NOT stop thinking of it. It so made me think of me this past few years. I keep getting smaller and smaller, and many things I own and utilize (not like, I sleep in my car that's also a bed! kind of way) are multipurpose. I would love to have a little piece of land on a lake somewhere nearby and that cute lil' ol' cabin could sit on it easily. I could afford that!

Shoot Suz, with your ingenuity with broom handles drying pasta, I'm betting you already could house a housefull and never miss a beat.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:22AM
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