How much square footage do you really need?

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Stephen
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How much square footage do you really need?

Postby Stephen » Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:49 am

A client of mine and I were having this discussion the other day. He said he wants to get to 4000sq ft as soon as possible.

I think how much square footage one needs is really dependent on a bunch of factors: family size, frequency of visitors, geographic location, etc. However, I find it unfathomable that a family of four "needs" 4000sq ft in SoCal.
Stephen Meade
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Postby SoMo » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:10 am

I live in TX (for the past 4 years) and you've all probably heard the old saying "everything's bigger in TX". So true. The houses, the vehicles (mostly big ol' trucks and SUV's and the like), the hair, the people, and the food portions - YIKES!

Our house is only 2480 sq. ft. or something like that. I say 'only' in a 'how it relates to other homes around here' way. For us, it's too much house. It's me, hubby, and two sons (6 and 1 yr olds). We have a guest room, a dining room and a garage that hardly gets used and a 3rd bathroom that's really not needed. And all that extra space is just extra that we have to cool during these blazin' hot sumers. (Today it's supposed to be 103 with a heat index of 105-109).

We are planning on staying here for enough years to get it fixed up 'real purdy' and sell and get something much smaller, hopefully with a pool so we can cool off when it's hot like this.

I don't know if there's a formula for how much house one really needs - but I think we could all do with a LOT less and be quite happy and comfortable.
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Postby Keke » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:12 am

Well, our house has just under 2000 sq. ft. of living space, which is plenty for the two of us. I can't imagine maintaining a home bigger than that without help!

However, I must admit I'd be happy with more storage space. Since there's no attic or garage in our home, our crawlspace and closets are maxed out. We can't help it--my husband and I are rabid book and movie collectors!

Fortunately, we are on a 3/4 acre lot, giving us plenty of room to expand, or build. But no two-story additions for us! My dream is to have a nice mod-cottage separate from the house to use as my art studio. Oh, and a pool for those Hotlanta days. Hey, I can dream! :D

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Postby johnnyapollo » Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:21 pm

I agree with SoMo and Keke - our house is 2400 sq ft of finished space and most of that is living/dining/kitchen - it's really more space than we need (but the cats do like to chase each other all over it so it's better for them). We've also got about 2000 sq ft of basement for all the crap we have so storage is not an issue. I think most of that, with the exeption of my wood shop, we could get rid of without much thought. With only two adults and two cats, we find it's quite a bit of work keeping it clean so it's at the upper limit of our tolerance as far as maintenance goes. I don't think we could do anything bigger. When I see these houses with 6000 sq ft I really don't see how people maintain them - they must either have someone who doesn't do anything but clean or a team of servants.

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Postby siobhanmarie » Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:13 pm

i think there is a big discrepancy between 'need' and 'want' these days. nobody 'needs' a 4000 square foot house, unless they either have 12 children, or perhaps live with a spouse they hate, and only want to run into once a week. to me, it's all about ego, and 'mine's bigger than yours'. americans are known the world over for consuming a hugely disproportionate amount of the world's natural resources compared with everyone else, so why should housing be any different?
my husband and i are in the process of selling our home, which is 1927 square feet, 3 bedroom, 2 bath. after our two sons moved out last year, we felt like the house and property were too big for just the two of us. we always considered this a great family home...two of the bedrooms with a jack 'n jill bath between them, family room, big formal spaces, lots of storage, lg. grassy yard and detached office. when we interviewed realtors, however, we were told that our house was definitely not a 'familly' home, but would be ideal for a couple. i'm sure that when this house was built in 1926, it not only was a family home, but one of the larger ones in the neighborhood.
our perception of what we 'need' certainly has changed over the last century, and we as a country have been conditioned to consume, consume, consume. a 4000 sq. ft. house is the ultimate in consumption...just imagine all the STUFF you can buy to put in it! :D

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Postby ch » Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:40 pm

Great thread.

The two of us (no kids) are quite happy with our 1500 square feet of space - space that we occupy and use fully. Then again, we have an architect designed home with a great plan. I think most Americans would ditch the architect and the plan and just go for BIG! I see many folks who think that quality means a jetted tub or granite countertop while overlooking the fact that most of these new, large monstrosities are really so cheaply built.

Anyway, while some needs have changed (I really do NEED my home office!) others are surely based more on status and fad.

For me, I'll take a creatively designed vintage house, sensitively oriented on a nice site. And the smaller, the better.

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Dee Goodrich
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Hot button topic!

Postby Dee Goodrich » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:54 pm

Dee

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Postby Sienna » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:50 pm

I have about 1200. There are four of us and there is still wasted space!

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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:00 am

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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My 2 cents

Postby modfan » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:18 pm

I grew up in a house about 1500 sf or so it was quite adequate. After I grew up my parents (just the 2 of em) moved to a 2600 sf 2 story. It was ok for them but they remarked that they never used the living room except when folks visited. And the didn't much care for the fancy m. bath-I think they used the 'roman' tub once it was too difficult to get in and out of, it was just easier to use the shower and the reg. tub in the other bath.

What I've found in most of those over sized vulgaria homes was they just wasted space with rooms for specific uses. Yeah people get those 4000 sf homes but I guess they hire a maid to clean all of it, it seems too selfish to me unless you have 6 kids. Ya notice Eichler, Cliff Mays and even csh 22
were not very big but they used space well. I remember when it was highly unusual for a new home to be 3000 sf but now that seems on the small side.
I dunno why it continues I guess it's like SUV we continue to want house/car porn instead of something sensible. I think you can get a good 4/2 for less than 2000 sf and a generous 3/2 in about 1400 sf. I think this bigger is better stuff is just crap.

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Postby kjansma » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:23 pm

According to my mother-in-law, a lot of the people who do tear-downs in Atlanta, then build McMansions, seem to sell them within a few years. I think the desire to impress people with the size of your home pretty quickly clashes with the realities of living in one. I imagine a day in the not-too-distant future, when the economy really tanks and all the McMansions get divided up into apartments.

I live a pretty typical south Orange County housing tract, but it was built in the late 60's and only later incorporated into Mission Viejo. Because of this we are one of the few neighborhoods without an association (which is why I was able to bring myself to move here). The old couple down the street just tore down their 1900 square foot ranch and are building a 4000 square foot two-story house with an RV garage. My house is plenty big enough for myself, my husband and our two kids. Why on earth does a retired couple need a 4000 square foot home? And why would they spend that money in my bland little tract?

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Stephen
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Re: My 2 cents

Postby Stephen » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:36 pm

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:42 pm

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Postby classic form » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:15 pm

I grabbed a book off the shelf this morning to read on my trip to North Carolina and when I read the following I thought of this thread. It is from "GEORGE NELSON DESIGN" which is a collection of essays and such put in book form first printing in 1979. This particular part is from a chapter that recounts a speech that was given to the "International design conference in Aspen" in 1977, by Mr. Nelson. Speaking of love, of all things, He relates the following story about FLW:

Fromm described loving as an intense awareness of the reality, the miraculous living reality, of another person. It can also apply to things. I watched Wright design a building once...five hours of the most incredible concentration I've ever seen, and at the end of it, he sort of woke up and looked around (I was sitting in a corner hoping I wouldn't be thrown out) and said, "Come here, George. I want to show you somehting." He pointed to his drawing: " I was supposed to get this church done two years ago, but I really didn't have the right feeling about it. Today I got it and look...here's the church and here's the little loggia that goes to the minister's house." And he said, "You know, George, it's a very modest house, the church doesn"t have much money, but it is a noble dwelling!" This was the difference between Wright and any other architect I ever met. He was loving that dwelling because it was noble.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:28 pm

1240 sqft for two adults and a beagle. I also have 600 sqft of patios we use 3/4 of the year. I don't think homes this size would be too livable without floor-to-ceiling glass and an indoor/outdoor relationship. So, even though your physical house may only be 1200 sqft, you really need to outdoor livingspace to count as well.

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Postby kjansma » Thu Aug 17, 2006 7:34 pm

Stephen, I can't believe you guessed it! I live on Classic Drive. Did you grow up in this neighborhood? Apparently the original owner of the house was a pretty notorious non-threatening lunatic engineer of some sort. And his wife loved trees, so every tree a neighbor didn't want (when the neighborhood was built) ended up in our front yard or courtyard. I don't even have to give people an address, I just say it's the house with the trees.[/quote]

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Postby KateT(CA) » Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:53 am

Best regards,
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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:58 pm

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Fri Aug 18, 2006 5:10 pm

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Postby Canaletto » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:01 am

Things may be different in California or the South, but here in Michigan, I suspect that 1,000 square feet with no basement would start to feel pretty small in the depths of winter, even for just one person and a cat.

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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:17 am

Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Postby Van » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:00 am



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