Author Topic: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?  (Read 26213 times)

Greg

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2015, 08:00:02 AM »
I'll reinforce everyone's advice about stuff, the not-collecting-too-much-of-it part.  Any amount of space will feel small if you fill it.

I was thinking about this earlier when the topic of shopping for furniture came up with family.  I thought about how according to furniture stores, you need a bed with headboard, dresser(s) and bedside tables that all match just to start.  Baloney, I have a bedframe (no headboard) and some small items that function as bedside tables, my side is a large chunk of douglas fir, think wood cube.  Anyway with drawers in the closet this minimalist look means the room is large and spacious feeling.

I do design build for a living and sometimes meet with clients looking to add or remodel their homes to gain more space.  About half the time the problem is more of clutter and organization than actual space.  Kitchens, basements, I've seen and talked to several clients who didn't need to remodel but instead to declutter and get rid of stuff.  It seems to happen most often to parents of older kids, the kids are heading to college but they have too much of their stuff still, and often too much space not too little.

About kids toys, you can keep toy clutter to a minimum by following a couple of simple rules; toys get put away when they're not being played with and also when a new toy is obtained, one gets donated or passed down/on to a relative or friend.  Fewer toys often means more enjoyment from the toys.  Another thing to consider is toys like Plymobil that can be put away into containers.

FIRE me

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2015, 12:41:13 PM »
If you haven't already done so, be sure to Radon test that basement and upstairs too if you are in a high Radon zone. Radon is not a basement only problem, but it can get especially high in basements.

Anything on this map except for light yellow is a potentially high Radon area:
http://www2.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-radon-programs#radonmap

I don't see a problem with the size. I was raised in a 1100 SF three bedroom house with four siblings and no basement. Girls in one bedroom, boys in the other.

Sure, more space would be nice. But McMansions are not Mustachian.

Goldielocks

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2015, 01:10:40 PM »
Awesome house! 

It is big where it matters - yard, kitchen, living areas (plural).

You won't have any problem with the size.  Ours is a bit larger and even our teenagers do not use the second living area-- we are all in one big common kitchen / family room or office with the computers, all the time.   We grow into the yard for workshop/ camping storage space, etc by building a garage or shed.

note--
Darker colours on the walls will make each room feel a bit smaller, but cozy.  Different decorating tricks will visually open up the walls, including use of white, etc.  I much prefer the dark / wood / brick tones myself.


MBot

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2015, 01:36:50 PM »
Having lived in a similar house with 2 kids, here are my practical tips:

-Keep the kids sleeping on the same floor as you until they are 3-4-5ish.  This is because even when they are sleeping all night reliably, there will be times they have nightmares, or wet the bed, or puke.  You want to be near them when they are little- you don't want them going up and down stairs in the dark to find you, or crying for a long time until you hear.  Save the potential basement bedroom for guests, or an office, or for older kids.

-Minimize their clothes.  Kids do not need a million clothes.  Their closets should not be packed full.  Use the empty space in the closets to store off season clothes and extra toys.

-Toys:  do not keep them all out at once.  Have half (or more) in rubbermaid tubs in the closet.  Every 2 weeks or month, switch the out toys with the put away toys. 

-Figure out where toys are going to be.  Realistically, the kids will want to be in the same room as you until at least 3-4-5.  If you like playing in the basement with them, cool.  Try to imagine whether you really want to be down there all the time- I personally like to be tidying up or cooking or whatever upstairs, so we always had some toys on the main floor- either the living room or their bedroom.  The key to having some in the living room is to have a SMALL number of toys.  This is why you keep lots of them packed away.  If you have them in the bedroom, you want a small number because they are small rooms.  Too many toys out becomes a mess on the floor, and once it gets to that point, they don't get played with anyway.

-Skip dressers for the kids- put shelves in the closets. 

-Each of my kids has a small 3-4 shelf bookcase by their bed.  This is the "nightstand" and all there toys fit on it.  Then clothes are in the closet.  So a small bedroom still has plenty of room, and they can clean up quick.  Messy toys like a million legos, put those in the basement family room, so if they want to leave stuff out no one is annoyed by them. 

-Keep the main living areas tidy by not having a ton of stuff in them.  Have a specific place that stuff like mail gets dropped, and keep it to that small area.  Keep the coat closet cleaned out (off season jackets in the basement or bedroom closets) so all the coats,school bags, work bags, shoes, etc fit.  This may seem impossible with a small coat closet, but its worth keeping that kind of clutter under control.  Alternately, if you have a clear wall by the door, hang baskets (or a shelf with baskets on it) and a hook for each kid.  Mittens/gloves/hats go in the basket, then 1 coat and the backpack hang on the hook.  If you only buy each kid one pair of shoes at a time, the coat closet stays tidy.  If you buy each kid 5 pairs because tiny toddler shoes are adorable, your small coat closet will become a giant shoe pile in the living room.

Etc.

+1. Great advice.

TomTX

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2015, 02:06:41 PM »
Um, why do you have to replace the carpet? Looks fine in the photos.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to Radon test that basement and upstairs too if you are in a high Radon zone. Radon is not a basement only problem, but it can get especially high in basements.

++

 I grew up in what turned out to be a high radon house.

My brother was a light/social smoker - and has lung cancer at 38.

Radon is the #2 cause of lung cancer, smoking is #1. And they reinforce each other.

innkeeper77

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2015, 03:20:53 PM »
Congradulations on the new house! That is about the size we are thinking for when we upgrade to a second home in a couple of years (mostly for location, and our current place will become a rental, we bought it because even with PMI (gone in a couple months) it would cashflow decently after expenses) Everything everyone has said seems like good advice, the more storage a room has the nicer the whole house is. Open space is also good, we knocked down the kitchen/living room wall and it did wonders.

We currently live in a 3 bed 2 bath 850 sf but about 1300 finished including the basement, with two roomates (four adults total). The upstairs bathroom has been being remodeled, and we are VERY excited for that to be done soon, but 1 bathroom with family only sounds like it should be fine. We have taken our time with the bathroom remodel and never reason missed it until the fourth adult moved in. Even 1.5 baths would enough to be extremely comfortable though.

Have fun!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 03:25:31 PM by innkeeper77 »

TVRodriguez

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #56 on: November 09, 2015, 12:59:48 AM »
We are 2 adults and 3 kids in a 1250 Sq ft home built in 1952, with no basement, attic, or garage.  We've been here for 10 years and don't plan to upgrade ever.  There is plenty of space, even after adding the kids. We've been told we have a "big house" by people who have the same size house or larger.

Choose furniture that fits. Look for "apartment furniture " if buying new. It's smaller. Don't get too much. Don't get it all at once.

If you have a tv, flat screen all the way.

Use shelves.

Keep floors clear.

Bunk beds work.

Think double duty. My home office is my laptop on the dining table with a corner shelf unit housing the wireless printer. Our bedside tables are our chests of drawers. DH and I share the bedroom closet in our room.  Our bedroom tv sits on another long chest of drawers that holds wrapping paper, gift bags, random gifts to give away when needed, my personal stationary, and other stuff.  Our family room has no coffee table but has a sectional of sorts, a single smaller plush chair, and wall to wall shelves with books, games, toys, the tv and xbox, and a few random things. The center of the room is empty and is used to play toys.  Our kitchen is a pass through, so our table has a bench on one side that can tuck under the table of the table is pushed against the wall, for parties.

We have white cabinets in the kitchen and Terra cotta colored walls in there.  Bright yellow in the front/dining/office/sitting room.  Cream in the family room.  Choose what you love.

We do have two tool sheds, as DH likes to build things.

I would fix up that second bathroom first. That is more important than the master bedroom, imho, and like other parents have said, I prefer to be closer to my kids at night.

I browse apartment therapy and pinterest for ideas on making the space work. You've got the right attitude. You'll be fine.

rjg

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #57 on: November 09, 2015, 05:43:20 AM »
Wow - 1100 sq ft sounds palatial (but I live in NYC ). To put it in perspective that amount of space would cost about 1.8 million in Manhattan!


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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #58 on: November 09, 2015, 09:12:52 AM »
Thanks for all the posts thus far. We read every single post this weekend and all of them have been helpful, but we especially appreciate the insight from parents. As I said at the outset, it's largely been people with kids who have said "you'll grow out of it." A partner at work even said that we'd list our house as soon as my GF is pregnant with our second child. So it's refreshing to hear parents say the opposite, and that our house is quite spacious.

Aside from being constantly conscious/aware about what we bring into the home, here's what we came up with thus far:

(1) We are going to de-clutter when we move. We can't get used to using all the space for use two simply because we can. We need to only use as much space as we intend to when we have kids.

(2) We loved the suggestion for using a bookshelf as a nightstand. We intend to either use bookshelves or those cube organizers in the kids' bedrooms as well as the basement. I currently use the cube organizers for clothes and they're great.

(3) We also like the suggestion of "vertical shelving." We are going to add shelves in each room and also intend to really maximize closet storage by optimizing the shelves there.

(4) In the basement rec-room, we are going to put the ping pong table I had growing up towards the far wall. I know it sounds weird but that table was extremely functional for my basement growing up--we used it to play with toys, we used it as a casual dinner table for pizza nights, and most importantly, we had a ton of storage underneath (I had two brothers, and we had three huge rubbermaid containers that went under there and we stored all sorts of toys/athletic equipment in there). It basically creates 45 more square feet of storage potential while serving several other functional purposes.

(5) A couple people mentioned to "double up" with as much furniture as we can. And we think that's a great idea. We are going to make sure that all the furniture we buy (coffee table, desks, whatever) has some element of storage utility.

(6) As most have suggested, we do intend to stay on the main floor with the kids until they are 4 or 5 years old. But we would like to finish the bathroom downstairs just to have a second bathroom available.

The overall gameplan is this:

-Move in this week
-Paint basement, pink bedroom, and cabinets when we move in
-Have master bedroom upstairs for quite a while and use small bedroom as a nursery
-Finish bathroom when financially/practically possible
-When kids are old enough, finish master bedroom downstairs
-Move office from downstairs to small bedroom (the former nursery)
-Finish basement to increase warmth/available living space.

Again, thanks for all the advice thus far.

elaine amj

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #59 on: November 09, 2015, 09:30:24 AM »
And you'd be surprised how much can be fit into a tiny bedroom. When I was in college, I rented a tiny bedroom (to fit in my tiny budget). It was 8x8 and all my friends were horrified that i could live in there. Frankly, it had my bed, a bedside dresser, my desk, and a closet. What more space did I NEED? Especially since I also had extra storage space I could use in the basement.

As for your basement, we had a narrow family room too with a bedroom next to it. We did entertain a lot so we eventually ripped down the wall between the two. (Our main living room upstairs is very small so it got impractical). It also gave the kids more space to play around downstairs.

From your photos, you have a lovely space - I personally think it will be plenty with 2 adults and 2 kids. My own house is a more standard 1200/1300 sq ft design with full basement. We have 2 kids AND my MIL lives with us. We have a ton of space we don't really need to use (our entire basement really) although it is nice when we have company over.

And even if you do have company, people are able to squish quite easily. I remember a friend hosting about 20 ladies in her (very small) living room. We sat all over the place (many of us on the floor) and had a great time.


Bob W

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #60 on: November 09, 2015, 10:31:48 AM »
Super nice house!

No sure where you live but by the look of the trees you are south of me ?

That said (if no one has mentioned it)  I would consider in the future enclosing that nice back deck with DIY labor.

The easiest thing would be to put down a subfloor on top the decking and either carpet or tile it.   You can get used sliding glass doors for most of the wall area on three sides for cheap.   You can do a roof tie in.  (you'll want professional advice and or help with that).

I would use a propane radiant heater if needed.   


The total cost will be less than 3K and you'll have a nice 300 sq ft sitting/entertainment room addition that will be used frequently.  It will increase the value of the home far more than the cost.

I for one would never want a master bedroom in a basement.  Yick

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #61 on: November 09, 2015, 12:33:21 PM »
Finishing the bathroom is a good idea by the time potty training rolls around. My four-year-old will hog the bathroom for like half an hour every time he needs to poop. All four of sharing one bathtub was not a problem, and actually I kind of preferred it (one less thing to clean).

I saw someone commenting that the basement seems like a bad place for a master bedroom, but this is not our experience. It's darker, quieter, and better temperature-regulated down there.

FLBiker

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #62 on: November 09, 2015, 12:42:04 PM »
The whole idea of "starter" home or "outgrowing" a home is so weird.  We bought an 1800 sqft house (couldn't find something in the 12-1300 range in the neighborhood we liked) and everyone told us it would be fine "for now" but wait til we had kids.  The family before us lived there for 40 years and raised 4 kids.  Many of my colleagues are now "upgrading".  I don't plan to move unless we change locations or downsize.

Evgenia

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #63 on: November 09, 2015, 12:45:28 PM »
Congratulations! That is a nice looking home.

I don't think you'll have any trouble making it work. If you follow Mustachian principles, you're already set. We have an 860 sq ft. 1950 house (3 BR, 1 1/2 BA, no basement, no wasted hallway space, tiny single-car attached garage, plenty of closet space). When people come over, they say "Good thing it's just the two of you!" I then tell them that a family of six lived in our house very happily (having met three of the four adult children) for 20 years. Each person can only be in one room at a time, anyway. :)

The nicest surprise, perhaps, is how consistently low our utility bills are (< $70/month for electric, gas, and water). You'll enjoy that! I am *stunned* by how much our friends with huge homes spend on their utility bills, even in mild California.

We regularly cull things we're not using, don't really shop, and have a magazine-clean, clutter-free house most of the time (until my sewing room gets out of control).

Enjoy it. It looks like it's going to be great!


partgypsy

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #64 on: November 09, 2015, 01:31:35 PM »
Looks like a really nice house!  We've been told the same thing, our house of 1400-1500 is good for a "starter" home. When the seller told us that my husband cut him off and said "I don't believe in starter homes". To tell the truth there have been times I would like 1 more room but much of our issues is more clutter than of space.
So the main thing is reduce the amount of stuff you have and as other poster said, have a place for everything. It is great to have something serve as a coat closet. You will need somewhere to sort the mail and bills, etc. You need room for the kids and also their toys (ideally in their room). Kids don't mind a small room, so that to you a room that is too small is no big deal because it is private. My first college room was a triplett made into a quad. My room was big enough for a bed, and a desk, with the desk against my bed (my seat was the bed).
Make sure every thing has a place. If need be save some of the space in the basement when you do make a master bedroom, to carve out a storage spot, or make the closet larger so it can store out of season items (I'm assuming you do not have an attic or garage).
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 01:33:09 PM by partgypsy »

mm1970

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #65 on: November 09, 2015, 01:51:29 PM »
Looks like a nice house.  I didn't read - kids in the picture eventually?

So I have 4 people (me, hubby, 2 boys) in an 1100 sf 2 BR, 1 BA house.  No garage.  No basement.  No attic.

It's a squeeze, but it works just fine.  I'm not sure how "comically small" your bedrooms are - do they have closets?  Because it can still work.  If you were going to have kids, I would not have the master bedroom in the basement with kids upstairs.  I wouldn't consider that safe in case of fire or any other disaster.

I recently went to an open house in my hood.  Similar sized house but with a pool!  The master bedroom had a HUGE closet.  But here's what they did:

They took a 3 BR house.  They took the bedroom next to the master and turned it into a walk in closet.

Then they took the old master closet out, and the closet in the 3rd bedroom out (these were against the same wall), and turned that space into a master bathroom.  Genius, right?  If you're a dink!

Essentially it's an office, a bedroom, a large closet, and 2 bathrooms.  The other "bedroom" (office) has no closet.  Totally not useful for a family.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #66 on: November 09, 2015, 02:00:55 PM »
Looks like a nice house.  I didn't read - kids in the picture eventually?

So I have 4 people (me, hubby, 2 boys) in an 1100 sf 2 BR, 1 BA house.  No garage.  No basement.  No attic.

It's a squeeze, but it works just fine.  I'm not sure how "comically small" your bedrooms are - do they have closets?  Because it can still work.  If you were going to have kids, I would not have the master bedroom in the basement with kids upstairs.  I wouldn't consider that safe in case of fire or any other disaster.

I recently went to an open house in my hood.  Similar sized house but with a pool!  The master bedroom had a HUGE closet.  But here's what they did:

They took a 3 BR house.  They took the bedroom next to the master and turned it into a walk in closet.

Then they took the old master closet out, and the closet in the 3rd bedroom out (these were against the same wall), and turned that space into a master bathroom.  Genius, right?  If you're a dink!

Essentially it's an office, a bedroom, a large closet, and 2 bathrooms.  The other "bedroom" (office) has no closet.  Totally not useful for a family.

Interesting reno for a similar house. To be clear, just one of the bedrooms is small. I'd say it's 8x9 but does have a closet. Then there's an entire finished bedroom downstairs.

The issue is that no matter how we shake it, we all can't be on the same floor once the youngest kid grows out of the small bedroom. Even if we followed the couple in your example, that would leave just two bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. We obviously have lot of time to think and debate about it, but I think my GF and I just want our own little space down there with an extremely nice bathroom and closet just for us. Then the kids can own the entire upstairs.

But again, we don't even have kids yet and this is all pretty hypothetical. It all just goes to figuring out how we can best optimize the space and stay there for the long term.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #67 on: November 09, 2015, 05:48:09 PM »
If you were going to have kids, I would not have the master bedroom in the basement with kids upstairs.  I wouldn't consider that safe in case of fire or any other disaster.

Again, my kids sleep upstairs and I do not think it is unsafe. Factors:

1. The egress window is right over our bed. So easy to get out the window and come around the outside of the house if we needed to help our children.
2. Our doors have keyless entry, so we could get back in from the outside easily.
3. We have those stickers on the kids' doors and windows that are supposed to help firefighters find them.
4. We have a non-monitored burglar alarm. When our three-year-old got confused in the middle of the night and opened the front door, the alarm went off. (Since he was crying, I was already on my way up the stairs anyway.)

Evgenia

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #68 on: November 10, 2015, 03:32:59 PM »
Somehow, I forgot to add the possibly actually helpful information I intended to post.

I believe you may be able to paint your cabinets white and have them turn out just fine, because a family member did something similar with paint and changing the hardware. The cabinets looked spectacular when I saw them in person -- super smooth.

I've attached before and after shots. (Yes, I am aware that there is a super racist Mammy cookie jar in photo #2. I swear, this is not my house and the cookie jar is long gone.)

I asked him how he went about it all. He did no sanding. He used a primer by Zinsser that is made to paint over any surface (his cupboards were laminate). Then he painted over the primer with a color called Betsy's Linen (made by Valspar, I think) and added new hardware. He used a fine sponge roller throughout, not a brush, and notes that they could have been even smoother if he had used a paint sprayer, which you can rent them from any home improvement store. (But they were really smooth as it was.)

I asked if he would have done the same thing if the cabinets had been dark like yours. He said yes, and that it may take a couple of coats but was very much worth it. He also said you can always pull a door off and do a test first.

An alternative is to reface the cabinets. You would probably have to ask a pro about that, but it's a step above painting and less expensive than replacing.

Best of luck! I think it will be fabulous.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #69 on: November 11, 2015, 01:18:29 PM »
My ex and I raised 3 kids in an 1800 SF house (no basement - so similar in living space to yours).  3 bedrooms 2 baths.  It never felt too small (although I sometimes wished I had a basement playroom I could send the kids down to!)

The kids bedrooms were decent sized (may 10' x 11') and the two boys shared a room. 

Advantages:  good climate where we made full use of our back deck and other outdoor space. .  Semi-open floorplan made the living spaces seem bigger.

Tricks:  reduce clutter. Keep furnishings to scale (no big oversized pieces). 

fiftyincher

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #70 on: November 11, 2015, 01:38:46 PM »
Wasn't the average American house size in the 1950's something like 983 sq ft? The fact that it's now over 2000 (with less inhabitants no less) is ridiculous.

I look at my grandma's house and think this all the time. My wife, I, and sons (8yo,5yo) live in 1100sq ft, not really well laid out. 3 bed, 1 bath, it's old, has a field stone basement so just storage down there. Cost a little over $100k 11 years ago. We get the 'when are you going to move into something bigger' question a lot. We could afford a lot more. My brother likes to tell me most people making what we make live in $250k+ houses. I tell him I want to retire someday and we can pay off our 'small' home in a few years. They'll still be paying in their 60s. The kids are happy, we're happy. Why move just for more space we don't really need? Plus I can't stomach looking at what payments would be for something twice as expensive.

You have a ton of space! And two bathrooms!!!

NewbieFrugalUK

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #71 on: November 11, 2015, 02:21:22 PM »
If you are planning to DIY the changes (I hope so!) Do look back through the archive of Young House Love (a sadly no longer running blog ) - their first two houses look pretty similar and they did great things without spending much. :)

FrugalFan

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #72 on: November 12, 2015, 11:43:30 AM »
If you are planning to DIY the changes (I hope so!) Do look back through the archive of Young House Love (a sadly no longer running blog ) - their first two houses look pretty similar and they did great things without spending much. :)

Good suggestion! They have great detailed instructions on painting wood cabinets white. It still makes me sad and angry that they were run off the internet by a bunch of jealous meanies who couldn't stand the fact that they got to work from home and spend time with their kids and didn't have to work 40 hours a week each. I hope some of them stumble onto this blog/forum one day and realize that those two had everything figured out.

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #73 on: November 12, 2015, 12:51:23 PM »
You'll do well. A "small" house is awesome. If you can keep the amount of "things and stuff" that you own as low as possible, you'll love it. Ten years ago when single I lived in a 500 sq ft apartment. After six months of that I moved into a 200 sq ft studio. Today, with a family, I live in a palatial McMansion with tiny yard, cause I was a consumer sucka when we bought it. The smaller space I had, the less crap I had, and the more efficient my life was.

Smaller space = less cleaning, lower utilities, less searching for lost things, less time spent walking around, family closer together (instead of in separate rooms staring at separate iDevices), more time spent outside, easier maintenance, more free time, more money, etc. There really aren't many down sides.  I am looking forward to moving into something smaller for our own home when we relocate next year.

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2015, 10:18:02 AM »
The number one reason that kids take up more space than they should is a) people making up for not having time for their kids by buying them too many toys, b) family and friends giving the kids too many toys, c) keeping stuff around after the kids outgrow them, and d) kids need space to run around like crazy things.

For d), you have a basement and a yard! You are GOLDEN. As long as you can manage the keeping-too-much-crap situation, all will be well, so get some routines in place for divesting yourselves of excess possessions and avoid buying more. See if there's a http://buynothingproject.org/ group in your area, or Freecycle, and get the hang of selling on Craigslist if you haven't already.

And for future reference: people-- possibly the same well-meaning people who are telling you this baloney about "growing out" of the house-- will attempt to convince you that you MUST buy everything NEW for babies. Ignore this advice. In my experience, people are so eager to get their kiddie detritus out of the house/storage/basement that they'll damn near pay YOU for it.

Your best investment in the house is to build community in your neighborhood. The benefits are insanely good when you get to the point where you have kids; being able to host rolling play-dates in the winter, having people on hand to hang out with, being able to have someone to babysit or who will keep an eye on things when you're out of town-- literally, this is life-saving. I once called a neighbor at midnight so she could come keep an eye on the baby / sleep on the couch while my husband and I ran to the emergency room, but even more importantly (NO REALLY) when you are a new parent, having a community of people that are familiar to the baby, and that you trust, means that you will sometimes be able to take a break, and even to nap. That is a treasure beyond price, and one that is getting sadly rare in the car-centric society we live in.

Second-most important investment is to make sure the place gets a lot of good sunlight, basement doesn't flood, windows are airtight, and the place is insulated like crazy.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #75 on: November 16, 2015, 08:20:11 AM »
White cabinet update! They're not 100% dry yet (we bought industrial strength paint that won't set for about a week), but when these are done setting, they won't be as glossy.


FrugalFan

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #76 on: November 16, 2015, 11:11:52 AM »
They look amazing! Awesome work!

lakemom

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #77 on: November 16, 2015, 01:22:41 PM »
Ok, first of all...congrats on the new home.  Next, we had 4 kids in a 1100sq. ft. home with ONE bath (being able to have a second full bath will be a HUGE factor in keeping this home long term) and a partial basement (basement was 2/3 the size of the upstairs) that was not dry so could not be 'finished'.  We had a playroom, laundry room and workshop down there but could not drywall or install carpet due to water issues.  We still lived in that home for 8 years growing from a family of 4 to a family of 6...it was really the lack of a second bathroom that made us move.

What you can do....

Maximize bedroom space with underbed storage drawers and customized closets.
Maximize storage in all rooms by going vertical...cabinets to the ceiling in baths and kitchen, shelving to the ceiling in living spaces.
Any modifications made to spaces now should be easily reversible/changeable so that the space can continue as the family grows.

The white cabinets look great and I had white cabinets in a home with 4 kids and a home daycare and they survived just fine and I loved them and still miss them 15 years later.

crispy

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #78 on: November 16, 2015, 01:55:58 PM »
White cabinet update! They're not 100% dry yet (we bought industrial strength paint that won't set for about a week), but when these are done setting, they won't be as glossy.



What type of paint did you use.  We plan to paint our cabinets in the next month or so and are looking for suggestions.

We started in a 1200sf "starter" home back in the day (small garage, no basement) and decided to upsize to over 2700sf before having kids.  I definitely regret that decision.  We just sold the bigger house and downsized quite a bit even though we now have two kids.  Don't listen when everyone encourages you to move to a bigger space.  We would have saved ourselves a lot if we had just stayed put years ago.

Meowmalade

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #79 on: November 16, 2015, 02:28:13 PM »
White cabinet update! They're not 100% dry yet (we bought industrial strength paint that won't set for about a week), but when these are done setting, they won't be as glossy.

That looks so good!  I love a classic white cabinet with nice oiled bronze hardware  :)

Yonco

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #80 on: November 16, 2015, 02:40:13 PM »
I have lived in a 780 Sq foot house for 6 years now. I use to live with my parents in a house that was over 3000sq foot.  Since being on my own i have learned a few things.

1).  780 Sq foot is more than enough for 2 people and 2 dogs(My situation), one bedroom is actually not used and closed most of the time.
2.)  If you have not used an item in 6 months then you need to get rid of it (unless it is truly seasonal)
3.)  Dont accept freebies from family/friends, It leads to excessive clutter.
4.)  Buy it for life, Cheap furniture annoys me.
5.)  Hang a flashlight pointing up in your bedroom, Use it when you get ready in the morning, before bed etc. Its not super bright like the regular lights and honestly i haven't used my ceiling bedroom light in years, its either maglight or sunlight.
6.) Keep hobby items separate from other things. For example, If you collect pocket knives, then have a case for them. Do not just stash a pocket knife under every couch cushion and in every drawer.
 
Ive got a bunch, but there is just a few tips.  I like the paint job on the cabinets, what made you decide to paint them while still mounted as opposed to removing them and painting each individually. Isnt there drips or gaps by the hinges?

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #81 on: November 18, 2015, 07:37:38 AM »
What type of paint did you use.  We plan to paint our cabinets in the next month or so and are looking for suggestions.

We started in a 1200sf "starter" home back in the day (small garage, no basement) and decided to upsize to over 2700sf before having kids.  I definitely regret that decision.  We just sold the bigger house and downsized quite a bit even though we now have two kids.  Don't listen when everyone encourages you to move to a bigger space.  We would have saved ourselves a lot if we had just stayed put years ago.

We went to PPG, which is a regional paint company. We bought their "Pitt-Tech," which is industrial strength paint (it's what they sell to US Steel to paint their machines). We bought the Pitt Tech primer and paint, and a big thing was to get those in the same color so we would effectively have two coats of paint.

Note that you're going to read articles of people putting 3, 4, or even 5 or 6 coats of paint on their cabinets. That's because they bought shit paint. Buy good stuff and it will save you an enormous amount of time.

Process:

(1) Remove cabinets and drawers. Number each. Put hardware in a corresponding ziploc bag.
(2) Buy a cleaning material that removes the wax from the cabinets.
(3) Lightly sand. You're not trying to strip them of their finish, but you're just trying to break the surface.
(4) Wipe cabinets with damp washcloth.
(5) Prime. Be as careful as you would be if you were painting.
(6) Paint. Be sure to go back to watch for drips.
(7) Let dry for two days so paint can really attach to the primer.
(8) Hang back up and enjoy.


SunshineGirl

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #82 on: November 18, 2015, 08:35:22 AM »
Nice job on the cabinets! Wow. They look fantastic. Here are a few tips, based on my doing it wrong for years and years until I've only recently started getting things right in my house:

1. Get the right-sized furniture. Much of what's sold today is too large for a small home. You could make an adorable sitting area in your living room by using four right-sized armchairs (two each facing each other with the fireplace in the middle). Getting the layout right is important.

2. Get COMFORTABLE furniture. Scan Craig's list for leather recliners, etc. Being comfortable in your home is the best feeling.

3. Create nooks if possible, wherever possible. One bedroom could be a reading room/nook. Maybe don't have a TV in the living room, but instead have one BR be a TV room.   

4. Peruse the minimalist websites & avoid overstuffing your house. Keep it as empty as possible while still being homey. In my house, furniture has over the years just shown up - given to us by a BIL who didn't want it but didn't want to donate it, so he'd bring it over, thinking we'd like it. Stuff like that sticks around far too long. The less you can have, the better. It'll make your house look and feel bigger if you have less furniture, and the right size furniture.

5. We don't have a basement, but friends with kids who do often make that the playroom/TV room, and having a nice laundry & guest bed/bath would be great.

6. I agree with the advice to live with the house for awhile before making any major decisions on how much to spend on projects. Enclosing that back porch, if it can really be done for the 3K mentioned, would be fantastic & I'd do that fairly quickly.

Have fun! I'm happy for you guys. I think it's a great place to live because you will automatically be surrounding your children with people who live in houses just like yours & that's actually a big deal. Whether you stay there or not forever, it should definitely be a ten-year house, at the very least.

bittheory

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #83 on: November 23, 2015, 10:23:56 PM »
Congrats on the new house and wow, those painted cabinets look amazing. It's incredible what white paint can do.

We have a similar house, slightly larger (1500 sq ft ranch), but no basement. I have serious basement envy. The ability to have a guest room, play room, TV room, office, storage room, etc is a serious bonus in my book. An attic and crawlspace, while viable storage, is nowhere as convenient as a basement. That's my boat.

My advice echoes most other responders: make the most out of that basement and remember that bedrooms are primarily for sleeping.

Whenever I feel I need more space, or the urge to build an addition, or worst of all to move I remember that "Love grows best in little houses."


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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #84 on: November 24, 2015, 01:45:23 AM »
Your kitchen paint job is stupendous!  Your prep work was outstanding.

We currently live in a 2500 square foot house which was big when our son was home and now is way too big.  I am amazed at all the stuff we bought that is now little used but was Very Important to purchase.  We are now looking forward to the relief of downsizing our home to a 1100 foot condo. 

So, less is better for us.  We are trying to make everything in our new space efficient, avoid clutter, and develop a use it or lose it mentality.  I look forward to selling our current big house and moving on. 

So, my thought is to store up a good emergency fund for the unpleasantness of being a homeowner and live in it without doing any more big changes to see what your family needs and wants. 

I think you are being very wise with your home purchase.

Best wishes.

Bergal

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Re: Tips for Making an 1100 Square Foot House Work?
« Reply #85 on: November 25, 2015, 07:40:52 AM »
Great job on painting the kitchen cabinets!  They look great and the room looks both bigger and brighter.  Love me a white kitchen!