Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Someday House Size

Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I love small homes and am especially enamored with the Katrina Cottages.

They are tiny, but I love that they have just about everything you need, with a super small footprint.  In my head, I have tried to make them work for my family.  Now that I am actually living in a single-wide trailer, I am living in a space that is similar to the Katrina Cottages (only poorly insulated and not energy efficient).  I am realizing that it will not work in a long-term situation.  As much as I love the Ingalls and try to emulate them, we do not live in a two dress society, we have to take more than one bath per week, and we have creature comforts that were not possible in their time (personally owning a library of books, for instance).  A small cottage will not do.  *Sigh.*

Where to go after that?  I have two anecdotes that will help illustrate my house size boundaries.

Number One:

There are two families, both with nine grown children.  One family has no where to go for family gatherings.  Though they all have nice homes--what I would call "normal" suburban homes--there is no living room in the family that is big enough to set up the long tables required for large families to dine.

The second family's mother built this kitchen:

When I saw this picture on my friend's blog after a family reunion last summer, it was like a revelation to me.  Even if it is only for once or twice a year (in the unlikely event that my children do not live on my street), it would be worth having the space to gather.

In addition, I would never want my grown children to delay or never plan a trip to visit me because they couldn't afford a hotel.

Is it weird that I am already planning for when I am a grandmother?

Number Two:

Last year, my niece married a Tongan man.  His family came here for the wedding and stayed with my sister.  They don't really, but compared to the living standards in the United States, his family lives in a grass hut.  My sister has a lovely home, again what I would consider a "normal" suburban home.  When her daughter's new in-laws came, Mollie was so glad that she lives modestly.  She would have felt embarrassed if she had lived in an ostentatious home.

There is the formula:  A house with a large enough kitchen and great room to welcome home my adult children and their families, but not so huge that I would be embarrassed by it.

What do you think about this change of heart?


  1. it has always made sense to me- smaller bedrooms, even let children share rooms but big kitchen and living room! Not only for Grandchildren but for building the kingdom...ward activities, parties, neighbor gatherings, dinner parties, a place people could stay for refuge in case of an emergency.

    Although I really like the idea of having a sitting room off the front door that is big enough for 2 couches and some chairs and a piano! So for those who are sick of "gathering" they can escape to a place with less people and listen to some music. I love love piano playing in the background...but not where it's all consuming and you can't even carry on a conversation in the kitchen.

    Is your library going to be where the computer is too? Will it be sort of your office space too? Or are you going to do that in the kitchen also?

  2. I think you are right on in your thinking. Coming from a large family myself, having a place to gather is important. Having an extravagant oversized home is not.

    I agree with April, smaller bedrooms with larger, open living spaces (and lots of closet space). And I also like the idea of a sitting room as she described. Two of my siblings have this set-up and I love it.

    My brother's home doesn't seem extra large to me (of course it's all perspective), but when I think of it, they have three bedrooms and two baths upstairs (that includes the master) another bathroom downstairs and (if I recall correctly) 3 more bedrooms, a small playroom, a larger gathering/game room, and a huge storage area. Upstairs the Kitchen and Front room areas are connected to one long room. I love the layout because they are very much seperate spaces, but totally open so you can set up a huge gathering, have plenty of space for children to work on projects and play all while doing kitchen work, and when an unexpected guest drops by, you can take them into the sitting room for a quiet chat and they never see the mess of daily living.

    I'm excited to see what you come up with. If you're interested I'll ask my brother if he has a floor plan that I could easily send you.

  3. We have a big but not fancy home. Every Sunday night we have a large YSA gathering for FHE. Having a bigger home has allowed us to serve - we can seat about 15-20 people in our kitchen & seat about the same in our family room. Our home in Washington had a nice layout for feeding lots of people too - do you remember? The kitchen, eating, & family room were one long room.

  4. I'm just waiting to see what you decide because when you are all done with this fabulous project I am going to copy you. :)I have to say that if I could have what I wanted with just what I needed I would have a large gathering area with lots and lots of built in storage. I also really love a quiet spot to read, for kids to do homework, work on crafts or whatever. I think this should be a a room (not the bedroom).I have enough bedrooms for each of my boys to have their own room and yet they all want to be together. I've always loved a bunk room or attic space where they all sleep together. It is really practical to plan for the "grandma" stage of life since it will inevitably come and who doesn't like to go to grandma's house?? You are putting your heart and soul into planning this home. Make it your forever house.

  5. And it's not weird at all to be planning for grandma years- it's smart. The house my parents moved into had a terrible layout and my parents spent 15 or more years remodeling to get a better layout. There was only so much they could do to the house (it's much better, but still so much wasted space- mostly hallways), but they did an awesome job with the yard. I remember my siblings and I giving them grief about planning for grandchildren when we were all still in High School, but now, we are soooo glad they did.

    Lisa said it well, make it your forever house!

  6. I love smaller houses too, less to clean up mostly. Luckily my husband is the same. However, we do need one room for his office so that has to be taken into consideration. We have found that we love our current house because of its open layout for the kitchen/living/dining room. Its not a big house, but if you move the furniture around some, we can get quite a crew in the main living areas and have some fun. It actually feels larger than some of my other families houses. However, we will eventually get one more room to accomodate the office, and that way we might also be able to have one more bed for company, as it gets a little crowded if they are sleeping over.

    I think you are thinking on the right track, focus on the size of the main living areas, sleeping spaces don't have to be too large, we hardly spend any time in them anyway. I so want a library someday as well!