Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How our living space can make a difference- Size matters!

Home. Since I have left my parents home for university, 10 years ago (ack!), 'home' has been a pretty flexible term. From a dorm room to apartments, to a city or back to my little Nova Scotian village, I haven't had a real place to call my 'own' for more than two years.

 Our tiny abode, note how Veronica lives in our living room, along with packed boxes, our computer 'desk' also doubles as a stool- crafty I know.
Now Andrew and I are in the midst of packing up our stuff and getting ready to move into a larger space. Another rental. Some day we'll actually be putting our money into an investment instead of the rental black hole. We've talked a lot about what we'd want in a house, dreams of environmentally friendly power sources, geothermal heating, solar panels, grey water systems... you know. Everything we can't afford. And small. We want our space to *fit*.

That's key really, before we start talking about high tech gadgets, simply having a space to fit a regular family is the best place to start. As we know, house sizes have quadrupled in the past 50 years while actual family sizes have shrunk. Do we really need so much space?

In the past two years Andrew and I had the opportunity to watch while my brother and his (then) partner built their 'dream' home. A huge monstrosity of a house with a nine foot roof that would never be able to be converted into living space. Beautiful though it may have been, we were baffled by their need for this amount of space. 

I never really understood why people had random rooms that they barely used. Like the dining room-kitchen, living room-family room concept. What is the point of having a pristine room where no one was allowed to sit? A huge waste of space, energy and resources. Although I can see the 'fancy' in having a special room for (rich?) guests or relatives to have holiday meals or sit and drink... um... tea twice  a year, but is it really worth it? Our family did just fine with our kitchen table and living room (ahem SORRY family room). 

Of course, living in a tiny tiny space also isn't that much fun. Currently our 540 square foot living space has kinda gotten a bit cramped. So we're moving on up to a roomy 817sqft apartment where I could even spin around in the bathroom with my arms wide! Yay!
 Current miniscule bathroom- NB: must shut door prior to sitting on toilet.
I know that living in a huge space I would feel a bit lonely, spread apart from my family. I know, I know- 'wait till you have kids'... (sigh, if I don't hear that one every single day)- even though my mom said it would have been nice to have a den for us when we were teenagers, we still managed just fine with our one living room. It's called doing something other than watching tv all evening. If that's your priority as a family, then a few evenings of sharing the tv during the evening shouldn't be that stressful.
View from our 'dining' area... Andrew typing away!
Some day Andrew and I will have our little home, just for us. It won't be perfect (nor will it be perfectly 'green') but it will be ours and made to fit.


article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. This is just the post for us. I feel happier every day that we are buying our 1800 sq ft house in which we will continue to live in the 760 sq ft second floor flat! More space = more stuff, although I do understand the need to have a spot for your bike...people these days are just so extravagant with space and resources. Living in a smaller space is good for your pocket book and good for the environment. Diego and I are looking forward to the green modifications we would LOVE to make on (almost) our duplex. Top of the list is a green roof! :)

    Keep us posted on the move! And we should do brunch this weekend...I need to give you your dish back (sans cheesecake...that disappeared faster than the brownies!!) :)

  2. Just thinking about this after seeing a video about space-saving furniture. I love having a slightly large space to move in, and to be able to designate an area to just sleeping/relaxing, and one for work (an office, for instance). We actually have a big place (3 bedrooms, 2 baths) but we barely fit because our furniture just doesn't work for our lifestyle. Brian actually wants a BIGGER house, but not me! I don't want to clean it and I don't want to pay for the gas to heat it!

    I keep dreaming of owning a small house someday with a yard I can garden in, and solar panels and...well, you know!

  3. I think about these same things. The hub and I talk about the type of place we'd like to end up in and I'm continually pushing for less space. It's always amazing to me how large houses can get these days--who wants to heat and cool one of those suckers nor clean it? (And of course, that's without including all the other environmental factors.) My personal thought is: don't buy more house than you're able to keep clean & organized. Because just as mentioned, more house equates to more crap stuffed into it by our society.

    I love drooling over Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines though, dreaming of the day we can settle somewhere and are willing to purchase our own home. I absolutely love the charm of the ol' 20s bungalow but have been intrigued by the adobe hay bale design and the new Blu Prefab Homes that are out on the market.

    One thing to think about: I've offered to my hub to hang his bike with hooks in our hallway along the wall. That way it's sort of "put away," is close to the door, and makes art in its own right. He has yet to take me up on it, but I'm sort of hoping he does! Maybe will work in your own home?

    And if you flatten out your moving boxes and paper and store them well---they'll continue to last you for years. I too have moved every year for the last 9 years, and I've used the same boxes the whole time! :) Good luck with packing!! And I hope you post pictures of the new place too!

  4. amen! i have a friend in a half million dollar, 5 bedroom home. just she and her husband. and a 'multimedia room'. dude, seriously? this year my big deal is to move my tv downstairs to the guest room, and - voila! - it's a media room (plus a cool place to sleep in the summer).

    your home will come to you soon, the small place will make you love it when you have 1500 square feet (which i have, half being my basement i'm hardly ever in, it's amazing how little we really need - and people consider this a TINY house, what ever!)

  5. i'm with you. living in college dorms and then city apartments made me realize i don't want to live in a house as big as the one i grew up in...yet when i look for houses on the market, those are mostly the kind of thing that's available. i don't want a pool, dining room, 2000 sq ft plus AND i want to be under two miles to town. no place is going to be perfect, but it will take some work to find that when i move out of the city someday. in the meantime i am content in 600-800 sq ft sized apartment.

  6. I love learning about how other people maximize their living spaces. Our house is 1,040 sq ft, which is good for us and our dog and one potential mini-human, but would start getting really cramped after that. We've talked about adding an addition, but that takes money and resources and eco-guilt. It definitely helps us focus on not accumulating extra stuff, though. Good luck with the move--can't wait to see what your new place looks like!

  7. My husband and I constantly dream about the house we may one day own and both agree that it needs to be no larger than 1200 sq ft. We can't imagine the cost of heating and lighting these giant houses...let alone the time spent cleaning them! Too wasteful all around...

    Enjoy your new space :0)

  8. I am so grateful that we found our "dream" home. Old, charming, and lots of character. Just enough room to grow if we decide to have a family. Lots of outdoor space for green leafy things and veggie gardens and flowers. Ah, I love home. We definitely found our "forever" house.

  9. When I was a teenager, I absolutely hated our small house and that I had to share a room with both of my sisters, but now that I'm grown up with kids of my own, I love our 1200 square feet, not having to clean so much, and knowing exactly where my kids are at all times (and being able to hear them).

  10. I'm so glad so many of you are agreeing with me. i had a few moments wondering if i'd get some "yeah but, you obviously do not have children or you'd think differently" commenters...

    Yes for small (ish) living!


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