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Considering A Small House

Several factors will determine the size of your new home. You may have found a great piece of property, but now you want to build a house and need to decide how big of house you should build. The funny thing is that everyone has a different way of looking at. For example, the building industry tries to set the trends and provide much of the new housing in this country. They have a standard product which includes a home with 3 to 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a two car garage. This, of course, is assuming that everyone has the same spatial needs and financial resources. Other people will beg to differ on what the standard size of a house should be.

The truth is that the marketing philosophy that the building industry is promoting leaves increasing numbers of people out of the equation. These same people are forced to buy homes that are bigger and much more extravagant than they really desire or are able to afford. Every other industry has rethought their products and begun to downsize and improve efficiency, but the housing industry refuses to change. They insist on promoting the “average” size family unit despite the huge changes in the average size and composition of families. This is why a solution has been thought of which involves the “small house” as an attractive alternative.

Small homes allow a whole new group of people to enter the housing market with less initial investment and lower financing and operating costs. They are a perfect choice for people who want less space to care for and are living on a budget. They are attractive for several reasons which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reduces the amount of regular maintenance.
  • Frees up more land around the house for gardening and recreation activities.
  • Houses can fit comfortably as infill and onto difficult lots.
  • Small homes offer an opportunity to simplify life and help people become more focused on things and activities that are really valuable to them.
  • Small homes cost less to build.
  • They can be used as a primary residence or as a vacation home, guest house or a home for an elderly relative.
  • Provides a cozier atmosphere.
  • More environmentally friendly design.

Of course, building a small home requires you to do a much more intensive approach to the planning of spaces, traffic patterns, and defining elements. You need to take into account every foot of floor and wall area because you want the space in the home to be used most efficiently. Below are a few of the areas that need specific attention.

  • There must be adequate and well-located storage, to reduce clutter.
  • Small rooms should be made to feel bigger with partial walls; strategic placement of windows, vaulted ceilings, and perhaps carefully designed outdoor spaces to extend the visual and functional dimensions of the interior.
  • Careful attention should be made to sight lines in order to make the home appear larger then it is.
  • Spaces must supplely accommodate multiple uses, such as in a kitchen where food is prepared. The kitchen needs to be a place for people sit, to eat or to congregate during parties; as well a room for plants to grow and craftwork to be undertaken.

Keep in mind; small homes, typically those under about 1800 square feet, begin to cost more per square foot than larger homes. This is mainly because small homes can't take advantage of the economies of scale that larger homes can. There are still set costs; permits, utility hookup fees, insurance, land, etc.
Overall, a small house may not be for everyone, but if you are daunted by the escalating cost of building, concerned about the environment, and open to a more flexible use of your living space than a small home may be an option worth considering.

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