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Bigger than a tiny home - smaller than an average residence.

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In the USA the average square footage of a residential home plan is about 2687 square feet (as of 2015) and the desire for tiny homes has exploded. I'm wondering about how many people would be willing to go above a tiny house but stay right at 1000 sq. foot - no more. For a two-person dwelling does this work? In the case of a smaller timber frame home - you could have a luxurious, gorgeous house at that Square Footage...spend more on timbers, less on unnecessary spread.

Whats the magic number? I attached some photos of plans that an Architect friend came up with - pretty phenomenal.
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3 Timber Home Plans at 1000 Sq Feet
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Lucas Holmgren wrote:Whats the magic number?

 It depends.  For me it's 1400 sq ft on the main floor with a full (partially finished) basement underneath.  With the perfect layout I'm thinking I could get by on 1200.
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We just moved from a 2500 square foot home to a 1100 square foot home and call it our "Tiny House" because it sure feels that way.

I once had a 500 square foot house and ended up adding on to it after just a year. Back then I only had a wife and no children, have always been a minimalist, and yet 500 sq ft was just not enough.

Even in our current house, what we call our "Tiny House", ultimately we plan to add on. We just plain have too. This house has four bedrooms, but we also have four daughters, and not wanting to move here, we sweetened the pot by saying they could each have their own bedroom. But the math does not work right because it means Katie and I sleep in the living room. After being here almost a year now, I can say sounding relatively stupidly by looking back with hindsight, I never realized the impact it would have on our marriage. Not just in our sex life, or the lack thereof, but just privacy, conversations without our children hearing, etc. We just have no place of retreat. Katie and I have really drifted apart because of it.

At the same time we have no storage here. For stuff as simple as "where to put the trash until the trash collector comes", is an issue. And while we have immensly got rid of our stuff, and really have adopted an even more aggressive minimalist lifestyle that stems from clothing to tools, I still have to store what few tools I do have, and yet have no place to really put them.

My suggestion to any archetect designing a Tiny or even small house, is to design it so it can be added onto easily and seemlessly. If that sound self-defeating, I can only say by experience, twice now I have had to abandon the Tiny House strategy, and I was pretty dedicated to it.

In drug rehabilitation they test "success" as being dru-free after 6 years. My thoughts on Tiny Houses are this; while the Tiny House shows always go back and reinterview the Tiny House Homeowners 3 months after moving in, my question is, how do those same people feel about Tiny Houses after six years? Are they still living in them? Now that Tiny Houses have been the rage for that amount of time, we can start getting some longevity answers, and considering there is a Tiny House used market, and I have seen on House Hunters people reverting back to larger houses, I belive I know the answer. I am not the only Tiny House person to need more room.

But incidentally I do plan on building a Tiny House very soon. In my case it is for my in-Laws who live out of state. In our old house, there was room in which they could stay overnight, but not in our new house. This house has a trailer lot though with its own septic system and everything, so its perfect for a Tiny House where they can have a place to stay when they come over. So I am in no way opposed to Tiny Houses, but for specific purposes.

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In 1982 we moved into an 8'x35' 1951 trailer home. We added a greenhouse to the south side and a porch and sauna on the north. We lived in it for 6 years, then moved and built a bigger house, about 600 sq. ft., plus a porch. After 12 years we moved again and built the BIG house, 888 sq.ft. plus a porch and sauna. Most of the time it feels too big. It includes room for an office for our home business and also room for a floor loom and storage. We really did well with 600 sq.ft. and would go back to that if starting over again, although not likely since we're now in our mid 60's. Here in Minnesota there is a substantial part of the year where one hunkers down indoors around the wood stove so a house that is too small doesn't work well for avoiding "cabin fever". And most of the tiny houses lack thermal mass and actually burn more wood than our larger straw bale home. So as with many things, it's about finding a balance, the Goldilocks point of being "just right".
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Maybe it's more of a USA thing, but I see a definite link between housing size and "stuff accumulation". Most of the houses around me are older 1960-era ranches which all have closets that these days appear small. My current house is 1200sqft, and with just me it's more than I need- one bedroom is just for the occasional guest, and another has a few things sitting in it but otherwise is totally unused. So something closer to 800-900sqft would be plenty. I have some shelves in the garage but nothing fancy, and actually park my car in it.

Meanwhile most neighbors have their garage totally packed with stuff, floor to ceiling, that I see when walking the dog. There's always a product to buy to solve some contrived issue that's marketed to consumers. Know anyone that has a large treadmill in a room, with a few pieces of clothing laying on it because it hasn't been used for years, but "one of these days" it will? So newer, bigger houses have a lot more storage for stuff, including attics or basements. They also tend to have more than one communal space like a living room plus family room plus office space, so every member of the family can go to their own 300-400sqft area to do an activity and not interact with others. Each child getting their own bedroom is another factor, rather than 1 room for boys and 1 for girls, using bunkbeds or just 2 singles. I remember as a kid having a chest of drawers built under a bed once, rather handy for a 10'x12' bedroom for 2 kids which was the standard size.

It can be very liberating to break from the accumulation of stuff as a bandaid for being bored or trying to distract yourself from an otherwise unhappy life. Nothing wrong with hobbies that involve stuff of course, and especially when you have kids there can be a lot of stuff between holiday decorations and toys, but the less stuff you have the less space you need and more housing options are available to you.

I plan to include plenty of shelving in an Oehler/Wofati design, including built-in storage between posts to separate rooms and along the outer wall seems pretty straight forward, and I plan to have a root cellar as well as an electrical room for batteries and solar power gear panel. Not sure that more storage beyond that would be necessary, but planning for storage under the bed too, to save something other than dust bunnies.
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