My eight year old son likes to use the word mansion to describe large homes – and he’s made it very clear that he’d like to live in one someday. And since he’s only 8, I’ve come to a conclusion: some people will just like and want big homes, it’s part of their personality. I don’t think he’d be happy with a small house – it’s as simple as that.
My daughter on the other hand, will point out her favorite little bungalows, and talk about how she’ll have a small house when she grows up. Some people are naturally drawn to smaller homes and spaces.
I’d like to think that my kids are not old enough to be too influenced by the world around them, and have been relatively free to come up with their own ideas about house size. I do think that we all have a natural preference for the size of space that makes us feel comfortable. I’ve worked with clients who clearly had a need for larger spaces. Their furniture was a larger scale, the way they decorated demanded more space. I’ve also worked with clients who seemed to crave smaller more protected spaces. They wanted nooks and lofts, or a place to have some privacy.
It’s important to be sensitive to what your own preference is. Don’t be too influenced by trends one way or the other. Along with the overall size of the house, pay attention to room sizes that are comfortable to you. Furniture plays a big part in right size rooms. For example a small living room will have at least some furniture against the wall like a sofa. Large living rooms can have almost all the furniture pulled away from the wall. Rooms that don’t allow either scenario are awkward and hard to decorate, which means they’ll always feel uncomfortable.
When I interview for remodeling projects, I sometimes see that projects are driven by an undefined sense of unease. I’ve become more sensitive about understanding where those feelings are coming from. The home is not offering the types of spaces that are nurturing to an individual or family. The most disconnected, unused, dysfunctional room is often the dining room. The square footage in that space is sometimes enough to make a house live better, if its relationship to the rest of the house can be adjusted. If you are considering an addition because you feel that your home is not big enough – I’d first take a look at how you can turn unused areas into everyday/center of activity rooms.
When thinking about the right size home, also think about what types of spaces you need to feel at home. Bigger may not always be better but on the other hand, you may really need some space to be comfortable and satisfied.
Here are a couple photos I took one evening in Houston. These two properties are neighbors, with an age difference of about 90 years. Perhaps the small house was built in the 1920’s. What will homes be like 90 years from now? We can only speculate on the attitudes, values and lifestyles that will shape the future. I’m certain the builders of the “grandma” house never would have guessed what would be built next door!
Posted: 9/2/2011 6:39:14 PM by
Mary Kestner | with 0 comments