You know those folks who live in a house that’s twice the size it needs to be for their family to live comfortably? I used to be one of them but I’m happy to say that my current, realistically sized house meets my family’s needs perfectly. Who needs to take care of extra square footage? I love living smaller. Simplifying my life was one of the best things I’ve ever done—aside from having two incredible sons (of course I’m extremely biased).
Sarah Susanka, the queen of the “Not So Big” empire (she’s written eight books on the subject) has stood on her smaller house soapbox for years and tried to convince all of us to reduce our square footage. I think she was ahead of her time. When people were building McMansions, she was telling everyone to lower their obnoxiously high ceilings and create smaller, cozier spaces. She knew what she was talking about.
In her latest book, “Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live” (Taunton Press, $32), Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo, share valid points for remodeling over buying a new house. (Although if you want a good deal on a house, it’s not a bad idea to buy now.) She provides three main solutions for remodeling your home: working within the existing footprint; designing room “bumpouts” that extend the space by a couple of feet; and doing small-scale, cost-effective room additions.
She suggests creating a clear separation between your home office and the rest of your home including making the door to your home office different from the rest of your home. That provides you with a physical reminder to get to work.
A friend recently asked me if I missed my former house. After I told her what I used to pay in utility bills, property taxes and maintenance costs, the answer was obvious: bigger isn’t always better.