Upsizing

When we set out to find a half-time home – a home without wheels – we did so for a couple reasons but the main one was a desire to add to our family. When I was pregnant with Idgie we thought we would plan to have another kiddo around the time she was two years old. What we didn’t know at the time was that we would be on the road when Idgie was just eight months old and that none of us would feel ready by then. But as this past year progressed Idgie actually slept almost through the night(although we are back to up a million times – Transitions are HARD), finally self-weaned (yes folks you read that correctly) and we realized we weren’t getting any younger. It was time. Hello search for half-time home. Not for more space – although really the thought of having a new born in the Casita with a preschooler didn’t exactly make me excited – but for consistency in pre-natal care and a slower pace.

We spent over a year living in less than 100 square feet and before that living in around 300. It was hard not to upsize from that. We felt like we wanted to spread out a bit in a stationary home but honestly we didn’t want to spread out too much. While “tiny homes” are cute and functional for many we weren’t going to build our own and the chances of finding one that fit our wants/needs with the space for kiddos seemed pretty slim. So more traditional houses it was and we were completely okay with that. We set a “must have” for ourselves in looking to under 900 sq ft. What surprised us though is that it was kind of hard to find small homes – you can find smaller homes 1200 – 1500 square feet but that felt huge to us and most were in towns not on property which is what we were looking for. And as our search progressed it was really easy to start upsizing even more. We found ourselves searching for things or considering property that was just a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger without even being fully aware of it.  There were a few times that we almost spent time actually physically looking at bigger houses because they met our other wants even though we knew size really did matter to us – in the opposite way it matters to most  it seems. Having one kiddo and a desire to add another really didn’t impact our home choice in terms of size, or I guess it did but instead of upsizing as is the societal norm we knew we wanted to stay small.

I know it may seem completely weird to some that we would be looking at small homes even though we knew we wanted to add to our family but it felt pretty natural to us. Small for us is our norm and it’s easier. I’ve loved being able to always see what Idgie is up to and wanted to be at least able to hear what she is up to. I wanted to spend my time with my family and not constantly cleaning a larger space. Cost (although small in size didn’t always mean lower cost) was a factor with the inevitable future increase in costs that will eventually come with adding another kiddo we wanted to give ourselves plenty of wiggle room and we also wanted to make sure we had funds to travel as much as we wanted to. We didn’t want to lose all the positive things that we loved about living in a small space (feel free to read about some of those here or here). We’d really grown to love living small and a growing family wasn’t going to change that.

While we had plenty of opportunity to upsize times ten or even times 20 what we ended up with is a cabin that is 576 sq ft. It has two small bedrooms, one bathroom,  a living and kitchen/dining area and an amazing porch on not quite three acres. It feels like a mansion to us, even after a couple of months living here. It’s a perfect fit and I imagine that will still be the case even with adding another kiddo. Or maybe I will look back on this post after we have another kiddo and question what I was thinking. I suppose it’s possible, but I doubt it.

This post was written for inclusion in the January collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!
 
A Life Shift– “Hong Kong House Sizes” :  A small space in North America is large compared to Hong Kong standards! Learn more about house sizes in Hong Kong and where our space fits in the city’s spectrum of “the norm”.
Shelley Vanderbyl– “The Shuffle -How We Let Our Family Grow While Staying in a Small House” : “Do you think you’ll move to a bigger house?”…this is the question people started asking us not one, but two kids ago.
Fourth & West– “Party of Three” : Following life’s unexpected path.

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6 Comments

  • Shelley Vanderbyl

    Great to hear about your decision process! I love that you chose something surrounded by nature. It looks very cosy!

    • Jenn

      For quite a while (almost the whole 2.5 years were were on the road) we went back and forth on mountains or in a town or even city and we really kept coming back to really wanting to be surrounded by nature instead of neighbors (not that we don’t like community!) but we knew we wanted something that would feel like a retreat or slowing down from travels and for a home of introverts being a little off the beaten path is what does it 🙂

  • Kendal

    Somehow I missed your update about buying a cabin! That’s very exciting and looks like a great fit to be able to still afford to travel / rent it out on Air BnB. I didn’t participate in this month’s round-up (even though this topic was my suggestion) because we’re actively trying to add to our little family, too (a huge deciding factor being our recent “upsize” from 795 to 1177 square feet) and just not ready to share that news with all the friends and family who read my blog. All this to say — I feel you on the difficulty of finding a small home! We were hoping to “upsize” from 795 to about 900 square feet, but that was really hard to find, especially factoring other things in like neighbourhood, character features, etc. We ended up with something nearly 1200 square feet, larger than we would have liked, but it had a lot of other things going for it. We’ll downsize again eventually! HOW people OUTGROW 3 bed/2 bath starter homes is beyond me!!!!

    • Jenn

      We really lucked out….or at least that is how I feel. It is so much more difficult to find a small home…like you said especially when considering all the other wants and needs of your family. I was surprised by this, maybe I shouldn’t have been. I have a feeling if we didn’t make the effort to go out of our way to see this property even though we weren’t planning on buying so soon we would have eventually settled for something bigger out of necessity. Also, I don’t blame you on not being ready to share – that is probably a smart move. I am going to email you a quick story about this!

  • A Life Shift

    She’s a beauty! Can’t wait to hear more about your cabin. All that nature is a dream.

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Alison! It is a dream. We are really enjoying it!

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