NPR. Kinda. Is 1700 square feet enough for a family of 4? — The Bump
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NPR. Kinda. Is 1700 square feet enough for a family of 4?

We are in the process of moving (to a better school district) and we are considering building again, but not with someone like Ryan Homes.

We currently live in a 4000 sf house and it's too much.  Sure, it's nice to have all the room, but we hardly ever use the 1200 sf basement and the "guest room" is now holding two cribs and an old bed frame, so it's just storage.  

I feel like I definitely don't want something that large again, but, frankly, money is an issue and I want to live in a good location, so we'll need to buy a smaller house.  MH, while still doing well for us, isn't making as much as he was before the fallout and we're a family of four, living in a HCOL area, on one salary.

So, all that said, is 1700 sf enough for a family of four?

Seems like we'd be on top of one another a lot.  

Here's the proposed floor plan (possibly):

 First Floor Plan image of Vida de la Confianza House Plan

image

Me with my littlest.

Re: NPR. Kinda. Is 1700 square feet enough for a family of 4?

  • There would be some bonus rooms upstairs, but those would be unfinished for a while.  Would add another 1100 sf, but there's no bathroom, so it wouldn't be another bedroom, just a game room and an office.  Second Floor Plan image of Vida de la Confianza House Plan
    image

    Me with my littlest.
  • Would this house have a finished basement? Does D need a home office? Your current house does have a lot of wasted space. You'd need to sort through and get rid of whatever isn't really needed to make your current stuff fit into the smaller house.

    Our new house is 2555 with a 2/3 basment and while we were easily able to upsize from our 1500 sf house, we do have lots of space that we don't really use.

    Never mind... you posted the second floor while I was typing. I think that would be plenty big enough for the 4 of you.

    AKA KnittyB*tch
    DS - December 2006
    DD - December 2008

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  • YodajoYodajo member

    I think its plenty, especially when you add in the bonus space.  The average American family of four lives in less space than that.

    Will it have a basement too?

    DS1 10-06 and DS2 9-08 and baby #3 EDD 9-05-12
    imageimage
  • We live in about 1300 sf and I think it is just fine.  Actually it feels palatial to me, since we came from 950 sf.  1700 sf, as long as it is laid out well, should be more than enough.
  • I'd see if you can get some plumbing for upstairs because as the boys get older and have friends over they will eventually hibernate up there and it'd be nice to not have them running up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom.  I'm also a little eh on the non attached optional garage.  It gets cold there and snows and I would want to be able to first of all put my car in a garage and second have that attached to my house. 

    Here's what I would do, plumbing in the upstairs, add a closet to the office room to make it a four bedroom and up your resale value even if you will never use it as a bedroom plus you get extra storage, and figure out how to attach the garage. :)

    image
  • Larissa, this place is full of wasted space.  I'm glad to be moving.  No basement on this one.  Too close to the water.  But there will be bonus rooms.

    I think I'm ready to downsize.  I just don't want to do all of this then move in and feel like I'm tripping over everyone.  

    image

    Me with my littlest.
  • I would, ideally, want a bathroom that my guests could shower in, without having to go through any bedrooms.

    I DO think 1700 is plenty.

     

     

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  • imagejennieliz:

    I'd see if you can get some plumbing for upstairs because as the boys get older and have friends over they will eventually hibernate up there and it'd be nice to not have them running up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom.  I'm also a little eh on the non attached optional garage.  It gets cold there and snows and I would want to be able to first of all put my car in a garage and second have that attached to my house. 

    Here's what I would do, plumbing in the upstairs, add a closet to the office room to make it a four bedroom and up your resale value even if you will never use it as a bedroom plus you get extra storage, and figure out how to attach the garage. :)

     

    This is great!  I will definitely propose this to MH.  I'm sure he'll go for it because if his office is upstairs, he won't want to come down to pee every time.  Thanks you guys.  

    image

    Me with my littlest.
  • Where are you going? Message me on FB so you're not plastering it all over here.
    AKA KnittyB*tch
    DS - December 2006
    DD - December 2008

    imageimage
  • I think that is enough space but it's a personal preference.  Our current home is 2000sqft and we also have a finished basement and I have never felt like that wasn't enough space.  I grew up in a 1500sqft house and we were a family of 5, we had a finished basement and I felt like that was a lot of space too.  I think it's going to be an adjustment to go from 4000 to 1700.  But I think once you are used to it you will be fine.  The 2 smaller bedrooms are a bit on the small side so depending on how much furniture they have in there.  You might have to keep it to a minimum on the kids bedroom furniture.

     I like the floor plan of the house you are thinking of building. I like how it has a lanai and bbq porch.

  • The kids' bedrooms look about the same size as the ones they have now. You should be good with their furniture.

    I would also calculate how much it would be to finish those upstairs rooms. Remember how much more it cost to finish your current basement after the fact? I remember you saying that you wish you had done it when you built the house because it was sooo much more to do it afterward.

    AKA KnittyB*tch
    DS - December 2006
    DD - December 2008

    imageimage
  • Layout plays a role in this.  We just moved from a 1500 sq ft small city rowhouse.  Great house, but w/ just 3 of us, it was becoming too small.  We had very little storage space, and the overall layout made it a little difficult.

    We now live in a 2100sq ft home.  I think it's the perfect size for us, and we have a partial basement that provides all the storage we need. 

    As you can add a bonus room on - I think the house could work relaly well for you.  Definitely like the idea of putting plumbing in!

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • I think 1700 will be fine for a family of four.  I think its all in how its set up and the storage - your plan sounds really good. 

    I am jealous by the way - we live in an 800 sq ft condo we bought before we were married (at the height of the market).  I can't wait until we can sell this thing and have some space.

  • Definitely agree that it depends on layout. Our old 1900 sq ft house had a horrible layout, and we were constantly on top of each other. It had a big formal dining and living room that we never used other than once or twice a year for the holidays. And the way our house was set up, we couldn't do much with that space to make it more useable. So most of our time together was cramped in the kitchen (not huge, but eat-in) and family room. 

     

  • I think you'd be fine.  My biggest complaint with our old house was that there was only one 'living' area (indoors).  I hated that there were toys constantly where we hung out with friends/family/etc. So, in this floorplan, I'd worry about that.  I'm make sure you have a plan for toys - either they all stay in the boys' bedrooms, or you make it a priority to finish the bonus rooms.  

    Also, having just the 3 BRs would be bothersome - I assume the boys share now, but at some point they will likely want their own room.  I'd want to have a play for guests should that time come (the addition of plumbing to the bonus areas would fix that).

     

  • We are currently building this house! We are almost done and we are a family of five. We built it with a basement and the upstairs bonus area and we now have 5200 sq. feet. We made a few changes and we left off the garage and turned the lanai into a deck. The main floor is small but I think it will be comfortable even with 3 kids. We will eventually finish the basement and upstairs to give the girls their own rooms. Although it isn't on the house plan, our builder was able to give us 3 HUGE bonus areas upstairs by flooring the area over the kitchen. If you have any questions, page/ PM me.
  • Our main living area is 1800 sq. ft.  We also have an extra 500 sq. feet of unfinished basement/storage which we will eventually turn into a kid space/guest suite.

    It's perfect.

    imageimage Ashley Sawtelle Photography
  • I like the floorplan.  I agree with the OP about adding the bathroom upstairs.  Our loft space (now MH office) has a bathroom and a closet.  That makes it bedroom #5.  MH works from home exclusively, so that extra space is a lifesaver! 

    I would screen in the lanai (if it is not already).  Claire plays a lot out there.  Our community doesn't allow fences on our side of the street, so it makes a safe contained play space.  Of course, the bugs here in FL make the screen a necessity.  Good luck in your new home!!

  • I'm a family of four and live in less than 1200 sq ft quite comfortably, so yes, I think that 1700 sq ft is plenty. It will for sure seem tiny for you in comparison, but it is definitely do able. For me the biggest thing is storage, so a lot of furniture pieces in my house do double duty, so it works out well.

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  • That's around the same size as my house, and we are fine.  I think you'd be fine.  I'm actually hoping to become a family of 5 and if that happens, then our bonus room part will become a bedroom even though there is no bathroom up there.
  • Well, we're about to be a family of 5 in 1400ish sq. feet (not including the finished basement family room which adds ~400ish sq. feet)  and I think it's totally fine. 
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  • We are a family of 4, and our the main part of our house is 1322sq ft. We have an additional basement area that adds around 400sq ft. It really is enough space for us.

    However, that being said, I have had major house envy lately. I can't stop looking at bigger houses online. We would love to have another baby, and I worry about whether or not this house will be enough space for us. Obviously, two of the kids will have to share a room, and sometimes I feel like that would be torturing them.

    ETA: I also think putting plumbing in for the bonus room would be a good idea. We wanted to put in plumbing in our basement last year, and it was going to cost us a fortune. So, I would have it done now.

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  • Thank you so much, ladies.

    I'm so glad I ask you all these things.  Our formal sitting area is the playroom and where would we put all the toys with just one family area?  Something to discuss with MH.  And plumbing upstairs.  Even just the start of it, is awesome. 

    Lari, absolutely correct.  I'll have them run electrical and plumbing upstairs and then it's just a matter of drywall, sand, and paint, which is not a fortune.  

    Awesome!

    image

    Me with my littlest.
  • imagewinery:
    There would be some bonus rooms upstairs, but those would be unfinished for a while.  Would add another 1100 sf, but there's no bathroom, so it wouldn't be another bedroom, just a game room and an office.  Second Floor Plan image of Vida de la Confianza House Plan

    With this, it would work for us.  If you're building, it's cheaper to just do the bonus rooms now.  Drywall and carpet aren't that expensive.  But, even w/o it, I think you'd be ok for awhile.  If you can use the linais all year round, then that is valuable added space for your family.  

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • That's larger than the houses DH and I grew up in and both of us came from families with three kids, so it sounds fine to me. Right now we're in an 800-900 square foot apartment and our biggest complaint isn't space or storage, but the lack of yard, which is a function of living in Manhattan (which we absolutely hate).

    The floorplan you gave actually looks well apportioned, which is at least as important as square footage, so I think it would be a very comfortable place for a family.

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  • EMTEMT member

    I think with the bonus rooms, it would be fine. I like the suggestions Jennielinz made and in general, I like the floorplan. The one thing I'd say is that my kids rooms are about that size (or maybe slightly smaller) and I really wish their rooms were bigger. We have this palatial master which while nice is wasted on us. Closet organizers in the kids bedrooms would be helpful to get all the S off the floor if you go with that plan (or one with kids bedrooms that size or smaller)...we are in the process of nstalling those right now.

    ETA: also add a sink in the laundry room!

  • Like pp said, I would go ahead and do plumbing and electrical in the bonus areas (that's what we did when we built our first house and then finished it all out later. I personally would use the dining room space for a playroom or office instead because I think most people probably use their dining room twice a year so for me it's a huge waste of space (when we redo our kitchen we are going to get rid of our dining room and take that space for the kitchen and enlarge the eat-in area).
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  • 1700sq ft is big enough for a family of 4...but you also make work what you have/can get. I am part of a family of 4 and we live in a 1600sq ft place. Do I wish for more room? Sometimes, but overall we have enough room for the kids to play and for us to have family time, watch TV, eat meals, whatever.

    Since you would be downgrading quiet substantially you'll just need to realize that it will be an adjustment for you and in the beginning you may feel cramped...just remember that you are making an adjustment.  And with the added sq ft of a bonus room, well, you'll eventually have more space with that.

  • That is about what we have.  We have plenty of space.  The only problem we have is that we only have two bedrooms upstairs, so the kids are sharing a room right now.  If you have a floor plan with at least three rooms on one floor, I think you're golden.

  • Ours is just around 1700 total right now, and there is definitely enough space for everyone.  We want to upgrade REALLY bad, but that is because I want a new house with a bigger lot in a different area.  I think that the biggest key would be making sure you just do a great job with storage -- because we have crap all over the house right now and we're desperately trying to figure out where things should go.  If you are building from scratch you can designate those things when you move in and it will be easier for you (hopefully). 
  • It is bigger then what my family of four lives in, once the upper area is finished it will be massively bigger then what my family lives in!
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  • We live in 1400 sf and it feels small, but it's an old house with a closed floor plan- not made for making the best of space.  We have 3 bedrooms and would love a 4th.  As long as there is space for guests and play, all is good.  
  • It's plenty of room.  I grew up in a 1000sqft house with one bathroom (family of 4) and it never felt small to me.

    Our cottage is 900sqft and we do well there too.

    I love the floorplan.  I love that the secondary bedrooms have a shared bath.

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  • I think so. Especially after looking at the floor plan. We live comfortably as a family of 4 with our 2000 sq ft. We have an unfinished basement that we use as storage that we will eventually turn into a family room with another bathroom. We have 4th bedroom which is helpful. Right now it is an office, but we are considering turning it into a playroom since our living room is getting over run with toys.
    Child #1: 6 yo DD Child #2: 2yo DD
  • 1700 sq ft?  Not at all.  We have a 2300 sqft house for the four of us and I don't think there is enough space.  I wish we had gotten the upstairs bonus room and then it would be perfect. We also have our formal sitting room as the play room so it would be nice to have it back and put the play room upstairs.  I so regret letting DH talk me out of the upstairs bonus room.    So if the house you are looking to build is 1700sq ft with the additional bonus room adding more sqft then it would be perfect.  But I couldn't live with the unfinished rooms and no bathroom upstairs.  I'd have them finish them off and add a bathroom. 
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  • Depends how much crap you have & what you are willing to part with.  Our first house was 1700SF & it was plenty big for the 3 of us (DD1 was a baby) & I thought we could easily fit another kid (or 2) in it.  I honestly thought it was my dream house/layout--just didn't like the city we were in.  I have since moved to a 2200SF house, then a 3500SF house.  Now 5yrs & 2 kids later we have SO much stuff...honestly I hate it.  I think staying in a smaller house would have been better--it'd have limited the amount of toys, books, office stuff, etc that we've bought over the years (most unneeded).  If you don't "need" a home office, guestroom, separate family/living/media rooms, etc--I think it'd work fine.
  • We're five people in a 2300 sq ft home and H and I think it's too big.  There's too much wasted space.  It's nice for entertaining, but we really don't do that often.  We have an unfinished basement as well.

    I think the floorplan with the bonus rooms would definitely make it doable and comfortable.  Especially if you can get the upstairs plumbed.

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