Monday, February 28, 2011

The McMansion vs the Large 1950's Home

As I've mentioned before, my dream home would be a 1950's ranch. I love the lines of the architecture and the mid-century features. Now that I'm in my 30's and have gotten to know myself better I think I would've made an awesome architect, I'm so drawn (pun intended) to all thing architectural. When we first moved to Cincinnati from California I thought for sure I was going to find my dream home. After looking at around 30 houses in one weekend, it just didn't exist or at least it was not on the market at the time.

So as a last resort, we looked into new construction and settled on the smallest home in a nice neighborhood. At 2400 square feet, not including the basement, it was a mansion, or dare I say, a McMansion.

Don't get me wrong it is nice and new. For us as former Californians, it was huge and about a quarter of the price we would pay for a comparable home in a nice neighborhood in Los Angeles. I was sold on the energy efficiency and the idea of not having to deal with repairs for a while, although ironically we have a leak in our kitchen ceiling as we speak.

After living in the home for a year, I've learned that the home is just too big for me. We have unused rooms and a lot more to keep clean. My idea of simplicity was thrown out the window when we purchased this home. Recently with the economic situation, others are starting to feel the same way I do, and instead of saying that their ideal home is 3200 square feet, they are thinking under 2000 square feet is better. People are just flat-out saying goodbye to the Mc Mansion.

So what has changed in our mentality that tells us we can't live in a 1950's home.  For me an ideal home size is around 1600 square feet.  In California our family lived in closer to 1000 square feet and we were perfectly fine.  When did children start needing their own bedrooms and bathrooms?  When did those luxuries start taking the place of basic needs?

I found this awesome book at a local thrift store recently called, Art and Design in Home Living by Frances Obst from 1963.  There are actually a few different home plans featured and most are a little over 1000 square feet, with larger living space and smaller sleeping quarters (makes sense right?).

One of the largest floor plans is 1660 square feet, and to me would be a dream home today, although I still think it's a little big for our family.

Our family would be perfectly fine in this home. The kitchen has a very efficient layout, and I would use my outdoor space to the fullest.  So with that being said, we have put the McMansion on the market and are hoping to sell it so that we can get back to the simplicity of life and what is important, our family.



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