Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Small House

Have you even walked into a house and had the thought "This is a cavernous waste of space"? Over the past month I took my family down south to visit a bunch of friends. Any new development along our way seemed to hold a gazillion (my kids numeric value for lots) mansions. Like 3000 square feet seems small now a days. Even in older developments any new houses built within the past 10 years were gigantic.

We have passed around the thought of building a smaller home on the land but I'm more determined than ever to go small. This is probably for a few reasons:
  1. I don't want to be in debt. The smaller the home the more likely we'll be able to kiss the banks goodbye
  2. I don't think we'll have the time it takes to maintain a mansion. At least I won't have the energy to clean 4 bathrooms. And we are probably too poor (and practical to hire a maid). (Side story-we have some really good friends that have a maid and the husband is always complaining that he has to clean up more now because they have to get ready for the maid to come. It would be too embarrasing to have the maid see what slobs they are so they clean up before she comes. Go figure.)
  3. I want my kids to grow up in a modest home. I think it adds character to not live in a mansion
  4. The smaller the house the less it costs for utilities, maintenance, etc.
  5. I can have a much nicer home if it's smaller. I like well built, hand crafted places. It's like going to chuck-a-rama versus Ruth's Chris. I'd way rather have nice versus bulk.
So what is a small home? We've looked at Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. That's really small. I like the idea of making really nice looking homes (and Jay does a really good job of that) but 89 square feet seems drastic.

We have been doodling out floor plans and have kind of settled on around a 600 square foot base. We'll probably add a sloped second floor for bedrooms and an unfinished basement. So not too small. 1200 sq. ft. of living area and another 600 sq. ft. for the kids to beat each other up in.

We are hoping to do a lot of it ourselves which will be rather interesting as I have no handyman skills at all. Thus another reason to make it small. I'd rather mess up a small amount rather than a gazillion.

Summers activities

We are moving closer to being full time on the land. In the past few months we have sold off a couple of rental places to get further out of debt and we have put our house up for sale in Montana. Our current plans are to sell our house and then build a small house on the land probably in this location looking out across the coulee.
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We have almost completed the subdividing process which has taken about 6 months. It's been an interesting process but the hardest part is changing my thinking from I own lots of land to I really own half that much. One hundred acres is still completely sufficient for us but looking out over the whole piece isn't quite the same. I think my brother in law feels the same way. He's even mentioned looking for another piece all to himself.
This past summer it has rained a lot. Like Noah's ark type rain. We didn't irrigate once and still had a bumper crop of hay. Too bad everyone else had tons of hay as well. Last year we got about twice as much for a ton as we did this year. We've had plenty of grass to last the whole summer for the 30 plus cattle we've had on the place. We are currently renting out to a local farmer to pasture some of his cattle as you see below.
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With everything put together we'll almost end up about pay for the subdividing process.