When we made the decision to downsize to a smaller home last year, we did it knowing that we would need to increase the square footage sooner rather than later. But rather than jump into construction right away, we decided to wait a few months, live in the existing house, which we remodeled before we moved in, and just see what we thought it was missing.
I am so glad that we took that time, because what I had originally had envisioned as an addition going out the back of the house, with a master suite and additional living room has evolved into something completely different!
We decided to go up rather than out…and we also realized that we didn’t really need additional living space…but we did still crave that Master retreat.
But, let me start at the beginning so that you can get an idea of the entire process. Our last home was about 3500 Square Feet, with 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a finished basement and a very small yard on a lovely cul-de-sac. We loved our neighbors, but we just started to feel like the house was too big, and the yard was too small. I found myself spending my mornings searching for kids on the 3 big levels…and more importantly constantly searching for stuff. Hockey gear, leotards, cowboy boots, dance shoes…it seemed like that big house was just swallowing stuff up, only to return it after we had given up looking.
I also started to despise the giant laundry room that was in the darkest corner of the basement, and the extra “bonus” formal living room, basement play area, home office/loft, and formal dining room…all spaces which were not regularly used, and became dumping grounds for more, you guessed it…stuff.
I realize I am making it sound like we were Hoarders….honestly, our home was lovely, and spacious…and just allowed us to keep on bringing stuff in without a second thought. We had 8 sofas, for goodness sakes. We’re a big family and all, but who needs 8 sofas?!
I felt like I could never get the entire house tidied at the same time, and I hated trying to keep up with it all. Plus, we really wanted to add to our Backyard Animal family….which was limited to 4 hens.
So, we started looking for a smaller place.
Our wish list was:
- At least an acre of usable land, preferably horse property.
- A shorter commute to schools, work, shopping and the city as well as the mountains.
- At least 3 bedrooms with room to add on.
- A home that needed major updating but was well maintained.
It took us a while, but we found the perfect place, and although it was a MAJOR process to downsize our stuff, it was totally cathartic as well. My criteria for packing an item was 1. Do we use it regularly? 2. Do we love it? 3. Do we need it?
If the answer to all of those was no, then it didn’t get to come with us. I made countless trips to charity shops, sold things on ebay and Craigslist, and gave stuff that we just didn’t need, love, or use to someone who would.
Most of our furniture did not make the cut, since it was purchased for a giant house with vaulted ceilings and an eclectic Pottery Barn vibe, not a small mid-century ranch with a new, very modern and clean aesthetic.
For the new house, we had a vision of uncluttered, open space, clean lines, functional storage and a clean slate for decorating. Our priority was to create a large kitchen/dining space in the heart of the home, which is where we knew we would spend the greatest amount of time. We took the 4 small spaces (foyer/living room/dining room/kitchen) and opened them up into this one awesome space with a huge island, and a long dining table. It works really well for us, and I love that I never have to look far to know where my kids are or what they are up to.
It’s also been really great for entertaining. We host most of our extended family’s celebrations and get-togethers, and we also often have impromptu happy hours or dinner parties, slumber parties, playdates…the house is usually full, but it never seems crowded, which is really nice.
Stay tuned to hear more about our Pop-Top remodel!
Have you thought about adding on or popping your top? Want advice about whether it would be a good investment, or looking for some great contractors? Let me know!