Small home love

When we were childless we spent 2 years remodeling a 2800 square foot home on a pretty lot in trendy Sellwood (a neighborhood in SE Portland). It was really lovely when we finished (you could say it was our “dream home” – If you want to see it click here), and had 4 bedrooms + an office, 2 baths & plenty of room for a family and for my in-laws who come for extended visits from Canada. Around that time I got pregnant with our first child & we realized that if I wanted to stay home and have flexibility financially the house had to go. We sold it & moved to an 1100 square foot home (with no garage) in the suburb I grew up in (Oregon City) a month before our daughter was born. I can honestly say we never looked back. There were certainly times when we wished for that guest bedroom and an extra bathroom, but I loved spending the first few years of motherhood in a little home that kept my girls close at hand (we had Eliza while living there too) and was easy to clean. As you know, we are now upgrading (moving next week – wheee) to a whopping 1536 square feet. It feels luxurious to us. 2 WHOLE BATHROOMS & an attached garage!!! I told Jeff I will finally be able to drive in the garage and vacuum out all the food the girls drop off the floor of my car – what a novelty (he then reminded me we won’t be able to actually park in the garage until he figures out what to do with the large metal industrial carts he bought as a project). I am not against large houses, living in the Oregon rain with little kids I often wish I had a football field sized basement for them to run around in…I just think the charms of small houses are overlooked. Here are the best things I learned living in a small house:

1. Floor plan is everything {a small well-planned space can be more livable than a home twice the size that isn’t well thought-out}

2. You really don’t need all that crap! {I promise, start giving stuff away and you will never stop, I have a goodwill bag going at all times. As I was packing my girls toys for next weeks move I was realizing how little of it they ever use. Instead they use imagination. Franki’s favorite thing to do these days is get food out of the cupboard and “organize” it on the floor as a “shop”}

3. Small spaces means you get to be in your kids business whether they like it or not, & your husbands for that matter. It creates closeness simply because you can’t get away from each other. {this is a good or a bad thing depending on your family dynamics, some personalities need more space}

4. Less to clean.

5. All your utilities are cheaper because you are using less of everything, since you have less of everything.

Enough said, Here are a few small houses I love {some of which make 1100 sqft seem gargantuan, but are also probably lived in by 1-2 person households}:

tiny craftsman home by green pods {Port Townsend plan by GreenPods, 420 sqft}

tiny reclaimed home{Dwell Space by reclaimedspace, 392 sqft}

tiny cottage by Ross Chapin{Egret Cottage by Ross Chapin Architects, 1150 sqft. You may remember me expressing my love for his homes on this post}

Tumbleweed Tiny House{Anderjack by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, the most beautiful 99 sqft I have ever seen}

tiny craftsman home{B-53 also by Tumbleweed, options at 777 or 874 sqft}

Perfect Little House{The Cherry One by Perfect Little House, 1458 sqft – if we were building a little house, these are the plans I would choose, just lovely!}

Bright Built Barn{BrightBuilt Barn by Kaplan Thomas Architects, 700 sqft}

small twisp cabin{twisp cabin by Johnson Architects, 12oo sqft – for a whole house tour click here}


  1. My favorite house is the ‘Twisp’. The town of Twisp is off the east slope of the beautiful Cascade mountains in central Washington. I grew up Bridgeport, fairly close to Twisp. I love, love, LOVE the Methow Valley (the ‘h’ is silent so it sounds like Mettow) In fact I am headed there in August for a memorial of sorts, for my folks who loved to camp up there as a family. A little more info than necessary. Its a great destination should you decide to take a trek across the North Cascades Hiway.(highly recommend!)

  2. Have loved the Chapin cottages for years!  Retiring in a few years and hoping to purchase land in Langley for one of my own.  Longtime urban dweller and first time home buyer, too.  Very exciting but sort of scary, too.  Love your blog!

    • Emmy,
      So exciting! I love these cottages too. You should also take a look at, if you haven’t already. They have some pretty sweet plans too. If you get to build a little house in the future I would love to hear about it.



  1. […] for awhile (since we buy such little houses we are doing it out of necessity…more on that here). It’s actually our downstairs family room, but for now we will be using it for a bedroom (in […]

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