We’ve now lived in our new rental house for almost a week, I can’t believe it! I am finally starting to feel settled in and while I absolutely love the house, there are definitely some things I didn’t think about before moving in.
Everyone has a different definition of what a “big” house might be. If you lived in 3000 square foot houses your whole life, that may not seem very big to you. If you lived in 1000 square foot apartments your whole life, an 1800 square foot house may seem massive. It’s all about perspective. To give you a back story, John and I’s first apartment was 1100 square feet, our second apartment was 700 square feet and our house that we owned in Arizona was 1700 square feet.
Here in North Carolina, our first apartment was 1400 square feet but the layout was AWFUL. It was super boxy and our furniture was too big for the rooms, making the space seem even more cramped. It honestly felt like it was about 800 square feet and with two little ones, that was tough! Our new rental house that we just moved into is a little more than 3000 square feet which, to us, is massive. It’s definitely more space than we need, but the rental price wasn’t that much more than we were paying for our apartment and we love the area and the neighborhood. Plus, it gives us a chance to “test the waters” with living in a big house before we go to buy one. I don’t want to buy a big house if it’s not for me, so renting this house gives us the opportunity to see exactly what we want in a house.
What I like about living in a big house
Obviously, the space is incredible. In the apartment, the girls were constantly following me around and crowding my space (I mean that in the nicest way possible!). I assumed they would do that here since they are very young but I wasn’t sure. Well, they do do that here, but it’s totally different! We can all be in the kitchen and have room and even when they’re jumping on me on the couch, it doesn’t last long before they run off and do their own thing. There are a lot of rooms in the house and a lot to explore. The girls love it!
The kitchen (pictured above) is a dream come true. I never used to cook that often partly because I prefer to bake and partly because I never had a kitchen like this. Since living here, I’ve made dinner three out of four nights and plan on cooking at least six times a week. I want to feed my family healthy foods but I also really like cooking in this kitchen. There’s space, the appliances are new and work great, and the girls can easily assist me without it being cramped.
Plenty of storage. We definitely aren’t short on storage over here! The closet beneath the stairwell is where I store my Christmas decorations, all of the rooms have walk-in closets, we have two linen closets upstairs, a walk-in pantry and plenty of cabinet space in the kitchen, an office nook with more storage and more. While I never intend on using all of it, it is nice to have.
We have room for guests. When my parents visited us in December, we were out of the apartment as often as possible. Part of it was because we wanted to show them Charlotte, but more so than that it was because it was WAY too cramped in there with six of us! Now, we have a guest room for when they come and can hang out here and BBQ, play with the girls and enjoy each other’s company.
Extra space really is an amazing thing. At this point, I don’t think I want to downsize so the goal is to work as hard as possible so we can afford to purchase a home similar to this one. I love being here and don’t mind spending all day at home, whereas before I had to get out of the apartment at least once per day or I felt like I was going to lose my mind. Now, I know I may change my mind after living here for a year or two, but for now – I love it!
What I don’t like about living in a big house
Of course, even though I do love this big new house, there are some things I don’t like about it. For starters, I’m always cold. When you live in a small space, you can turn on the heater as often as you want knowing your bill will still be small. It’s cozier in small spaces, hands down. We’ve been keeping our thermostat at 68-69 degrees and to me that’s freezing. I know some people (like the Frugalwoods!) keep their thermostat even lower, but for now I don’t think I could do that! This is a “test month” so we’ll see what the bill is. If it’s ridiculously high we will be lowering the thermostat, but I’m secretly hoping it’s low that way we can turn it up a few degrees.
I also don’t like that if I need something upstairs or downstairs, it’s a trek. Doing laundry is almost a workout in itself between gathering all the clothes, taking them down to the machine that’s way at the end of the house and then carting them all back up and putting them away. But hey, I’m not complaining about that! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to workout more and I’m accomplishing that simply by living here!
Most people would probably say that they don’t like cleaning a big house, but I think I’ve come up with a solution to that so it doesn’t bother me (and no, I’m not hiring a maid). I’m naturally pretty clean and always stay on top of the dishes, laundry and putting miscellaneous items back in their places, so it’s just the bigger items I have to worry about. My plan is to tackle one “big” chore per day and rotate. So yesterday I cleaned the hardwoods, today I plan on vacuuming and tomorrow I’ll clean the bathrooms. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to clean the whole house all at once, but that’s ok!
I’m excited to see how this year goes. Are we going to be comfortable with the extra expenses? Will the “newness” of living in a big house wear off? Am I going to want to downsize in the future? Only time will tell, but for now I am so happy to be here!
Do you live in a “big” house? Do you like it? What’s considered big to you?
LAUREN @BPATTY.COM saysat
That house looks pretty big to me! LOL! It’s gorgeous. I hope you like it there and congrats on the girls not being under your feet as much. I always feel like I’m tripping over my kids but I’m not sure I could handle cleaning a house any larger than what I’ve got. Best of luck to ya on that one as well 😉
mrs. maroon saysat
LOVE the kitchen! I will admit that I need a lot of space in the kitchen. I like to cook for us. But boy am I messy… I never do the whole ‘clean as you go’ that so many people recommend. I make a mess and then need to move on to a new spot for the next step. Your set-up is fabulous for my style of cooking
I’d probably feel the same way about going up and down all the time. I’ve never lived in a two-story house, and honestly don’t ever plan to either. I’m convinced that I’d be over the stairs in about a day. But all great things come with tradeoffs. Plus as you say, you are forced to up your activity level! All in all, the new house looks wonderful.
Thanks!! My husband prefers one story houses, too, but the area we live in they are harder to come by. I grew up in two story homes which I think is why I like them so much! And you would LOVE our kitchen for how you cook!! I do clean as I go, so I’m constantly moving from the sink to the counter to the stove…lots of walking haha. I should adapt your strategy and just clean up at the end!!
Congratulations on starting to get settled after your move. That’s always a huge task. I hope heating your new place isn’t too expensive. I’m always cold myself and I’ll be honest by admitting I like the thermostat at 72 in the winter…
Right now, my husband and I live in a 1500 square foot apartment, and it’s ok size wise. When we first moved to CA, we got a tiny apartment that was less than 1000 square feet. That was not good for our sanity!
I really want to move to a house (as I don’t like living on top of other people) but I would also love some additional room. I always feel like we’re on top of each other, even in the bigger apartment. With our big dog in the mix too it’s even worse. If we had kids I’d think we’d want even more space.
I also have to agree with you that a nice kitchen makes cooking much more enjoyable. In our current place, the kitchen is oddly arranged and it’s difficult for two people to be in there at once. Since I like to make my husband help me cook, it’s much more enjoyable when we can move around freely.
Our first house was 1700 sq ft, our second was 2200 sq ft, our 3rd 6000 sq ft and now we’re at 4400 sq ft. You can never have too much space. But, it does cost a bit, especially in ownership [taxes].
I’m convinced more in quality and not quantity. Why did I love the 800 sq ft hotel room we just had? It was well designed and laid out [and it didn’t have a kitchen :)]. But, if you can have things designed well, each sq ft means a lot more. JMO.
The kitchen does look excellent!
Thanks Elroy!! Wow – 6000 square feet is massive!! As is 4400!! I do think after living in 3000 or more square feet that it would be hard to go back down to say, 1200. But you never know. And interesting to know about never having too much space – I would totally have to agree with that, especially with kids! And honestly I like that I have to walk around a lot…it’s great exercise without even thinking about it.
Mrs. Frugalwoods saysat
Sounds like a wise decision to rent first and see how your like it. Always nice to know what works best for you before buying! Our home is 1800 sq feet and it’s plenty big for us. I don’t think I’d want to live in a larger space, but, never say never :).
That was about the size of our house in AZ, too! If it were just John and I still, that would have been more than enough space…but just wait until you add kids to the mix lol 😉
Ashley Brooks saysat
I would CRY at my energy bill if we kept our heat that high! It’s 63-64 in our house. Good thing we’re hardy. 🙂 (We’re in Minnesota.)
Congrats on the new house! It sounds like the good outweighs the bad.
Hi Ashley!! You keep it at 63-64?!?! Wow!! That’s awesome!! My best friend lives in MN and I think they keep it at 68-70…but, I will say, everyone’s thermostat is different so her 68 could be really cold, who knows! What is your energy bill at 63-64?? For us, as long as we’re under $200 I’ll be ok. I’m used to our AC bills in AZ in the summer which were around $300, so my perspective is a little skewed lol!
Ashley Brooks saysat
Haha, yeah I suppose the high AC bills make everything balance out in the end! Our winter energy bill used to be pretty reasonable, around $120 – $150. This year, though, gas prices have jumped a lot. Even though we keep our heat at the same temp as last year, our bill this year is around $200 . . . probably going higher yet since we’re just entering the coldest part of winter. 🙁
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom saysat
Your new kitchen looks amazing! Glad the new house is working for you. It’s hard to know how you’ll like something like a big house before you’ve tried it. I tend to prefer smaller homes myself, but I can see the appeal! Hope you keep liking the new place!
Thanks Emily!! Yes, smaller homes are definitely appealing in their own way!! I’ll be curious to see what size house we end up buying – there are definitely a lot of pros to less space, too!
I recently found your blog and I am loving it!! My first house was 1700 and our 2nd home is 3400 and I am still loving having a bigger house! We’ve been here for about 8 months now and have hired a housekeeper so that helps with the cleaning but I wouldn’t change having lots of storage and space for anything! Haha
Oh nice!! It’s great to know you still like the big house after 8 months! Do you have kids? I definitely do not think we’ll be able to downsize until the kids are grown at the very least, haha. Once you have space I’m sure it would be difficult to go back to less space, especially because I’m sure you accumulate more stuff as the years go on!
Yeah I have a 20 month old and we were busting at the seams of our last house because it literally had no storage!! And baby stuff really takes up a lot of room! Haha but now we can spread out and everything is orderly and in its place. However I have the problem now of not remembering which closet I put stuff in! First world problems for sure 🙂
Funny you mention not knowing where you put stuff because I’ve already “lost” a few items during the move. I know they’re here somewhere – I just haven’t had time yet to search through all these cabinets/drawers/closets!! Definitely first world problems 🙂
Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver saysat
Okay, while I totally love your kitchen, I have to say I’m most jealous of your storage space!!! Ahhh, space for Christmas decorations?! Mine are in one of our 2 hall closets, and I swear, these wrapping paper spools are going to murder me one day (they keep falling out on to my head :()
Enjoy that space for me!!! 🙂 Also, good idea about rotating big cleaning projects. Ugh, I hate cleaning! At least only one big thing a day is manageable 🙂
Yeah the closet space is really nice!! But I will say I’ve already “lost” a few items that I can’t remember for the life of me where I put them…almost too much space in here! Thanks for the comment!! Hope you have a great day! 🙂
Erin @ Journey to Saving saysat
It seems like the kitchens in general around here are really nice; I was surprised at how fancy ours is for an apartment. I’ve also noticed the emphasis on walk-in closets, which I love! Our apartment is around 1,050 sq. ft. and it’s actually a bit too big for us. We have an enormous open concept kitchen and living room (which helps), and down the hall we have our 2 bedrooms and bathrooms.
I think my parents’ house before this was around 1,200 sq. ft. and that always felt fine. Our last apartment was probably closer to 700 sq. ft., but the layout was odd. I can’t see us being in anything much bigger than 1,100, but we also don’t plan on having kids!
We also keep our thermostat to 68-69, and I’ve been freezing. =( Our bill from Duke was around $85 last month, which is the highest it has been since summer. I hate that, but I want to be comfortable, and I’m wearing tons of layers as it is.
Our last energy bill from Duke (in the apt) was $120 and I thought that was good lol!! We kept it at 72 ish though and if I was cold I’d turn it up without even thinking twice. I think I’m used to AC bills in AZ and that’s why $120 didn’t seem bad. In AZ, summer electric bills were always $300+. It was awful, but there was really no other way around it. As long as ours is less than $200 I will keep the temp at 69! I would hate to lower it, especially with the little ones.
That’s awesome your kitchen is so nice and open!! In our apt, it was literally a closed-in hallway. If two people were in it, you couldn’t open the fridge…and you couldn’t open two of the cabinets because the oven handle was in the way. It was just strange – so closed in and boxy.
And I agree – if we didn’t have kids we would be totally fine in 1000 square feet or even less. My husband and I are always in the same room anyways, so it’s not like we need space from each other (just from the kids LOL). Hope you have a nice day today, Erin!!
My apartment here in NJ is 800 sq feet. When we lived in Grenada, it was 270 sq ft! We are used to tiny spaces now but it would be nice for the kids to have a playroom. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon here in NJ though since our rent is already 1875 for this spot!
Whoa I didn’t realize NJ was so expensive!!! We pay 1600 for this house (we’re totally in the suburbs though haha)! Where are you guys hoping to end up once your husband is done with med school?!
DC @ Young Adult Money saysat
We have a 1,900 square foot house, but 500 square feet in the basement is rented with the rest of the basement space really only being able to function as storage. So we live in about 1,000 square feet and honestly I would love to have more space than that. My next house I want about 3,000 square feet with a master suite. I agree that layout is big, and with 3 bedrooms on the first floor at our house it does get a bit difficult to fully make use of the rooms.
This house has a master suite and it’s incredible!! You will love it! It has a nice sitting area that eventually we’re going to get chairs and a little table for so we can play cards. Other than being freezing all the time, I like having all this space and I’m sure you will too!
Natalie @ Financegirl saysat
I am moving into a 700 sq ft apartment next week! haha. 3,000 sounds HUGE to me!! But living near the city is priceless; it’s all about location!
Are you?! That’s awesome!!! What city are you going to be living in?! Best of luck to you!!!
Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja saysat
I don’t know what I would do with all that space! We currently live in an 800 sq.ft. apartment and are happy with it. We don’t have kids yet and we will definitely need a bigger place once the little one(s) come, but for now 800 is enough for us. We don’t have a lot of stuff so anything over 1,000 sqft will look too empty.
I will admit our house is pretty empty right now, but I do like the space! There are two rooms that don’t get much use (formal living room and guest room) but other than that we use the whole house despite the lack of furniture lol! For two people I would agree with you – 800 sq ft is perfect. If it were just me and my husband I would even consider a “tiny house,” but trust me…once you have kids it’s a whole different story!! 🙂
That kitchen looks amazing!! We have a small house for our area. We have 1,600 sq feet, but this is Dallas, so most houses are over 2,000 sq. feet around here.
We like having a small home because it forces us to live a more minimal lifestyle. The biggest con…not enough storage space. We have so few closets it drives me nuts!
Christina @ Embracing Simple saysat
I just found your blog and am in love! I think you’re my blog soulmate….our looks are eerily similar and I’m a work-from-home Mama too!
Our house is about 1,700 square feet in the main floor (live in a ranch) and another 1,700 in the basement. Right now it seems like a lot of space, but once my 6-month-old gets to be a bit more mobile and more into toys, I think we will be happy for all the space!
Hi!! Oh yes you will definitely love the extra space once she is mobile and if/when another baby comes along! Before kids, I loved smaller spaces and couldn’t imagine living in a larger home. Now – totally different story haha. I need space!!
Thanks for the comment!! I will be checking out your blog! Feel free to email to keep in touch!
Christina @ Embracing Simple saysat
Haha so true! In a moment of pure insanity a few months ago I had a fleeting thought that I wanted to sell our house for something smaller so we’d have less to keep up with….then Christmas gifts from Grandparents happened and I realized we need space for her play with toys and run around. Especially during our Chicago winters, I think I’d go crazy with a toddler next year with no space inside to burn off energy.
Thanks so much, I appreciate it! Same to you 🙂
Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It saysat
We moved into our 1969 square foot home in 2002. Coming from a 900 square foot duplex, it seemed like a mansion. Now that all the nooks and crannies are filled to their maximum and with teens, it doesn’t feel so big. The crazy thing is, I was afraid to see the first electric bill and was pleasantly surprised when it was less than the duplex. The new construction did wonders in that sense!
I am terrified to see our electric bill too!! The unit is supposedly very energy-efficient, so I may be pleasantly surprised. At least, I hope so…as I’ve been freezing these past few days!
And yes, I agree – once you have kids space is almost a necessity. But once they move out, I’m sure you will feel like you live in a mansion again 🙂
I live with my wife and daughter (4).
850 sf works for us.
Marie Mccormick saysat
Congratulations for the move! It definitely feels great to move from a small place to a bigger one. When living with other people is always great to have some extra space so everybody can have his personal space! 🙂 Me and my husband have just bought us a house and it is pretty big compared to the apartment we are living in for 5 years. I can’t wait to move there after the holidays and feel what it is to live in a big house! Thanks for sharing! 🙂