March 18, 2010 at 8:55 am #251689
I received an email about tomorrows life matters program on Radio national:
Big Houses/small housesOur houses are getting bigger while families are getting smaller. This is unsustainable says the Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, he says Australian cities canâ€™t cope. So why do we want such big houses and the mortgages to match? Have you downsized? Or would you like a bigger house?
Finally the govt is addressing an issue that needs discussion and action.March 18, 2010 at 9:05 am #457393
We bought our house because it was in a convenient and reasonably unspoilt location, had a good sized block, and although a little too large for us now, will accommodate a family later on. It should also allow us to become almost completely sustainable in the future. We are looking to rent out the spare room to make the extra space for economical.
I do however think that the urban sprawl will have to slow down or be stopped otherwise we will run out of space. Smaller houses and more community gardens full of fruit and veg for everyone to share – or maybe I should join a commune?March 18, 2010 at 9:10 am #457394
When we bought our house we had 2 teenagers, plus it was all we could afford without getting a mortgage it is not a big house.March 18, 2010 at 9:17 am #457395
We’ve had the huge house – 9 bedrooms, 72squares, pool, bar, etc etc. Downsized to a 4 bedder that’s still ridiculously huge for the 3 of us but my husband’s a pretty big bloke and that’s our excuse.
On a serious note, when we had the big house we put it to what we consider good use by fostering children and animals and occasionally having people stay when they were having a housing crisis of one kind or another.
I would never do it again and if it weren’t for the hubster would happily reside in a tent or shed. The biggest bugger for us is that although we’ve downsized considerably and no longer have a swimming pool, the power and maintenance charges haven’t changed a bit! Yes, we’ve moved interstate but hell’s bells and barnacles, I’m a power miser most of the time, switching everything off whenever I can and certainly every night at bed time. It’s only me at home during the day and I’m outside 90% of the time but the bloody power bill is still up around the $800 – $900 mark per quarter! I know it’s not just us, the people in town are complaining about the same thing.
I suppose when it comes down to it I don’t miss the cleaning. However, it cost us no more to have the big house than the smaller and somehow we’re not giving back quite as much to the community now as we did in the big house, well, when it comes to putting a roof over people’s heads anyway.
Mind you, the climate’s better here, the neighbours are great and it keeps raining. So in essence the house itself matters very little, it’s finding your niche. For us anyway. It will be interesting to see other’s views and experiences.
C.March 18, 2010 at 9:33 am #457396
I am a bit opinionated about huge houses! I have found that in conversation everyone seems to be able to justify why ‘they’ need a big house. We do perfectly well in our 3 bed workers cottage (family of 2a + 2k). We would like more children but I’m always suprised by how many people say that we would then ‘need’ a bigger house. Idea being that it is terrible neglect to make your kids share a room! My grandparents did perfectly well in a 3 bed with 5 kids and we aren’t ‘stuff’ people so I imagine we will be the same.
I think that many people don’t consider the extra costs on top of the extra mortgage to have a mc’mansion. Extra heating & cooling, furniture, cleaning products, lighting, maintenance, pedastal charges on the rates etc, etc. It all adds up. I have a close friend who constantly complains about money (though they have heaps…) she lives with 4 kids in a house with 5 bed + 1 bat + 1 extra toilet and basin + ensuite + study + play room + living + dining+ tv room + laundry + kitchen + double garage + large shed. Yep that is 5 beds, 5 living areas, 3 bathrooms and the usual utility rooms (which aren’t small). This is crazy!! There are often 3 tvs going and 4 air cons all at the same time and catering to different members of the family. Enough is enough in my opinion. We need to take a stand and say that a smaller house is reasonable, better for the environment and better for family life (at least we are all in the same room at night). We need to think about whether or not we really want to live this way before there are no choices left.
I look forward to the program.
(ps don’t be offended – you can insult my little house if you want! :D)March 18, 2010 at 10:00 am #457397
When we were upsizing we were looking for a 3 or 4 bedder single level with a garage. We quickly found out we could not afford this in the area we wanted to live. So we looked out and under the “flight path”. What we actually ended up with was the ugliest house in the street – a big barn of a place with 5 bedrooms 2 stories and no garage. BUT – we have space for our family and friends (we don’t ever spend a week without guests) but more importantly we have the space for our vege patches and live in the area we thought we could not afford – that is no big mortgage! Yeh.
Much to DH’s horror we have no aircon, but we have a big roof with solar and we are using gas so our electricity bills are neglible. Just about to embark on a reno that will hopfully make the “barn” more enviro friendly – insulated outercladding, take advantage of coastal airflow etc etc.
On the main point, I agree the McMansions are completely unsustainable. I would rather see us growing our other non-capital cities and provide the jobs and infrastructure to go with it rather than build apartments and end up looking like and living like Hong Kong or Singapore – or even most of the major cities in Eu or Americas.
If anything I’d like a small house in the country – but there is no work for us there. Lets provide more work opportunities for other non-capital cities so we can create jobs in those areas and stop the monolithic growth of the capital cities. We can do this by providing incentives for industries currently based in cap cities to move to other areas – see the situation with all the food companies (Sara Lee, Masterfoods, Sanitarium etc) moving to the Sydney central coast – I think that works.
Anyway – my 2 cents worth. :confused:March 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm #457398
My family is my wife and me plus a dog slightly larger than a seat cushion.
We bought a three bedroom house. I’m not sure if it is a legitimate excuse but I want a bigger one because we have run out of wall space for my books!
I chose to believe that paper remembers and so I have a repository of knowledge (and Terry Pratchett) that will outlive us and possibly, our society. I shal continue to tell myself that my extravagance is an investment to the archelologists of the future!;)March 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm #457399
We’re 2a+3k, downsizing from 4br+study+2 living areas etc to move to a 3brm cottage with only one living area. We don’t think it’s a hardship for our kids to have to share a room and have less stuff, we think it’s a gain (well, the younger two are only 5 and 2, they may not agree when they get older ;)). And less house to clean and keep tidy is definitely a win!
Andre_halcyon, some friends of my husband’s have a shed with a full compactus system out the back for their huge book collection; maybe worth considering as an alternative to more house 😉March 19, 2010 at 1:36 am #457400
2 adults, 4 kids in a 4×2 house on 128sqm with the 12 and 9 year olds sharing a room. We feel like sardines and we are dying to get, if nothing else, a bigger house. We want to move to the country and have acreage and a bigger house so all the kids have their own room. The two younger boys have health issues that make sharing a room a very big problem but we can’t separate them due to space restrictions. In the next 3 years we are planning on adding 2 bedrooms onto the house so that they all have a room each and we have a spare as we need somewhere for our books. We currently have about 20 or so of those plastic rectangular tubs on wheels full of books with nowhere to store them.March 19, 2010 at 4:42 am #457401
Our house is a 2 brm currently, but had been a 3 brm + sleep out and its original residents apparently raised 7 kids in it. Does us plus dog just fine.March 19, 2010 at 4:51 am #457402
Don’t need a large house.. my semi A frame now has just one bedroom and another room that can be used as a spare bedroom.. it did have a large bedroom on the upper floor.. now that’s used as a studio..March 19, 2010 at 5:56 am #457403
I’d like one more bedroom. Actually, I could do with one more house. Then the rest of the household can move out and leave me in peace! :confused:March 19, 2010 at 6:57 am #457404
2 Adults, 3 kids. boy 15, girls 5 and 2. 3 bedrooms, 2 living areas. Yes we found it was getting squishy, so found a 10 metre caravan for the boy (not really roadworthy, and was gutted inside, still has no power or water, but he can sleep and store his stuff there, still needs to be inside for study (kinda hard in the dark)
Girls share a bedroom, other is their playroom, and will store more books once some bookshelf issues are resolved. That works well, one girl can play while the other sleeps, and seems tidier than having sep bedrooms. Makes it easier to share bedlinen (they arent gonna insist on sep colour schemes) and the toys and books are mostly common property.
Yearning to build on a ‘civilised shed space so I can work crafts and hobbies and store the bits without interference from small fingers, and to keep my reference library, which is considerable and growing, later a writing studio.March 19, 2010 at 7:53 am #457405
I loath those big unsustainable houses such a wate of resources to build them and then a waste of power to keep them going 😡
We have 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living /computer room , toilet and shower/laundry 96 sw m in total – 2 adults , a dog and me in a wheelchair ! Its so tight for me to get arround I have to leave the foot supports off inside but I certainly wouldnt have anything bigger. Nothing fancy no carpet small amount of second hand solid wood furniture – all built chemical free
We use 5 units of power a day and with our grid feed system Synergy currently OWE US $ 420 :tup:
AnneMarch 19, 2010 at 8:14 am #457406
It does often blow my mind why people need such large houses. Particularly around where I live I see entire apartment blocks being bulldozed and replaced with a single massive house. Often its just couples living in these houses too. It’s such a waste!
We (OH, Merlin the kitty and myself) live in a little 2 bedroom unit. Although we would appreciate a bigger living area (we can only fit 2 single seat couches in) we make do. I’ve seen a lot of positives come out of moving into this little space. It makes us think twice about buying unnecessary items and has made us declutter. We also have small electricity bills.
There are downsides, we can’t really have people over because there is no space for them to sit and I don’t have a garden, just a little concrete courtyard (I’ve discovered a local community garden though).
I guess in the end though we all need to make sacrfices for the sake of the earth.
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