Updated: Jan 13, 2022
Our first step in reducing our climate footprint was to downsize our living space when our last child went to college. We had moved from LA to Colorado for health reasons (Ota has liver damage from a chemical injury and needs clean, unpolluted air) and were renting an average-sized house (2500 sf). We really wanted a smaller space, especially once we were empty-nesters. We bought a house half the size of the one we were living in (1250 sf). Looking at the graphic above, our new house is an average-sized home for a family in France or Germany, and twice the size of the average home in Russia or China.
So what can you fit in 1250 square feet? Well, our new house has a comfortable main room with a vaulted ceiling that makes it feel quite spacious. The kitchen is in one corner, with a breakfast nook that has a beautiful view of the top of Long's Peak. The main room has an alcove that serves as exercise, meditation, music, work, and guest space, as well as a cosy fireplace with chairs in front of it, and another seating area with a big-screen TV and a large sofa. We have a bedroom with a king-sized bed and an anteroom with a sauna and massage table that opens onto a patio with a hot tub and a view of the "twilight twinkle" of city lights far below. Our bathroom has a nice deep tub. There's a separate office when one of us needs to take a meeting or record a video. We have a laundry/mud room with a washer, dryer, laundry sink, and hooks and hall tree for hanging coats and hats. Yes, 1250 square feet is quite ample for two adults and a cat.
Downsizing allowed us to save money (our house was hundreds of thousands cheaper than the larger houses on the market at the time), and it also allows us to save energy. A subtler benefit of a not-so-big house is that we are not isolated from each other. It truly is cozier!