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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

House Construction 8: Why is My House So Small?

Just before the steel bars are placed onto the foundations in preparation for pouring the concrete (that will form the 1st storey floor slab), I could see the outlines of each room on the floor of my house. Here... is the kitchen. Over there... the living.

We wandered in there and were dismayed. Why was each room so small?! I was POSITIVE that Mr Grizzly had made a mistake. We have a land area of 3600sq ft. Why does my kichen look so small... how am I gonna put a table in this dining room... and my poor children, they now have to downgrade to cells!! I was ready to cry... and couldn't sleep a wink that night.

The Husband woke up the next day bright and early, brought his parents over to the new house... tried to convince them that they would be moving into a hovel that is their half of the house. Nothing doing!! The old folks have been looking forward to moving in with us for 2 decades. Nothing would make them change their minds. Move in they will even if it meant jettisoning all their belongings.

It was heart-rending to see the old folks assure us that they had been jettisoning stuff in the past 6 months, and that they were totally prepared to downgrade to smaller living quarters and that if we hadn't invited them to move in with us, they would have sold their 5-room to buy a smaller 3-room. Neither of us could bring ourselves to tell them that the invitation was withdrawn.

Desperate to understand why the house felt so small, I scooted over with plans and tape measure and measured every wall. Nope! There was no mistake. Mr Grizzly had done a good job... and he was too gentlemanly to gloat whilst I proved myself wrong. It turned out that our perceptions were grossly inaccurate. Not till I measured the contours of a single bed in The Daughter's bedroom outline did I realize that the bed looked even smaller.... and that The Daughter's room isn't small at all.

Nothing is smaller than what we are experiencing at our penthouse. Everything is larger.

Certainly though, our living and dining rooms are not as large as what one would normally experience in a semi-detached house (they're about penthouse sized) ... but that is something to be expected since we have decided to give 4-room HDB flat worth of space to the old folks for their own self-sufficient apartment with kitchenette. It makes them happy, and that is a small price to pay for family harmony.

This said, I veto-ed every attempt to open doorways and moveable walls from their space to mine. That is the small price the old folks have to pay for family harmony too, for I would surely turn into an evil daughter-in-law if my space were not protected.



Blur Ting said...

Maybe you think everything looks small because nothing is in there yet, so you don't have a perspective of size? I mean 3,600sq ft is alot of space! Surely your daughter's room can't be smaller than my son's? He doesn't even have space for a table.

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Don't worry.. I think you feel it is small because after spending all that time and effort into the house, it feels like a building-large in your head.. :p

I remember your place before it was built - it is nice and spacious even then! I'm sure your place will be bigger!

My SINFONIA said...

Talk about perceptions. Me and hubby made sure we pegged everything out. It always looks so good on plans. Spaces do look smaller when there is nothing in there. But do satisfy yourself that the room sizes are ok. Now is not too late. Its just partitions in walls. It can be moved.

Wen-ai said...

Yah, I agree with the ladies: spaces look smaller when it's empty. When I 1st walked into my new flat after all the walls were down, I was like "huh...? That's it?" But once the cabinets up and furniture in, ta-dah: spacious. Weird huh? So, you will regain your "space" as u move in. Congrats on the new house! ;)

Malar said...

I do agree with OKC!
You both are so kind to built a house for his parents!

Cloudjade said...

Don't worry, it is all a visual trick. I remember that when I was building my place, I took issue with all the bedroom sizes. It had looked good on paper but even when the walls were up, it still look small to me... to the extent that I doubted a queen-size bed would fit in. It actually need the walls plastered and painted before it started to look like a liveable space.

petunialee said...

Ting - Yes... I do think you're right. Numbers don't lie but the eyes can cheat the brain.

petunialee said...

OKC - Yeah... it's a large part of my life now. I had initially thought that I could leave things to run. But it seems not. Plans are inaccurate (despite everyone's best efforts) and changes are inevitable because you all of a sudden realize that you had overlooked this or that practical concern.

petunialee said...

Sinfonia - Yes... I will bear that thought in mind. Try not to panic.

petunialee said...

Wen-ai: Reclaim my space... hmmmm... that is an interesting thought.

petunialee said...

Malar - Thank you!! I still have butterflies in my stomach thinking about having the in-laws move in. I have stayed with them before and it was not an exactly good experience. I hope things will be better this time.

petunialee said...

Cloudjade - Ok! That is good to know. At least I'm not the only one with eyes who cheat the brain?