Quaint 1600 sq. ft. townhome near downtown Austin TX

Quaint town home near downtown Austin, in a neighborhood called Clarksville, this 1612 square foot small..

Quaint town home near downtown Austin, in a neighborhood called Clarksville, this 1612 square foot small house gives great ideas of downsizing to a small space.

Remember, downsizing does not mean cheap!  I can attest to that in our downsizing story. It’s simply scaling back to create a home that works for you.

Front View

Simple, traditional architectural style that is timeless.  Not sure what’s up with the grill in the front because they have an absolutely tropical paradise in back.  But when considering a townhome or condo, do ask about grilling (if that’s important to you) because there are sometimes restrictions  on where you can barbeque.

Outside View

Here’s another view of the front façade. The outside furniture is tasteful to the town house exterior. Ahhh, ok now we see why the grill is in front.  Makes much more sense.

Living Room

Lovin the wrapped corner windows in the small living room.  Cozy, but gives a good visual with the windows.  A nice feature you don’t often find in Texas is the trim out of the windows.  If you can’t have wood windows, I personally think it’s a must.

Dining Room

Again, light and bright with the dining room windows.  FYI, bring that picture down about six inches.

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Very open plan.. A little too open for me, although I like the floating bar in the kitchen.  This is a very efficient design for a small kitchen to get the most use out of a smaller space.  Several elements of this bar that I like. One is the granite itself.  Universal color that would appeal to most people.  It’s a great contrast to the rich, hardwood floors.  And I like the slight curve which makes it better for guests sitting at the bar.

[note color=”#EBEBEB”]Note: If you’re building or remodeling, don’t let the Builder get cheap on you here. It’s not that much more $ to add a little knee room (I like 12″ minimum) with a bar.[/note]

Living Area

Here’s another angle of the main floor. I love the feeling that this photo represents. It’s cozy yet uncomplicated – simple and inviting… although they do need a little help with picture placement.  Gorgeous walnut wood floors.


The small bedroom has enough space for an amazing bed which goes to show you can have big living in a 1600 square foot house.

Bedroom 2
I’m tellin you, the abundance of windows is a huge plus for me with this townhouse.  Notice how this small bedroom multi functions to include a small study?  Double duty rooms are usually a must with smaller spaces.  Most likely this is a guest room.  A little crowded in here but nothing some IKEA furnishings couldn’t take care of.. [highlight bg=”#DDFF99″ color=”#000000″]See some of my fav IKEA picks below![/highlight]



OK, so I was 100% wrong on the patio.. That tropical paradise I was referring to is actually in the front here.  Hmmm, I’d have to see it, but I might be fine because it appears there’s still a lot of privacy.  It is lush don’t you think?

Pictures courtesy of Austin Land Company – MLS# 4146105

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Is Downsizing the Right Size for You?

Downsizing your home is definitely a lifestyle choice.. and many of us go into a small house with both boots forward. But is downsizing the

Downsizing your home is definitely a lifestyle choice.. and many of us go into a small house with both boots forward.

But downsizing should feel liberating, not restrictive, and if you do feel deprived, maybe.. just maybe, downsizing is not the right size for you. Gasp!

So how do you know? How do you decide if you should pull up roots and go for a more streamlined approach to life with a smaller home, or stay put?

Well, let’s talk about that for a minute.

Question:  Are you excited about the prospect of moving to a scaled down home, or is fear more dominant?

Let’s face it, most people don’t like change.. Now, personally I embrace it wholeheartedly, but I know I’m not the norm.. So understand that a little bit of apprehension is to be expected. Especially if you’re moving out of the family home or to an entirely new town. What I’m asking is if your reluctance is just a bit of fear of the change, or if it’s because you really don’t want to go..

On the flip side, you might be pretty darn excited about downsizing and all it entails, and it feels right for you.

Does the idea of getting rid of a bunch of junk sound liberating?

Obviously we can rid ourselves of clutter and still live in a big house, but it’s a different feeling when you’re decluttering to downsize versus staying put.

For awhile (and actually I’m still up for it) my hubby and I talked about ditching it all and sailing on a boat for a year or two. So for several years whenever we were in a store and wanted to buy something for our home, we’d laugh and say, “Well, will it fit on the boat?” First off, we saved a ton of money! But it also got us to thinking about how much stuff we really wanted or needed. So we started ridding our bigger home of unnecessary ‘junk’ way before we even thought about downsizing to a small house.

Will downsizing to a small home put you in a better place financially, and does it matter?

When I decided to start SmallHouseLife.com, I assumed many of my visitors would be a lot like me.. Forty something, OK fine.. fifty something.. kids moved out.. money in the bank, a fair amount of assets.  Satisfied with life, yet at the same time, wanting more!

I mean we could have stayed in our big house, but to have what we really want in life, something had to give.  For us to travel frequently, get our house paid for, have more money to bless others, we had to take a good hard look at our finances.  Combine that with a desire to live a less wasteful live.. and the fact that I love to design and build efficiently, for us it was a no-brainer.

I don’t know where you are financially, and if it matters that downsizing will most likely put you in a better place financially.  Only you can decide that.  I can tell you what helped my husband and I decide.  We sat down and brainstormed our dream lifestyle.   What would our lives look like if we could do whatever we wanted to do?  And when we soul searched about what was really important to us, the preferred way to get there was to right size by downsizing!

Final Thoughts

Downsizing is not about doing without.. I want to be very clear about that.  Personally I view it as a strategic move to actually have more in my life.  More of what’s important, anyway.  And don’t forget, I come from a building background so I love pretty houses.. just now my pretty house is more modest in size, and more fitting with what I value.

I’d love to hear about your journey.. Do you live in a small house now, or are you just beginning to consider downsizing? You can catch me on Twitter > Let’s talk on Twitter

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Leave ‘Is Downsizing the Right Size’ for HOME

How Someone Else Can Pay Your Mortgage

How to get someone else to pay off your mortgage. A simple, conservative way to have your small house mortgage paid off by downsizing and using..

small house with keysSound radical? It’s not…

I’ll show you a simple, conservative way to have someone else pay off your small house mortgage by using your home equity wisely.

It all began with a phone call from a dear friend in the real estate business. She called to update me on what she’s doing in our troubled economy and we got to talking about downsizing. My husband and I are currently selling our big fancy house to simplify our lives. She and her husband are considering downsizing from their big fancy house.

We got to talking about our different options and what downsizing to a smaller house could do for us financially.

I suggested an idea to her and she liked it so much, she encouraged me to share it with my readers. Of course!

Alright, here’s the great idea! 🙂

Take the equity from selling your big house and pay cash for a modest home. Well, what’s special about that? This home is not going to be the one you live in. You’re going to lease it out.

Now, find a small house that you want to call home and purchase it with a mortgage.

Your renters will pay off your mortgage. You might say.. well, if I just used the equity to pay cash for my own home, I wouldn’t need renters to pay it off. True. But look at the difference in the two scenarios.

BTW, we are using equity for cash but if you like this idea, you can use any funds available.
[box title=”Get qualified advice before proceeding!” color=”#336699″] Figures below are ESTIMATES for illustration purposes only. This article is designed simply to consider possibilities. I am not a licensed financial planner or accountant.[/box]

PLAN A – $160,000 Equity

157,000 pay cash for new home
3,000 closing cost
You now own your personal home free and clear.

Hurray!! Actually this is pretty darn cool and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing it. We just believe there could be a better way.

PLAN B – $160,000 Equity

157,000 obtain mortgage for new home
4,000 closing costs are typically more when acquiring a loan
8,000 down payment
$1,211. monthly payment <<approximate only! I figured this at 4% interest, 30yrs. and with high Texas property taxes. Interest rates fluctuate, as do taxes, insurance and such.. These numbers are meant to give you an idea of how this can work.

$145,000 pay cash for new rent home
3,000 closing cost
$1200-1300 monthly rent <<have qualified real estate professional advice you on what this price home would rent for in your area.

Use the rent money from your tenants to pay your mortgage.  Sweet.

Added Benefit: Once the mortgage is paid off, you also own an income producing property that can enhance your quality of life. Double sweet!

In a nutshell, here is the difference between Plan A & B:

Plan A, you own your own home without debt, and in thirty years you are in the same position financially.

Plan B, you own one home without debt and another one with a mortgage.  In thirty years (or 15 or however long it takes to pay off the mortgage)  you have an extra house that provides income.

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You might wonder why we used the personal house with a mortgage and rent house free and clear.  Generally you can get a better loan on a personal house as opposed to an investment property.

If you really want to be prudent when considering Plan B, you’ll set aside approximately 10%  of the monthly rent each month for potential repairs and vacancy. Being a landlord is not for everyone, but it can open up some interesting financial possibilities.

I’ve owned rental property almost my entire adult life and I’ve found the key is to properly screen potential tenants.  Also, so that I’m not chasing down rent checks, I use an auto debit company that takes the rent out of the tenants bank account and puts it into mine each month.  Plus when you sign on thru this link, we both get two free months of service! Sweet. 🙂

Amortization Calculator to figure different priced houses, interest rates, etc.