Last Saturday I visited a mate who recently relocated - along with his wife and three kids - back to his native midlands. He now lives in a suburb of Birmingham in one of those Edwardian bay fronted semi-detached houses that you see in just about every suburb of every town. Not a particularly remarkable house in most respects, but it is deceptive.
It has three good sized double bedrooms and a family bathroom upstairs. Downstairs there is a hallway with the staircase and a good sized lounge and dining room. There is also an enormous kitchen, a separate utility area and a downstairs loo. Outside there is a good sized front garden and a separate garage (quite charming although rather decrepit) while out the back is a garden roughly 150 feet in length and about 40 feet wide.
There's no doubt that the house needs a little work still and these older houses do require more maintenance, but it certainly made my modest seventies semi look a little pokey in comparison. Not that there is anything wrong with my home. It only has one reception, but it is a large room some 30 feet long and around 25 feet wide at the widest point - the intrusion of the stairs into the room is annoying though. Our kitchen is a decent length, but a little narrow and we only have two double bedrooms and one box room upstairs although they are all fairly decent sizes. Our front garden is small and open plan, but at the back we have a space around fifty feet by thirty feet - not great, but OK.
Then, on Sunday, we visited a relative who recently bought a brand new (shared equity) house out Reading way. What a shocker that was! One pokey little reception which was half eaten up by the staircase, a kitchen/diner with the kitchen area about the same size as my Brummie mates utility area and a rear garden which you could cross either way in six paces. The main bedroom was barely 9 feet square - little bigger than my box room although it did have an en-suite), the second bedroom slightly smaller and the box room was little more than a cupboard. Talking of which, apart from the main bedroom having built-in wardrobes, there was no worthwhile storage space anywhere. For that you had to use the garage which was in a separate block.
Whatever your view of the modern world, there is no doubt that we grow bigger and accumulate more stuff than we did in the past - so why the hell are our houses getting smaller?