This discussion bifurcated into large house / McMansion. I am commenting on the large house portion of this thread.
My voiced preference was that, after the kids went to college, we would downsize into an apartment, large enough to have kids visit, liberal enough for us to have dogs, and convenient to airports. But, instead, we went from a 5000SF house on 1/2 acre to a 7100 SF house on 20+ acres. In any case, my grumblings aside, I love this new old house (built in the 60s, renovated in the 80s, purchased by us earlier this year).
We use the master bedroom and bathroom, but it is an inviting home for kids and family to visit. There are 3 bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs that are acoustically isolated from our floor (and we can opt not to heat/cool them). We have had more visits from family in the half year we've owned the house than probably in the 24 years in our old house. Sometimes that feels like a two-edged sword
, but it's nice that they enjoy visiting.
We make extensive use of the living spaces that are on a floor above the spare bedrooms, except that we don't really eat in the dining room. We enjoy watching movies in the den, or if it's a really good movie, in the media room. We have a very cozy sitting room with a fireplace. We use the living room if friends come over. We eat in the breakfast part of the sunroom. For all of my grumbling about it being unnecessarily large, I don't know if I'd give up any part of the house willingly.
We had MASSaves come in and replace most of the non-LED bulbs with LED (free!). We have extensively insulated the house. We will be installing geothermal next spring. I expect to be net zero carbon by next year. The house is admittedly very large, but it feels cozy. All the jokes about needing a compass aside, it's nice to live here, and even better to have company.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.