One of the advantages of going around the world is the enormous amount of house design you see.
I've been planning aspects of my house since I turned 15 or so (in earnest, I mean— undoubtedly there were more plans before that). There was everything from an office with bright orange flowers painted on the walls to book storage in walls (no clutter was always a very important consideration— I don't like dusting), to small murals of princesses or beanstalks on the walls.
The house, of course, always featured a library. And lots and lots of windows, artificial lights (for those dusk hours when you can't see anything), etc. I've always been a light-needy person.
Some things that I've discovered while traveling is that some designs are just plain bad. Ugly hardwood flooring is never going to work for me.
A sink built into a toilet lid is epic, water-saving, etc. The downside is that the water is cold, but that always builds endurance.
What else? Tatami mats are lovely. Beds with storage underneath are fantastic.
A small apartment works very well for five people. The one in Hong Kong is spartan in furnishings, but it's comfortable, and the shower is ridiculously amazing— sunk a bit into the floor to prevent some leaking.
A big house is pointless. The apartment in Delhi was beautiful, with marble flooring, high ceilings, ornate knicknacks, but it was simply too big.
We liked our small, two star hotel room in Beijing better than the grandparents' four star hotel. Theirs was plush, with nice seats and pretty lamps and a seriously ornate bathroom… ours had three beds, tile flooring, and a bathroom with seriously weird putty formations on the floor. But it felt nicer. It was white, not dark green, and though it might have been the same size as the grandparents' room, it felt larger.
The Goa house was large, and yet… we could have all survived in a third of the space and still have felt at ease.
In Nepal, families of twelve live in houses smaller than our TV room at home! It's ridiculous, and you wonder how they use the space.
Yes, I'm leaning toward 'small' here. Today, while looking up some ideas for multi-use space (the Hong Kong apartment has multi-use space), I stumbled upon (literally!) something called Tiny Houses.
Basically, a tiny house is up to 900 sq ft of space. Imagine living in 500 square feet! Imagine the things you could do! Imagine how much less cleaning there would be! Imagine the organization capabilities!
Now, after spending an entire day which should have been utilized in writing or reading French, I can definitely say I want a tiny house. I've got all sorts of ideas, all sorts of plans, and I'm very happy with what I've come up with.
Besides… how cool would it be to have a reeaaally small house and reeaaally big yard?