Green

Size Matters

small homes
Smaller homes are greener.
Image: Shutterstock

People may well be getting smarter about spending money.  Could it be that we have seen the error of our ways?  McMansions are being torn down and replaced by smaller, greener homes every day.  Suddenly, it seems, size matters.

You don’t want to pay a ridiculous whopping electricity, heat, water or gas bill?  Build smaller.  You don’t want to have to clean 75 rooms?  Scale down.  You don’t want to have to shout, “Could you please pass the salt” at the dinner table?  Live in a house that is cozier and feels more like a home than a museum.

If that’s exactly what you are doing, then you are part of the revolution.  The aftermath of an economic meltdown often is followed by a phase of introversion.  People need a chance to assess what is really important and how to achieve that.

Keeping up with the Jones’ could soon simply mean growing your own organic veggies and sharing a communal chicken coop.  If you’re not quite ready to wake up to the sound of “cock-a-doodle-doo,” then start small.

According to Alyse Nelson, “In perhaps the most interesting development, more and more people are choosing to buck the ‘bigger is better’ trend in North American housing. They’re taking small spaces—back yards, side lots, or freestanding garages—and using them to build tiny houses.”

These “doll houses” range from around 800 square feet to less than 100 square feet.  That certainly is a change from the luxury home of the past.  The owners of these minute dwellings chose to live this way for a variety of reasons.

Some do it to save money.  Some do it to be a better steward of the environment.  Others, still, do it to be able to afford to live in a more desirable neighborhood – even if it is in a tiny, tiny home.

Jay Shafer, a founding father of the tiny home movement and a co-owner of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, told the BBC: “People are thinking more about what really is a luxury now. Is it a 30-year mortgage, or is it just living simply and having the time to do more of what you want? And I think a lot of people are starting to really change their idea of the American Dream.”

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