Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Small home movement


Years ago, I met a guy in northwestern Virginia who had designed a small, space-saving, unique home. It had loads of storage space & lots of space-saving features including a loft accessed by Jefferson stairs and a bathtub/shower that opened directly into the bedroom. He was going to sell these little homes; he was ahead of his time, and I've searched for him on the Internet but can't find him.

Too bad, since the small home movement seems to be ">coming back. And it only took a massive hurricane for the movement gain momentum. Have you seen the Katrina Cottage? I've seen a few articles about it, including this most recent in the Christian Science Monitor.
A model home here that gives Katrina's displaced an alternative to trailer living is starting to take the country by storm.

The Katrina cottage - with living quarters about the size of a McMansion bathroom - is now appealing to people well beyond the flood plain. Californians want to build one in their backyards to use for rental income to help with the mortgage payment. Modestly paid kayakers in Colorado see it as a way to finally afford a house. Elsewhere, people envision building one so a parent can live nearby.

Flying in the face of a "big house" trend, designers of these tiny abodes seem to have found a new housing niche. Some experts cite an interest by some Americans in downsizing their habitats, a reaction to the supersized home, and note the challenge of heating and cooling a big house at a time when family budgets are flat. Others note that changing demographics - more empty-nesters and single adults - may mean a timely debut of the Lilliputian homes.

"It's resonating with people because it's a market that did not exist," says Marianne Cusato, a New York-based designer who drew up the plans for the Katrina cottage. "In the past, you had to go either to an apartment or a trailer."
Okay, I've never really lived in a small home, but I imagine I could... and that I want to. Okay, perhaps not with four kids. How about as an escape retreat on 15 acres in the woods, perhaps with a water or mountain view?

In the mean time, I'm thankful for the Katrina Cottage and the possibilities it gives people.

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