Bethany Lyttle at the New York Times published a great article today about "thinking small."
A wave of interest in such small dwellings — some to serve ... as temporary housing, others to become space-saving dwellings of a more permanent nature — has prompted designers and manufacturers to offer building plans, kits and factory-built houses to the growing number of small-thinking second-home shoppers. Seldom measuring much more than 500 square feet, the buildings offer sharp contrasts to the rambling houses that are commonplace as second homes.Now, if I could just get rid of some of my "stuff."
This reduction of scale makes sense for a lot of people. Second homes are often geared toward outdoor activities, so for several months of the year interior space is superfluous. Minimal square footage means reduced maintenance costs, less upkeep and reduced energy consumption. Prefabricated and pre-built models can require little or no site preparation, which means no anxious weekend drives to the country to make sure construction is moving along. Add to this an element of instant gratification (once the planning stage is over, most houses go up in days, even hours, and many are delivered, turn-key, to the site).
Choosing a house starts to resemble buying a car.
Hardly the slapped-together hunting camp that belonged to your uncle, these buildings even offer instant curb appeal. They are often equipped with airplane-size bathrooms and tiny kitchenettes. Styles include romantic, rustic and designer modern.