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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NEW IDEA OF AN OLD IDEA -- SMALL HOUSES

Recently I was sitting in my dentist's office, reading a popular magazine, when I hit upon a featured article on small houses. As I remember it said something like this -- forget McMansion's they are out of style. I thought -- great -- it's about time. All the resources that developers feed into such homes is beyond sanity.

The magazine's featured article had a tiny old house that a woman had restored to a cottage home. Again I thought--  great!  I really like this new -- old idea


So tonight as I write this post, I feel we might be headed in the right direction as far as housing. Small houses is an old idea -- one that saves natural resources.


As I travel around I spot small old houses that attract me to stop and take their photos. I have quite a nice collection of them now. The old house photo above was found in Garrard County, Kentucky.  Couldn't you imagine this cute house all trimmed in some lovely colors on a place in the country? Or even in a town/city? A great starter house or retirement house or even a small family house? Think of the trees you would save.


Found this blog online tonight -- it looks interesting -- you might want to check out its new tiny houses. -- Tiny House Blog

32 comments:

  1. Wonder how many square feet the house is that you featured in your post? Wonder how many rooms it has and how they are configured. Not sure if I could live in something that small. I think I'd need something bigger for myself and the three other members of my family. The smallest we could probably go without killing each other would be 900 sq. feet. I do agree smaller is better, for the earth as well as the people that inhabit them. Great post! Thanks!

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  2. Tess -- Ahh yes -- easy to clean -- I like that idea too. I always wonder who cleans all those McMansions -- surely not the woman of the house? If so -- how can one have a life. -- barbara

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  3. Darcy -- I don't really know the dimensions of the house. I would guess 300 to 400 square feet. Myself, I would put the dimensions of a tiny house in the 100 to 600 square feet. Small houses in the 700 to 1500 square feet. These figures are not official by any means -- just my guessing. For just myself I could live in a 500 sq foot home easily. barbara

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  4. After many years in a New York City apartment and visiting friends also in small apartments, I know one can live comfortably in a small space. These small houses offer the same advantages and disadvantages. Here on Cape Cod many summer houses are very small as are quite a few older homes. Sometimes driving around I think, that house has less space inside than the apartment I now live in. Of course very large houses abound also. At present I think I have just the right amount of space, I haven't figured square footage.

    The link you provided is interesting, quite a variety -- thanks.

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  5. What a COOOOOOL post, Barbara! We lived in an old granary while we were building the "big house" and I look back on that time of reduced space as sublime! There was a total of 700 sq. ft. of living space, with a loft of sorts over the main part, where we slept. Simple. Adequate. And truly enchanting in terms of quaintness. I loved the enforced order of things. No room to get chaotic in terms of living efficiency!

    Elora

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  6. June - good to get your view on living in smaller spaces. I have been to Cape Cod eons ago and remember the lovely small summer houses. In Michigan, where I spent my youth, many folks have small summer cottages and whole families live all summer in them It is just a matter of adjustment to move into smaller quarters. Thanks -- barbara

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  7. Elora -- And what a cool idea to live in a granary if even for a short while. I once knew a couple that lived in a chicken coop for a few years. Our minds have been turned around by developers that proclaim bigger is better. I liked your terms simple, adequate and enchanting to describe your granary. I find small house are just that. -- barbara

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  8. Great post, Barbara, on a topic that really rankles me. McMansions also gobble up land and waste energy to heat and light. Thanks for the link, too.

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  9. I've always loved small cottagey houses. Around here, some people build enormous houses that take up the whole lot....unless they have hoards of children, I can't imagine why they would want a house that big and virtually no yard or garden. I'd rather have a small house and a big garden!

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  10. A poem I recall from childhood went like this:
    "I am glad my housee is a small housse, not to tall or to wide, I am glad the hovering butterflies feel free to come inside."

    I ddon't know who wrote it, but I think small houses are doll houses and I love them. Great photo and post.

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  11. Yeah for a return to smaller homes!!! I thought that I was the only person to see these McMansions as just plain obscene. My Grandparents raised 12 children in an average size farm house with 1 bathroom. All 7 of us were raised in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home & there was always more than enough room. Thank you for the lovely picture of the small house above. How perfect would that be for a young couple, or an older couple. So much less to maintain, heat, and paint.

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  12. Rose -- I like what you mention in your comment, "I'd rather have a small house and a big garden." Your words would make a good post. I have seen the monstrosities that take up the entire lot -- good grief -- they must stayed locked in their houses all day.Thanks -- barbara

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  13. Sheri -- You give very good reasons not to live in MacMansions -- energy and land waste. Rose, above, comments about preferring a garden over a huge lot-filling house. And commenter Darcy agrees that it is better for the earth to have smaller houses. Could the magazine article I read on small houses really happen in the future? I sure hope so for everyones sake. -- barbara

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  14. Auntea -- I believe that there is a trend toward smaller houses. I don't have a crystal ball but how can we keep up this frenzied robbing of our earth's natural resources? I agree with you, it is obscene to continue on the MacMansion path. Thanks -- barbara

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  15. Dianne -- you do have a great grasp on literature. Your quote on your last post was good and now this wonderful quote -- "I am glad my housee is a small house, not too tall or to wide, I am glad the hovering butterflies feel free to come inside". I am sending this quote to a friend that just bought a small house. Thanks -- barbara

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  16. I am fascinated by some of the small houses we see. They are so lovely and compact but I fear I would need more space to roam. I can see more value in a small house if used as a getaway or office but I don't think I could live in one for long.

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  17. We have a small two room cabin on our property in which the previous owners lived and raised four boys. I suspect it was possible because they spent almost every waking hour outside working the farm.

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  18. Hi! I'm loving your blog! I am in the Appalachians, too, albeit further east.

    Our house is fairly small too. It's a log home that we built. There was an old house on our place that we'd hoped to renovate, but it was just beyond repair - the wood borer bees had done it in, and the foundation, which had many old moonshining bottles mixed in to the concrete, was cracked too bad. So we built, upon the site, with a similar floor plan in places in honor of the old homestead.

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  19. NCmountainwoman -- I lived in an artist studio in the mountains of New Mexico a few years back. It was tiny but had lots of windows that showed off its spectacular views. I found I became very organized in such tiny quarters and when I wanted to roam I just walked the area where I lived. It is what you are used to I guess. I have lived in big old farmhuses to this tiny studio and really found I liked the studio the best. Thanks for your comments -- barbara

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  20. Vicki -- your story of the cabin and family is a wonderful story. I imagine those children knew more about nature by living outdoors than most kids today. -- barbara

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  21. Hi Lisa -- So glad you stopped by. You and your husband are certainly enterprising to built your own place on acreage. Your children will certianly know about nature as they grow. Your blog is great. I looked for your log house -- thinking you might have ut it on. Will keep up with your happenings. -- barbara

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  22. looks wonderful...and thanks for the link :)

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  23. Charming... but a real fixer-upper.

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  24. aparna -- your welcome! -- it's a fun link -- thanks -- barbara

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  25. Birdman -- yes, I agree that it needs a bit of spit and polish -- thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  26. Great post, Barbara! I've been a fan of the Tiny House blog for some time, but had neglected to visit it in many months. Thanks for the reminder!

    forget McMansion's they are out of style. I thought -- great -- it's about time. All the resources that developers feed into such homes is beyond sanity.

    Amen to that, sister!! We have a hideous number of McMansions around here, with more of the monstrous things being built as we speak. And in nearly every case, they are a second or third home for people who only spend a couple of months there a year! There is one such house in the area that has 9 bathrooms. I can't remember the outrageous square footage or number of bedrooms - it's owned by one couple who have three other homes around the country and are there only in July and August. It's despicable! I think not only of the tremendous waste of resources it took to build it and that are required to furnish, heat and cool, clean and maintain it, but of all the people who HAVE no homes while that cavernous place just sits empty most of the time. Just a dreadful, unconscionable waste to feed someone's ego.

    I love to hear about the small home resurgence, and there is quite a bit of evidence of that around here too, I'm glad to report! We've long been enchanted by those darling "Tumbleweed" houses, and one of my favorite books, The New Cottage Home features many small ones whose designs make brilliant use of their small spaces and make them seem far larger than they are.

    "I'd rather have a small house and a big garden!"

    Another great and quotable quote and I totally agree with Rose! But since we live in a place with such long winters and such short gardening seasons, I don't think the two of us and our three dogs could endure being in a house as small as many of those I admire. Still, we can hardly wait to downsize to a place half the size of the one we're in now, challenging as that may be. The reduction in cleaning time and heating expenses alone will be well worth it!

    And yes, I can totally imagine that cottage in your photo being restored and made utterly charming and adorable!

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  27. LALOOFAH -- I have not seen the book, the New Cottage Home -- will check to see if I can get it through my library.

    This has been a busy day for me so I am just getting around to some of my comments.

    I am also not familiar with the term Tumbleweed Houses. I guess I have some catching up to do as far as small house names. It is a charming name which sounds very "West."

    My hope is that folks will wind down the size of their homes -- to develop a new mindset that will allow them to take the leap into a smaller home.

    Thanks for the great comments -- barbara

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  28. What a cute old house. If we got rid of all the stuff we don't need, we could all live in a small house. It would be a lot less to clean.

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  29. Janet -- I think I will make a list of all the things I could live without. I try to keep "stuff" from flooding my life -- a list therefore would make me more aware of the items I might want to unload. A good exercise. Thanks -- barbara

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  30. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company :-)

    Janet's comment and your reply made me think of George Carlin's famous "Stuff" routine. Here's a highly edited version of it, with some additional messages you and Janet might especially appreciate! :-)

    My friend Robyn and I are having a huge yard sale at her house in a couple of weeks - going to try to get rid of a LOT of STUFF!!

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  31. Laloofah -- I watched your version and then found the whole version. I laughed so much. He is quite the character. We all have too much stuff for sure. Good luck on your yard sale. Thanks for sending the link -- barbara

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