Love green projects, you may just love one the latest design rages: tiny and smaller houses. However in New Mexico, there has been a long history about small houses over the last 400 years. Yes small can be comfy. The design will make all the difference.
Cultural backgrounds often include different preferences and relationships to space. Navajo and Pueblo Native Americans of the Southwest often built and still live in very small dwellings. Hispanics throughout NM, particularly in the Santa Fe area often started with a one or two room house. Even today, Mexican immigrants sometimes feel comfortable living with many adults in a small apartment. After WWII, when suburban GI houses were being introduced, bedroom and baths were tiny.
However, lots of these houses have been remodeled or simply have had a continuing history of adding on rooms. Spacial needs vary immensely. Hence it is almost amusing to read about the greener smaller houses. Still, on a more serious note, with the environmental demands that the world faces, smaller can create dramatically lower carbon footprints.
Need a few pointers on smaller housing? Visit Mother Earth News, where you can find 100 articles. In December’s 2010 Dwell magazine there were several articles on smaller and greener homes. These articles demonstrate the possiblities for successful designs. If you are restricted to one story homes, as in much of Santa Fe, NM, then you can’t simply build a loft or second story. Also if you are looking at Century Homes smaller homes, you can easily discover how cramped these houses are.
5 pluses of smaller homes:
- less taxes
- easier to heat
- great for couples or senior citizens
- use less electricity
- passive solar heat may work for the whole house
- easier to keep greener lifestyle
- easier to clean
Tips for smaller homes:
- prioritize essential spaces by uses: if the kitchen is your main gathering space make it bigger and the living room smaller. No children? Splurge on a larger master bedroom and a tinier guest room that could be an office. Carefuuly choose windows as lighting increases the feel of the space. Higher ceilings add space. Make boncho “couches or seating” that can have storage underneath,
- build casitas or yurts nearby for guests, storage, or workout rooms.
- add a sun room or enclosed porch.
- add a patio
- visit apartments and condos and see how space is maximized there, and copy.
5 minuses of smaller homes
- lack of privacy
- hard for younger families
- inadequate storage
- insufficient quiet space
- limited space usage.
Check out the links, the designs, and possibilities. Add comments. Plan 2 1/2 baths whenever possible. Review how you feel in different sized spaces. Avoid an office cubicle like home. If you love green living your creativity will discover solutions.