Saturday, 30 August 2014


Check it out on a web search.  Fascinating and appealing, at least to some of us older folks who have lived in larger houses, in different places over the years.  We often hear people talking about “downsizing” and we all know what that means.  I like to refer to it as “right-sizing” which to me means having enough shelter and comfort to meet our needs.  The small house or tiny house movement began when people became concerned primarily about two things – the environment and finances. 
The typical American home is over 2000 square feet and we were definitely in that category for many years.  Some of the small houses are under 1000 square feet so you can see immediately that the impact is cut at least in half if not more.  Many of the designs of these houses are very creative and use space in interesting ways, often multi-use instead of separate rooms for everything.  I can remember when some houses even had a sewing room! Imagine that!  Who makes their own clothes today?
In January of this year, we sold our 2700 square foot house, six acres, a barn and several outbuildings and moved into approximately 370 square feet, plus an outdoor patio.  Never mind that it is a 47’ motor home with four slide-outs and a diesel engine.  Our carbon footprint is up for review but we often park it for several months at a time, usually in a great place.  This experience started us thinking about what’s next and what some viable options might be.
We had seen many RV parks and a number of them had modular houses or park models as they are called, some known as manufactured houses.  The history of those buildings is simple.  Once upon a time there were house trailers and a classic that has been around for a long time is the Airstream but there were many other brands as well.   They were built on a chassis with wheels, parked somewhere and people lived simply and inexpensively.  In the mobile RV market, there are travel trailers, camping trailers, fifth wheel trailers, Class C which is a truck chassis onto which a camper is attached, Class B which is basically a van outfitted for camping and Class A which is a self-powered diesel or gas motor home that comes in various sizes and configurations. And there is a percentage of RV folks who live and travel full time in these conveyances.
In one particular RV park we noticed a senior community of these manufactured homes, some 60 of them located behind the campground and we started talking with people who lived there and visited a few of the houses.  Voila!  The construction looked solid, the floor plans flexible and we could get everything we needed in a 16x68 single wide house that ends up being just slightly over 1000 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths, living and dining areas, utility room and we will add a small, covered porch/deck.  We rent the lot and we are ordering the house to be built to our specifications within the next few weeks.  It will be delivered intact and it will be our residence for the foreseeable future at least when we’re in town  Seems like a good choice for us given where we are, geographically, chronologically and financially.  And perhaps as important as the house, our neighbors are interesting people and we like them.  Check out the most recent issue of dwell, Clever Living Solutions for Homes Under 1,000 square feet.  Small Space, Big Design.

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