How much house do you need?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as I've been considering moving. One day I want more space. The next I think that I have way too much space and I need to cut way back.
A lot of people have been asking this question lately. In fact, the New Yorker recently had an article about "tiny houses" (houses that are under 200 square feet). There's a small but growing number of people who are thinking that the American dream of a big house with lots of yard is not only unnecessary, but can also be bad for the environment.
Well, this week I had the opportunity to experience a house that was not "tiny" but was very small. I visited Portland for a wedding, and stayed with good friends in the "Pocket House."
The Pocket House is an "urban cabin in Portland's backyard." Basically, it's a small (435 sq. ft) vacation rental with a kitchenette and room for 5 adults (two full beds plus a futon). It's situated near both the Mississippi and Alberta strips (that means cool little cafes and shops are just a hop, skip, and a jump away).
We really maxed out the Pocket House in terms of capacity (4 adults, 2 babies, plus 2 young adults camping in a truck bed in the driveway). But it never really felt as though we were squished because of the great use of space. Any time you were thinking something like "gee, where am I going to put this?" you turned around and there was a little shelf just where you needed it. See below: the sleeping loft. Note the shelf behind the ladder.
The Pocket House has lots of eco building features as well as the fact that a smaller naturally means a smaller footprint. I'm thinking that smaller might be a worthy new American dream.
Could you live in 400 square feet? What about 200?