Home ownership while not something that I've ever aspired to is something of a necessary ingredient of the all important American Dream that everyone likes to point to as their reason for striving forward. Homes that are big with picket fences and big yards. Homes that are the backbone of our broken nuclear family suburban lifestyle. However this part of the dream may actually be changing and that could be a very good thing.
At the recent International Builder's Show in Las Vegas experts from NAHB and Better Homes Gardens Magazine released some interesting research about the current state of home buildings. It appears that Americans aren't as interested in the McMansions; or large homes, that they once were. Instead more emphasis is being placed on practical housing. It's more about cozy spaces that are economical and practical. Now it's not that buyers are looking for just smaller either – they are looking for function as well.
"Wii-sized," media-centric family gathering rooms More storage to keep clutter under control Small homes with built in shelves for food storage Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems Energy-efficient homes with lower utility bills Outdoor spaces, such as a front porch A dedicated home office space
Source: Jetson Green
It is this kind of attitude that is driving people like Bill Randall; an solar and energy-efficient design architect, into creating projects like thesimpleHOUSE. This project is all about providing simple, contemporary, green house plans at an affordable price. thesimpleHOUSE project lets you order from your choice of expanding line of plans at prices that start with $475.00.
The homes are designed with passive solar, vaulted ceilings, exterior gathering space, LED lighting, motion and timer switches as well as other energy efficient features. Most of the plans are for well designed spaces under 2,000 square feet (and most under 1,600 sf). Other companies in this area include FreeGreen; which provides free plans of various styles, and LaMiDesign who provide modern design for a price.
Even at my age stuff like this could almost make me reconsider wanting to own a home.
[pic and hat tip thanks to Jetson Green]