Size vs Practicality
We live in a world where success is often tied to the size of our house or cottage, and in many cases square footage receives higher priority than quality design and materials. When we look back to the large ‘mansions’ built a decade or two ago, we recognize the pattern of large structures with two storey spaces, lavish ensuites, numerous communal areas and exteriors that were quite out of scale with typical single family homes up to that time. With the recent increase in costs, this trend has slowed and we are seeing clients wanting spaces that are more versatile, practical and with a new appreciation for human scaled rooms.
Reasons for Downsizing
In addition to the easily understood concept that a larger home is more costly than a smaller one, there are several other obvious reasons to build smaller. A modest home will permit higher quality finishes which offer both aesthetics and durability.
Site selection will be easier if you do not require a huge yard to construct your home. Consider using exterior living areas (as your climate and location permit) to take advantage of the sun, shade or a great view.
Smaller homes require special care in making sure that the spaces you are designing are closely aligned to your family’s lifestyle and future needs. Rooms need to be planned to suite the furniture that you need to accommodate and if possible taking advantage of built-ins can reduce the amount of space required. Smaller spaces benefit from careful analysis of what needs to be kept and what can be used by others.
Household maintenance and cleaning are reduced on a smaller home. Taxes also are tied to value and less square footage helps to keep them low. Energy costs are reduced on a well built smaller home and the benefit to the environment is becoming increasingly important.
How do you want to live?
All these practical reasons are not going to resonate with a future homebuilder without embracing the concept of living with less. Ultimately, this means adopting a lifestyle based, not on an accumulation of possessions, but on enjoying life in a simpler, less cluttered fashion.