Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tiny Homes and Convergence

Sometimes forces converge and a new post emerges. This week, I was reading reports of a consensus that McMansions are on the way out. That is, houses are finally getting smaller. It struck me as serendipitous timing, with Al Gore winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature; noted corporate raider KKR announcing that it was going to buy TXU and actually reduce the number of planned new coal-burning electric plants in Texas from 11-to-3; and ADM (you remember, Archer Daniels Midland) touting its new bio-fuel programs on PBS. So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and post about tiny homes.

Part of living small, reducing impact and managing footprint involves changing behaviors and changing spaces. Of course, small houses have small utility bills and a reduced impact on their surroundings. For those and other reasons, tiny homes are getting a lot of attention as primary dwellings as well as low-impact vacation get-aways. As one of many sites notes: "Once you start looking, tiny homes are everywhere."

Jay Shafer is one of the best-known Tiny Home gurus. Since 1997, he's actually lived in a very tiny space, no larger than a typical McMansion master bath. Thanks to Jay for allowing me to reproduce some of his images. He's into composting toilets, on-demand water heat, gray water recycling and energy conservation. And his designs are, well... so cute and practical. His Gypsy-style Vardo on wheels is what I'm taking about. Check it out.

On the more edgy side of small space design are the guys at Blue Sky Mod, who have come up with one of the most beautifully designed tiny homes to date. So if you want to explore the incredible lightness of low-impact living, these are some resources.

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