Saturday, April 09, 2011

More thoughts on small-scale living

We took a very mini vacation this week (the main reason I haven't posted recently), going up to New Braunfels for a one night stay in a cottage at Hill Country RV Resort & Cabins.

This picture (credit their website) is of the cabin we stayed in, a model called Hunter.  To call it a cabin is perhaps a bit of a misnomer--it's clearly a modular home rather than something site-built.  But that's fine.  It is a very nice little place (albeit lacking the promised ceiling fan), comfortable and--at $85/night on the off season--a great price for six people.  My only issue the whole time was that my desire to sit out on the front porch and enjoy the weather was thwarted by someone outside smoking a cigarette.

This isn't really meant to be a review, though.  The little cottage, according to the website, is 300 sq ft on the bottom, with a loft that is perhaps 100sq ft (but probably smaller)--enough room for two twin mattresses and about a foot of extra space.  It is absolutely a marvel of compact design.  So I had the thought, and I told Erik, "Hey, I could live here!"

Unfortunately, I almost immediately realized that wasn't quite true--at the very least, I'd need exterior washer/dryer hookups and a storage shed for guns and out-of-season clothes.  But it actually comes really close to my ideal.

More pictures after the break...

This is a photo of the three older girls in the loft:
Not the best quality picture, but it gives you a pretty good idea of scale.  (And the safety, which I was a bit worried about beforehand.)  We have a bit of an odd setup here at home--the girls actually share a room and a big queen-sized bed right now.  (Tried breaking Bobbie out into her own room when we first moved, but she was having nothing of it.)  So  an old-fashioned loft sleeping area wouldn't be too far out of the norm.
Here's another shot of the loft.  This is a definite kids-only space, as you can see not even Bobbie can stand up straight, and she's a bit over 4 feet tall.  So its utility for teenagers is perhaps questionable.

This is the view from the main living area.  I'm sitting on the bed (which was decidedly not queen-sized by the way; it's maybe a full).  You can see the couch, dining table, kitchenette, and hall to the bathroom.  Between the fridge and the bathroom is an alcove hosting the microwave and a small cabinet where the kitchen stuff was; above it were extra blankets.  There is a small staircase that leads to the loft.

Of course, living someplace like this, you would not be able to own a lot of stuff.  That actually doesn't bother me too much.  Less stuff owned = less stuff to clean.  I suspect my interest in such a small space is directly related to how much I hate having to clean my kitchen. 

I'll admit to giving this a great deal of thought.  Could we make it work?   Short term, definitely.  Long term, probably, but it would take some dedication.  I wouldn't have any real interest in living in a little cabin like this in the middle of an RV/trailer park like this one, but on about five acres or so?  Totally doable.  Better yet, I'm finding plenty of options with slightly larger floorplans (including a separate bedroom downstairs).

I know it places me decidedly outside the norm to lust after tiny houses when most people in this country are looking for bigger and bigger ones.  But I like the efficient use of space, and I've always been a bit confused by ginormous houses that allow you to pretty much never see your family.  I rather like my family, at least my immediate family.


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a smaller living space, and ultimately owning less crap. Not only for cleaning purposes, but it just feels so liberating to not have a room or several filled with stuff you can't bear to part with but never, ever use. We're silly creatures. I've seen an article about a man that started selling train cars as homes.....he made them quite livable-looking. It might be hard for a couple with a growing family, unless, like you said, you are completely dedicated to living smaller. I think they're perfect for a single or a couple, though. Your girls are really cute!

Peter D said...

Well, we're living in a pretty small house now, I'm guessing 800 square feet. We got rid of a good bit when we moved in here and we still need to get rid of more. Nothing wrong with having less stuff tho. I can't believe you'd want a house so small since you still want more kids. You'd really be cramped in a few years. And since when do you want 5 acres? I thought you were a total city-slicker.
BTW, people who dress all their kids the same are freaks. Then again, was there any question of that anyway? ;-)

Albatross said...

Nothing wrong with having less stuff tho.

Nothing wrong with having more either. Matter of fact I have a few things in mind at Academy that are just begging for extra money to be spent on them. (They'll be waiting awhile!)

Seriously, though, no matter how much or how little space you have, you will fill it with crap. And wish you had more space.

Dave said...

I think we could easily live in a smaller space but we would need a bigger garage for all the junk filling our current space. I think the real issue for us is not the amount of space we need to live on a day to day basis, but the space we need for visiting family and such.

I like your 5 acre idea. Nothing beats an evening sitting out under the stars instead of in front of the TV or the computer.

Joseph said...

Roomie and I are moving to a 1600 sq ft house from an apartment, Mainly because I am sick of paying rent, and interest rates aren't going to stay low. I'm 47, and not going to have kids (don't now) so more room isn't an option. Ground floor is semi-customized for the roomie, who is disabled. A little bigger would be nice...but I already have too much stuff!