Small house,
September 28, 2002 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Small house, big ambitions. I've always lived in small houses and flats so this would be the perfect little place for me. As people are progressively continuing to stay single for longer into their lives, are homes like these what they'd be looking for to settle into?
posted by feelinglistless (23 comments total)
That house is pretty. It doesn't seem that small to me though.
posted by rhyax at 4:16 PM on September 28, 2002

Depends how much stuff you have.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:29 PM on September 28, 2002

It's not small in size but small in the footprint. I guess you could say this the the direct opposite of a ranch-style home.

Very cool link. Has anyone seen the house up close or have any idea of the square footage?
posted by ttrendel at 4:29 PM on September 28, 2002

When I was eight, my family spent a summer house-sitting for then-NYT book review editor John Leonard. He lived in a brownstone thirteen feet across and about one hundred feet deep, with a very similar layout (although nowhere near so "edgy"). Definitely a narrow house, but not a small one. The key problem is making the inhabitants not feel horribly cramped by the width, or lack thereof. In any event, the link looks like an interesting house to live in, although I think I prefer even my very-much-in-need-of-refinishing hardwood floors to all that exposed concrete. And as someone with bookcases, I like that the house has walls. (Open floor plans, which are so trendy these days, are pretty useless if you have lots of books.) I'd live in it, sure.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:22 PM on September 28, 2002

A house sometimes depends upon what is on the property next to it on all four sides and how small or large the property is and where it is located and the cost of living in that area where the house is. No?
posted by Postroad at 5:50 PM on September 28, 2002

It's not small in size but small in the footprint. I guess you could say this the the direct opposite of a ranch-style home.

Exactly why, while I recognize that it's an architectural feat, I would never, ever even visit that house, let alone live in it! Ack!
posted by Hildago at 5:57 PM on September 28, 2002

Sounding off for 3 people living in 1300 sq.ft. of space and making do. Is what you live in really as important as where you live, or how you do it?
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:08 PM on September 28, 2002

The narrow footprint concept brings to mind the canal houses in Amsterdam. Taxes were based on property width so people built narrow and tall. When I was visiting, I stayed on the fourth floor of a small hotel and the incredibly steep stairways were truly daunting - all the more so after evenings in the brown cafes and coffee bars.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2002

I collect photos of small houses in the Northeast. Some are very small -- almost dollhouse-like. I have a bunch of the pictures, along with links to other sites here. Another good beginning point would be Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big House," in which she argues that people consider building homes with a higher level of detail as a tradeoff for the square footage they'd get in a "starter mansion."
posted by lisatmh at 7:40 PM on September 28, 2002

Wulfgar: two people in about 650 square feet. Beat ya! But it's not bad... seperate bedroom, combo kitchen/living room, and spacious bathroom, and it's a floor-through so we can get some good cross breezes going too. And it's home. It's really how you think of it.

Also, let me refer to Phillip Johnson's New Canaan, Connecticut Johnson House and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. There are some other houses I like more, but none this small. I knew that 20th C. Architecture class would come in handy...
posted by The Michael The at 8:48 PM on September 28, 2002

This house is only small by American standards. It's like posting about a special deal at a US fast food restaurant where you get only half a supersized meal, which about the size of a regular meal in the rest of the world.

Where I live, only very, very rich people could ever afford a house as big as this, and they'd most likely have to go quite a ways out of the city to find enough land to build it on.
posted by Poagao at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2002

I moved from 5000 sq ft with grass to 800 sq ft with clouds. I couldn't be happier cause Wulfgar! is right about the doing life rather than just living in it.

And Poagao I worship your country for bringing me Pearl Tea!
posted by oh posey at 9:50 PM on September 28, 2002

No, this is a small house.

But I wonder, if that is a solution to the homeless problem, wouldn't it be easier to ease the restrictions on the construction of studio apartments and legalize the construction of SOR apartment buildings?

But that is off topic. As for this house, it is a building that is almost useless for anybody of limited mobility. I'd hate to buy the house and suddenly find myself with a broken leg, havin to climb four stories to go to bed.
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:05 PM on September 28, 2002

Also reminiscent of the shotgun houses popular in the southern USA at the turn of the century. Of course, these weren't multi-story.

I really hate that square footage and floorplans aren't provided in the Arch. Digest story. Hard to make an assessment without those pieces of information.
posted by whatnot at 10:16 PM on September 28, 2002

5 people in an 1100 square foot house growing up. It's not the size of the house I mind, it's the altitude. I couldn't make it. Sometimes when I see a lighthouse I say, "damn, it would be sweet to live in a lighthouse." Then, predictably, I come to my senses. This is a neat art project, but definitely form over function.
posted by Hildago at 12:30 AM on September 29, 2002

No, this is a small house.

100 square feet with a $50,000 price tag! I guess San Francisco land values are a great deal higher than I knew. Our house just cost us about $100 a square foot (1500 square feet, four people and a dog).

As for this house, it is a building that is almost useless for anybody of limited mobility.

I agree. We just built a house designed for my limited mobility (I have MS), and that house would be impossible. It would be impossible, I think, for many people who don't even think of themselves as having a mobility problem. Certainly a person buying it in his or her thirties would likely regret the purchase when in his or her sixties and seventies.
posted by Steve Hight at 1:30 AM on September 29, 2002

I always wanted to live in a windmill. Like Jonanthen Creek. And Windy Miller.

I think what I what I really love about this house (offers already in) (no not really) is the location. But is it worth it for a fortnights worth of tennis?
posted by feelinglistless at 1:54 AM on September 29, 2002

100 square feet with a $50,000 price tag! I guess San Francisco land values are a great deal higher than I knew. Our house just cost us about $100 a square foot

Steve -- That's the number I just heard from an architect in the family the other day, too. "But if you do most of the work yourself," he said, "it can get down to around $60 a square foot." Anyway, these houses shouldn't cost any more than $10,000 apiece to build. I wonder where they got that ridiculous number.

You'd think these houses would be built mostly by volunteer labor, wouldn't you? This would be a great use of Habitat for Humanity. And you'd also assume the city of San Francisco could donate a few (dozen) acres of unused land in order to score a total media and tourism coup by sheltering hundreds of homeless people.
posted by Hildago at 9:39 AM on September 29, 2002

Big homes, big plots of land, and, of course, big cars, are the sign of bad relationships, or none at all. Which is why king-sized beds are a bad sign.

There was a cool article in last week's NYT about pre-fab housing, which, of course, skews towards the small.

Thanks for the post, feelinglistless!
posted by ParisParamus at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2002

after living in the midwestern ranch i love the close feel of neighborhoods in somerville (boston) where every house is a triple decker (about 30 ft across and 10 feet between houses). To me the width of a house and the space between it and the next house (he, he, the period of houses) is directly proportional to the sense of community in an area. Having said that, it's still impossible to move anything longer then 8 ft up my stairs.
posted by NGnerd at 11:11 AM on September 29, 2002

All I ask is that my neighbors be far enough away that I won't hear it if they start shooting each other. I don't care how big the house is (I'd probably be happy with a large tent) but I want a lot of land around me.
posted by obfusciatrist at 6:44 PM on September 29, 2002

If I could chose a model for my neighborhood, it would be that of the old part of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Everything is in walking distance. The houses are small and charming, and the people who live there, have money, but, apparently have similar values to mine. Of course, that feeling is present in lots of places in Europe. It's even present in NYC's West Village, and certain Brooklyn 'hoods.

Oh, the Hell that is so much of the suburbs!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:20 PM on September 29, 2002

posted by quadog at 2:50 PM on October 5, 2002

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