Monday, February 6, 2012

Small Houses

I have been in a funk. I try not to go there but funks happen. Usually my less then congenial moods only last a day but this was a tenacious funk. Then, on Saturday morning we watched a show on PBS. It was called b. organic. It was a very interesting segment... well, interesting to me, on small house living. I am fascinated by small houses. It is an amazing little puzzle. How small can you get and still have what you need? How small can you get and still have what you want? Do you need everything you own? Do your possessions cause you happiness or angst? How small can you get and still retain a feeling of comfort and openness in your home? I love the puzzle!

I draw house plans. I LOVE drawing house plans! I remember when I was a senior in high school and my parents had gotten an old house and were getting ready to make some huge changes to it. Dad worked for the government and had access to a great deal of literature on standards of housing. He brought home everything he could find that was pertinent. Dimensions were a big thing. For instance, it takes a four foot circle to comfortably dress in. You need a three foot circle to turn around in. If you carry anything up a stair way the minimum width is three foot. These are still the things I think about when I draw up plans. A house is no good to you if you can't turn around in it..... and I have seen some pretty large houses that still managed to have areas you couldn't turn around in.

I didn't used to have faith in my abilities to come up with workable house plans. Even after I had planned this house and built it... well, pretty much built it. There is still finishing to do. Then after Katrina hit New Orleans and it took forever to find shelter and other necessities for the people of the area, the government asked architects to submit plans for small emergency housing that could be built quickly. I found the website somewhere of accepted plans. Many were absolute crap. I remember one small house had the toilet in front of the shower. So close to the shower you would have had to step over the toilet to get to the shower. That is just wrong.... there is no turn around room. Then I realized, that I was drawing better plans then architects were.

Now I want to build a cottage. Mac is okay with it as he wants it for his brother and sister-in-law to stay in when they visit. This time I can do it all as I would like. The house we are in is Mac's house. Built off of his wish list. The next one will be mine. I will go all out hippie on it. The toilet will be flushed with rain water. We will have gray water captured, be filtered in a bog and then, water a small garden. Reclaimed materials and solar lights.... it's going to be fun!

I will start drawing plans today. My reward for surviving the funk.


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