Smaller Vs. Bigger…

4 03 2011

"But Mommy, where is our house?"

We, in America, have become spoiled; since the Great Depression and the end of World War II, our houses have become bigger and bigger.  In 1950 the average house size in the US was 1,000 sq. ft., in 1980 the average was 1,740 sq. ft., and today the average is almost 2,500 sq. ft.; this is an increase of 250% over the span of 60 years during which time, the average household size has decreased from 3.37 in 1950 to 2.57 today or 76%.

Why do we need so much more space; the old George Carlin bit stated that, “Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore. […]” In fact, I argue, it’s because our houses have become,predominately, status containers for all of our possessions instead of the homes where our families’ memories are made.  Furthermore, in an effort to control costs in this need for more space, these houses have become poorly built commodities that Americans can parlay on their upward climb instead of the finely crafted, humble homes of our past worthy of being passed on to our children.

Transcending generations...Home!!!

As an experiment, go out for a Sunday drive (another lost tradition) and tour a few open houses, both new and vintage; really examine the layout and its’ usage of space; and then, honestly, imagine yourself living in that space.  For many, I will wager that the older homes will actually feel cozier, will seem easier to maintain, and will contain the character that has been lost in the cavernous houses in today’s modern subdivisions.

And now, in this Great Recession, many are losing their supercilious boxes, and though this is a bitter pill to swallow, maybe it gives us all a chance to re-evaluate true housing needs with a chance to get it right this time with high-quality homes in lieu of high-quantity houses.

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