Once Upon A Time, many houses were the same. They had the same size and layout, designed for the same kind of household. They often sat on cookie-cutter lots in cookie-cutter neighborhoods. Every day, people awoke, bathed, ate, went about their days, and slept in the same kind of house — whether young or old, single or partnered, with children or without, large households or small. People worked hard to pay mortgages, energy bills, and upkeep. They hoped their all-the-same houses, with their oh-so-much expense, would turn out to be wise investments.
One day, everything changed. Markets convulsed, energy prices spiked, assets plummeted, and jobs vanished. Because of that, people struggled to keep their homes, and sometimes lost them. Some were left with few options. Some began to question the wisdom of all-the-same houses for oh-so-different households. They wondered why homes need so much fossil fuel and upkeep. They started to ask if things could be different. Could there be new alternatives for changing needs?
So we started a project we call Small Planet Homes. We began designing varied homes for varied people. Compact cottages. Small homes for small households. Efficient homes for medium-size families. Cottages and homes for independent living and aging in place. Not “Tiny Houses” on wheels, not “McMansions” — just something for the “Missing Middle,” common-sense designs for new realities. We listened to people’s stories, considered real needs, drew upon experience and creativity, and worked hard. Until finally, we had a range of designs for a range of people, needs, and budgets. Though varied, each is designed to use space efficiently and well, be comfortable and durable without much energy, and put decent, well-designed homes within reach of more people.
Here they are, from smallest to largest. They range from 336 square feet to 1986 square feet. They vary, just as people do. They aren’t “one size fits all” — and that’s the point.
Which one fits you?