30 September 2014

Living on Less: Portland, Oregon

by Aaron Leitz for The New York Times

Although this article came out last January I have not seen it making the social media rounds yet, so I wanted to share it.

I am so inspired by the living simple movement and finding ways to live in a more green way. This article from the NY Times shares the story of a couple who designed and built their own 704 square foot house despite many people questioning their judgment.

They really do have plenty of space and everything they need although I think it would work best for two adults. With kids I think there might be some wise redesigns here and there and the need for a few hundred more square feet and another bathroom.

I love what they did with the roofs of the home and the small sheds in back as well as yard. Outdoor living space and good storage seem to make this more possible and doable. They found so many smart ways to save on utilities too.

The most amazing part to me is that once they pay off their mortgage, which was planned to happen right about now, their monthly living expenses for the home will be less than $400! That's amazing. Can you imagine living in a house with a yard for $400 a month? Crazy to even try to fathom when living in a city where a 700 square foot apartment will start out at about $2300 without factoring in utilities of any kind.

If I were going to do something like this for my own family I would want/need to do a few things differently. First we'd need bedrooms with doors, preferably an en suite bathroom in the master. Two bathrooms at least, because one just isn't enough sometimes.

I would like more counter space in the kitchen, maybe just an additional island, but theoretically you could have a roll out island than you could be stored under a counter top and pulled out when needed. When you weren't using it, hidden away it would keep the space opened up.

Of course more space also changes all the considerations for heating and cooling as well as more infrastructure costs. One thing I didn't seen in this article is any solar power. I would love to have a solar roof to allow us to get electricity and heated water from the sun's power, especially if we lived here in California.

Okay, how about you? Imagine you are going to build a super pared down house. What would your must-haves be and how small could you go?

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