I received the March 2008 issue of Dwell in the mail yesterday, with the cover story of "Small Wonders: Homes Under 1,000 Square Feet" and knew I had to write about it. Instead of a new product, manufacturer or local find, I have chosen this design movement is worth of my "Latest and Greatest" designation. This subject has been a personal interest of mine for a while, so I apologize in advance because this is bound to be lengthy:
The thought of "Small" is so much more than just a design movement, it is in fact an entire philosophy, a way of life. It’s been practiced by many throughout history who have chosen to live simply (Walden, anyone?). Frank Lloyd Wright designed for "small" with his Usonian houses. FLLW himself wrote the following commentary about living simply within this famous house design: http://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/usonia/usonia_interior.html
In the recent past, it has really been Sarah Susanka who brought these ideas into the limelight. In her 1998 release of "The Not So Big House" (and six more in the series), she has started an entire "Not So Big" movement. If you don't believe she has been that influential, check out her website: http://www.notsobighouse.com/
Logically, the smaller living space pushes you toward simplification in other areas of your life.
My husband and I have recently started our own quest for simplicity in life, smallness in a country of super-sized everything. We sold our house of 2400 SF that we'd been in for almost 7 years and moved our possessions and two dogs to a 1200 SF condo, while adding a baby and all of her corresponding stuff.
It has been amazingly refreshing to let go of all of the extraneous stuff that accumulates in our worlds. Now, don't get me wrong: it has been hard at times to get rid of possessions and we still have more than what we need and have room for, but it is less. And it is wonderful.
Now, we are looking at other areas of our lives and thinking where we can downsize, where we can simplify. We sold one of our two cars several years back. We evaluate everything that comes into our home (or that we want to purchase) with the following questions:
1.) Do we REALLY need it or just want it?
2.) Do we have space?
3.) What will we have to do to get rid of it some day? (Is it recyclable, does it retain value for resale, etc.)
Now, we still spluge and love the expericences of life. We get Starbucks on a regular basis and we love great food, travel and cultural events. We just don't want STUFF.
There are plenty of resources out there to learn more:
or just google terms such as “living simple”, “small homes”, etc.
So, what part of your world can you simplify in an effort to live ”Small”?