My sister-in-law, Julie, gets a ton of magazines each month and generously recycles them in my direction. Tucked in with the articles on mini mansions and mid-century modern rehabs, I found a great piece that just might define the future of housing, at least for some folks in some markets. Small is good!
Metropolitan Home's March issue includes the article, The 20K House: Can well-designed dwellings really be built for this price? I've never understood how communities can accept substandard housing for the desperately poor when, with a little ingenuity, alternatives are out there. I know a group of people who tried to build a house with Habitat for Humanity and had to literally wait for years to donate their time. Isn't there a system that can work well on a larger scale?
There is! I'm excited about what Pam Dorr and HERO Housing Resource Center are doing for the desperately poor widows and families in Hale County, Alabama, and I hope their efforts spread. I'm sure it's possible to live well in 300-600 sq. ft., especially in a well-designed space. Just ask people in Manhattan! The concept is to build the house using $10,000 in materials and $10,000 for labor, with a hammer, nails and skillsaw. Of course, I'm sure it's a bit more complicated than that, but what if we all got busy and donated some of our weekends to cut down on the labor costs? I can see real change coming with this concept.
Brad Pitt is working to reintroduce housing to the 9th Ward through his Make It Right Foundation. And then there's the cute and clever Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, with its miniaturized cottages and cabins-on-wheels, designed more for the trendy crowd. Depending on where you live, you may be able to see a tiny house-on-wheels traveling cross-country. See itinerary here. And keep watching those $20,000 houses in Hale County, where smart people are crafting clever solutions.
Above photo is copyright 2009, Luke Wilson, courtesy of Metropolitan Home.
Change is in the works here at the homestead, with a new office underway at the front of our house. I'm thrilled to have Aunt Cleeta's desk that sat in her living room in Terre Haute for more than three decades. Her home on Ohio Blvd. is still the most lovely and distinctive residence in the city in my opinion. For someone who lived the high life in pink French Provincial formality, she was a fun-loving, open-minded, spirited person who rubbed a lot of that off on me.
Aunt Cleeta has been gone for something like 11 years now, so the fact that her desk unexpectedly made its way to me (thanks Dad and Sue!) at a time when I'm moving my workspace is too cool!
Alison and Carlos are taking the futon and I'm scouting for the rest of the furniture to complete the new "look." But first, the hard work must begin. I'll be a painting fool this weekend. "Beeswax" is the name of the pale yellow color I'm using, provided that the test strip I'm applying in the next hour or so looks decent. We shall see.