Saturday, May 7, 2011
frugal dream home
I have a vision, probably not possible between zoning laws and owners' associations, of my ideal home once my youngest is on her own. It certainly wouldn't be to most people's taste, but it would suit me perfectly.
I want a tiny bit of land, one that has not had the topsoil removed, about 50x50, completely fenced. Near the middle, I'd put a very small house, about 20x16, with a "screen porch" that connected it to a shed. The front yard would be just wide enough for a path and dwarf fruit trees, with a wide open path from the front gate where a scooter could be parked, etc. The back yard would be entirely in garden beds and paths, with a small central area, about 8x8, to sit and enjoy the garden.
The inside of the house would be simple but carefully designed. The bathroom (shower only) would be adjacent to the kitchen and share a single sink. The bed would be built-in with shelving at the bottom and storage underneath. The walls would be lined with built-in shelving and windows placed to catch the dominant summer breezes. The materials would be the most durable and lowest maintenance I could afford.
The yard would be more than enough to grow (intensively) all the fruits, vegetables, and herbs I wanted while being a manageable size, and I would never need to mow. There would be enough waste produce to keep a couple of hens for eggs if I really wanted them (tempting mostly because the taste of really fresh eggs is incredible). With such a small house, I could keep it spotless without devoting too much of my time to it.
This would be plenty of house for me. But sadly, this is virtually impossible to do in the US now. Banks, owners' associations, and property tax entities don't want truly minimal housing. Banks see them as too small to be worth their time. Owners' Associations see them as inviting in the "wrong" kind of people and pushing down property values. And the property taxes wouldn't be very high on them. And I admit that an entire neighborhood of homes like this would probably result in crime and run down homes, a problem for which I have no solution because any time you concentrate the poor in a single area, you're also concentrating the people with the most pressure to commit property crimes in that area as well.
I can't help hoping that someday, though, I'll find someone with a large piece of property near potential employment who'll give me a long-term (hard-to-revoke) lease so I can do exactly this.