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.


Ami said...

I could do that, too. It sounds awesome.

Except for the attachment to possessions I have. So I'll modify your idea just a bit.

I will build a 2000 sq foot basement under that itty bitty house. No one will know but me. And I'll be able to keep my stuff.

Seriously, when we lived in a much smaller place, it was a lot easier to keep it clean. Not so much extraneous crap.

If I ever get a big piece of land you can have a corner of it. No lease, but you'll have to share eggs and fruit.


Dawnfire said...

LOL, I know what you mean, and there's a reason I include a shed. I've been working my way down to less and less over the years. We're currently in, I think, less than 600 SF with two people, so I don't think 320 SF with a nice shed and a screened porch would be too small for me.

Eggs and fruit, no problem! I might even convince you some of the veggies taste good when they're fresh...