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Archive for the Design Category

Fitting More People In Cities

Right now the majority of people on this earth live in cities and the number of people is growing.  We have arrived at the point where we must grapple with the fact that people want to live in these areas and that they must be able to house them all.  Many argue that a city is a more sustainable pathway for us, but we still need to balance that with quality of life.  I know for me living in a dense urban area I personally find it difficult because the lack of nature, even with great green spaces, I find a need to connect with the woods.  So how can we balance the demands of humans with the needs of the earth and do it in  small space?  This video I found is really interesting and answers many of these points.

Your Turn!

  • How can we take these ideas and concepts of Tiny House to make awesome cities?

Determining The Need Of A Home

There is a great article over at Inhabitat that sparked some thoughts on what you need in a home.  This is useful to help you develop a overarching philosophy to drive your design, to make sure your needs are met and not get caught up in the glitz of every bell and whistle or trendy thing.

What are your values?

This is an important step because it helps guide your decisions down the road.  For people who feel that sustainability is an issue, this will lead you to things like solar power, responsibly sourced wood/reclaimed wood, higher R value insulation etc.  Determine you list of core values that you hold dear and keep them in mind throughout the process,  this list should be pretty short and concise and you should be willing to pay or expend energy in order to meet these values.

What are your needs?

It is important to consider what your needs are before designing your home, it is from this that your house can begin to take shape.  This is very important to help you to think conceptually about your rooms.  For instance it is common in larger homes to have a guest bedroom that goes largely unused, but if we like to entertain we might think about how we will meet this occasional need without the addition of an entire room.  This realization might lead us to consider only small couches that fold out into a bed.

Many Tiny home designers use what is called subtractive design.  Basically you want to design a space that meets your needs, but then you want to try taking things away from the design.  If the removal doesn’t detract from the design then it should stay out.  If the removal of something actually improves the design, then it should be kept out.

From Inhabitat:

  • Which spaces will be expandable into others?
  • Which spaces will have direct access to the exterior?
  • In which rooms do you prefer sunlight at various times of day?
  • What special storage or leisure activities need to be accommodated?
  • Can any spaces serve multiple functions?
  • Where and when do you expect true privacy?
  • Do you require special accommodations for other generations within the family?
  • Will you work at home? How and where?
  • Where will you eat alone? With family? With many guests, if you entertain?
  • What prized personal possessions need to be showcased?
  • Is energy-efficiency and sustainability important to you?  Will you invest a portion of your budget in green building strategies?

What are you escaping?

If you are considering a new home Tiny, Small or otherwise, these is a reason for this.  What is it about your current living situations and residence that doesn’t meet your needs.  Is it too big, too small, doesn’t meed your needs, poor design, bad location, need for more storage or more efficient use of space?  Think about this and how it should impact your choices and design.

Where are you headed?

An important part of planning your new home is to future proof it.  Traditionally a home builder would add a few rooms, a bonus room, would sell the house to help you envision an office/workout room if you were single or a play room if you had kids.  Children and marriage seem to be the two largest factors here.  Think about what you need now, but what you will need later too.
The article that sparked my inspiration is below in the “via” link

Life Edited Finalists

A while back I wrote about treehugger’s contest where they purchased a tiny apartment and will renovate it.  They asked for designs and the winner’s gets built.  They are closing in on the finalist, so check it out and vote!  Here

Evolution Of The House

This video is an interesting perspective about how with all of our technology and innovative materials, the house itself has not evolved very much even though the concept is as old as man.  Think about the house your great grandparents lived in, now consider your own house, how different is it really?  Slightly better insulation, their wood stove is now replaced with your central air, upgraded plumbing.  There are homes in 200 year old homes in England that are earthen structures that have a significantly higher R value than our homes.  Central air is certainly nice, but only add convenience and older home were smaller, so easier to heat to begin with.

For a 100 years of innovation we haven’t made huge leaps.  Consider the first telephone compared to a cell phone.  One was expensive, didn’t work well and was a piece of furniture; a cell phone is pocket sized, plays music and movies and currently 82% of US residence have one.   In the world of cell phones there has been huge strides, but in houses not so much.  Perhaps this is an apples to orange comparison, but I think many would agree, we have made many fine tuning changes, but not nearly what we see in other sectors.

Loft Bed Ideas

Found some great loft beds, a few for kids, a few for adults.  Check them out.

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