Monthly archive for September 2009

Home In Flumseburg

I wasn’table to find allot of info on this house, but here is what I know:

Project Name: Holiday Cottage in the Swiss Alps
Location: Flumserberg, Switzerland
Architects: EM2N : Mathias Mueller / Daniel Niggli, Zurich
Site Area: 630 m2
Built-up Area: 183 m2 thereof 104 m2 habitable (roughly 500 square ft.)
Costs: EUR 0.29 Mio


The architect said this about the building:

Most holiday houses look identical, i.e. like conventional single-family houses. The topography, character and quality of the location are seldom taken into account in the planning. The houses could just as well come from the catalogue of a company that supplies ready-made homes, their architectural expression is accordingly arbitrary. Our design refuses to accept colonising a place at this low level, it represents an approach that relates to the place and the wonderful site beside an alpine field that in summer is a meadow and in winter a ski run.





Parking Day Slideshow


I found this over at Treehugger, many of you are aware of Parking Day, where people reclaim urban spaces for a single day to bring awareness to many issuses such as urban development, dependencies on cars etc.  Check out the slide show here

Tiny Living & Dating…

I have often wondered how living in a Tiny Home would affect my relationships, would it improve them?  Would it scare girls off to tell their friends about this crazy guy who lives in a house the size of their walk in closet?  It’s an interesting question because Tiny Living is not for everyone, idating1t is not for most of us in fact, but there are those who love it!  I remember in one of the many videos about Jay Schaffer’s house the news reporter questions him about sex in a Tiny House and low and behold he said “it has happened more”  There was obviously some tension in the air as the new caster was a very attractive women, but alas Jay is now married.

So I just wanted to write down some of my musings about this topic and generate a conversation on this topic, see what happens.

I guess I should disclose that I am currently single, I am a straight man who is 25 years old, a “yougin” as many refer to me as.  With a handful of serious girl friends through college, love, as in many people’s cases, has been elusive for many reason, some my own fault while others were out of my hands.  I am a weird mix of old world acts like holding doors for women – though at odds with it being a self described feminist – to a progressive stance on sex, co-habitation and pro choice etcetera.  Oddly I am a meat eater, but am always attracted to vegetarians, even before I know they are vegetarians.

Being a single male I know there are several things which a women generally seeks in a potential partner.  While I make no claims to understand women in the least, there are some universal things that I have seen as a trend.  Things like being funny, smart, to some extent good looking, monogamous, and successful.

These things are valued and interpreted for people differently.  dating3But there is some expectation, I feel, to get settled down in a nice house with white picket fence.  Our culture has pre-established several status symbols which we are measured, house being one of them.  There is a paradigm which exists what IS a good house.  A good house is generally large, it is generally in a city or planned community in the suburb.  It includes an SUV parked in the driveway, a formal sitting room, formal dining room and lots of extra space.  We are given formal dining sets at our weddings that we will use almost never.  There is the expectation to keep up with the Joneses, which we have already covered.

This, in general, I feel is what many potential partners are looking for in a man, but it is at odds with what Tiny Living is, what it stands for and how it manifests itself in our lives.  It is this manifestation that I really worry about that will turn off some many partners.

While there is value having dialogue with others about Tiny Houses and Living, it will not convince many to overcome such strong socialization of our culture.  Even as I am generally informed about many issues surrounding this topic, I still feel the pull of our consumer society to buy buy buy, when I know in my head and heart that this is society’s influence bearing down on me.dating2

Some will say I must simply seek company of those who are like minded, that would move into a Tiny House with me in a heartbeat.  While I agree with this I must realize two things.  The first is that this is a small pool of people, which I am not currently in close proximity to;  And second is that it is important for me to interact with those who are not of the same thinking, in order to share my ideas and learn from theirs, this dialogue allows me to refine my ideas and change them where I am wrong.  I worry often about preaching to the choir.

I maintain friendships with all my ex-girlfriends and have seen their reactions when they learned of my goal of living in a Tiny House.  The first was intrigued and was all on board, I jokingly refer to her as having “hippie tendencies”.  The second one who is a very grounded person looked at me like I was crazy.  Even after she listened and could appreciate my views, I fielded the question.  Would you ever date a man (other than myself) who lived such a manner?  She honestly answered no, her reasoning was that she felt there would be so much backlash from her family and that her socialization was too strong.  She felt her family wouldn’t be able to see the value of sustainability and eco-friendliness and simply interpret as sub par living, of me being cheap, a hermit or in some fashion unfit for her.

I know of a few people who live in Tiny Houses, one couple is Tammy over at Rowdy kittens, she and Logan made a decision as a couple to diverge from the status quo to be better stewards of the earth, their life and money.  They are recently married if I am remembering right and as far as I know they are doing well.  Jay Schaffer has recently been married and with a child on the way they are moving into a 600 square foot house.

I know at some point in the dating process I would need to show my partner my home.  It is a big part of me, what I represent.  I love cooking and often cook nice dinners for my significant other, it might be a bit more interesting in a Tiny House.  I often wonder if it would be better to live in a normal house that was junky to a Tiny House that was nice, how would they react?  What would they tell their friends when they got home?  Would they go on the next date?  Which would they value more, a dirty house where they could change the man, or a nice Tiny House where they have very little chance of changing his principles.

This is all from the male perspective, straight one at that, I would be interested in seeing what women would think.  What effect a younger women or older women would have.

In searching for some graphics, I found a great blog post about Green Dating sites, sites that connects environmentally conscious people for dating.   HERE

Permaculture For Dummies…


Permaculture is a really interesting school of thought which has been growing in popularity.  The appeal of this theory is found in its ability to be a total solution.  While building a green home or having a garden are great, it is simply one part of the total solution.  We need to incorporate all aspects of our lives and start looking everything as a system, not separate parts.   I found this website that goes over the basics of Permaculture and gives lots of great information.  Check it out here.

Lopez Community Land Trust

lopez sign

Off the coast of Washington an island has been developed in a very unique way.  Instead of tract housing or McMansions, the developers used economical, environmentally conscious, and socially sustainable principles to create the Lopez Community Land Trust to combat rising housing prices which preventtopview teachers, health care workers and other lower income folks to have access to the island.  The 11 homes are built a small footprint, solar house design,  solar water heating and rain water catchment for toilets, washing machines and gardens.  The homes are power from a 34 KW photovoltaic system and use passive means to heat and cool the homes.

In addition to the homes, there is office spaces, two apartments for guest, public green spaces and gardens.  All this within a short walk of each other and all this including the land (prime island real estate) was done for 3.5 million!  Its so fascinating to see how much can be done with very little money.  At $320 per home, which isn’t that much considering the average home in America right now is about $250k.  solar bike (I don’t know how many offices, but houses, offices, solar, apartments and land were all done for 3.5 million).  Here is what LCLT has to say about their community:

What is a Community Land Trust?

A community land trust is a private non-profit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents. CLTs prohibit speculation of land and housing, promote ecologically sound land-use practices, and preserve the long-term affordability of improvements on the land. A Community Land Trust is a democratically structured, community based non-profit corporation, designed to strike a fair balance between individual and community interests. The purpose of the CLT is to acquire land and remove it from the speculative, for-profit market. The land is made available to individual families, cooperatives, and/or other organizations through long-term leases. CLT’s combine the best features of private and community ownership. Residents have some essential benefits of home ownership: lifetime security, a limited fair equity for their investment, and a legacy for their descendants.



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