Monday, January 7, 2013

Small Houses

It's a new year, welcome. The last one had it's ups and downs. For those of us in the house designing business it was quite slow, due to the seemingly endless recession which hit construction and related fields very hard.  We all hope that things turn for the better, and that folks are able to think about building their long-waited timber frame home instead of merely surviving.

That being the case, there are very important things to consider when contemplating diving into a project like a custom house, especially and custom timber frame house. Costs for construction have not gone down much, even though demand and credit availability sunk. Go figure. As the economy deflates, you have to consider getting more gratification and usability out of a smaller package.

The world of huge trophy houses, big second homes, and extravagant spending has geatly diminished, and in its place is a serious movement toward justifiable costs, environmental responsibility, and trimming down in general.

Smaller structures with greater usability is a focus for young couples with kids as well as empty-nesters who want less to maintain while still accomodating occasional visits from family and friends.  A smaller structure means less outside surface area to lose in money, and is less to pay for originally. Multi-use spaces should be created when possible.

The key to making a smaller structures livable is to design it free of clutter that impedes movement, and to open it up to the outside with proper window and doors that not only make the space visually bigger, but allow for stepping out to a deck or patio. Note: a house can be too small also. It should be sized for the people it is to accomodate, and of course, always have good resale value.

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