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Friday, February 23, 2007

Rick and I have lived in Taos for almost 6 years. We like it here. We almost love it here. But I guess we're gypsies at heart, because we remain open to the idea of moving on at some point. Taos has a way of holding on tight to people. We've created a nice little life for ourselves here, but Taos "Herself" seems to be loosening her grip on us. There's no real reason to stay, except for a few good friends, which is a very good reason actually. But then again, there are so many places to explore... For a couple of years now I've been in love with the Grand Canyon. I actually cry like a lost two-year-old when I have to turn and leave it each visit. So I've started wondering how a person could actually live there. All this wondering has led me from thinking is was impossible, or at least crazy-expensive, to now thinking there's a way I never thought of before. What about downsizing! Why in the world have I bought into the idea that when you sell a house, you have to go buy a bigger one? How totally silly. We're seriously thinking about buying a big chunk of land in northern Arizona, and putting a tiny house on it. Turns out, there's a whole "small house movement" going on, that I've only just heard about. I'm intrigued, even smitten with the idea of living smaller, and as a result, having a much bigger life. Of course, this is a new crush, so it might dissolve in a few days. But in case it doesn't, I'll show you what I'm talking about. This is the most adorable 500 square foot house I've ever seen. See the plans for this one, and several others at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

It's inexpensive to build, and almost free to heat and maintain. With this and a small studio space, we could spend far less time making a living, and more time actually living. It's exciting to think about. You know I'll keep you posted! If you want to know more about the small house movement, start here, at the Small House Society. There was also a great segment on Oprah earlier this week, where architect Jay Shafer gives a tour of the tiny house he designed and lives in. Keep an open mind, and imagine working for yourself, rather than working for a mortgage. Imagine spending a lot of time outside... maybe lunch every day at the Grand Canyon. If you're going to dream, might as well do it big... and small!


susan said...

How cute and what a way to downsize!

We in the Grand Canyon State will welcome you with open arms!

I wonder what beads the canyon would inspire you to make?

Beadily yours
Susan Feldkamp
aka Night Beader

Linda said...

My husband and I have a second home/cottage on the lake in Michigan. It is about 900 square feet, no basement, but we do have a spacious "shed/workroom" that helps with the close quarters. Our main residence is 3200 square feet (too big for the 2 of us). Some things that are issues with a small footprint are one bathroom (especially problematic if there is a bathroom reader, if you get my drift. The noise from the TV/radio, even with the bedroom door closed (I am a bit of an insomniac)and of course we only have 2 bedrooms which is a bit of a challenge when the grown kids come to visit. We have looked at AZ as a place for a retirement home and we think based on lessons learned from living in a small space, (privacy and 1 and 1/2 baths) the ideal size is right around 1200 square feet. Still very easy to heat and cool and have an additional studio/woodshop. Another consideration is think about the size of the average hotel room (450 sq. ft) and you will have some idea of living permanently in a small space. Yikes! There is still winter snow near the Canyon and those dreams of outdoor living may not be as comfortable in Feb as they are in July! Love the idea that you are thinking about how you can simplify also look at the ways to build "green" and it adds another dimension to the whole heat and cool issue also. Good luck and as long as you have space to create you will be happy and so will your loyal patrons.

blackberrybeads said...

I watched that episode of Oprah with folks who live in small spaces (250 sq ft apt in NYC anyone?) and thought it was brilliant...I prefer living in a small space, so I don't have to pay to heat/cool it and I can keep my mortgage very reasonable...downsizing is smart and keeps your priorities straight, plus your house stays clean cause there's no space to put extra stuff...if something comes into the house, someone else must go out...Go for it Kim!!


Kim Miles said...

I'd love to keep this discussion going. Thank you all for your thoughts on this. After some time thinking it over, it still seems like just the thing for us! We're actually talking about a "main" house of about 600 sq. ft., a smaller "guest house", and a studio/office. Three little spaces that would be built (and paid for!) as we go along. And of course a small storage building for tools and the few family things we can't part with. The difference in doing it this way as opposed to a similar amount of space in one big house is that we can do it gradually, paying as we go, and then only need to heat/cool spaces we actually use. I walk around our house now and just see things we don't want or need, and empty floor space that only takes us from one unused room to the next. I'm seeing everything differently these days... it's becoming an adventure. I'd love to hear from anyone who lives in a small space. What's your experience?

Ruth Redfern said...

It was interesting to read some of the comments. I am in the process of downsizing - my business, home and possessions. I've already downsized my house from 3600 sf to 900 sf, but am working to move down to about 450 sf including the remains of my "real" business and the beginnings of my hobby business. One of the primary things I have learned is that I don't "live" in my "living" room. I live in my studio and kitchen...when guests come we spend most of the time in the kitchen and the balance of the time on the patio. I'm still working on what I can get rid of. One advantage I'll have is one of my daughters living adjcent to me with laundry facilities - can't bring myself to give that up and use a commercial facility!

I have also given some thought to living in an RV type vehicle because I enjoy traveling so much, but decided that I needed something more permanent than that.

Good luck with your plans. Please continue to up date so that I can learn from your experiences!

Michelle said...

The house in the picture is so cute Kim ! My brother has been talking about the same thing for months too ! It reminds me of a gingerbread house! Real cute, neat home for your cupcakes and donuts!