Contain yourself!

It’s Sunday evening. You’re on the patio of your new home on a lifestyle block/subdivision just outside Christchurch, sipping a well earned glass of wine.

You’ve just spent the entire weekend washing, cleaning, weeding and generally tidying your four bedroom (all en-suite) new home with two living areas, a rumpus room, a study, a state-of-the-art kitchen and wrap round patio plus internal access garage and laundry. You are totally exhausted and worried about finances. You turn to your partner and say:

I wish we could just live in a container.

And you are not alone. Little houses are the new Big Thing. After all, how much space do you really need? Depends on where you live seems to be the answer. How Big Is A House: Average House Size per Country is an interesting site which details the variation in house sizes around the world. It ranges from an average of 45 m2 in Hong Kong to a massive average of 214 m2 in Australia. Annoyingly New Zealand doesn’t get a mention, but we can safely say we are leaning more Ozziewards.

The allure of the small home seems to be like an emerging, modern fairy story. Everyone  wants to imagine what it would be like to pare life back to the bare basics and to do it with flair, integrity and off-grid. There are several library resources on this topic:

  • Tiny Homes by Lloyd Kahn is a beautiful book detailing the small abodes of 150 builders – each of whose homes is less than 50 m2
  • Nano House by Phyllis Richardson shows 42 teeny tiny dwelling spaces, all stunningly beautiful and all sustainable and economical.
  • New Container Architecture by Jure Kotnik is a design guide with 30 case studies detailing how to build with shipping containers.
  • Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs’ fame builds his own off-the-grid cabin using only recycled materials on the DVD Man Made Home. And yes, it is very small.

Before you get too excited about all of this, just remember: a half container measures approximately 2.44 metres x 6.1 metres. Even if you splurge, a full container is only approx 2.44 metres by 12.2 metres. Heights can be variable, but the average is 2.59 metres.

Here’s what I want you to do: get up from your desk or armchair right now and pace that out on the floor. Then stand in the middle of it.

And you will soon see – something will have to go. For starters there won’t be space for hubby and the kids. And a great deal of slashing of personal collectibles will have to take place. Here’s my philosophical take on the little home. You have to be single. Or you have to dream that you are single.

But there is no harm in dreaming: your own private, teeny tiny dream home. You so deserve it!