ASH: Starting the Design Process

M-House

Where to start the design process for creating an Awesome Small House? I’ve already discussed the philosophy of what we’re trying to achieve in a previous post. That post defines the difference between an ordinary and perfectly livable house, and a home that is truly awesome. A place that appeals to the soul.

If my years of designing automobiles taught me anything, it’s that the big ticket items are all about emotion. If you want to build an energy efficient, green and sustainable house, it’s about more than just about hitting the numbers. Specifications are important, but it’s the intangibles that will make it worth the effort. (more…)

My Relocation Guide – Top 10 Things to Consider

Walking the dogs in Latta Park

Downsizing is becoming a “thing.” I’ve received quite a lot of feedback on this issue, seems like a lot of people are at least thinking about making similar changes. I’ll probably post more about the philosophy of it somewhere down the road, but for now, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts, and create a personal relocation guide.

Here’s my list of factors that should be considered when relocating. While I’ve thought long and hard about this, I seriously doubt I got everything completely correct on the first draft. Since it’s almost a certainty that I’ve left something out, please post your thoughts in the comments (more…)

ASH: The Awesome Small House Concept

Aerogel_Web1

Image Credit: Aerogel

ASH, or Awesome Small House, is my concept of what a dwelling in the twenty first century should be. The premise is to abandon the bad practices of building temporary and cheap dwellings and move to a more sustainable paradigm. In order to accomplish that, our attitudes need to change. We need to understand that conspicuous consumption is a vice and not a virtue. We are not bigger and more important because we generate a monstrous carbon footprint. We need to reduce the level of toxic chemicals in our environment, and especially in our homes. We need our homes to be efficient, to use resources wisely. Our homes should be both comfortable and secure. A home should make us feel like we’re living in harmony with nature, not building a fortress against it. (more…)

Is it Time to Reinvent Yourself?

Cottage-02Do you feel like its time to reinvent yourself?  I’m definitely getting that feeling.  Over the last few years I’ve begun to feel like I need a new creative outlet. There’s this internal conversation about what I’m doing with my time on earth. And just to be clear, there are no voices in my head telling me to go all Jeremiah Johnson. Pretty sure I’m not developing a rubber room illness. But it does feel like life is drifting along, as opposed to moving forward with self fulfilling purpose. I can’t say that I have a bad life, in fact, my rather modest life is reasonably comfortable. The thing is, it’s not particularly challenging, and without challenges, there’s little sense of accomplishment.

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Notes on Designing a House – Emergency Light

Blue candleI’ve been thinking of making a move for the last year or so. My current house, at 1780 square feet, is much larger than I need. The idea is to find a smaller house, in a smaller town. Property taxes should be lower, the cost of heating and cooling should be lower, and if it’s done right there should be savings in the time it takes to keep it clean and tidy. Classic case of downsizing.

A career as an Industrial Designer has taught me that you really have to think complex project like this through. There are pitfalls and traps at every decision point. Whether you are building new, or planning a deep renovation, it’s necessary to put on that design and engineering hat and think about all the details that go into creating a place that’s a joy to live in, and keeps you safe. Last night, I got a reminder about serious issues that are easily overlooked. (more…)

Decisions about Downsizing and Quality of life

Abandoned Homestead along Basin Creek

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about downsizing and quality of life.

With yet another birthday coming up, perhaps it’s a good time to examine my environment and try to make some intelligent changes. Spend some time thinking about what’s important at this particular point in life. One of the advantages of being a curmudgeon is that key decisions about the direction of your life don’t have to be based on the whims of some Fortune 500 executive, or a job you can’t afford to leave. Huge plus right there. (more…)