How Low Can You Go

I read a tweet from Treehugger that proposes a very interesting and challenging problem.

Help the founder design a 420 sq foot apartment that falls into a set of criteria allowing him to live comfortably without using a lot.

Here’s my question to you: How could you cut back your square footage and still be comfortable?

I believe people should make a list of their top ten needs in a home and use this list as a blueprint when remodeling or building a new home.  One recommendation, don’t put a square footage in your needs, it limits you from looking at all your needs clearly.

What should you focus on?  Without specifically knowing what your needs are, here are some categories to consider:

–       Family size

–       Do you entertain

–       Do you plan to have guests stay with you often

–       Do you cook a lot

–       Do you want to live in a city or a suburb

–       Do you work from home

After you have your list and have narrowed it down to ten necessities you can sit down with your architect and builder and begin to design your new home.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t need the square footage you thought you did.  A benefit of using less square footage is it frees up money that would have gone into the extra space.

If you can cut out 500 sq feet, and use an average cost of $250/sq foot you’ve just saved yourself $125,000.  Use that money to upgrade your insulation, do a building performance test, add solar, use FSC lumber, upgrade your kitchen appliances, install a great home theater use Heath tile; or do all of the above.  Build the home you will love for a long time that is open and efficent.

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