The Low Country by Clayton Photo: Clayton

The Low Country by Clayton (Photo: Clayton)

Never say never. Part of being a Lifestylist® is that I am a curator of things I love and want to share. Usually, that’s an unusual vintage plate, a quirky chair, or a book that I can’t put down — I need a lot of space to store all of these treasures. After seeing the stunning Clayton Designer Series Tiny Home that debuted at the Cashiers Historical Society Designer Showcase, I’ve now fallen madly in love with a tiny home, and one may be in my future.

For the first time, I’m actually thinking about letting go of some of my many collections and really thinking about what is important. Besides changing my outlook on how I want to live, this home also changed what I thought a manufactured home looks like. Architect Jeffrey Dungan of Jeffrey Dungan Architects called this home “a whole game changer” and we think you’ll agree — this home will change everything that you thought you knew about manufactured housing, and show why a manufactured home may be in your future as well. (more…)

A Bed Over My Head HH Parade

B.A. Norrgard’s tiny home was towed down Newell in Hollywood Heights during the neighborhood’s annual Easter parade last weekend. (Photo: Jo England)

Perhaps you already saw B.A. Norrgard’s adorable 112-square-foot house on wheels at the Hollywood Heights Newellian Easter Parade this year? Or maybe you saw it in this BuzzFeed video?

Well, if you haven’t yet seen inside the super cute but VERY COZY little home documented on Norrgard’s blog, you’ll have another chance to see it during Earth Day Texas. Norrgard will open the teacup cottage to visitors and talk about what she call’s “lifestyle repackaging” but is also known as “extreme downsizing” during the free April 24-26 event at Dallas’ art deco gem, Fair Park. She’ll also talk about the prospect of tiny house communities in Dallas, which is an idea we’re absolutely smitten with.

Jump for more information on Earth Day Texas!

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BA Norrgard Buzzfeed Tiny House

Have you ever tried to imagine what life would be like in a tiny house? Well, lifestyle repackaging expert, tiny home blogger, and Dallas native BA Norrgard offered a few BuzzFeed staffers the chance to live in her tiny house for a few hours. The results? Lots of laughs and a little introspection. Jump for the video!

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Community First Village

 

(Photo: KUT)

The concept behind the Community First Village is revolutionary — rent a tiny home to someone who needs a reason to hold down a job for an affordable rate, and help the homeless turn their lives around.

The fact that it’s adorable doesn’t hurt, either.

Austin, home of the food truck trailer parks and high-priced housing, has made something that Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League calls, “the very first ‘yes, in my backyard’ project!’” according to this story from KUT:

Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Alan Graham, the man behind the project, says one reason many in the nearby community are on board is because there will also be a bed and breakfast in the village and an Alamo Drafthouse outdoor movie theater.

“We haven’t converted everybody, but when people come out here they go, ‘Oh!’ They see a chapel; they see medical and vocational services on site, and they learn that residents will not live there for free; they’ll pay a monthly rent.”

Graham adds that if 200 chronically homeless people get back on their feet, that could save Central Texas taxpayers about $10 million a year.

The village covers about 27 acres and features adorable micro homes like those on trendy blogs and websites, designed and built by University of Texas architecture students. Rent runs around $200 a month for some of the homes, which includes access to a community garden and social services. Mobile Loaves and Fishes is still in the middle of a fundraising campaign for the project, with a goal of $6 million. Find out more about the project here.

Considering the growing homeless population in Dallas, do you think there’s a space for this concept here? Where would you put a development like this? And if this was planned for your neighborhood, would you be a NIMBY or a YIMBY?

Perhaps the new sign of fully recovered economy should be a McMansion? Or maybe our economy would be better judged by the size of the middle class?

In 2010, while we were still trying to figure out what went wrong with the federal stimulus and which bank was to blame for it all (answer: none of them, or all of them, or just Bear Stearns, depending on your perspective), Time wrote a piece on Aug. 20 entitled “The End of a Housing Era: McMansions Losing Their Luster.” The brief article starts with this interesting bit:

“New research delves into a harsh reality — with tough economic times in the background, large residences are no longer a given.”

I am pretty sure that large residences were never really a “given.” Still, let’s move on:

“Trulia.com’s 2010 American Dream survey notes that from 1950 to 2004, the average size of an American home jumped from from 983 square feet to 2,349 square feet.

But according a July 2010 Trulia-Harris interactive survey, that figure is poised to drop for the first time in six decades. Among individuals polled, only nine percent were looking in the McMansion range: a house covering at least 3,000 square feet, built in proximity to other palaces. In contrast, 64 percent of those polled were looking for dream homes of 800-2,600 square feet.”

Now, 800 to 2,600 square feet is by no means a small range, and even at the low end, 800 square feet is a far cry from a trendy “tiny home.” But, houses were getting smaller, Time said, and the economy wasn’t nearly as forgiving as it was in 2004.

But in a piece in the New York Times this weekend entitled “McMansions Are Making a Comeback,” we see the sprawling suburban home holding fast to the ropes, giving it the old college try, and truly pulling off a Rocky-esque revival.

“When the housing bubble burst in 2007, there was a glut of unsold inventory on the market, and the size of newly built homes began to shrink. In both 2008 and 2009, Census Bureau figures show, the median size of a new home was smaller than it had been the previous year. It seemed that after more than a decade of swelling domiciles, the McMansion era was over. But that conclusion may have been premature.

In 2010, homes starting growing again. By last year, the size of the median new single-family home hit a record high of 2,306 square feet, surpassing the peak of 2007. And new homes have been getting more expensive, too. The median price reached $279,300 in April this year, or about 6 percent higher than the pre-recession peak of $262,600, set in March 2007. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation.”

But how are people buying these homes, if the economy is, as the article in the NYT claims, “weak”? NAHB’s Rose Quint says that people who can get a loan, an altogether evaporating pool of Americans, are fueling the numbers behind home sales.

“People who are less affluent and have less robust employment histories have been shut out of the new home market. As a result, the characteristics of new homes are being skewed to people who can obtain credit and put down large down payments, typically wealthier buyers.”

So, what do you glean from all this? Is it that the economy is recovering and housing is reaching a natural equilibrium? Or is it that the size of homes skews toward the wealthy, which means fewer people are able to buy homes due to a shrinking middle class?