Can Dallas Live Small?

BA Norrgard is taking her tiny house on tour, but the Dallas native is hoping living small will catch on in her hometown.

BA Norrgard is taking her tiny house on tour, but the Dallas native is hoping living small will catch on in her hometown.

We’ve been following BA Norrgard and her quest to live small — tiny even! — in a hand-built home after divesting herself of her mortgage and working to help people simplify, simplify, simplify. And as much as I love her mission, I have to wonder if Norrgard’s work is ever going to pay off. Can the people of Dallas, a place whose very motto is “Big Things Happen Here,” live small?

Perhaps the real question is this: Can we appreciate time outside, putting more emphasis on experience and less on material things? That’s what Katie Arnold asked in her essay for Outside magazine:

Interior designer Jessica Helgerson's tiny home is big on style. (Photo: Lincoln Barbour)

Interior designer Jessica Helgerson’s tiny home is big on style. (Photo: Lincoln Barbour)

“There’s something about living outside on water that simplifies and smoothes the rough edges away. No electronics, no alarms, no deadlines or bills, no toys scattered all over, only a handful of dishes to clean. All the food we need, packed into a few coolers.

On the long drive home, I fantasized about decamping with my family to live full time on the river. But as we pulled into our driveway in Santa Fe, I realized that living well is not merely a matter of location, location, location. We don’t need a river or a tent with a view to simplify and minimize. We can live this way all year long, right where we are. We just have to be smart. We just have to live smaller.”

So, how do you go about doing that? How do you live outside during the four or five months out of the year that the weather in Dallas is unbearable? How do you live outside with a family of four? And most importantly, how do you live small with style? Maybe living small is better suited for second homes? Read the whole story by Arnold, and then tell us what you think. Could you live in less than 1,000 square feet? What about less than 500? What does living small look like to you?