Most of us dream about white picket fences, lush yards and two-car garages. Why not? Barbeques on the weekend, a place for the dog to run around and a spare bedroom for guests. But the reality is, as the population of the Earth increases our cities become more crowded. So to achieve the dream home we sprawl further and further out, destroying natural habitat along the way. No wonder there is a bit of a movement to live, well, more humbly.

Living in a small pad has become a way to brand yourself as eco-conscious. The train of thought goes: the less rooms you have, the less light switches. The smaller your garage the smaller your car. A mini-closet means mini-shopping sprees. Overall, less consumption.

And thanks to brilliant breakthroughs in architecture occupying a small space does not have to feel like serving a prison sentence. Take a house built recently in Tokyo by Yasuhiro Yamashita, an architect who believes in allowing the natural habitat of the house dictate its design. Which begs the question: What did Yamashita see in a particular neighborhood that inspired the structure now known as “Penguin House,” for its resemblance to the big-bellied bird.

Regardless, the three-story house sits on 322 sq. ft. of lot space is certainly a place you could kick off your shoes off call home. It is masterfully crafted to use as much natural light possible to illuminate its spaces. It also compliments tight spaces with high ceilings to rid the body of claustrophobic feelings.

Another trend in mini-dwellings is the pre-fabricated home. These houses are assembled in warehouses and then shipped to the distant locations, ready for habitation. Although these homes do share some of the eco-friendly qualities mentioned before, their claims of being “greener” alternatives should be taken with a grain of salt. According to Chad Ludeman, of the Philadelphia based company postgreen and developer of the 100K House, pre-fab homes don’t necessarily use less waste and poor quality insulation often found within pre-fabs means energy leaks. But it’s an evolving science with a bright future.

Anyone who is still skeptical about downsizing his or her living habitat could take comfort from my personal endorsement. I live in a 124 sq. ft. micro-loft in Downtown L.A. and it’s great. I wake up in the morning and I want some breakfast and… Boom! There I am, already in the kitchen. Talk about convenience. And the fact I only have one electrical outlet means I don’t need to worry about plugging more than two things into the wall at once. One less weight off my shoulders. I haven’t decided whether the fact I could probably reach the toilet from the shower is an advantage yet. But the fact I can browse through my closet while chilling in my study certainly is. Check it out people!

2 thoughts on “Why it’s hip to live in a box.”

  1. Japanese people don’t really have the choice in the size of their habitation. Their square metres are limited by the superficie of their country. However I do prefer space and light! I don’t want when I wake up to embrace the peanut butter jar that is on the nearby shelf!!!!!

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