If I asked you to describe the cliche American family home, you would probably say that it’s around 2,000 square feet, has three to four bedrooms, two to three and a half bathrooms, a spacious backyard, a deck, a basement, or maybe even a pool, and to wrap it all together, a one to four car garage. For many years and still today for many, this description of a typical American suburban home is the symbol of the American dream. Yes homes come in many different shapes and sizes but simply put, the American home is big. Today, however, the American dream is evolving. The suburban house at the end of the cul de sac is no longer the envy of others. Perhaps it’s because we as people have evolved. Today, more and more individuals are opting for purpose in their work over a high paycheck. However this change could also be due to the fact that a large portion of today’s workforce has a mountain of student debt and maybe even credit card debt. Similarly with the increasing cost of living, the cliche American dream seems less attainable.
In turn, recently, tiny homes have become increasingly popular. The average tiny house is about 400 square feet, has usually one bedroom, or literally one bed, and one bathroom. The appeal of tiny houses is simple, they’re more affordable and make for an easier lifestyle. There are plenty of videos out there with singles and couples giving a tour of their tiny house. Thanks to tiny houses many have been able to buy their first house, be debt free, or even stop working entirely.
The question, however, is what do you do if you don’t want a big house but you don’t want a tiny one either? Why isn’t there anything in between? I live in a “small house” in the countryside of Normandy in France but it’s not “small”. In France, I live in a home of about 900 square feet. There are three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a one European car garage. This type of one level or ranch style house is really sought after by young families in France.
Our typical French home (my Frenchie and I) is a bit different than the houses that I grew up seeing in Central New York. The houses in France are often constructed of concrete and then painted, whereas the houses in the US are constructed primarily of wood. Similarly, carpet is not a thing in France. In fact, some Europeans think that carpet floors are dirty or kind of gross. Instead, the homes in France are generally tile or wood or some combination of the two. Our home has entirely tile flooring and I can’t lie, I love it.
The best part of our house is that it’s not too big and not too small. One of the things that I would love to see in my home state of New York and in the US in general is the construction of small home communities. Most of my neighbors in France have small homes like I do, some even smaller, and some with solar panels but they must be rich because those are expensive. More importantly, many of my neighbors are either young couples, young families, or empty nest birds. It’s not simple living in France, it’s just living.
Here are some of the benefits of living in a small house and why we need to build more:
- they’re less expensive to construct and buy than a typical 2,000 square feet plus house
- you don’t have to buy a lot of furniture
- since you don’t have to buy a lot of furniture, you can invest in better quality items, that you actually like, for your home
- you only need a half day to clean a small house
- you realize that bedrooms are meant for sleep and whoo hooing
- you spend more time in your living, dinning, and kitchen area together
- you will actually use everything that you have in the house
- you won’t waste space
Small homes fit very well into the idea of simple living. When you live in a small home, you waste less time cleaning and pacing around the empty corners of your home. In turn, you are free to spend more time being in the company of your loved ones. If you like what you hear, give it a try. The under 1,000 square feet house challenge is actually a huge relief.