The 10th Anniversary edition of the surprise bestseller, The Not So Big House, will be published in the coming weeks. The book struck a nerve with Generation X, which embraced its emphasis of quality over quantity, Dwell-magazine practicality over McMansion bling. But I doubt Sarah Susanka (the architect and author) could have guessed just how far Gen X would take this trend.
In yesterday’s Home section of The New York Times is a story about the tiny house trend, featuring Michael Janzen. He is the epitome of an Xer who has learned how to deal with being whiplashed by the economy. In his twenties he lived in a space about the size of a two-car garage. At the age of 40, after getting married and making money as a Web designer for a bank, he has an in-ground pool, maid service, a yard landscaped with Japanese black pine bonsai trees, notes the Times. But Janzen has spent the summer building an 80-square-foot house out of free stuff he found on Craigslist. Why?
According to Mr. Janzen, he came to the realization that “I don’t want this life — the life of someone who’s working too hard to pay a large mortgage to live in this house.” The catalyst, he said, was watching the value of his home plummet with the rest of the real estate market, while the time and money required to maintain the property only increased. “The energy cost is enormous,” he said, “and the bigger your property gets, the more there is to do.”
That is Slackonomics, folks, pure and simple. Check out the article and audio slideshow below.