Dinky Dwellings

McMansions all over the country are quaking on their foundations. Gigantic houses are quickly falling out of favor for a more diminutive abode. Enter the 400 square foot mini home.

McHurricanes, McBoomers, and McMansions

In response to FEMA trailers hauled out an masse after hurricane Katrina, New York based designer Marianne Cusato drew up plans for a more appealing alternative. Namely, the Katrina Cottage, for which she won the Cooper-Hewitt Peoples’ Design Award. The cottage’s appeal has transcended disaster zones among those wanting to live on the cozy side.

Propelling interest in the tiny homes are the burgeoning Baby Boom population suffering from empty nest syndrome and those choosing to be child free. At 400 square feet, these homes can’t handle big pets let alone big families.

Backlash to residential over consumption, people are admitting to the wasted space in the gargantuan boxes known as McMansions. Homeowners are growing tired of heating, cooling and furnishing formal living and dining rooms that they only use twice a year. Congratulations! You’ve wised up!

Only the Essentials

Living in a 400 square foot home isn’t for the faint of heart. Think about it. That’s 20 feet by 20 feet, or about the size of a "master suite" in a typical McMansion. Living in this brief space, all consumption is reduced, including energy. Ultimately, these little manors are very green spaces in which to live. They consume less, as do their inhabitants. Stuff is pared down and not accumulated. So no extraneous anything.

A New Way to Live

On the cutting edge of the tiny-house boom, is Alchmey Architects, a St. Paul, MN based company big on reusing, reducing and recycling. Their weeHouse designs have a distinctly modular, Leggo look. Another guy on the cusp of the trend is Greg Johnson and his Small House Society, which promotes, you guessed it, the small house.

The End of Everything Mc’d?

No more McMansions? Is the demise of Ronald McDonald far behind? If all Americans opted for living teeny, probably. Everybody would have to nix the fast food if they wanted to be able to fit in their homes. Ultimately, tiny homes=tiny waistlines. Do I see a new diet plan on the horizon?


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tsyòkawe on Apr 15, 2015:

omg. How stupid of me to believe that I'd actualy invented the term, 'Dinky Dwellings'. Oy.

I'm heartened that so many people are finally learning to live responsibly, but I worry that it's far too late. Unless or until there's some sort of revolution, the very rich will continue to rape this planet and keep the rest of us in our slave-waged jobs...

jeska on Nov 18, 2006:

I really hope the end of the McMansion is upon us. I recently moved to New York City from Michigan, and I'm trying to convince my relatives back home that less really is more. Those Katrina cottages are adorable.    

gregoryjohnson on Nov 17, 2006:

Thanks for promoting simple and tiny living! I really enjoy my 140 square foot home.

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