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There has been a lot of discussion about small homes - compact, sustainable, off grid, interesting design. Quite a few of us seem interested in the idea, if not the reality quite just yet!

I love the idea. I keep telling people I would be happy to live in a tent if I had my garden around it. A well built small home would be better!

We can but dream.

Add away. Post your thoughts, photos and links.


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Comment by Lissa on August 22, 2015 at 11:03

What's holding me back is a good question.

My children, grandson and elderly parents live nearby and I don't want to move out of their area.

I've put a lot of effort into my existing garden and don't want to lose that if possible, though I may not have any choice in a year or so.

At my age it's not easy physically to start again. The days when I could work hard day in and out have passed. But again, I may not have any choice in a year or so.

Finding the right place ie piece of land. Lack of $ when I sell this place as I only own half of it. Inability to get another loan at my age (I don't want one if it can be avoided) and lack of income due to unemployment.

All reasons.

Comment by Phil on August 22, 2015 at 8:37

How about a composting toilet Dave to solve the dunny conundrum? Have you read about or used these? Councils should be encouraging people to utilise them on their properties (especially in place of portaloos) but instead make it as difficult as possible. There's little money in it I suppose. 

Comment by Phil on August 22, 2015 at 8:20
What's holding you back Lissa? Finances? Location? E.g. Proximity to hospitals/services/family. As Dave has pointed out below you can have a small home on a suburb block that should meet these needs. If you willing to go further afield then there are other options that don't cost much such as shared community living. This one doesn't look extreme -
Not sure if that property is still available but is an example of how little it potentially costs.
Comment by Lissa on August 21, 2015 at 4:48

I hope you will take us along, if only figuratively, on your journey then. Through photos and blogs perhaps.

For me it's getting a bit late in life but I still haven't ruled out the possibility completely.

Comment by Phil on August 20, 2015 at 20:19

It has been for me too Lissa! I'm fortunate that I'm now in a position (after many years of hard work) where I hopefully can make it a reality soon.

Sometimes its the thought of real change that is the biggest obstacle holding one back.

Comment by Dave Riley on August 20, 2015 at 20:18

Yeah I agree,Phil: that's why you retrofit rather than build anew.

In regard to housing it's complicated. I reckon the place to begin (as councils have already done so) is to fill up the space in a standard suburban block. Dice and slide. Facilitation of  removables.Smaller blocks.

The contradiction is that that pandered to the McMansions...

My last house I bought for $500 (was built in 1950) and we moved it across a couple of suburbs to relocate it on my mother in law divided up block.

The house before that -- a classic inter war Qldlander -- got shifted somewhere else after we moved.

In that exercise I learnt the great joy of wooden built houses on stumps because you can move walls and doors and rooms to suit.

But I reckon the clincher -- judging from my own experience --  is INDOOR rooms and OUTDOOR kitchen and toilet/bathroom. At least in Queensland...

Like living in a caravan...or caravan park.

We eat outside here all year under the veranda outback anyway. Cooking inside has the advantage of heating up the house in Winter..but otherwise it is only a question of flies

In caravan old style guest school camp locations... 'small homes/rooms' are/were the norm.

Even in the traditionally divided up Queenslander -- you lived in a 'small house' --a room --(that was part of a much larger house). I've spent years in that type of occupation. Generally they are now illegal.

Most of my life until 1988 was spent in shared accommodation.Rentals in 4 states.

But the garden focus is something else...

This an interesting study of huts -- A hut of one's own . I think 'huts' make more sense than small or tiny homes.

(But then there is the dunny conundrum...)

Comment by Lissa on August 20, 2015 at 19:13

You've put a bit of thought into this Phil. For me it's the stuff of dreams.

Comment by Phil on August 20, 2015 at 17:59

Definitely agree with you there Dave - do more with less.

Our current throw away society is all about consumption at any cost to the environment which ultimately impacts all of our lives. The analogy of a runaway steam train comes to mind where the driver is too busy shoveling in more coal to notice what is happening...but I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir.

IMO reusing old stuff rather than recycling (which can be inefficient and power hungry) makes a much bigger stride towards true sustainability.

Comment by Dave Riley on August 19, 2015 at 18:54
I don't live in a tent. Nor do I reside in a hut.But I do spend most of my indoor hours in my 'garage'.
Like some sheik, my indoors is coated in tentfulness.

I have floor to ceiling drop canvas hither and yon.

What should be a cold corridor this time of year, is really quite warm because of the cloth layering.
I've learnt that a spread of cotton (and whatever) is a great insulator if folded over. It's like wearing another layer of clothing.

Come the heat of Summer I just roll everything back like a Japanese bamboo screen.

Just saying: if you want to heat up and insulate a room, drop some floor to ceiling curtains. Insert some bamboo rods -- and Voila! you have a comfy cubby. 

When so ensconced I find the ready in-and-out thing, going to the backyard garden and back,  is direct and hassle free.

I'm half outside while being half inside.

And my room, my work room, has ambiance. It's not sterile interior decorated. It has functional substance.

You can engineer a lot of stuff into the one small space. You can add features that service you without being held hostage to 'look'...and still end up with 'cozy'.

And with all those can spray them with essential oils and smell up the place real nice.

So small does indeed work. I'm saying we can live in less cubic space so long as we manipulate the environment  with ambiance in mind...and I'm mightily surprised how effective cheap curtaining can be.

Painters drop canvas...that's what I used ... and Op shoppery.

That's the thing in Australia: you need to accommodate to the extremes.Sponsor flexibility. Accommodate yourself on the cheap.

I think huts are great but tents fall down.  Caravans are OK but they are  width constrained.

In the age of the big blow, the big bushfire, the deluge, flash flood and storm tide I don't think any McMansion can save us.

Now is the time to start mixing and matching and making do with less.
Comment by Lissa on August 19, 2015 at 18:53

I should add  - a guest room added on somewhere, and dining on the huge patio.


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