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LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 08:06 AM   #1
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LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Interesting article on alternative housing (I'll copy, since this will be a short-lived link):

http://biz.yahoo.com/weekend/mini_1.html

Move Over, McMansions
The Wall Street Journal Online
By Annelena Lobb

Microhouses are luring buyers looking for vacation getaways, art studios or even full-time residences

When Scott McGlasson, a St. Paul, Minn., furniture designer, bought land for a vacation house on Little Pequaywan Lake, he knew he didn't want to build a large, traditional house like many of those he had seen going up in the region.

"There are a lot of people building McMansions on lakes, but I really like small, simple things. And as a designer, I'm steeped in modernism -- I love things that don't have unnecessary elements to them," he says.

He designed the home with the help of his friend Geoff Warner, principal architect at Alchemy Architects, a St. Paul firm. The 800 square-foot dwelling, which cost around $160,000, was the second of Mr. Warner's "weeHouses"(www.weeHouses.com), multipurpose units that can be used as anything from second homes to yoga studios. Mr. Warner says that the first one he built drew such a positive response that he decided to build more of the tiny houses -- since 2003, he has sold 14 additional units.

Mr. Warner is one of a number of U.S. architects designing microhomes -- typically, houses spanning from a few hundred to a little more than a thousand square feet. These houses, far smaller than the average 2,400 square-foot home built in the U.S. last year, contain most of the amenities of larger dwellings, including kitchens and bathrooms. Many occupy just two rooms, or sometimes two rooms plus a living area. Some microhomes compensate for the small layout by capitalizing on vertical space, custom-designing cabinets and furniture, raising ceilings to build in sleeping lofts, or even using flat-roof space as a deck or patio area.

Designers say microhome buyers tend to fall into one of two groups: The majority are looking for a secondary space, either a vacation home or a building near or attached to a primary residence. A minority of buyers are hoping to move into a minihouse full-time, motivated by a desire to simplify their lifestyles or by social and environmental concerns about the amount of living space people need.

While the market for tiny houses is still tiny itself, architects say they have seen interest from buyers jump significantly in the past five years. In 2002, Greg Johnson, an information-technology consultant in Iowa City, co-founded the Small House Society (www.resourcesforlife.com/groups/smallhousesociety/resources.htm), a group that champions extra-small homes. He says he initially sent his newsletter to seven people; today he has about 260 individuals and architectural firms on the list.

Top to bottom: Construction and transportation of a weeHouse, and the finished product.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:06 AM   #2
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

$200 a square foot for a square empty box, and this does not even include the land? Whoever fell for this is either 1) smoking crack 2) smoking meth or 3) Has too much money. I could build you a functionally and architecturally equivalent structure for about $50/SF.

P.T. Barnum was correct.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

I can't believe anyone would pay $160k for this.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:33 AM   #4
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Duh

I bought an 1100 sq ft three bedroom, one bath house in the MO burbs in 2005 for an outrageous 85K (two wooded lots across the street thrown in).

People raised whole families in these things - got several three kid families - same floor plan up and down the street - and a few retiree's like us.

What micro??

heh heh heh heh - now a college dorm room
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions



I think it's out of place too. In upstate NY prices have risen, but you can still find a 1920's house with a lot of character, in the city at a great price, relatively speaking.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

this 'wee' house is a 'wee' bit silly. dontcha think? the price is outrageous and 800 sq ft is a bit tight for me....oops gotta go its 'wee' 'wee' time!
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 10:11 AM   #7
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Remembering my first house that was 890 square feet 3 bedroom, it was perfectly big enough. I hardly spent any time in it though. My dads current house is just under 1000 square feet. A couple of decades ago it wasnt unusual to see a family of six in a 1200 square foot house.

That having been said, this is a ripoff of biblical proportions. Totally targetted to someone planning on a $500k+ construction and this just hits a funny bone in their brains. And it seems like theres plenty of bones in there to hit...

You can get a couple of acres of land and a nice crappy little house custom engineered and delivered home for under $160k in some areas around here. We call them "mobile homes"
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 10:54 AM   #8
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute n Fuzzy Bun'ny
Remembering my first house that was 890 square feet 3 bedroom, it was perfectly big enough.*
This guy is missing the point-- most people would need a barn twice as big to store all their crap.

Of the three construction projects going up in a local business park, two are storage units. There are already three storage businesses in just that park itself, but apparently it's not enough!

Or maybe he get the point and has a development contract with the storage & home-organizing businesses...
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

No kiddin'...damn ugly and way expensive.

Nothing wrong with downsizing....I love a small house, and with a little thought and professional assistance, some amazing designs are out there.

One of my favorite books on the subject is Jim Tolpin's The New Cottage Home. We're a few years away from building, but we've earmarked dozens of pages in this book...and I expect when the time comes, we'll end up with a home far more attractive and functional than an ugly box, for much less $$'s.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 02:42 PM   #10
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

happy here in my shotgun cottage (with two rooms i don't even use). looking foward to "downsizing" to that 600 sf wee house on the water. probably will spend more than $160k though i could do it easily & nicely for that. plus if you don't like the neighbors you can always move.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 02:59 PM   #11
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

While everyone here is thrifty enough to find cheaper alternatives, I think the point is dead on: for most people with limited resources, living in a small home rather than a mcmansion is the way to go.

I live in a 1000+ square foot condo with a roomate, and I find it's almost the ideal size. The smallish size forces me to consider what possessions I really need and which I can get along without. Sure it would be nice to have more room but is it worth working 10 years or more for? No way (well, not until I decide to have kids at least).
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 05:01 PM   #12
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

I always thought these tiny houses were cute:

http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

and way more affordable than what this guy is offering.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 07:31 PM   #13
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

However, a little 'off the wall' if you ask me. Might be an interesting playhouse in the backyard for the kids though.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 07:35 PM   #14
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Is it just me or does that wee house look like a piece of furniture from the 50's/60's??
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 08:49 PM   #15
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

950-1100 square feet is not uncommon here in SF. My 3BR/1BA is 1100.

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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-17-2006, 09:23 PM   #16
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Quote:
most people would need a barn twice as big to store all their crap
'tis a sad commentary, but near true.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-18-2006, 03:27 AM   #17
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed
However, a little 'off the wall' if you ask me.* Might be an interesting playhouse in the backyard for the kids though.
The spouse and I were thinking more along the lines of a MIL apartment. If we end up having to support more than one parent it could save our sanity - especially if we can buy some land far away.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-19-2006, 12:36 PM   #18
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

I have a 784 sq. ft. mobile home, bought used for $5000, spent about another $1000 for replacement paint, cabinets, etc. for my family of 3. Our previous house was rented, it was 600 sq. ft. and we lived there 8 years.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-19-2006, 03:46 PM   #19
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Mobile homes are a pretty cheap way to live, except in states where tornados and hurricanes have a tendency to go.
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions
Old 06-19-2006, 03:58 PM   #20
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Re: LBYM: weeHouses vs. McMansions

Is it that people put mobile homes where tornados and hurricanes happen, or do tornados and hurricanes happen as a result of mobile homes?
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