SMALL HOMES AREN’T FOR ALL BUT THEY ARE GROWING…
…in popularity, that is. I don’t think all of that is related to the Great Recession or the baby boomers becoming Q-tips. (Folks with white hair for those that might find that a tad obtuse.) Some of it is a natural backlash to excess that some saw in our world before the collapse some 7 years back. Some are those pushing conventional boundaries. And some are being different just for the sake of being different – those that would find comfort in this place we call Taos.
There are movements out there that go beyond Dwell, the minimalist magazine that draws the interest of many folks 30 to 45. One now sees people living in 200 sq. ft. and sometimes less. Sometimes couples. Sometimes couples with big dogs. It can get crazy – but there is a point to be made. Less can be more. Divesting rather than accumulating can be life altering. And for the better.
Downsizing has been around for years. At some point in many lives folks reflect on what is important. When one sees that life is finite one can reasonably conclude that reading a good book, going for a hike, creating wonderful art, cooking a great meal, can all be more rewarding and more beneficial to life then vacuuming or polishing “chachkas.” (Display pieces – for the uninitiated.)
We have dear friends who lived in Embudo in a wonderful home with domestic and farm animals. It was large, with art and decorative items everywhere. Books, too. They had gardens galore and a hot tub in a loft. But they sold that and moved into 650 sq. ft. in Santa Fe, where they had to really think about what they wanted or needed in their lives and they’ve never been happier. Nor more compact.
My wife and I lived for years in a 2500 sq. ft. home, with a 480 sq. ft. casita and a 320 sq. ft. studio. A lot really, like having 3 homes. She is the more mechanical of the two of us so she bore the burden of caring for all of this. (Plus a carport.) At one point she got tired of it, of all the time, the effort and the money in just maintaining. When we decided to down size, she took a year to get us ready. But during that year, she made a commitment that each and every day she would either give away or throw away something. And she did. Stuff went away. Stuff we didn’t need and didn’t miss.
Here in Taos we don’t have many small homes. Having said that I found the buyer for my seller who had a sweet 750 sq. ft. SIPS* construction home on the Lower Colonias side of the top of Blueberry Hill. Essentially two rooms, with the living space downstairs and the bedroom upstairs, a 30 something local couple saw it as a perfect starter house where they could own for the price of renting.
I just listed and we found the buyer for a 596 sq. ft. home in walking distance to the plaza. A real adobe with a well. Most folks prefer owning fee simple absolute rather than a condo so I knew it wouldn’t last long and it didn’t. There is something to be said for simple. Place to be. Place to eat. Place to sleep. And a bathroom.
We do have pied-a-terre type of places that are condos. Many of those can be found in walking distance to the plaza on Montoya, Burch, Dolan and Valverde. Those used to sell at a premium in the day although not so much anymore. In fact, the highest price paid for any residential unit that I know of on an “all in” basis was almost $400 a sq. ft. in the Buena Vida project on Kit Carson Road – in walking distance to the plaza. It was less than 400 sq. ft. but the buyer certainly understood that it was better than a hotel room, was likely to appreciate over time, and it could be rental if things changed.
We all need to be aware at some level the imprint we make on the Earth. We who live in Taos tend to have more time to reflect on issues like that because we aren’t spending all our time chasing the dollar. And with that consciousness comes awareness that less can be more. And that that simple concept can and does apply to where and how we choose to live.
Size may matter on some things – but I suggest not on homes. `
* Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a high performance building system for residential and light commercial construction.
Category : Taos Real Estate Blog