A space twofer
I believe now is the time for Americans to rethink how we design and use our living areas. More specifically, I think we need small, easily and economically maintained dome-homes in which the same space is used for both day and night activities – in other words, a space twofer!
I recently watched on Oprah segment on homes in Denmark. Danish homes are much smaller than ours here in the United States, yet Denmark is considered to be the home of the happiest people on this planet. They credit a big part of their personal happiness and satisfaction to modest homes.
A fantastic book called A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein, talks about patterns for living and how, in many ways, we have lost track of, or maybe never had, the patterns that would be the most functional for us. I think that describes our situation.
Sometime back we Americans started making more money, so we deserted our one-room cabins and moved into bigger homes. But while we lived in cabins, we had a combination house. In the daytime we used it for living and socializing; at night we put mats on the floor for sleeping.
Then as we prospered, we decided we would like to have a separate room, called bedroom, that we left all set-up just for sleeping. Before long, we had a house that evolved into a dual-house, half of which we used during the day and half of which we used only at night. In effect, we took our simple, straight forward home and doubled its size, but that did not double its usefulness.
What I’m looking for is a better way, and what I want to present are some ideas, including yours. Monolithic wants your ideas on how we can live more simply and, I believe, more content.
I will post drawings showing what we have come up with, but I invite all of you to comment on and suggest how we can make this work. We want thinking-out-of-the-box suggestions. How can we make a home that takes less time, less energy, less bother that will serve our needs and wants?
For starters, let’s design a dome-home of about 700 to 800 square feet. My wife and I do not need a home the size of ours. Charca Casa has almost 3,000 square feet. That was great when our children lived at home, but they no longer do. There are just the two of us, and at any point in time there may be just one. So why not design a very affordable home for two that is safe and greener than grass?
This new dome-home that I’m planning is for a family of two to four of whatever ages or for two seniors with visitors. The kitchen will have proper appliances, storage, fixtures and a dining table that can comfortably seat ten.
The primary bedroom will share the same space with the living room. By that I mean that we will have a living room with some sort of bed, made up at night for sleeping but used as furniture during the day. Now this could be as simple as a well built, comfortable hide-a-bed. It could also be a Murphy bed that folds down from the wall, either laterally or on end.
Or, if we are going to think outside-the-box, perhaps it could be a beautiful light fixture, raised toward the ceiling during the day and lowered at night for a bed. Obviously it would have to go in a Monolithic Dome home since it has the strength for such a fixture.
We want this room to be simple, straight forward, inexpensive or expensive, but something we would all feel comfortable in and that can act as a living room, great room, a place for us to entertain. Next to it, we could have a bathroom with shower and tub.
A second room, close to a bathroom with a shower, could function as a guest bedroom or child’s bedroom at night but transform into an office or den during the day. We can make it as simple as having a pull-down desk with computer and storage space, that folds down from the wall or lowers down from the ceiling.
We already have the basics!
What I’m looking for now are small, well designed, permanent dome-homes that use less land and natural resources and do not take our last nickel to heat, cool and maintain. After all, we could always use that money for a cruise, a vacation, or a child’s or grandchild’s college education.
Let’s think functionally and creatively and make a better life for ourselves and those around us. Please send your ideas and comments to [email protected].
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