My recent editorial

columbiascOctober 4, 2008

We have a weekly publication in my area called "Free Times". It's considered an alternative publication as it caters more to the socially active college students and bohemian leaning adults. They have recently started adding an insert once very quarter called "Abode" which focuses on the home. The most recent Abode insert featured a story about a third-year law student living in a one-bedroom garage apartment behind a large, expensive home in an upscale neighborhood. The writer referred to this type of living as "transitional". I felt like the writer missed a wonderful opportuity and was compeled to send in a letter to the editor. I'm waiting now to see if it gets published. Here it is:

Small homes have been a life long passion of mine. Naturally, I was excited when I read the cover of the Abode insert and saw a headline for "Living It Up, Downsized". I was equally disappointed with the lack of substance in this article. Around Columbia there are a plethora of homes with living space well below 1000sf. Single family homes as well as condos, apartments and townhomes offer a smarter, more economical alternative. A quick search of the web utilizing oneÂs favorite search engine yields hundreds of sites, links and articles touting the benefits of small space living. HGTV has a show dedicated to this lifestyle, "Small Space, Big Style". Sarah Susanka is an architect and best selling author championing a more reasonable approach to living through her series of books beginning with "The Not So Big House". Yet you chose to focus solely on garage apartments and guest houses in Shandon insinuating that these homes are merely "transitional".

At a time when our country is facing one itÂs most precarious financial challenges, which some would argue was brought on by over-consumption, and at a time when many Americans seem to be captivated by a super-sized mentality, you missed a wonderful opportunity to extol the virtues of those individuals daring to take exactly the opposite approach.

Living in a smaller space is not only more economical, but in most cases, it also "greener". A smaller physical footprint typically equals a smaller carbon footprint. Less space to clean and care for typically equals less time and money spent maintaining a dwelling and more time spent living life.

Or how about noteworthy statistics such as comparing the average size of new homes being built in the US today, 2349sf, compared to the average size of new homes being built in other developed countries such as the United Kingdom at 815sf.

In most cases, less is more. From my personal observation, this is overwhelmingly true of smaller homes and the individuals brave enough to run headlong against conventional thinking who choose to live a smaller yet more fulfilling lifestyle.

I encourage you to revisit this topic and devote more time and energy developing the feature.

~Scott~

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gayle0000

Hey Scott, thanks for posting this. I'd be really interested to see the original article. Is it online somewhere?

I think your last sentence sums up your thoughts quite well and gives the writer an opportunity to think about (and hopefully write about) another way living.

I gotta wonder if the 3rd year law student also thinks this type of living is transitional, or if the author just took the liberty to assume so. How did you interpret that?
Gayle

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 10:33AM
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FlowerLady6

Hi Scott ! Great piece. I really liked the following lines at the end.

** In most cases, less is more. From my personal observation, this is overwhelmingly true of smaller homes and the individuals brave enough to run headlong against conventional thinking who choose to live a smaller yet more fulfilling lifestyle. **

Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:00PM
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columbiasc

Gayle - you can find the publication at www.free-times.com but they still have the "Abode" insert from May on the website, not the most recent one. Curious.

FlowerLady - Thank you for your kind words. Should I run for President next time around? Would anyone championing such ideas and condepts stand a chance? "Fraid not!

~Scott~

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 10:03AM
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marti8a

Great article Scott. I think you should write the article for them too. With so many people concerned about conservation and the economy, living small gives everyone a greater quality of life.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Very nice Scott. I hope they to take your information and run with it. A real missed opportunity if they do not.

Chris

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 5:09PM
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mizmcd

Good thoughts. But for me "Less is More" doesn't make sense. I am trying to edit (pass on my extras to a Thrift Store. So I keep in mind my new slogan: "Less is Enough".

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 4:12PM
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