Introduction to Issue 6: Community

Posted June 2nd, 2009 by Hillary "Tinyhouse" and filed in Issue 6: Community
Cottages that face a common green (Photo credit: Ross Chapin Architects)

Sensibly sized cottages facing a common green (Ross Chapin Architects)

Would you pay $600,000 for 1,000 square feet?

Many people are willing to pay more for less, as evidenced by the popularity of Ross Chapin‘s small homes in custom designed “boutique” communities. They are selling well in the Northwestern US and getting good press nationwide (articles in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and HGTV).

In this issue of the Small Living Journal we interweave the two concepts of living smaller and living in communities because they are fundamentally linked: the smaller your home, the more you take advantage of the community around you.

We can’t help but be reminded of our collective past, one that is wonderfully devoid of clutter, high energy bills, spending lots of time alone in our cars and staring at glowing boxes for 8 hours a day. Is there a way to piece together a new, community-minded existence while living small?

5 Responses to “Introduction to Issue 6: Community”

  1. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hello! Thanks for the link and comments about our communities of more compact, single family homes.

    Keep in mind the economics of new home construction. The ultimate cost of a home depends often on the underlying land cost and value. The cost of the structure is sometimes almost incidental to the cost of land, utility infrastructure, permits, utility hookup costs, stormwater mitigation and other related-to-construction costs.

    The communities we build are close to major employment centers (Microsoft, Google, Boeing, technology companies, etc.) in the close-in greater Seattle area where land is scarce and expensive. A raw 7200SF lot (no utilities and permits) costs nearly $200,000 with no house! in this area. This is significantly different than other parts of the U.S. with weaker economies, fewer high paying jobs, etc.

    Since our first community in 1996, Third Street Cottages, we’ve been delighted to work with great architects and designers in creating our award-winning communities! Thank you for noticing!

  2. SmemnEvefFernNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

  3. PegNo Gravatar says:

    Linda, I have been drooling over The Cottage Company and Ross Chapin’s cottage communities for many years. I’ve managed to visit each community as they emerge. What I especially love is that your company gets that if you are going to live small you sure better have outstanding design and aesthetics or you might as well be in a trailer. I love that each home has its own personality and character and that it is oriented to the community with porches and inviting dutch doors. Everywhere you look is quality, openness, interest, and expression. I too long for these principles in a lower cost setting which will be attractive to a diverse range of young and old alike, not just young high earning professionals. Especially now with aging boomers wanting to continue to be a part of the community, not siloed off to some huge 55+ development. I hope your company will help facilitate the discussion and invite others who may be able to provide such solutions with your inspiration.

  4. cosmosNo Gravatar says:

    “Would you pay $600,000 for 1,000 square feet?”

    A big resounding NO….unless there was significant land involved.

    The median income for a home-owning household in King County (the areas Linda mentioned are in King County ) is about $60K. Under standard mortgage practices (that is, no subprime – option arm…), such a household, putting 20% down, could qualify to buy a home that is priced about $262K — a far cry from $600K.

    The Cottage Company builds for yuppies, dinks, and other similar types — not average Jills and Joes.

    A couple of years ago, I tried to contact The Cottage Company to discuss ideas and ask some questions – no one returned my calls. It appears they only return calls to people interested in buying their overpriced homes. In my mind, Linda and her cohorts are exactly the kind of people who would buy into such communities – not very neighborly unless you “are of use” to them.

    p.s. I’m tired of developers and RE people attempting to keep the bubble inflated. Greed, greed, greed — with no consciousness about the impact on others.

  5. slowillyNo Gravatar says:

    as one who has lived with a certain love and obsession with letting others know the merits of living simpler lives in simpler ways, which includes smaller homes and smaller communities, i appreciate what is being accomplished in the RE market.

    to me the importance of all of this is that there are those of all financial abilities that see the value to them for small community live.

    sure, there is truth in your statement about ‘are of use’ to others in the community to be accepted in to that community……… but……. here is an opportunity for some to learn and experience just what it is to live a life a bit more transparent and visible to others around them. i can see that this type of living in close proximity and view may not be for everyone but for many it is an extension of ‘family’ of sorts.

    though i may agree with you that the cost of the cottages that are of topic and discussion here are more than i would be willing or able to pay, it is important to the future of this rediscovered cottage neighborhood community living concept and growth.