May 17, 2012

LifeEdited says: "Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy."

The NYT calls that "an awkward manifesto" but conspicuously admires the project of perfecting the small, virtuous, upscale way of life.
[Graham] Hill’s [LifeEdited] has proposed apartment buildings designed around large, open courtyards with units ranging from 300 to 600 square feet. It is quite something to promote studio-apartment living in a state that has so much housing stock available at such a steep discount....

Mr. Hill, whose possessions run to athletic gear and vitamins, has domesticated the apartment with objects belonging to his girlfriend, Kumara Sawyers, a massage therapist and yoga instructor. He chose a globe, an antique camera, an antler and a potted plant, along with a few books....
You know, if you're editing down your possessions, fuck the antler.

48 comments:

TML said...

"fuck the antler."

Ouch.

MadisonMan said...

I'm seriously considering a Murphy Bed for one of the kids' rooms after they leave.

YoungHegelian said...

St. Anthony, the founder of monasticism, would set fire to his hut and burn all his possessions every two years.

He later moved to the Egyptian desert because the Alexandrian fire department took a dim view of his peculiar style of bodily mortification.

Mitchell said...

The right antler makes a fine backscratcher.

Amy said...

The deer is probably his totem animal.

Ann Althouse said...

St. Anthony sounds like a drama queen.

Religion and theater — a necessary pairing?

It would be more ascetic to avoid any show of simplifying your life.

The greater saints are undiscovered.

Matthew Sablan said...

What's the fascination with 100? 100 things; 100 people per acre.

wyo sis said...

One small antler as a tribute to nature. In all that chrome and shiny white it must look like something the cat dragged in. Or, maybe there are no cats in the stark life. Where to put the cat box?

WV yoursThe asicalc not kidding!

traditionalguy said...

Maybe St Benedict was right, judging from these Nuvo-Acetics.

A more practical idea is keeping every thing you can stuff into both the beach Condo and the Town House and the you can walk through the Airport luggage free.

That should be enough bragging rights that you are saving the earth from CARBON POLLUTION. Really it does, because no heavy breathing happens, which should please the Abbott of the EPA Monastary.

Query: where does one keep children and their play area full of toys, and the Dogs?

Maybe banning babies is also going to be mandated in this Small New World. If China can do a one child law , I say we can do a no child law.

Bryan C said...

Monks live in tiny communal cells and spurn earthly treasures, too. But they don't pretend they're doing it to save the planet.

Mr. Forward said...

"He chose a globe, an antique camera, an antler and a potted plant, along with a few books...."

What a coIncedence! That's the same way I decorated my truck.

Matthew Sablan said...

I like that he at least acknowledges that his plan has some holes in it by buying carbon offsets.

I want people to buy some of the carbon I could be producing, then I won't produce it, but they can, and I'll pocket the difference.

Wait, that's not how it works? Who is he buying his right to produce carbon from?

Tank said...

Historically, more space was a benefit of having more wealth. Up to some point, more space is probably healthier than less space.

Why do you need more money if you're not going to use it for more stuff and space?

Mark O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark O said...

Exactly. Out with the antler. As a great thinker and amateur Lothario once said, "What More Do We Want This Man To Do For Us, Honest To God?"rkfomat

carrie said...

Let's see him add children to the apartment plus add having a regular job where he has to live in the apartment for 12 months straight. If he wants to save the planet, he really shouldn't travel that much anyway. And then, of course, you have him trying to impose his own personal philosophy, which happens to make him happy, upon everyone else.

edutcher said...

That phrase, "collaborative consumption", makes me think, "We're going to tell you how to live".

Ann Althouse said...

St. Anthony sounds like a drama queen.

Religion and theater — a necessary pairing?

It would be more ascetic to avoid any show of simplifying your life.

The greater saints are undiscovered.


Why do I think Meade's on the canonization list, whether he knows it or not?

deborah said...

"St. Anthony sounds like a drama queen.

Religion and theater — a necessary pairing?

It would be more ascetic to avoid any show of simplifying your life.

The greater saints are undiscovered."

Great post. I guess religion and theater are a necessary pairing, but then all interaction is theater. See Robin Hanson's 'signaling.'

http://bloggingheads.tv
/videos/2018

Joe said...

I've been moving in that direction naturally anyway. 420 square feet may be a little too small for me, and I do like having my kitchen, living room and bedroom to be separate spaces, even if not separate rooms. On the other hand, if living in a place like in the article let me live in my tropical dream spot, I'd definitely do it.

Joe said...

Let's see him add children to the apartment...

Isn't that part of the point, though. Children eventually move out, but many people still continue living in a relatively large house. (This very thing caused a glut on the market of large homes in my area in the late 90s.)

SGT Ted said...

Do they have to wear hairshirts? How about self flaggelation?

Joe,

Most people keep their bigger houses after the kids leave to have space for them when they visit, especially with grandkids.

Part of the point should be that when animals cram themselves into tight spaces, they go crazy.

Another part of the point is that the size of someone elses house is none of anybody elses business.

Will Cate said...

"fuck the antler" ... didn't I hear an Occupay protest group chanting that a while back?

Smith said...

The greater saints are undiscovered.

Why do I think Meade's on the canonization list, whether he knows it or not?


With the posting, here (a couple times, I believe), of him cleaning the Heg statue? I think not - big disqualifier.

Will Cate said...

"Occupy" -- sorry, typing too fast

Quaestor said...

Monks live in tiny communal cells and spurn earthly treasures, too. But they don't pretend they're doing it to save the planet.

(Yawn) Mr. Hill could just off himself and reduce his eco-footprint to zero. Then NYT could fold the tent and reduce their impact on my ennui index to zero as well.

Joe said...

Most people keep their bigger houses after the kids leave to have space for them when they visit, especially with grandkids.

There is a difference between keeping an 1800 square foot house, but 3500 square feet? 5000 square feet?

(And then there's the problem with bigger houses of the kids dropping by and not leaving.)

I think it's mostly about ego with kids/grandkids being used as an excuse (especially since the number of children and grandchildren per couple is declining.)

One of the most stunning changes in the last 60 years is how much bigger houses have gotten. In 1950, the average size of an American home of 983 square feet. Today it is about 2,400 square feet. And there are fewer children per family!

It is actually quite difficult to find/build nice small homes anymore.

Terry said...

Other than the old Italian woman, all the people named in this story seem like space aliens to me.
A $700k, 400 sq' studio. For showing off your modest lifestyle.
In Kona, you can get an existing studio, about 400sq', walking distance to the beach, for less than $200k.

MadisonMan said...

When I visited my parents, I did not want to stay in the house. As an adult, it's nice to have a space to retreat to -- a hotel -- after dealing with parents for 6 or 8 hours. Any spouse would agree with this. My 1700-sq-foot house will be perfect for grandchildren to visit -- because they and their parents will have to stay in a hotel. I'll gladly pay for that. Everyone wins.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Ann: Spurning the chance to show us a picture of Bernadette Castro?

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KJE said...

Besides Althouse, one of the blogs I read daily is Tiny House Blog.

http://tinyhouseblog.com/

I'm fascinated by the concepts there, although sometimes the commentary runs a little too excessively "green".

If I were not raising a small boy on my own; I would probably try to do something like this. But that said, our smal 2 bedroom apartmetn is probably in the sub 800 sq.foot range, so removing unecessary items has been somewhat of a priority to me. I could still draw in terms of posessions (I have an oven, do I really need a pizza oven? I have a Weber Grill, do I really also need a George Forman Grill?) and we'd be very comfortable.

JAL said...

carrie -- this is the me generation which does not have children.

Ever.

The planet will be free to have all the deer antlers it wasnts all over the landscape when these folks are finally done.

Except, of course, for those pesky Muslims and Mormons.

deborah said...

I always like when Althouse posts on small-scale living. Like the one about the guy who lived in a van on campus, illegally.

The idea (didn't click through) of 600 units surrounding a central courtyard sounds awful! Sharing a courtyard seems counterintuitive to what a courtyard is for.

Dale Light said...

I keep trying to simplify my life. Unfortunately, my wife has other ideas.

Lucien said...

I thought it was supposed to be globe and anchor, not globe and antler.

Carl Vero said...

“... fuck the antler.”
If the antler belonged to his girlfriend, attempting to do so might even figuratively be a (t)horny position.

wyo sis said...

Bring in the antlers and throw out the children. Green triumphs!
In my experience it isn't until the kids are gone that people can afford to add on or remodel their houses and they do it then so they have space for all the grands when everyone comes home for holidays. If we eschew children we can eliminate most of the clutter and all of the happiness from our lives.

Kirk Parker said...

"The idea (didn't click through) of 600 units surrounding a central courtyard sounds awful!"

More specifically, sounds like a cruise ship (i.e. awful^2).

Christy said...

Back when I was in my 30s and all my friends were single people in their 30s, everyone was buying 3 and 4 bedroom homes for themselves. Not because they needed the room, but because bigger houses had better resale value. I had these visions of all those houses being resold to other single people in finitum with nary a soul ever in those extra bedrooms. Bedrooms never to be loved.

Peter said...

‘Joe said, “Children eventually move out, but many people still continue living in a relatively large house. (This very thing caused a glut on the market of large homes in my area in the late 90s.

Well, it certainly is to the point in New York City. NYC still has rent control. If you lived alone in a rent-controlled 4-br apt. that cost you $450./mo, would you give it up just so you could pay $2,000./mo market-rate rent for studio apt.?

[ Perhaps it's time to re-read Harry Harrison's SF novel, "Make Room! Make Room!" ]

paul a'barge said...

The article says that the apartment owner is a friend of Nick Denton.

That makes him a piece of crap in my book. Screw him.

sleepless nights said...

Just sounds like retirement (waiting for death), or Europe/Japan though - where almost everyone lives in apartments no matter what their income. You get more countryside, but at the cost of apartment living.

I was not a big fan of apartment living. You can hear people above or below you walking at all hours, their music, their sex lives, their fights which sometimes could be call-911 abusive.

No grounds on which to walk that aren't public.

It was okay for my 20s, but then I got a kitten. Within a few months I ended up sending my cat back to my parents' house because I considered the cramped conditions inhumane. He needed a yard, a territory to prowl.

And I realized, if I don't think my cat should live here, WTF am I doing here? My city days were over within 3 years from that realization.

Japan has to have "cat cafes" where people can visit the cats they can't have in their apartments. That is sad.

And don't even talk to me about dogs. I'd love a big dog, but I feel you need countryside or a ranch to to do a dog justice. They need to run free. Cats at least can mince about the neighborhood.

mariner said...

You know, if you're editing down your possessions, fuck the antler.

I don't know, Althouse. For people with some, umm, "proclivities" the antler could be very useful.

Methadras said...

This nonsense way of living is for booming new agers with a penchant for high priced austerity while thinking they are being hip, trendy, and socially conscious. In a word, idiots.

Valentine Smith said...

Men have always been monks—or the warriors who raid them.

It's the women who consume and consume and consume.

Hence the Vikings.

JAL said...

Did someone mention vikings?

(You could laways make the antlers into a hat so it wouldn't be merely a decoration.)

John Lynch said...

This is a way to make a virtue out of how New Yorkers have to live anyway.

Personally, I'm trying to move out to 3 acres out in the country.

carrie said...

JAL-the me generation does have kids, they just don't let them get in the way of doing what they want to do http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/everest/blog/2012-05-14/what-nobody-talks-about