RE: very small/ compact housing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 16:35:05 -0800 (PST)
The problem with ecoVillages in the US is that the market for such housing
tends to be pretty small, (depending on how you manifest your project) and
often hard to get financing for. You might also find land to house value
ratio issues with lenders. I know that with the lenders that were contacted
for a home project in 1997, they would not fund any construction project
where the house was less than 3.5 times the value of the lot. Thus if the
lot was $30,000, the minimum house amount they would fund would be $115,000.
I understand this ratio, in our area, has gone up but I do not have that

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn Nadeau [mailto:welcome [at]] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:14 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ very small/ compact housing

At the Port Townsend EcoVillage, well into planning stages, we hope to have
housing which is attractive, functional, AND distinctly less impactful than
traditional homes. Plans include a mix of "satellite bedrooms" (small
cabins, sharing external common kitchen/bathroom facilities), group housing
(designed for multiple housemates), and separate houses of a more
traditional sort. 

I'm seeking resources for housing design. It's not hard to find
small-to-tiny prototypes for singles or the sort of couples who can live
together in a boat or schoolbus. However, we also want to attract families. 
So we want sample houseplans for 2-3-4 bedroom housing, so that a family,
say, of two adults and 2-3 kids, with a home-office-based business or two,
could look at a plan or model and say, "Why, yes, we really could live in
xxx square feet, if it were arranged like THAT!" 

What is the smallest  2-3-4 BR housing in your experience that can "work"? 
"Work" meaning people don't then feel the need to build storage buildings,
garages, or move away for lack of space. Do you live in a house that's
particularly compact? 

Can you suggest books (Japan? Europe?), actual plans, cautions,
encouragement? Thanks! 

Lynn Nadeau
at RoseWind, but enthusiastically engaging in this new project in our
neighborhood, Port Townsend Washington
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