Re: Low cost housing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 04:44:18 -0700 (PDT)

On May 19, 2008, at 12:21 AM, Marganne wrote:

Too strange? I currently rent a studio condo (apartment) that's about
460 square feet.

I've lived in 460 square feet also, though I found 600 to be more palatable once I was working at home all day.

By too strange, I meant things like shared bathrooms, no kitchen. Or like one apartment I saw in Manhatten, in two parts with a public hallway in between the two parts. It had actually been formed from two large closets with a bath and kitchen in one closet and the bedroom/ living room in the other -- maybe 300 square feet. A flight attendant was living there so he wasn't home a lot. But it was very low cost.

In Manhattan one person built an apartment building of 12' square apartments, one on each floor. He was asked how he thought of that and he said because that was how big the lot was. And he had no trouble selling them.

I think the idea of windows that bring the outside in is a good one. I have a balcony that is too small to really sit on but putting plants out there extends my space visually. I have 825 sq feet, open plan, and the first thing people say when they come in is "It's so spacious."

I also have trees outside the windows on the side opposite the door. One person said, "Oh, you live in a tree house!"

In relation to bringing the outside in, one house I saw had a small interior but a very large deck that could be used at least 9 months of the year. Inexpensive to build and almost no maintenance.

In Manhattan, small apartments are also possible because people live in public more. They tend to meet for dinner instead of entertaining in because they have no cars and it is a pain to get uptown or downtown. They meet in between instead. Go out for the paper and breakfast in the morning. Hang out in Starbucks with a laptop or a book. People even meet clients in hotel lobbies -- the ones with the comfortable furniture and a bar. A fern place.

So cities can be better areas for low cost housing than out in the country or the suburbs. Because people can walk to work, it also makes them very convenient.

Sharon Villines in Washington DC
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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