Simple is enough
Why the Simple Home?
Many Americans long for a simpler life—and there are myriad books and guides to help us find it in daily routines and at work. Yet, most of us are unpracticed in describing to someone else (or even to ourselves) what a simple home for that life would really look like. We sense that something’s missing in our hurried routine, but we have no idea where to begin the editing of complexity.
In my book, we embarked on an exploration of 21 simple homes across the country and the experiences of the people who built them. These houses and their owners’ journeys offer a fascinating counterpoint to the way most people buy new houses in the developer market today.
Pathways to the Simple HomeThese 21 houses are organized into six pathways by which people have asked what simple truly means for them in both their lives and homes. Ranging from thrift to flexibility in design, these paths can help you consider your own home and how to simplify it. The paths are as follows:
Simple is enoughA simple house is a positive affirmation of “the luxury of enough.” By this we mean that designing a simple home starts with figuring out how much you really need and what you can eliminate. The luxury of enough means confronting the fact that you really don’t need an eight-burner stove and the larger kitchen to house it. Forty years ago, utility used to be a bad word in house design. In the 1950s rambler, the utility room was not exactly a showplace for guests. But today, many utilitarian buildings, such as warehouses and old barns, are very desirable locations for new housing and workspaces. They were designed for pure function for storage and industry, yet today they work brilliantly for open-plan living. They offer the luxury of space in a world of clutter.
Simple homes are often rectangular, sometimes square, and always “just enough,” whether in terms of dormers, quantity of bathrooms, or square footage. In this pathway, we visit homes that reflect the way their owners choose to live rather than an image that they want to present to the street. These designs for “enough” appear deceptively simple because they actually grow out of a lot of careful decision making.