McMansions no more: a move toward small houses

blog-mcmansion-squareIf you’re from Florida, you know what a McMansion is.  It’s an embarrassingly large (3,000+ square feet), yet somehow mundanely generic house, usually built for just two people – often a second home that is only lived in for part of the year.  They are the epitome of conspicuous consumerism and the apex of wasteful and greedy excess.  There is no sensible reason to own a McMansion other than “because you can.”

With the emergence of green building and the LEED certification, more efficient housing is becoming “cool” and therefore desirable and socially acceptable, even for wealthier individuals.  Instead of the size of the home, people are basing their sense of worth on how much newfangled environmentally-friendly technology they can incorporate into their new home.  The key to soothing fragile egos is bragging rights – if they can’t say, “My home is this big” at least they can say, “My home has the newest LED lighting on the market.”

According to an article in GOOD Magazine, a two bedroom, two bath house for two people can comfortably be as small as 900 square feet.  Different people have different needs, however, so this number may not work for everyone.  If you’re going to build or buy a house, consider the space you actually NEED and would use.  Don’t just shoot for the biggest house you can get.

It just so happens that I house two people and a cat in 950 square feet quite nicely, and my house is indeed a 2/2.  I don’t feel as though I’m lacking any space at all.  And cleaning it is a breeze.

If you’re in the market for a house, try sitting down with pencil and paper and analyzing your true house needs.  What areas do you use the most?  Which ones don’t you use at all?  What spaces would you use if you had them?  Be honest.

Buying a smaller home is not a representation of your “fall from grace.”  Small houses are easier to maintain, have lower taxes and insurance, and give you extra time and money for the fun things in life like travel and entertainment.


  • What a great story and it makes absolute sense funny that hey. We have taken this exact approach and turned it into a renewable energy project. We dont have house as such but units which are approximately 9mtrs wide x 18 mtrs deep these are in our EcoEstates. What this also does is bring people out of their homes and into the social environment more. If you wish to take a look at our plan please feel free here is a small snipet of it. Thanks for the story


    Sunshine Coast, October 25, 2009 – With less than two months to go before the UN Climate Change Conference, the leaders of most countries are a worried lot. EcoEnforcers, a Queensland, Australia based company, has come up with a sustainable renewable energy source that meets both short term as well as long term needs. It is a global solution to urban renewable energy using a biomass hybrid battery technology to produce 2 x 1MW of power, 1MW for their fully designed “EcoEstates” and 1 MW put into the grid.

    In the words of Jarreau Terry: “EcoEnforcers will lead the global economy for climate change. Nations within nations will prosper, and single-handedly be withdrawn from the global financial crisis. A momentus occasion that will inevitably re-define the Twenty-First Century.”
    Jarreau Terry, Founder & CEO

  • Angela Sauro

    Love the article, and love the last person’s comment. I too believe that consumer behavior and culture drives our markets. Things never turn out the way the laws intended, but they influence behavior in ways that will be seen in a few years. Rarely was the result the original intent of the creation of the law. Great job all!

  • Kent Sjolund

    This is a great example of changes in consumer behaviour through normal market and cultural forces and NOT mandated through additional laws. This is a growing phenomenon that gets little attention BECAUSE no one can take political credit for it. Makes sense doesn’t it?

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