Nov
29
2012

So, how *do* you raise two kids in a 200 square foot hovel?

Pardon my use of the technical term ‘hovel’ to describe these things: ‘shack’ simply didn’t have the same connotation of ‘lived in by a beaten-down peasant’ attached to it.

Step into an alleyway in the Northeast Washington neighborhood known as Stronghold, and you will see a vegetable patch, a campfire, a view of the Capitol and a cluster of what neighbors call “those tiny people, building their tiny houses.”

The people aren’t really tiny, but their homes are — 150 to 200 square feet of living space, some with gabled roofs, others with bright cedar walls, compact bathrooms and cozy sleeping lofts that add up to living spaces that are smaller than the walk-in closets in a suburban McMansion.

Anyway, the answer to the question is simple: you don’t. You don’t even really raise one kid in it.  Oh, I know that other countries have somewhat less… stringent… requirements when it comes to ‘acceptable minimum square footage;’ but this is the United States of America.  We are not like other countries.

So, I guess it’s a self-correcting problem in the long term. Because let’s just say that there’s a certain demographic that finds this arrangement attractive, and it ain’t the working/professional clas:

“A midget could catch the devil in one of them teeny, tiny little houses. I just don’t understand the point,” says James Harris, 70, who worked for 40 years in the maintenance department for the Smithsonian Institution and, with his wife, Patricia Harris, 65, a longtime D.C. school administrator, saved to pay off the spacious rowhouse they bought 38 years ago.

“It’s our little piece of Washington,” Patricia Harris says.

Her family is descended from freed slaves; they moved here from the South with a dream to own land and a house big enough to raise children and entertain guests. “These tiny houses feels like we are going backwards,” she says.

Danged straight, Patricia.  What can I say?  White people are just weird sometimes. …What?  Hey, I’m white; I’m allowed.

Moe Lane

Via Instapundit.

12 Comments

  • Spegen says:

    Reminds me of the mock-ups at Ikea of small space living. Sure it could be fun when your young and just starting out, not practical long term.
    .
    Why a house though? Economically, wouldn’t a building full of small apartments and condos be more efficicent and dare I say “green” than building tiny new houses?

    • jbird says:

      They are building micro apartment complexes in San Fran. 220 sq. ft, I believe. It was in an industry news letter I read.

      • acat says:

        What’s the going rate for a studio apartment in NYC? (young hipsters have been stupid about this since forever)
        .
        Mew

      • jbird says:

        It’s essentially the size of a normal house’s bedroom. I guess a single person could stand it. I don’t know how 2+ people could live like that. The ironic thing is that the whole public housing movement got started to move people out of tenements that were bigger than these apartments.

  • Herp McDerp says:

    Did Star Trek ever show the living spaces of any units of the Borg Collective?

  • Catseyes says:

    Having been in a 900 something square foot house with teenagers you don’t, you sell it and move to a bigger house, but it is a way to build capital, we paid off most of this house in the purchase.

  • LiberExMachina says:

    I lived in an efficiency around that size (12’X12′ “living” room with a small bathroom, small “kitchen”, and a 12’X2′ sized closet) for a couple of years. It is not fun, even as a single individual. And, in Texas at least, it is illegal for a 2-parent family to raise any children in it (max occupancy is 2 people over the age of 1).
    But, then again, people willing to live in that situation are not exactly thinking about raising a family anyways, what with their sneering at how those “breeders” are ruining Mother Gaia’s facade.

  • techsan says:

    Easy. You house up your family in a properly sized 2+- or 3+BR house and then put a 200 sf tree house/shed/etc. in the back yard. The kids grow up with a rockin’ place to play and are thus raised in a hovel. What? You live off the government dole and can’t afford a 2+- or 3+BR home? Choices/Consequences and all that.

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    Going back to the good old days when many families in Britain lived in a similarly size mud and wattle hut. The progressives – what does that make me? – are about to repeal the industrial revolution.

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