Why I am becoming a hippie: Pt 3 Houses

Houses in America are too fucking big.  Since the 40’s, houses in America have become 50% larger than they were.  Why?  Why do we feel like we need to live in these huge houses?  When I was a kid, I always wanted to live in a huge house.  Then I grew a brain, a dick, and a heart.  Do you even know what a stallone cut is little dog?

So like everything else, the reason I hate big houses has to do with money.  They cost too much.  It would be one thing to get a huge house that is built with quality, but this is not the case.  As of right now, I paint houses to live my meager life.  This allows me to see a lot of different houses.  My boss paints for some pretty rich people so I have been in a lot of really big houses.  I would say that most of these houses, are built by retards.  I am currently painting a house that has to be at least 3000 sq feet and has hundreds, if not thousands of nail pops speckling the crookedly placed drywall, which causes the poorly placed baseboards and trim to pop away from said drywall.  The house is no more than 10 years old.  Any house built in a subdivision is built as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible.  Suckers like us pay tons and tons of money for these piles of crap because it makes us feel good about ourselves to tell our friends that our houses have however many thousands of square feet.  We say all this, while we live in uninspired, hollow boxes. What ever happened to quality over quantity?  I would much rather live in a house that is smaller, and that costs more per square foot but is cheaper overall.

Why in the world would anyone want to live in a huge house?  Bigger houses cost more money to build, make way more waste, cost more money to heat and cool, and take more time to clean.  None of those things are good.  Unless you have a huge family living under your roof, you do not need a huge house.  It really comes down to ignorance.  People think that having a small house causes people to be living ontop of each other.  This isn’t entirely true.  It is all in the design of the house.  If you utilize your sq footage properly, you can retain privacy, while increasing intimacy.  Back in the day, people didn’t all come home and go to their separate rooms to watch TV because for one, TVs were really expensive, but also because people had smaller houses and were forced to share their time together.  Having a more intimate house bolsters family unity.

Let’s get back to building costs.  People seem to be ok with being forced into paying large mortgages for many years.  Owning a large house is sort of like being in a debtor’s prison.  Who wants to pay large monthly fees to a bank for such a long period of time?  If you live in a smaller house you can spend your money on things that are far more rewarding than the hollow pride of living in a big house.  Once you have a big house, it also brings on the cost of filling it.  If you have a large house you have to spread your money out more to fill it.  Most likely, this will limit the quality of the furniture you put into the house.  If you have a smaller house, you can spend more money on quality instead of quantity, in furnishing your house.  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend my money on high quality antique furniture than crap from IKEA.

Onto heating and cooling.  Heating and cooling a huge house costs a shitload.  When I was living in Japan, I spent maybe 90 bucks on heating and electricity, during the winter months.  This was in a country where utilities are expensive. Here in America I live in a house alone.  I spent about 200 bucks one month and over a hundred the others.  Just to live in a cold house.  The damn windows have been upgraded and everything and I and being sucked dry by fucking utilities!  This only causes us to as a nation use more power and put out more pollution thanks to all our great coal power plants we enjoy building.  If you don’t care about that then, well just think about the money.  I could think of much better things to spend my money on than utilities.  Having a smaller house equals having smaller utilities.

I feel as an angry hippie that we need to move towards living in smaller houses.  Actually there has been a movement to do this.  Tiny houses are slowly becoming popular around the country.  Some of these houses are actually under 100 square feet!  This is pretty extreme for most, but there are varying sizes being designed.  A couple could easily and comfortably live in a 600 to 700 square foot house.  These houses cost less than 50 grand and are extremely high quality.  The tinier houses are ideal for people that are just getting out of college, who would like to buy a house but may not have the means to go the traditional route.  Unfortunately, for those who want to live in small houses, there is a big problem.  The government actually restricts how small you can build your house.  If you own land, the government controls how big the house you build on it can be.  These restrictions change from location to location but there are loopholes.  For instance, you can build  house on wheels and designate it as mobile home.  Those kind of houses though can only be placed on land that already has a full sized home, or in trailer parks.  So of course, nothing is easy thanks to BS regulations.  Banks will also not allow you to take out loans for houses if the square footage is too low.  So even if you wanted to mortgage a small home, you couldn’t.

So maybe for some, living in a tiny house won’t work.  What you could do instead is use sustainable materials to build your house.  Some of the “newest” kinds of houses being built are straw bale homes.  Straw bales are excellent for building because they provide great insulation, they are super cheap, and they don’t hurt the environment (if the straw is locally grown).  The straw isn’t actually exposed but covered in mud or adobe (also extremely cheap if not free).  Then that could be covered by plaster or lime.  The walls have an insulation rating of R30 usually which is pretty excellent.  Straw bales actually provide better fire resistance than traditional fiberglass insulation.  The reason being, straw bales are tightly packed into walls and then covered with mud.  This cuts off any oxygen flow inside the walls so only exposed straw is able to burn.  Fiberglass insulation on the other hand, allows for large air gaps behind walls.  Once fiberglass insulation catches fire, the air fuels the fire, which allows the fire to travel up behind walls.  Straw bale homes last for hundreds of years if properly taken care of.  The walls of a straw bale house have a very natural look and they can be sculpted to look as the owner sees fit.  This gives each house a very unique feel.  Just imagine, rather than showing off your giant cookie cutter mansion, you can show off your straw bale home that is unique to most homes anyone else would have.  Straw bales are not any harder to maintain than a traditional home.  They just have different needs.  Straw bale homes fair better in drier climates but they can also do well in cold and temperate ones.

So really, the reason why I find myself becoming a hippie isn’t just because I care about the planet, but because I am cheap.  The more I learn about stuff, the more it seems that going sustainable not only saves you money but just gets you better stuff in general.  I like money and I like stuff.  I guess the reason many American’s resist building sustainably is that they feel like they will have to spend more money to live a harder life.  That just is not the case.  The more you know.

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