Tiny Tuesday: Homes That Fit

When’s the last time you actually used your dining room for eating? Or entered a friend’s house through the front door? This article on re:form, entitled “Data-Driven Architecture”, tracks one family’s movements through their house during a typical week. The result: almost all the occupants’ time is spent in the kitchen and the family room. Over 60% of the first floor’s 1344 square feet are virtually unused.

By and large, housing developers – and owners with the luxury to self-design – base their layouts on social expectations, not real life. The result is wasted construction materials and high energy bills to maintain the unused space. Here in Vermont, Colin took a bold stroke and eliminated a formal dining room from the floor plan. His new dining area is an extension of the kitchen, reflecting how the family uses its current home. In a similar vein, Colin’s breezeway connects to the garage, mudroom, and central stairwell, making it a functional entry rather than an afterthought. The front door is purely for show; the wide, elevated porch redirects guests to the more comfortable breezeway. This house is designed to fit actual behavior patterns.

Guests are drawn to the breezeway entry, not the "front door".

Guests are drawn to the breezeway entry, not the “front door”.

The re:form article contains a wealth of data demonstrating the benefits to individuals and societies if homes were built to better fit the occupants’ lifestyles. Author David Friedlander also maintains a wonderful blog, lifeedited, which I’ll spotlight in a future post.

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