The New Zealand dream is to own your own home. Now while there is nothing inherently wrong with this dream I am wondering if we could be more sustainable / eco-friendly by having smaller homes. I’m not necessarily suggesting tiny homes like seen at http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/ but something with a smaller footprint than most homes in NZ.
If I had the desire to build a house from scratch I would likely start out with a design from the http://www.littlehousecompany.co.nz/ and modify it. I particularly like the Kowhai Design as a base. However, I would like a two bedroom home so maybe I would add a mezzanine floor over the first bedroom to contain a second bedroom, with access via a ladder and the ability to shut this area off from the living area. Having a second bedroom would mean that the bathroom would have to have a separate entrance and I also prefer a separate toilet (because admit how many of us really enjoy someone interrupting our shower to use the toilet!). Below is a quick sketch of what the downstairs might look like based on the Kowhai design
However, you might also be better to have a two bedroom house on one level so you don’t loose a whole lot of heat into a high ceiling stud so perhaps the Nikau Design would be a better option! I’ve always wanted a mezzanine floor bedroom accessed by a ladder though…what can I say I am dreaming whilst I design this house 🙂
I also believe that the following items would be useful to reduce the ecological footprint of the house
- Solar heating
- Greywater Recycling
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Made of recycled materials
- Compositing toilet
- Double glazing
- Wool insulation
- The lounge suite would have to convert into a bed so visitors could stay
- there would need to be room for book storage 🙂 and
- even in a modern eco-friendly home I would still want to include my love of crockery and old wooden furniture – so maybe the table would be a wooden gate leg table that could double as an office area and incorporated display cases for the crockery.
Update – 16 April 2016
I have modified the Nikau design to include a separate toilet and bathroom – see sketch below, not actually sure if this would be possible 🙂