When I think skinny, I think jeans and lattes. After reading an ad in Avenue Edmonton magazine, now I think houses. The ad reads: New homes in mature neighbourhoods, Skinnies by Kirkland Homes.
Kudos on the marketing twist. Now skinny is considered good for more than fashion and low-fat coffee. Now skinny applies to living space.
Edmonton’s Mayor Don Iveson is an advocate for infill housing and supports the skinny concept. In an Edmonton Journal article, Iveson says, “They provide new housing, which many people are looking for, but in established areas, and it can be more affordable simply because the cost of the land is significantly less than on a full lot.”
But what about traffic and parking congestion? Iveson says those concerns “can be looked at as signs of life in a neighbourhood.”
In another article, Reasons to Love a Skinny Home, architect Eric Reinholdt lists several positives for this new diversity, pros that go beyond the obvious, that narrow homes fit narrow lots so cost less to build:
- Efficiency: A narrow footprint allows for more prefabrication. Factory construction in a controlled environment isn’t influenced by site-driven issues such as weather, waste and quality concerns.
- Light: Floor plans that are one-room wide gather and distribute light efficiently.
- Warmth: Long, narrow homes act as efficient collectors of solar energy. “Pair natural sunlight with a thermal mass on the interior, like a concrete floor, and a solar array on the roof, and you’ve established a way to collect both active and passive solar heat for use in your home,” says Reinholdt.
Architects and builders will benefit from this diversity. Postgreen Homes in Philadelphia, PA, concedes that houses in their Skinny Project “are not your average American home.” The focus isn’t on bigger and more but “for those who want something more responsible.” The company promotes homes that are modern, green and attainable.
I was fortunate. I grew up on a suburban lot large enough for a double-attached garage, above-ground pool, RV parking and plenty of room to roam. Since land is a finite resource, an innovative approach to current housing is essential. For many, thinking smaller is a necessary way of life.
My husband reminded me of another benefit to skinny homes on small lots: There’s not much yard to mow. I told him I’d rather do more mowing, so I could work off the weight and fit my old skinny jeans. It’s all in the perspective.
Do you like the skinny concept or see it as marketing manipulation?
Photo of Edmonton skinny home by Shaughn Butts, Edmonton Journal
Images of Seattle skinny homes courtesy Living in Density blog
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Visit Shannon’s Blog / Website: www.shannonkernaghan.com