In the 1960s, the average Kiwi home was less than 130m2 and state houses averaged just 80m2. Today our penchant for ensuites and butler's pantries has seen the average new build balloon to over 200m2...but is bigger necessarily better?
The small house movement, which advocates living simply in small houses, is gaining traction both internationally and right on our doorstep. This week Miri met two Wellingtonians, Andrew Simpson and Krysty Peebles, who believe small homes to be the way of the future.
Finance, philosophy and the desire to experiement are what drove Andrew and Krysty to build their 50 square metre house. After years of renting they wanted to buy their own home, but quickly found that they couldn't afford in Wellington city.
Not wanting to try other suburbs and knowing full well that a classic Kiwi villa on a quarter acre section wasn't for them, architectural designer Andrew and former fashion designer Krysty decided to go for something architecturally designed and unconventional
Their decision to downsize was also influenced by a philosophical drive to consume less and live more responsibly. Andrew said, "Long term there's a huge global arable land shortage and in 50 years we'll have 10 billion people on the planet, which means we need to increase our food output by 80-90%. We need to make more efficient use of our land and have less impact on the planet so building small is a no-brainer and will be forced on us all eventually."
However, Andrew is also about building for your particular needs, rather than fixating no size. "It's not so much about living small for the sake of it - it's about building the right size for your particular needs. If you regularly entertain a dozen friends a small house isn't necessarily going to suit your needs. At the same time, don't build big just because you can. You often go into these big homes and the living space will be massive and you've got couches six metres apart and people are yelling at each other. We knew we didn't need a big place like that and could happily live in a smaller place, so we built to our particular needs."