Guest Post By Matthew Hofmann
The reality of living in 160 sq.ft. Why would anyone choose this?
The nostalgic Airstream still gets grins from the gold era of travelers who trekked in Bonnieville station wagons towing their “drag-alongs.” Today, this 1978 Airstream is the home, office and access to the great outdoors for an industrious 27-year old Santa Barbara-based architect.
Chances are good that your grandfather owned one of these ubiquitous travel trailers. Except for the iMac mounted on the wall and the hi-def printer in the drawer, they haven’t changed much in the past 75 years.
Airstream’s been around since 1936 when the smooth-skinned aluminum bodies rolled aerodynamically off the Chicago production line. They temporarily stopped production in 1938 when the new lightweight material was needed for World War II. Many are still on the road today.
“Ever since I was a kid building 7-story tree houses I’ve liked reusing old stuff and making it usable again,” says its owner Matthew Hofmann, owner and founder of Hofmann Architecture, who spent the past eight months restoring the 25-footer. “It’s not only beautiful, it’s also useful.” “I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to live with less” says Hofmann, who parked the Airstream on a Montecito home site that burned down in the Tea Fire.
Two years ago I moved from a large house. Moving has a way of making you consider the value of possessions. I wondered, while looking at the massive truckload of things, how would I feel if this truck ran off a cliff and all was lost? My stuff was beginning to feel like a burden, like luggage. Things that I needed to take around with me wherever I went; a truckload sized ball and chain.
Here are a dozen real life reasons why living in 158 sq. ft. can be a very grand experience.
- Lower utility bills - serious sustainability
- Quicker to clean - 30 minutes tops
- Less maintenance - Say “goodbye” to the chimney sweeper, garage door repairman, and gardener
- A lot less clutter – I’ve reduced my paper use by 90%
- Better connected to my girlfriend – the small space encourages us to interact and work out our problems – we no longer have our “caves” or sides of the house to escape to.
- I’m taking more trips to the farmers market I’m purchasing more fresh fruits and vegetables. No excessive frig/freezer or pantry spaces stuffed with outdated food
- Discourages procrastination – harder to ignore need-to-do’s when they’re staring right at you)
- Less stuff gets lost - less places to hide, and when they do, they tend to surface a week later in a shirt pocket
- Impulse buys – The question when purchasing an item “can I afford it.” Has changed into “can I store it?”
- Fewer house guests – Thanksgiving is a great time to spend time with your family, and so much better enjoyed when they stay at hotels.
- Simplified entertainment technology – I sold and no longer own: A dvd player, audio receiver, 7 speaker surround sound, plasma tv, desktop PC, laptop computer, countless remote controls, wireless home speaker system, and portable radio. I then purchased: an IMac.
- I ended my dysfunctional relationship with Costco. – I realize now that I don’t really need a 5lb bag of peanuts or the treadmill that discourages me from ever leaving the confines of home. Though, I still enjoy accompanying a friend to the mega box store to try the free samples.
“I enjoy working with clients who are willing to step boldly into the future with gutsy audacity,” he says. “Events such as the Tea Fire remind us that life’s too short not to overstep the boundaries of the ordinary and dream big.” Matthew Hofmann is available to speak with to answer your questions and currently looking for new thoughtful and progressive architectural clients. Check out their website and blog at www.hofarc.com for more information.