After more than 25 years of living in Montclair, NJ, the urban/suburban community due west of New York City where we raised our two kids, my husband Mike and I are tapped out. We are in our mid-50s and we are ready to find a smaller home in a more temperate climate.
Because we were working so much (my husband was a service director in the automotive industry), we had this mentality that we deserved to be rewarded. I was constantly spending on clothing and accessories; my husband and I would treat ourselves to dinners out and expensive vacations.
Inspired by Japanese homes, the architects not only made the bathroom the center of the living space, but he copied the concept of Shoji "paper" panels. They don't simply view the doors as dividers, but as a way to change their clients' perspective on their home.
I recently met with a couple in their early 60's. The husband has a high-paying, demanding job in a rapidly changing industry. He works 60+ hours a week and is constantly complaining to his wife that he's exhausted and has often lamented that he's working himself into an early grave.
I continue to discover people who aren't even aware of this movement: iving in shipping containers, houseboats, tool sheds, former pigeon coops and treehouses. These stripped-down shelters reveal for us the essence of home.
Some people get rich by creating good things, and they support many people. But some people -- they used to be called robber barons -- succeed at others' expense. So just as wealth isn't necessarily bad, "efficiency" isn't necessarily good.
"I don't know if I could have a car without a bed in it." San Francisco artist Jay Nelson has put beds into nearly every vehicle he's ever owned, including a semi-totalled Honda Civic (bought for $200) and a tiny rowboat (found on Craigslist).