Friday, April 25, 2008

Small Homes as Status Symbols

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.
- Samuel Johnson

George Carlin is known for saying, "A house is just a place for your stuff". Technically, this is true. But for most of us, where we live not only fulfills our need for shelter, but also tells the world who we are. More than any other possession, a house is used by our family, friends and neighbors as a barometer of our status and importance within the community. And that is why our houses are such emotionally charged topics of conversation. We attach so many feelings to our homes; pride, success, satisfaction, power, jealously, belonging, love, the list is endless. And what does all this have to do with small home living? Most people move from a small home to a larger home because by society's standards, bigger is better. Many life events - the birth of a child, a significant job promotion or rise in income - come with the expectation that we will move to a bigger house. Until recently, it was considered unusual for someone who had the financial resources not to trade-up to a larger home. Empty nesters were the only market segment where it was acceptable to go smaller. But this mind set is changing.

Cars are the second biggest purchase people make next to their home. Big cars, long considered symbols of success, are now getting some bad press as gas guzzling polluters. Hollywood celebrities and power brokers who drive small hybrid cars are applauded as role models for good environmental citizenship. Indeed, small cars are now sometimes seen as status symbols.

So can a smaller home be a status symbol? Absolutely! The day is coming when people who have the money to live in mansions will choose smaller houses. Rather than making a grand display of wealth and space, they will live in homes that blend beauty, harmony and function, in spaces defined by their owners needs. They will have stepped out of the large home mentality circle of safety and become enlightened!

Until next time!


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