If you’re an interior design blog follower, a houzz browser, or just a design junkie like us, you’ve probably seen the new trends in micro living or small living. With the ever increasing cost of living, downsizing is no longer just for when the kids leave home or the retirement years. Micro living is a growing trend across all age groups. For some it’s the economic incentives –less rent, lower utilities bills—for others it’s the lifestyle change—less to maintain, more focus on enjoying life, living outside of your home. Whatever the reason, the benefits are clear. Los Angeles has never been on the list of the most sustainable cities in the US, not even in the running. But I would argue that Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu, and many of the other smaller cities within LA’s embrace, have serious green potential!
There are perhaps two sides to sustainable design. The technical side; building infrastructure, products, and the social and community side. Living smaller means a greater need for spaces outside of the home—restaurants, bars, coffee shops, museums, and galleries. Increasing micro living helps create great “mircohoods” and a stronger local economy. There is a concept called the 20 minute neighborhood. The idea is that you live and shop on a day-to-day basis within a 20 min walking or biking area from your home. I can’t think of a better place to live within walking distance of daily needs than southern California. Here the sun shines most of the year and the average temperatures are in the 70s. I believe the opportunity to “keep local” provides more opportunity for a sustainable environment than almost any LEED Platinum project because of the effects of economies of scale.
Now of course there are the extremes, the 150 SF apartments are probably way too small for most people. Living smaller doesn’t have to mean downsizing to an uncomfortable level. It can simply mean a change in lifestyle, shopping for groceries at a local market every few days versus the monthly Costco stock-ups, or opening up local businesses within walking distance of neighborhoods. Luxurious living doesn’t always mean larger living, it can mean talking the small downtown loft with tons of character and local flavor and making it yours, making it work for everything you need.
I think we are going to begin seeing a change in housing trends in southern California. We can maintain our expectations of comfort and great design while understanding that protecting the environment both for our own health, and the health of future generations, is our responsibility. We think alternative housing situations are going to continue to grow in popularity. From a design perspective – it’s a challenge – but RJOHNSTONINTERIORS is always up for a challenge, its what we love about design.
Check out these awesome videos to get inspired and see what living smaller is all about!