I read an article recently about a trend in New York City and large California cities where new apartments are being built that are much smaller than previous standards. These are in the 350-450 square foot (sf) size. A major reason for this trend is the higher cost of housing in those places and trying to create more affordable housing. Many of these are being built in inner cities, close to employment, and mostly of interest to younger workers. The story made much of how to live in such a small space, but we lived in such for several years – in a motorhome.
Our first motorhome was a 2006 Itasca Sunrise 35A, a 36-foot motorhome with a gas engine in the front. We lived in that about half time between 2006 and 2010 and then fulltime in 2011 and part of 2012 after we sold our “sticks-and-bricks” home of 2,850 sf. In April 2012 we traded it in on a 2012 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH, a 40-foot diesel pusher, and lived in it fulltime until the summer of 2015. And we have been in the Phaeton several months at a time since then.
I figured the effective size of our Sunrise was around 360 sf. Though it is basically 36×8 ft in size, it had three slides that added considerable space when extended. The Phaeton is 40×8 but with four slides; two in the bedroom, one in the kitchen/office area, and one in the dining/living area. I figured the Phaeton at around 400 sf or so.
So our two motorhomes were roughly the same size as those “tiny apartments” being touted. Both motorhomes had considerable storage space in bays under the floor, which added to the effective capacity.
And, of course, the motorhomes provide all the facilities needed for living, such as toilets, showers, kitchen, pantry, sleeping space, and so on. The motorhomes also provide emergency electrical power with their built-in generators and they have backup water storage, neither of which the apartments have. And our Phaeton has a washer and dryer.
From our experience, living in such a space is very doable. Yes, you have to make accommodations in order to do so. For Elaine and her crafting hobby those accommodations were considerable, for she couldn’t easily leave projects out between episodes of working on them. I have a desk in the Phaeton so was able to work better; in the Sunrise I had a foldable desk that I set up in the cockpit area and had to put away for travel.
There are many thousands of people living such as we did, and some living in even smaller spaces. So we can say that such small spaces are very livable.
Speaking of motorhomes, today I ran the engine and generator in our Phaeton to recharge the batteries as well as exercise the engines. I ran the main engine for about ½ and the generator for about 2½ hours. I do this once a month to keep those engines in good working condition and to keep the batteries in good shape.
I got review comments back from Mary Jane Caraher on her proof reading of the newsletter. She did a good job! It will be ready to go to the printer on Monday morning.