EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark., April 20 (UPI) -- U.S. home sizes are shrinking as the population ages, property taxes rise and personal preferences change, architects and developers say.
In "a reversal of decades of expanding home sizes," architects report soaring U.S. demand for less square footage, American Institute of Architects spokesman Scott Frank says.
"'Cottage' is the biggest word in decorating right now," small house owner Melissa Greene tells The Christian Science Monitor.
Home-improvement chain Lowe's Cos. will start selling plans and kits for frame-built Katrina Cottages developed by architect Marianne Cusato of Cusato Cottages LLC following Hurricane Katrina as "a dignified alternative" to government-issue trailers.
Options range from 550 to 940 square feet.
Even a small space can feel expansive, if it's part of something larger, Cusato says.
"I think Ms. Cusato is the first to reach a broad audience with a genuinely small design that won't create a generation of claustrophobes," said David Harned, a small house devotee who runs the genre-celebrating Web site tinyhouses.net from his 1,200-square foot home in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Harned sees the pull of tiny houses as being as strong as that of small, fuel-efficient cars.