Monday, May 23, 2011

I want to live in The Cube!

My father's father was a "collector."  That's the nice way to put it.  The other way is pack rat--not quite a hoarder, but maybe that's just because they had a lot of space.  When I was a kid, I loved going to his farm because there were buildings and buildings full of treasures; but I always wondered why we could never spend the night there, or why we could never go upstairs in their house (it was full).

I can see traces of the collector in myself at times, but as I get older, I want to live more and more unfettered.  When I moved east to Rhode Island, 1,800 miles, I sold or donated pretty much everything I owned, and brought with me only what fit in my Chevy Malibu.  At first, the purging was incredibly difficult and I do still miss some items that I had had for a long time, but now I don't regret it at all.  It was incredibly freeing to leave my trappings behind and set out on a new life in a new place with new people.

Perhaps that's the reason I'm having such a reaction to The Cube Project: "The Cube Project is an initiative of Dr Mike Page at the University of Hertfordshire who set out to build a compact home, no bigger than 3x3x3 metres on the inside, in which one person could live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment."
It's a whole house that is not only carbon neutral, but over the course of a year, it makes you money!  "The Cube is designed to generate at least as much energy as it uses, averaged over the year. It does this by using solar photovoltaic panels that are integral to the building itself. If registered with the UK Government’s Feed-In Tariff (FiT – an incentive for producing energy from renewable sources), the Cube will raise around £1000 per year in FiT income."  Maybe that's why I'm so excited.  I think what I like about this house is the fact that everything in it is so deliberately designed to maximize the limited space and make it its most efficient.  I love it when things just work, and I love anything that does double-duty, so I find this small space just fascinating.

There's also a video tour which explains how it all works and gives you the layout:

I love my current apartment, but my building is circa 1750 and was designed to be something rather different--we think it was a boarding house.  It's beautiful and spacious, but what we've done with that space is fill it with stuff, and a lot of the space seems to have been retrofitted somewhere along the line, and doesn't quite work as well as it could--like my narrow but deep closet..  Likewise my last apartment, the one I moved to with only a carload of stuff, was 1100 square feet and it only took me a year after my wonderful purge to fill up that space.  I really, really wonder what would happen to your buying habits if you just knew that you didn't have room for anything else in your house; or if to bring in something new, you had to get rid of something.

I've always said that living in a city like New York would be wasted on me because I really, really like being at home and there you have to pay so much money for such a small space, that you go out for everything.  I like going out occasionally, but don't do it regularly and sometimes find it exhausting, especially since my job requires me to be around people all day, and many of those people are crazy.  The Cube has everything you need so you could stay in, but would it make you want to go out just to get out?  I'm picturing myself planting a garden, having meals outside, getting a long leash for the cat so he could get out too (he'd love it--maybe).

Now I'm obsessed with living in The Cube.  If anyone associated with The Cube would like me to live there for a year and write a book about it--let me know: findmefrugal [at]

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