What is the ideal living domicile?
Some thoughts on the ideal home:
First of all, I have experimented living in many different lifestyles and living scenarios and here are just some of my basic thoughts:
1. More space is worse.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe having MORE space and MORE square feet is bad. Why? More stuff to maintain, more furniture you gotta buy to decorate/fill make the home feel cozy (more stuff which needs to be Windex’d), etc.
Thus the simple thought:
Less space is better.
Or in other words:
As little space as possible, but no less.
For example, between me and Cindy living in around 300 square feet was more than ideal. If anything, we had *too much* storage space for stuff. I think I could have done with less.
However let us say you have a kid (or more than one kid), you probably need *some* more space. But you don’t need *HUGE* amounts of space. So perhaps if you have 1 kid, maybe around 400-500 square feet would be good. And expand that to around 500-700 square feet if a family has two kids.
Space is tricky; you want *just enough* space, but not *TOO MUCH* space. For example, I have zero interest in owning a 2-seater ‘Smart Car’, but I would like owning a Chevy Spark Car (very small and compact, yet still seats 5 people).
2. Via negativa stuff
The ideal home and domicile is mostly ‘via negativa’ which means
What you decide to *NOT* have in an ideal home is more essential than what you decide *to* have:
a) Hygiene is essential
For example, one of my worst experiences via AirBnb was regarding this ‘designer’ home in the middle of Roma Norte in Mexico City. Looked super good on paper, great location (literally a 30 second walk to the best local cafe/bakery), in the best neighborhood (Roma Norte), and the price was reasonable. However it was the most horrible experience of my life… because the place had insane amounts of mold, dust, and other allergens which literally had me and Cindy sneezing and coughing 24/7, to the point we couldn’t sleep.
Thus when it comes to the ideal home the via negativa is this:
*DOESN’T* have mold, allergens, dust, or dirtiness.
The lesson was this: hygiene is essential when it comes to a home.
b) The less street noise, the better.
The best home is the *LEAST* noisy, with the *LEAST* amount of street noise.
Even when I put in ear plugs, and put on noise cancelling headphones, etc, this is what I learned:
When your home is next to a busy intersection or street … even the *VIBRATIONS* of the car, exhaust, etc cause your home to rumble, and perhaps causes some sort of bad vibrations within our bodies.
So in some sense, having *MORE* sound deadening in a home is ideal, or even more ideal … for a home to be totally silent and quiet (no street noise).
3. MORE LIGHT!
Something I always knew about myself, but think more about now:
Natural light is essential to me.
The more natural light a home has, the better.
For me, the more natural light a home gets, the more energy I get. The more physiologically great I feel. Perhaps as a photographer and visual artist, I am more sensitive to light than the average person. I am like a plant; I need more photo-synthesis. Even as a child my mom always told me how she loved homes with natural light, and how dark homes without natural light depressed her a ton.
The tricky thing:
- When it comes to natural light, the *ELEVATION* of the space your home sits on is important. For example, the sun hits some homes in some lower elevations, and some homes with higher elevations.
- The direction the home faces is essential, and the size of the windows matter. Ideally for me, I would just live in a glass cube home. Most homes have tiny windows that do *NOT* face the sun. Floor-to-ceiling windows are my ideal architectural concept … also ideally surrounded by a forest or nature.
4. Are tiny homes a trap?
Another millennial thing:
This romantic notion of living on the road (‘off the grid’) in one of these tiny home trailer things.
I don’t know about you, but I like having fast wifi at home, and also having fresh running water and electricity. To me, far more superior to owning a tiny home is to live in a luxury minimalist (tiny) apartment to suit my needs — huge floor-to-ceiling windows, tons of natural light, ideally located centrally in a city, quiet, fast wifi, and heat/air conditioning included in the building for free.
Another thing I never really thought about:
The temperature of our homes huuuugely affects our mood, and physiological health/well-being.
My old minimalist apartment was good because the gas-electricity-water-heating-air conditioning was included. This means even when it was snowing outside, our home was always a toasty and cozy 74 degrees. And in the summer time, the air conditioning was always on.
Now I live in an apartment where I gotta *pay* for my own heating. And because I am cheap, I always keep the home at around 62-65 degrees, and I am typically freezing my ass off (the weak California blood within me). As a consequence, I feel I cannot fully-thrive physiologically, which ends up hurting my creative and philosophical output.
Thus the lesson for me is this:
If you gotta pay for heat and air conditioning out-of-pocket, you’re always gonna skimp out on it.
Thus a lesson:
The next time I sign some apartment lease, make sure that gas-electricity-heating-air conditioning is included for ‘free’.
Thus I will always keep my home at the ideal temperature, which will aid my physiological health and well-being.
6. Does location matter?
With COVID, notions of good ‘location’ is totally disrupted. I still haven’t quite figured this out, but basic things:
If I live in a neighborhood which is good to walk around, it is better than a neighborhood which is bad or difficult to walk around in.
Difficult to say what makes for a good walking neighborhood; the best is to just visit it yourself, walk around, and feel the vibes. No science here; just a gut feeling.
To wrap up some thoughts:
- Smaller homes are better
- More modern, hygienic, and ‘luxury’ new constructions tend to be better
- More natural light is better
- Less noise is better
- Ability to walk around more is better
- Less maintenance of your home is better
- Location ain’t *that* important anymore (brave new COVID world).
New life thoughts to come.