Cool Products: Making the Most of a Smaller Home

The steveworks logo is green for a reason…and it’s not because our name is Greenberg. Or, at least, not completely. We’re always looking for more energy efficient building products and techniques. In fact, I went to the combined ABX 2017 and Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston recently and came away with info on heat-treated decking and trim, solid surfacing, permeable hardscape options, solar roof tiles, locally-sourced hardwood flooring, mechanical ventilation, and more. It’s great to see “green” products continuing to come on the market and becoming mainstream!

Hands down, one of the coolest new products I saw is this “one room, a hundred ways” created by Ori Systems. This was an amazing product to see in action, and the video really illustrates just how versatile the system is: providing sleeping, storage, entertainment and desk space all in one. It would also work well as an alternative to a Murphy bed in a study/guest room configuration.

The Ori System in action – click to watch the video.

The whole system is under $10k and runs on less energy than a 60-watt bulb.  My favorite parts of the video: when the system slides towards the guy reclining on the couch so can reach his wine glass without getting up… and when the couple gets in a fight and sleeps on opposite sides of the unit (no worries, they reconcile in the end!). Click the photo to see a video of it in action because a static picture just doesn’t do it justice.

Even though there are amazing products like the Ori System to make efficient use of smaller spaces, the average single family home is getting larger and larger. What home buyers, and those who are considering a large addition, may not fully consider are not only the increased construction costs but also the increased energy costs to heat and cool rooms that may be used infrequently. It’s a case of bigger not always meaning better.

To that point, I’m a big fan of Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House series of books.  As an architect, Sarah’s approach is to encourage people to think about what they really want in a home … and to realize that a beautiful, thoughtfully-designed home isn’t necessarily BIG.  Here’s a fantastic quote from her Not So Big Remodeling book:

It is my fervent hope that you’ll discover that the house of your dreams is actually hiding right where you live today.
~Sarah Susanka, Not So Big Remodeling

I think Sarah and I would get along just fine!