Classic TV shows had great homes. Roseanne aside, houses were meant to be aspirational, just a little bigger/tidier/nicer than our own, so we could relate without really noticing them. They were sets, not characters. Or….were they? Didn’t they become characters in the shows?
Even with four bedrooms (and 2.5 baths) Wally and the Beav shared a room.
The next decade brought us more homes we visited every week
Of course, Mike Brady was an architect, so his place reflected the open-concept, shag-covered tastes of the time.
But all these houses had one thing in common, something that shows itself in the reruns of the shows.
They weren’t very big.
Sure, they were bigger than our homes. Nicer and newer and just better. But they weren’t huge.
According to Life Edited, in 1950 the average floor space of a house was 983 square feet. By 2012 that area had grown to 2,662 square feet, and there were fewer people living in the house. Over the years we got used to the idea that we needed more rooms. But we really don’t.
3 out of 4 of the families garages cannot fit cars because of excessive stockpiling from stores like Costco.
50 of the 64 parents reported not stepping outside in the course of a week.
And what are they doing inside those homes? The book describes a survey that showed how every member of the household moved throughout the home — a measurement taken every ten minutes. And the pattern looked like this
No one used that formal dining room. No one sat and chatted in the lovely living room. Those spaces weren’t needed. And they are expensive in terms of heating, cooling, cleaning, decorating. The more house the more money you need to support it. And to build it.
The outstanding domestic debt of the Household and Home Mortgage Sector in 1950 was $411B (adjusted for inflation). Currently, that same figure is $9.7 trillion. While the population has doubled and home ownership and college attendance have increased, this is still an increase of over 23-times.
Let’s start thinking and planning how we want to house ourselves in this new century. Let’s leave our fantasy homes on the screen.