The micro-housing movement is a part of a much larger change. According to these pioneers, like HausBau Architects, the vision behind Cubix-SF, an urban micro-condo building, living in a modest 200-300 square feet in of one of the country’s highest priced locations is very attractive. Even San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener is campaigning for budget friendly micro-accommodations.
He is leading the legalization and construction of existing property in-law units, ranging in size from 200-750 square feet. “Our housing crisis is a complex one, and no one policy proposal will solve it. The units will have to be within existing habitable space – i.e., a garage, a large storage space, a large basement area. The units will have to come from unused space,” said Wiener to The Bay Area Reporter.
With smart and thorough design concepts, narrow spaces lend a cozy, efficiency without sacrificing functionality. Natural light, air and creative storage solutions reduce the tension between acquisition and display for a clean and modern aesthetic. Ancient design concepts are recycled to prove compact quarters save on tidy time, energy costs and encourage a limited footprint alongside Green living. “Even when you’re in these relatively tight areas, the eye doesn’t focus on the smaller moments- you’re getting borrowed views from the other rooms, making the space feel more generous”, says architect Philip Ryan of Studio Modh Architects in Brooklyn, New York. Tiny homes compliment their natural landscape, drawing the outdoors inside to broaden and protect the environment. To further expand the appeal of these small settings, architect Peter Fehrentz of Berlin, Germany encourages the use of a variety of color tones from the same palette to maximize the calming effect. He further suggests removing as many interior walls as possible and installing sliding doors to open and transform a scaled-down home.
San Francisco’s wave of miniature, cost-effective lodging has been borrowed from deeply rooted international traditions. With a historic focus on minimalism due to high-density population, space limits and affordable housing challenges, European innovators Gore, Gibberd and Saunders of Hampshire, England constructed the Emsworth Yacht Harbour in the late 1960′s. 50 elevated, free-standing structures span a modest 538 square feet. Arranged neatly in rows to capture privacy and sea views, residents share a unique and secret community get away. Units are highly desired. Most ownership transactions happen off-market, from word of mouth.
The micro-housing market’s momentum has spawned plans for a community of tiny homes state side in Sonoma County, California. Jay Shafer of Four Lights Tiny House Company is experimenting with the possibilities of micro-dwellings. Set to be completed by 2015, Shafer has zoned 70 houses to each be under 400 square feet. There’s even a conversation for a communal farm for residents. Currently, a restricted, yet active tiny house community in Washington D.C. serves as a teaching ground for Shafer’s big sister west coast project.
As holistic self-sustainability turns critical, will pairing life down to the essentials be the exclusive path to living large?
The project guarantees 25% of all new structures to be dedicated to the public financial assistance Housing and Urban Development program, or HUD vs the standard 10%. Additionally, the committee has secured the allocation of project funds to renovate existing properties and to safeguard historic structures to be reused for the public. The Bayview College Track Center and Opera House anchor restoration efforts for the area and will soon be joined by senior community centers, medical buildings and services.
Focused on economic development, community enhancement and the vital opening of affordable housing, local residences have had their first taste of this new beginning. May 2013 marked the official start of turning dreams into reality as stage 1 of 5 housing sites by HOPE SF reached completion. 107 lucky home winners qualified for entry into a lottery by meeting a maximum income of $50,600 for a household for 4. With a long road ahead and the need for an additional $250million to complete the project, the mark of positive change has set into motion Green Streets, a safety and aesthetics movement, bringing landscaping and lighting of district streets and public spaces. This stimulus plan has created diverse opportunities for local citizens to fight for more than just survival, however in early 2014 Bayview Hunter’s Point faces its next phase of transition.The new homeowner’s reside in a zone protected from eminent domain, however with the pending destruction of Candlestick Park and rising land prices, what is the next chapter for this district of San Francisco?
Prices and market dynamics in neighborhoods all over the city. Select the neighborhood below to get the latest details.
Meredith Martin is a life long resident of the bay area and a real estate professional with over 15 years experience. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Here’s a few sterotypes you will find in the Real Estate Blogosphere. Realtors writing blogs are always going to say the market is great, now is a GREAT time to buy (or sell) and that you better do it now or you’ll miss out. Blogs not written by ‘practicing’ real estate agents are supposed to bring to light all the unscrupulous lies Realtors perpetrate onto the unsuspecting public.
To that end: one of the biggest ongoing ‘gotchas’ on blogs is the agent not stating the square footage of a property in their listing. Immediately those looking for the inevitable lies agents tell, assume there’s a nefarious reason the square footage is not stated.
Want to hear something interesting? Banks don’t use price per square foot on their appraisals when determining the value of a building they are going to lend on. Sixteen years in real estate and you learn something new every day. That statement came recently from a 23 year veteran appraiser and when he said it, I almost didn’t believe him because it’s become so common to state price per square feet these days when trying to determine value. I guess the banks know something we don’t…
A fellow realtor of mine, a friend, who also happens to be one of those amazing superstar agents with the type of integrity I admire greatly and wish the world had more of, recently got caught in the square footage/listing/blogosphere debate. After being accused of being a charlatan online (and anyone who knows Jim, KNOWS he’s no charlatan) wrote in and defended his listing and the fact that the tax record square footage had it at 550 square feet – which anyone who visited the property in person could see with their own eyes was inaccurate. And guess what?
The bloggers not only went to see for themselves…they published Jim’s letter to them in full, and made a public apology! Now who says there’s no journalistic integrity in the blog world? I tip my hat (to borrow a Stephen Colbert saying, minus the sarcasm) to the bloggers of SFLIT. I was heartened to see such a thing happen in what can otherwise be a bloody battle at times online for realtor integrity, and by the way….it’s a good real estate blog, one that’s worth linking to here.
Realty is, there are many reasons not to state the square footage in a listing. Multiple law suits have been fought over stated square footage discrepancies. Some brokerages, in an attempt to mitigate liability for their clients have blanket policies not to allow square footages to be on any of their agent’s marketing material. Tax records stating square footages are often wrong (a couple condo buildings in SF come to mind), and there are many competing ways to measure square footage; the appraisers method, generally considered the walking area and most common, but do stairs count? What about the patio spaces? What if the appraiser on site isn’t being thorough, or one of their new fancy laser counters is off? Architect’s typically measure the square footage to the interior of the wall space, in between sheetrock, which I’m told can add a 100 square feet or more depending on the size of a condo or home. Relying on the developer’s square footage can be tricky too, as their measurements generally come from concept floor plans, which regularly get altered during construction to account for the inevitable issues that arise when taking a building from plans to reality.
15 Napier Ln — This Just In [GetLitSF.blogspot.com]
SF: 15 Napier Ln — Telegraph Hill, An Update [GetLitSF.blogspot.com]