Small is more
Thank you for a fun and excellent article on Madison's small houses ("Living Small," 4/11/08).
I live on the southwest corner of Kendall and Highland. In the second half of the 1800s, this area was a beef farm, owned by Kentuckians and managed by a German fellow who lived in a nice little stucco house, which is still here, across the street.
In the plat maps of 1885, my house appears as a cute little square with an X inside, as does the corner house on the other side of Highland. The best guess is that mine was a shed for animals or equipment, and the one across the street was probably a small granary. (It's tall and narrow.)
In about 1915, the farm was sold to developers. To the shed they added a big, open, front porch, a bathroom and other improvements. Total size was a little less than 400 square feet, nicely divided into a "great room," a kitchen and a small bedroom.
It was put on the market as a human habitation about 1917. There was (and is) no basement or attic. No storage.
In the 1940s, the lady living here added a 9' x 10' second bedroom - such luxury! And her son-in-law who built it included an actual closet - more luxury!
As for my own "upgrade," in the 1980s, I enclosed the front porch with glass; that's where I spend most of my time, waving to neighbors as they stroll by.
Small houses are truly cozy. They give a tremendous feeling of comfort and protection. In a big house, where does one end up spending time? Often, it's in some cozy nest-like nook. Well, my whole house is like that!
I really enjoyed Ann Grauvogl's "Living Small" story. Her interviews of folks living in houses that are 600 square feet or smaller make David Mollenhoff's comments about modest living not seem outrageous at all. Creating a more just and sustainable world can come from living with less. Thanks to Ms. Grauvogl and all the visionaries she talked to.
Nice article on small houses. If you take all of the extraneous stuff out of our lives, you might be amazed at how small you can really go. MATC's Construction and Remodeling Program students are building small houses that can be moved to any site. They are 500 square feet and come with a loft, bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and living area.
They're built super-green with an eye towards longevity and sustainability. Combine the idea of a small house with green building techniques and you can reduce your carbon footprint drastically.
John Stephany, Instructor, Madison Area Technical College
Better to serve
It alarms me that Will Williams attacks recruiting as his way to support peace (Madison.gov, 4/11/08). As a veteran he should know that a strong military with educated, caring and motivated troops can bring peace.
In my four years in the Marines, I never met one person who wasn't better off for having served. Serving your country is a good thing. If Mr. Williams really wants to help, he should focus on ending the current misuse of our military and encourage liberals to join the military.
Adam M. Guess
Thousands of citizens turned out to vote April 1, yet you apparently believe you are fulfilling your professional duties by reporting the election results in hardto-read agate type (The Week In Review, 4/4/08).
Are burglaries, violence and sex really so much more important? Are you not ashamed of yourselves? I sincerely hope that you will change your ways before the fall elections.
Helen Hift, Monona