Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Small towns, small homes

We are very lucky that all of the libraries of Lincoln Lawrence Franklin region are in great walkable locations in wonderfully walkable towns. All of our libraries are in lively, active downtown business districts surrounded by comfortable residential areas. Not all downtowns have survived the advent of the automobile/strip mall culture as well as ours have.

We are especially proud of Brookhaven’s downtown historic district. Since the original clean-up after Hurricane Katrina, there has been a real renaissance as building owners remove the mid-century "improvements" and return their buildings to ground floor retail businesses and offices with lofts and apartments above. While I readily admit that Brookhaven also has the typical car oriented main-drags crowded with fast food outlets, convenience stores and car dealers, we also have a unique small town core.

Walkable streets not only make the town more attractive, they also conserve energy. By parking our cars and walking to the library, post office and shops, we reduce our fuel consumption and increase our fitness. Living in urban lofts or on close-in small city lots makes transportation less of an overriding issue in our lives.

Those interested in building green can refer to the October 7, 2007 post by Bookworm. For those who are interested in refining life in smaller spaces here are a few books available at the library.

Downsizing your home with style by Lauri Ward. This book is directed to people who want to leave McMansions for less spacious but beautiful homes. Ward's advice applies equally well to those of us who are not moving but just interested in simplifying our lives. Beautiful photographs throughout illustrate her ideas. 648.5 W

The not so big house and Inside the not so big house by Sarah Susanka. These books make the point that quality of design is far more important than quantity of square footage when it comes to homes. She argues that a small well-designed home will be more comfortable and practical than a larger builder's design. Again, these books are filled with great photographs and plans. 728.37 S

Living large in small spaces by Marisa Bartoulucci. This book is addressed primarily to the hip urban dweller. While some of the ideas may be over the top for most of us, there are many beautiful photographs of ideas that could turn a small town loft or even a teenager's bedroom into a showplace. 747.88314 B

Cottage by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman. Most small town homes built before WW II can be classified as cottages. Many well-designed new homes also fit that category. This book features beautiful photographs and creative ideas for turning a cottage into a relaxed and comfortable home. 728.37 C

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