Trading in a McMansion for a McCottage doesn’t stop criticism

One firm argues that the trend toward tiny houses may simply be a shift from McMansions to “McCottages”:

Not to rain on the parade, but let’s have a reality check. Small, very small and microhomes – ranging from 800 or 900 square feet down to 100 or 150 – may be a new trend, a fad, or just the subject of some clever marketing by their builders.

“The McCottage is replacing the McMansion as a home status symbol as more homeowners look to save money and reduce their impact on the environment,” says HSH Associates, the mortgage data firm. While national figures are hard to come by, or don’t exist, HSH quotes builders who suggest microhomes will be the next big thing…

If you’re building a weekend or vacation place, smaller is cheaper and better for the environment. But the HSH story says many people are building microhomes alongside their main homes as an alternative to a more traditional addition…

Finally, consider that the microhome fascination may be a passing fad that will leave owners with white elephants when fashions change in a few years. While many people scoff at the McMansion today, pressure to display wealth and keep up with the Joneses often returns when economic conditions improve. Just think about how people go back to SUVs and trucks when gas prices fall.

This argument suggests there are several ways tiny houses and McMansions are alike. With the prefix “Mc” before mansions and cottages, there is a suggestion that these are simply mass produced. Whether the home is big or small, mass produced is bad. There could be two issues behind this. First, there could be issues with the architectural quality and integrity. In other words, you could order one of these tiny houses out of a catalog, order it, and tow it into your backyard as could thousands of other people. Your tiny house is not unique.

There is a second issue with the mass produced nature of these houses: there is the possibility they are simply a fad and not a lasting trend. A savvy consumer doesn’t want to fall prey to these trends and simply follow along because it is a “status symbol,” even if it is a greener or cooler status symbol than a McMansion. This suggests that a buyer/owner needs to have more legitimate reasons for acquiring a tiny house.

Overall, it appears people unhappy with McMansions and who could get behind tiny houses may just have to fight similar negative generalizations.


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