Beyond Small Living: The Slow Home Movement

Beyond Small Living: The Slow Home Movement

Lauren Zerbey
May 3, 2011

Coined by Calgary architect John Brown, the term Slow Home is a modern reminder of the basic tenets of good residential architecture. Taking its name from the Slow Food movement, the studio aims for a more "considered, calm and intuitive" approach to home design, a reaction to the not-so-sustainable construction trends of recent years. Brown's company, Slow Home Studio, offers a wealth of information and resources on their website, including a free "Slow Home Test" that measures how slow (or fast!) your home is. The success of this type of home is dependent on 10 basic steps - find out what they are after the jump!

Claiming that many homes are built cheaply and quickly (the equivalent to "fast food"), Slow Home Studio is an endeavor to educate designers, builders and homeowners about what makes a home "slow." Many of these ideas are not new, but after decades of bigger and faster, they are a good reminder that there's a better, more sustainable direction when it comes to our homes.

1. Location: A Slow Home is located in a walkable neighborhood that minimizes your use of a car.

2. Orientation: A Slow Home is correctly oriented to the sun and properly related to its surroundings.

3. Organization: A Slow Home is modestly sized, and has a good flow between spaces with a strong connection to the outdoors

4. Entry: The front and back entries in a Slow Home are spaces, not just doors.

5. Living: All indoor and outdoor living spaces in a Slow Home have good daylight and are easy to furnish.

6. Kitchen: A Slow Home has a compact kitchen with an efficient layout, good work surfaces, and sufficient storage.

7. Dining: A Slow Home has a well-defined dining area that properly fits a table that is suitable for daily use.

8. Bedrooms: All bedrooms in a Slow Home have good daylight, sufficient storage, and can logically fit a bed.

9. Bathrooms: A Slow Home has an appropriate number of well organized and modestly sized bathrooms.

10. Services: The service spaces in a Slow Home are unobtrusive and highly functional.

In addition to these basic strategies, Slow Home Studio also has an extensive series of "Design Minutes" - short-form videos that discuss different residential design issues. Check out their website to learn more!

(Image: Slow Home Studio)

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