Having joined the ranks of the Small House Society, Oliver Burkeman explains the allure of modern day simplicity and the pairing down our connectedness.
The house that haunts my imagination is a small wooden cabin on a snow-covered hillside in Sogn go Fjordane, on the coast of Norway. It appears to be about 8ft x 12ft; its gabled roof is covered in vegetation; smoke drifts from a narrow chimney. And then there’s the view: it looks out over a vast, fir-covered valley and to the mountain beyond, so high it vanishes into clouds. The only problem with my plan to go and live in this cabin – which I found, among hundreds of others, on a photoblog entitled Cabin Porn – is that it already belongs to someone else. Actually, that’s not the only problem. Travelling there, or travelling to anywhere else from there, would be prohibitively expensive. The isolation from friends and family could be tough, and earning an income might be impossible; I bet you can’t get broadband, either. But at the end of a frazzled day at my desk, fielding emails and phone calls, and despairing at my lengthening to-do list, such obstacles don’t register, and I once again start plotting an escape to “my” tiny cabin. Part of the appeal, certainly, is that it’s in the mountains, far from the cacophony of the city. But the other major draw is that it’s tiny.