The ‘Dinosaur Home’: heading for extinction?

Let’s talk about one of our oldest human institutions: the home.

We’ve always found ways to occupy spaces and to make them our own. As we’ve evolved, so have the form and concept of “home,” giving rise to the detached, single-family dwelling that’s now considered the norm.

The late-20th century witnessed a novel trend: as families became smaller, the average home actually grew in size.

In the 2000s, people occupied three times the space, per person, that they did in the 1950s.

The 21st century has brought its own unique challenges. Non-renewable fuels are scarcer and energy is more costly. Extreme weather events occur with alarming frequency. Global populations are straining resources. Now, more than ever, how we live and build matters as we confront the future.

Do the homes that we build today truly meet even our current needs? Do we really need all that energy-gobbling square footage? Does it matter that our tile comes from China and our moldings from Chile? What will happen when energy prices rise?

Recently, I watched a documentary in which new conventionally-built homes were referred to as “dinosaur houses” – in other words, the way they have been built has already made them obsolete.

Fortunately, there’s good news. Increasingly, we’re seeing a movement toward a new philosophy of sustainable living, and toward design solutions that offer both comfort and efficiency.

There is a trend toward smaller, future-friendly homes in which it is still possible to live an abundant life, and there’s a growing interest in higher quality materials and construction practices.

In the coming months, I’ll show you ways that people are making thoughtful design choices that will allow their homes to endure and evolve instead of becoming obsolete.


John Gower is the principal at Gower Design Group, specializing in modern homes with a focus on sustainability. He can be reached at (250) 871-8765 or

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