Friday, May 4, 2012

Living small, thinking big!

I am currently involved in selling my Mediterranean beachside apartment and finding an alternative in my nearest large town (Perpignan). As an alternative to advising clients on buying French property, I have found that I have revised my ideas over the months I have been searching (a luxury as I am not in a rush to sell), notably on the question of optimum size.

I am a great fan of small-scale living and because purchase price, local taxes and building managements charges are all more or less calculated on the basis of square metres, I have revised my personal requirements downwards. I am particularly keen to find a top-floor apartment offering good ceiling height (4 metres are ideal) and the chance to install a mezzanine, which under French regulations (loi Carrez) is not counted as official living space - but can add a third or more to the size of an apartment.

In doing this I have been encouraged by websites such as the American which has just held its annual competition to find the most attractive small space submitted by fans of the blog; and another site which has some interesting videos on small-scale living in the town or countryside, both in America and Europe (including France).

Finally for those thinking of buying some land and doing their own thing, I recommend the latest title in the excellent 'Archi Pas Chère' series called Nouvelles Maisons* . It is in French but presents some interesting examples of houses built on small plots, offering 100 square metres or more of family living space, and using the latest technologies to provide warmth and insulation. Pictures and floor plans are included, plus the contact details of all the architects concerned.

Again I shall be writing about this in the July or August issue of French Property News. 

* Nouvelles Maisons by Olivier Darmon, Editions Ouest-France, September 2011.