Hugh Bollinger
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Little house, lots of possibilities

Waist size, car size, TV size -- we got rich and everything got big. The average American house in 2004 was about two and a half times as big as the average house in 1950 (from 983 square feet to 2,349). That's not true all over. The Chinese, like most Asians, have stuffed many generations into the same small houses. But now that the Chinese are getting rich, it's likely they'll want to expand. But at least one architect has built a smarter (if extremely quirky) house in Hong Kong. Check it: The "Transformer House." Kind of a childhood fantasy. He has like 12 different rooms in about 300 square feet, although you can only be in one of the rooms at a time. But what the hey, it's creative. House sizes are dropping. The days of wandering through mansions calling family members over the intercom may not be over, but the peak of building such houses may have passed. The average size of an American home dropped by 100 square feet in 2009, said the National Association of Home Builders. Whether that's a conscious decision by home buyers looking to live more simply or a temporary blip caused by a rough economy remains to be seen. - Reilly Capps
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