Housing is in the news lately. The common theme is that there is not enough housing and what does exist is too expensive. Then there's the dilemma of there being housing but it's of the wrong type, like when family homes are in demand but the market only offers vacation rentals. 


With this in mind, it's no wonder that many current home owners are choosing to stay put and renovate what they already own. However, this brings up another problem, according to a recent study. “HGTV is making our homes boring and us sad.  Home renovation media leads homeowners to decorate for the masses, not for their own happiness.”


Here's how it plays out. “If you’ve ever watched a home makeover show on HGTV, you know the key sequence  is when the camera critically pans over the house. The overall takeaway is that the home is an utter embarrassment and needs a total overhaul before anyone of taste would consider putting a doormat out front.”


This leads to viewers all over the country doing renovations the same way. “It can lead to an overwhelming sameness in aesthetics.” The term for this syndrome is  “market-reflected gaze.” 


Most people buy a house with two objectives in mind. “You can build wealth, and you can modify your space to your unique tastes.” However, these two benefits could be in conflict with one another.


What to do is a head-scratcher. “Even if a homeowner renovates their home to the latest standards, because those standards are constantly changing, they’ll look around at the end of the renovation and start thinking about their next renovation.”



When it comes to the size of a home, Southern Living Magazine offers some intriguing ideas. “We believe that it's possible to live a big life in a small home. The question is: How small is too small?” 


The magazine suggests 1,500 square feet is the perfect size for a house. The key is to make the most of the space in a 1,500 square foot home. To that end, some design choices are highlighted. 


First, build fewer, but bigger rooms. “Design rooms that are large, but can have multiple purposes.” Then use that design philosophy throughout the home: merge your kitchen and dining areas, keep the living room separate, capture the natural light, maximize your outdoor spaces, and factor smart storage into structures like your garage. 



Smaller houses dovetail with another developing trend. If you live alone, you don't need a huge house. “Nearly 30 percent of American households comprise a single person, a record high. The U.S. Census shows that 'solitaries' made up eight percent of all households in 1940. The share of solo households doubled to eighteen percent in 1970 and more than tripled, to an estimated twenty-nine percent, by 2022.”


This is not only happening in America. “Scholars say living alone is not a trend so much as a transformation: Across much of the world, large numbers of people are living alone for the first time in recorded history. It's the biggest demographic change in the last century.” 


In our country, the statistics illustrate those demographics. “Roughly thirteen percent of American adults live alone, research shows. Breaking down that figure by age groups, the population of solitaries rises from four percent of adults at ages 18-24 to nine percent at 25-34, dips to eight percent at 35-44, then rises again, to twelve percent at 45-54, seventeen percent at 55-64 and twenty-six percent at 65 and up.”


The reasons for this shift are many, but one stands out. “More than anything, perhaps, the rise of single-person households is about women entering the workforce and achieving economic self-sufficiency.” (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/4085828-a-record-share-of-americans-are-living-alone/


Finally, regardless of the living situation, everyone eventually spends time in their kitchen. As a public service, I'm passing along a warning. Be aware of what some news reports are calling the most dangerous thing in your kitchen – an avocado. 


According to the the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), our obsession with guacamole comes with some real risks. “There were an estimated 50,413 avocado-related knife injuries from 1998 to 2017. This correlated closely with a rise in avocado consumption in the U.S.” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/)


Women suffered most of those injuries. “Women comprised 80.1 percent of injuries. The most common demographic injured were 23 to 39-year old females (32.7 percent). Injuries were much more common on the left (and likely non-dominant) hand.”


The NEISS report suggests we might need warning labels on the slippery fruit. Or, you can go to: https://youtu.be/WSn60hYSdrY. There, you'll see a video that shows how to slice and pit an avocado without losing any of your digits. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews