..Jon Simonds..

Crisis? What Crisis?
The Basically Brooklyn Series

The American economy is about to see an immediate resurgence, courtesy of Architect Alan J. Levine and his company AH, Inc. AH is a construction company and Mr. Levine is convinced we are at the dawn of a new housing boom. He said he has just completed a one-year study, relating to homes and the results of his findings were like an epiphany. For example, the vast majority of people spend 90% of their waking time in their living rooms. The remaining time is shared between the bathroom, the kitchen and surprisingly, the bedroom.

His findings show, bedrooms are mostly used for tossing, turning, sleeping and the occasional extra curricular activity, we all crave. The kitchen, he added, is used essentially for eating dinner. The vast majority of people he surveyed, skip out on breakfast, or, grab something on their way to work. Most people aren't home for lunch, so the kitchen is largely used for dinner and if you're single, you probably take your dinner into the living room and eat it in front of the TV.

I thought about this, as we were riding over to his home and found it hard to dispute. I spend most of my time at home, on the computer. I have a laptop. It's a Macbook and when I am on it, I am usually in the living room. My television is also in the living room. So, I have to admit, I spend most of my time at home, lounging in the living room.

Mr. Levine took all these facts and built his first home just outside of Boston. It was designed for the single person, just starting out in life. The big back window looks out into the woods, while the front of the house is wonderfully landscaped. At first, I thought it was rather small, with only a front window and a little lantern light over the front door, but I had to admit, it was cute.

Mr. Levine took out the key and opened his front door. You know how some houses look small from the outside, but are huge in the inside? I couldn't say this about Mr. Levine's home. It was as small on the inside as it appeared it would be from the outside, but after getting the one room tour, I was sold.

"I call this model, AH, the Single." Mr. Levine explained. "Every model includes a 52-inch flat screen TV, mounted on the upper portion of the back wall. You see the angle? It's designed for viewing from the couch."

I turned around and looked at the front wall, but failed to see a couch. All I saw was a section of the wall with leather padding. Mr. Levine grabbed a remote, aimed it at the TV and then aimed it at the wall. In the next instant, several panels of the wall dropped down and one leather padded bench (?) appeared.

"The couch is included," he said. "So you save on furniture. Have a seat."

I sat down on the couch and looked at the TV, which he quickly turned off. He then made his way over to a light switch just below the TV.

"Walls in this house are very thick," he said. "Well insulated. You'll save a fortune on heating."

He flipped the switch and the entire wall beneath the TV slowly dropped down to reveal a queen size bed.

"The bed is also, included," he said. "And as you can see, you don't have to make it. The frame is designed to catch the bedding and pillows when it closes. You can't possibly lose them."

Mr. Levine then walked over to the front door and flipped what I thought was a light switch. I was quite amazed when, right up from the living floor, a table for four, chairs included rose into the middle of the room.

"Hydraulics," he explained. "Gives a whole new meaning to the term, so clean, you could eat off the floor. Also, included."

The bathroom, which I thought was a closet, on the other side of the room, was bit tight, having only a shower and a toilet, but at $67,000 dollars, I thought the home had everything a single person could ever need. The Kitchen came with a half stove, (only two burners sitting above an oven) as well as, a sink and a dishwasher. The walls above the sink and stove were cupboards. The walls opposite the kitchen, on the other side of the room were a combination of draws and shelves.

I was impressed.

"What if you're married?" I asked. "What if you have kids?"

"Most people live alone," he said. "If you have kids, so you add a few beds. It can be done."

We left the house and he drove me back to New York.

"What does the AH stand for?" I asked, getting out of the car.

"Affordable Housing," he explained. "And guess what? You buy one and I even throw in a Smart Car, for a small additional fee. Hey! In these tough times, smaller can come with all the comforts of bigger, all at a fraction of the cost."

I watched him drive off and returned to my big, empty apartment. I looked at the couch in my living room and grabbed my Mac book and several pillows. I thought I'd write this, lounging in the tub of my bathroom.

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