For the most part, I think we... in our "Modern Age" here in North America at least, have forgotten the humble beginnings of our ancestors. We now have houses that are thousands of square feet, that house only a couple of people. Yet, it was less that 50 years ago, when people lived in small structures, when families were large, when children never had their own rooms and the things that we have come to take for granted, like hot running indoor water, indoor toilets, automatic washing machines, dish washers, and central heat and cooling did not exist. Certainly many of these things have contributed to public health, which has helped to increase our life spans and basic health. But I cannot help but wonder at what cost, and also at what loss. I don't advocate going "back to the land", but I do advocate a greater appreciation of what we have been given by those who came before us.
The kind of family I lived in there would likely have been a murder or two in a living situation like that! A former boss of mine in Grand Junction Colorado had bought a small piece of property that had an old homestead build on it and still standing. He had a neighbor still living in his family homestead. The neighbor had a kitchen, bathroom, and power. The living room was also the bed room and dining room. My boss lived in a double wide trailer next to the old house on his property. Eventually the old house became a garage which pissed off his neighbor because he knew the history of that old house. It didn't create bad blood or anything, just annoyed the neighbor. There are a few houses on the way to a friend's house kind of like this. I'd love to see if I can get close, but they're fenced off.
For sure, it's getting harder and harder to see nice old houses in Colorado. Right now there's three old houses, probably 1920s, that are being knocked down to make room for a while new housing complex. Despite that in good shape those houses are worth a lot more than any of the new houses they only want the property. The size of the lots the old houses sit on they can fit six new houses. I keep wanting to stop and get photos but it's a favorite spot for patrol cars to sit looking for speeders. I may have a chance to see this one more closely one day. The land owners home is only about 50 yards away, sometimes I see them out there.
My dad grew up in a 10x20 tar paper shack in North Dakota in the 20-30's with 10 people living in it. Income $400 per year, from the cream they sold, the crops were worthless except to eat. He was second generation born in the US. It was not fun. The water was bitter and the climate was the same as Siberia. Not a tree or another farm to the horizon. But it was home to him. Then came WWII and life afterwards got better.
The house I grew up in was 576 sq feet. 7 kids, two adults. I don't remember my fathers income, but I know he bought the house and 4 acres for 5000.00. We broke the land and grew much of our food on it. I remember picking berries for jam, preserving tomatoes, planting potatoes and carrots and just about everything else we needed. We also had chickens, ducks, a cow one and pigs for many years. When we moved in, there was no bathroom and no running water. I remember my dad digging a well and a septic holding tank and field by hand. We all had to work. cutting wood for the fire, planting food for the winter, clearing snow in winter. It was not easy, but I was a boy...that is just how life was. You accept it and work with it. We also had a lot of fun.