Yep, I live in a kit house. The reality of my place is that my domicile is a house that was a kit of parts. In that way, it is similar to a mobile home or a Pulte Winston (okay, I made that up, but it sounds like some of the names the big developers use). But there is a major difference. Quality.
Let's go back to the boom time of American building. The war was over, Levitt was developing the first mass building development and Sears was the name everyone went to when they wanted to find their dream home. There was a system to build a lot of homes for a reasonable price. And build they did. I have lived all over the eastern half of the US and spent some time in southern California, and I have seen the layer of homes that was added post WWII. It consists of densely packed neighborhoods (cheaper to afford and was actually allowed by the zoning Nazi's then) that have similar or like-styled homes that go on and on. And unlike those that were built in the 70's and 80's (a time I actually learned to love wandering through houses under construction), they look old, but not tired. Yes, some are neglected, but I have seen mill buildings that once roared with industry relegated to rotted floors and mansions that the owner just couldn't maintain and they too look neglected. Those that were built during the boom were built with care. Craftsmen (the people, not the style) took pride in the fact that they built homes. The skill of a carpenter or a tile layer was evident. You can tell, even with the simple cape copy that is everywhere in New England, that there was care in the work. The numbers did not drive the product.
Enter national builders. They saw the scale. The economy of scale that is. If they went with a slightly lower grade finish over 20,000 homes, they could save 'x'. If the door was stock, but did not match the style of the home, so be it if it met the budget. And that skilled laborer? How much? I am sure we can squeeze some poor guy with a hammer to do it cheaper. It all became about the bottom line. The craft was taken out of homes (except in the really nice custom ones, they have and will show the effect of having a larger pool of cash and a desire to 'have the best, and be willing to pay for it'). What we have been left with is an industry intent on fast, cheap and repeatable. Which leave us with shoddy, more square footage than we can afford for quality and bland, copycat developments that give you no idea if you are in Augusta Maine or Albuquerque.
Instead, I ask you to consider when looking to purchase, build or renovate, that you look to do so with quality and personalization of YOUR life in the space. Forget size (as long as you meet your needs-TinyHomeNation may not be for everyone!) and instead focus on the feel of the space, both physically and visually. Downsize the area and upsize the texture, use and creativity in your place. Encourage or seek out a true craftsman to do the work. One who understands it is his or her name on the finished work and knows what that means. Even if it is a craftsman putting together a kit house!