Homes and appliances supersized for a reason

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

America is a big country, and we think big. We've always been enormously proud of our very biggest things, whether they're works of nature such as the Grand Canyon or manmade ones like the Empire State Building. Bigness is a defining quality of our nation. But not everything that's big is necessarily great. Sometimes, in fact, big is simply silly, like the blundering inability of a Hummer to fit in a regular parking space. Or the way kids nowadays walk around gulping soda from plastic bottles the size of scuba tanks. Or the way baby carriages -- which used to be nimble, lightweight things just slightly larger than a baby -- are now more like baby-market SUVs, with gigantic rubber tires, huge molded plastic panels, and even cupholders. Yes, in today's America, even things for itty-bitty babies have to be big, big, big. Needless to say, bigness has hit housing in, well, a big way. Not only are American homes now nearly twice the size of their postwar counterparts, but they...