TODAY

TODAY   |  March 21, 2013

Simple living: A millionaire’s 420-square-foot home

Graham Hill wasn’t even 30 yet when he sold his tech start-up for millions and started living large, but eventually he felt his swanky lifestyle was wasteful and made a drastic change, moving into a 420-foot home and scrapping the excesses. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports.

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>>> noticed a trend in this country where we seem to be building homes that are bigger and bigger. well, craig melvin, this guy right here found another man who was going in exactly the opposite direction.

>> good to see you, matt. we want to give folks an idea of what 420- square feet looks like. this is 420 square feet . even by new york city standards, this is small for an apartment. and there's a guy that doesn't live too far from here who lives in this space and he can afford to live far more luxurious, but he contends in life, less is more.

>> reporter: graham hill wasn't even 30 yet when he made more money than most do in a lifetime. he sold his tech start-up for millions and decided it was time to start living large.

>> i bought a 3,600- square foot home in seattle, and so the first thing you have to do is fill it full of stuff.

>> reporter: soon, his life in the late '90s was like a tv show popular around the same time.

>> that right there is the shark tank .

>> the swimming pool.

>> welcome to the dog house .

>> ludacris got his own football field .

>> reporter: sported all the symbols of his new status, swanky furniture, the fast car. but at some point while jet setting around the world, something hit him.

>> that process of acquiring lots of stuff relatively quickly and feeling sort of wasteful and not very conscious about the whole thing and realizing that at the end of the day didn't really make me any happier in my smaller, simpler life.

>> reporter: so hill decided to start a new life by scrapping the excess.

>> less stuff to take care of. less stuff to think about. less stuff to maintain, easier to find things. it's overall simpler. i've always liked having dinner parties and just grab here, lift and pull. the office is right here, and so i work at home and run companies virtually.

>> where is your refrigerator?

>> freezer is here. fridge is here. so this is the bathroom that's basically two different rooms.

>> this is a bachelor's bathroom. if you were married, there's no way you'd share this space with the wife.

>> reporter: this has become his call. he's written op-eds and given speeches.

>> we need to think before we buy. ask ourselves, is that really going to make me happier? truly? by all means, we should buy and own some great stuff. we want stuff we're going to love for years. not just stuff.

>> nearly 2 million have clicked to watch his talk.

>> people understand that we have supersize and it's not really working for us and maybe there's a better solution.

>> reporter: it's also his newest business, he's working on plans with a developer.

>> i'm trying to take that to larger. i want to build larger buildings composed of small spaces, paired with a lot of community.

>> reporter: he points out less space to heat, cool, and fill with things means you could save green while going green . but his motivation for a plainer existence wasn't just about money or the environment.

>> i think life's about experiences and about connection and about relationships. and so i think you want to sort of maximize your time focused on that and minimize your time focused on acquiring more stuff and dealing with it.

>> now, graham hill does acknowledge that if you're married or you have children, the minimalist lifestyle is a lot tougher, matt lauer .

>> i'll say, the older you get, the more you like that no-clutter feel. thank you very much. i would like to try it, craig, thank you.