Have you heard about Tiny Houses?
If you keep up with architecture and design buzz, you may have heard talk of them, or perhaps you've read articles about them--I think there's even an article circulating on social media about one.
We recently watched a tiny house documentary on Netflix called "Tiny" (recommended by a friend), and it was then that I learned this is not a new concept. People have been doing it for years, but it's only now gaining more exposure to the public eye.
This is a Tiny House:
You may think "that is a playhouse" or "that is a cute traveling camper" but you would be wrong. It's someone's actual home. And people are doing it all over the place. There are architects that specialize in tiny houses. You can buy a tiny house "kit." Who knew?!
A tiny home has all the amenities of a regular home: a kitchen, living area, sleeping area, work area, eating area, bathroom, etc--except it's all combined into a studio apartment type dwelling (or smaller), where use of space is the most important design motivator. Think of your entire home being combined into a space the size of your bedroom.
Before you let your mind wander off into the realms of "how on earth could a person live there?" think about the appeal of a tiny home.
1. It's minimalist living. In a world where more is more, bigger is better, and the possession of things creates your social status, it's only natural that some of us want to run the opposite direction of this lifestyle. It forces you to really look at how much space and how many things a person actually needs in order to live a simple life.
2. It's off the grid. Tiny Houses have the option of no address. Typically they are put on trailers and carried behind vehicles to whatever plot of land they chose to reside for the time being. Some use it solely for the purpose of being off the grid, while others see it as an opportunity to live in a variety of locations--so long as your means of income can travel, you can go wherever your car can pull you. How amazing would that be?
3. Fewer bills = living comfortably on low income. What if all you had to pay for every month was food, water, cell phone/internet usage, and the occasional personal belonging? How freeing would that be?! Just do the math really quickly. Subtract your house payment, cable bill, electricity bill, and water/sewage bill from your budget. What's left? See what I mean? Many tiny housers use this opportunity to take freelance work, or part-time work-from-home jobs. The never-ending cycle of working to pay for things we don't need is broken. You're no longer a slave to your mortgage. Some tiny housers don't even own a car. They either use public transportation, or rent/borrow a truck when they need to pull themselves to a new location.
4. Lower carbon footprint. Even though I live in a brand new house in a neighborhood where brand new houses are still being built by one of America's largest builders, that's not our ideal situation. Buying new homes is not only terrible for land conservation, but it's terrible for the real estate market and the up-keep of inner city neighborhoods. I'm not trying to make a political statement here, so please don't read into what I'm saying. I know it's not as simple as buying pre-owned homes. Obviously we had our reasons for buying new. But a tiny house eliminates this issue all together. You can still have new, but without the waste and land-clearing caused by new development. Some tiny housers build on tiny spaces in downtown big cities, enjoying all the perks of being in a centralized location but without paying high dollar for your living quarters. Others buy a few acres out in the middle of nowhere and enjoy the closeness of nature. The possibilities are endless!
5. Closer relationships. For those that share a tiny space with others (I even saw one that fit a family of four and a golden retriever! What?!) you would have to learn to resolve your differences. Because you are all up in someone else's space all. the. time. I saw a poster the other day that read "small homes grow tight families." So true.
Were we not a growing family, I could identify very closely with the concept of a tiny house. But it would be hard to plan a tiny house not knowing if you would have 2 more kids in the next 5 years (totally possible). If my husband and I were younger with no kids, I could totally see us doing it. Maybe when the kids are gone?? Imagine waking up:
"Hey, have you ever been to Montana?"
"Let's go next week."
What a life!
If the lifestyle of a tiny house doesn't appeal to you, that's totally cool. But it has to be enough to inspire awe at how a person fits all their life in that tiny space, right? The outside of a tiny home, although intriguing, is not nearly as amazing as the inside. Take a look at some of these well-designed spaces. Every square inch of these homes are utilized to be as efficient as possible.
[click on images for source]
Do you think you could do it? I think the close-quarters would keep you out and about a lot, but I think that's part of the perks of a tiny house, especially if you have an on-the-go lifestyle.
I hope I've given you something to chew on a bit. Maybe the 3,000 square foot home isn't all it's made out to be after all....
Until next time!