Monday, February 24, 2014

What is a tiny house and why would anyone live in one?

A tiny house is just what it sounds like. It's a house. And it's tiny. Typically less than 300 sqft kind of tiny. I could try to describe it to you, but it's easier to show you.

The ones I like best are built on trailers so you can move them around with you if you want to. This means if you get a job on the other side of the country, you can take your house there with you. Or if your job includes a lot of travelling, you can always have a place to stay. Like these guys, who spend all winter skiing for work.

Most people who live in tiny houses build them by hand with the help of friends. Like Ella...

She's kind of my hero. And I've met her! It was awesome. This is the inside of her completed house.

Some people hire others to do the labor for them, which I totally get and... let's face it, is what I would probably end up doing. That's what Tonita did, and her house is completely lovely.

Tiny houses are both super expensive and super cheap, depending on how you look at them. Compared to a normal-size house, they're about a tenth of the cost (at least where I live, in the Bay Area). But in terms of cost per square foot to build, they're much, much more expensive than a typical trailer or an RV or a small apartment or something like that. That's because they include all the expensive elements of a regular house--bathroom, kitchen--compressed into a much smaller footprint, which almost always requires custom designing things to fit just right. 

It's basically like living in a sailboat, except without the water. You know how sailboats are super efficient and beautifully crafted? That's what a tiny house is like. And also like a sailboat, they're not for everyone. I get that. But to me, they are beautiful. 

And part of that beauty lies in the fact that there is no wasted space. That yen for utility is probably at the root of my love for all things IKEA and also why I really dig Howard Roark. But those are side stories that I'll save for future posts.

Tiny houses require a certain lifestyle. When you don't have much space, you can't have much stuff. You have to choose what's most important to you and let go of stuff from the past. But when you don't have to worry about a mortgage, you have the freedom to do the things you really want to do: travel, write for fun instead of for money, retire early, go back to school. Tiny houses are also really good for the environment because when you take up less space, you use less electricity, water, propane, all kinds of things.

This one is my current favorite. It's Tumbleweed's Linden 20 Horizon. I like the idea of having a designated office space downstairs, where I could write.

Right now I'm just a tiny house dreamer. But someday I would really love to become a tiny house dweller.

If you want to learn more about Tiny Houses and what makes them so awesome, check out these sites and blogs:


  1. I would be HAPPY to live there if I meant not having to live with parents!

    1. I know the feeling. As much as I love my parents, I've really enjoyed living close to them but not in the same house as them.