The Tiny House Movement

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by modern_muslimah, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    The Tiny House Movement

    I thought this story was very interesting. It looks at Dee Williams, a woman who lives in a house that is 84 square feet.

    There's a short video in the link that mostly focuses on Williams but also features interviews with other people building tiny houses. There's also a slideshow with pictures of various small homes. I actually like a lot of the homes shown in the report. I think they're quite economical, environmental and yet also stylish. It also shows you don't need an abundance of space to live comfortably.
  2. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    You do, however, need a friend nearby with a shower. Dee's tiny house has no plumbing.

    These look a lot like the camp houses on Jones Beach and Martha's Vineyard, only on wheels.
  3. Capella

    Capella Guest

    I would totally do this. Well, assuming I had high-speed internet. That would be a deal-breaker.
  4. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    Although Dee's house has no plumbing, other tiny houses do. I have to admit that I would need plumbing in whatever house I had. I prefer to take showers in my own house.

    Same here! :lol:
  5. Nan

    Nan Just me

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  6. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    One word: claustrophobia! If these are cozy to some, fine. I would die. I don't need huge amounts of space, just more than that. I freak out in elevators and on airplanes (only to myself, but it's freakish nevertheless.)
  7. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    That is pretty amazing. In the future, I want to have a very simple life and a little house like that would be enough for me.
  8. immoimeme

    immoimeme having a nice day

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    I would lurve to have a tiny house. Unfortunately most of them do not come with tiny price tags.

    I highly recommend http://tinyhouseblog.com/
  9. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Williams said her house cost $10,000 but she doesn't have plumbing. Plus, she powers her house to solar energy so I imagine that must cost more too.

    Some of those houses cost about $40,000-$50,000 which was surprising to me, especially considering that you could get a bigger house for the same price (it might not be in the best neighborhood but it would be bigger).
  10. immoimeme

    immoimeme having a nice day

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    Well, obviously if you build a tiny house yourself it will cost you less. But I decided I am too old to do that. SIGH.

    Here's a guy building his tiny FREE house if you want to read about it

    http://www.tinyfreehouse.com/
  11. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    I think New Yorker's have been inadvertently promoting this movement for a looooong time :p
  12. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Here's an article some might find interesting:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=business

    The discussion is around not so much tiny houses (I've been seeing articles about them for years now), but paring down one's life - less things, less expenses, more time with loved ones.

    It's interesting in that in the past few years, media/pundits/governments have been anxious to tell us that the recession is over and the economy is back on track etc etc. But the fact is, behaviours have changed - and the article has a few stats to support that notion.
  13. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    True. I don't think I could build one either. Well, I probably could if I learned but I have never been good with building stuff (my husband and I had a tough time putting together a simple shoe rack that a friend was able to put together in five minutes :lol:).

    Thanks!
  14. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Depends on where you live. Here in LA, that's about 10% of the price of a real house. The cheapest places I've seen, a tiny house would still be less than 50% of a condo with similar specs. So my bf and I drooling after tiny houses is very understandable. :lol:

    It'd be smaller sure, but the great part about it is if a forest fire is bearing down on you, you could hook up your tiny house to a truck (if it's one of those hitchable ones) and drive away. :cheer:
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  15. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Two of us are living in about 750 square feet (and have a patio in addition to that). I always thought that this space was tiny.
  16. Jodi

    Jodi Caulkhead forever

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    I'm reminded of this house, which makes me :swoon:.

    But if I had a house like that I'd need another one for my craft supplies :shuffle: I envy people with clutterless hobbies :p
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  17. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Oh my gosh! That's like a hobbit house. . .

    I LOVE the idea of a small(er) house, but the clutter, the clutter, the clutter. If it were just me, maybe. But i have two major clutter collectors in my house: dh, and dd. Plus two large dogs. Cannot persuade them to get rid of much, although we've gotten rid of *some* stuff.
  18. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I love that hobbit house. . .and it doesn't look as tiny as the 'tiny houses'.

    I would think that those tiny houses must be sort of like camper vans, designed with things on top of each other. For example, the back seat folds out into a bed and has drawers underneath it, but you can't get to the drawers unless the bed is folded back. And the sink or stove is on top of the fridge. There was virtually no space for any type of clutter - nowhere even to put a coffee cup or a few dishes down to be washed later.

    I can't remember how it worked exactly but it was an extremely compressed and contained system. I would find it annoying to have to constantly being moving this and putting away that just to accomplish daily tasks. Annoying for camping, let alone permanent living.
  19. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    I think that's the whole point.

    I won't recommend this to claustrophobic folks but I like simple living and really wouldn't mind living in a smaller place though perhaps not a tumbletree house (coz I would need to find a lot to put that in and secure it or sth). If I were to live on my own, I suspect 400-foot will do--you know, bathroom, small bedroom and living area and a kitchen. Very energy efficient.

    I've always thought the bad thing about 1-2 people living in big houses is the need to heat/cool the whole house (or at least the whole floor) just to keep you comfortable. To me it's really a big waste of energy.
  20. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I would think 400 square feet would only allow for a living area, bathroom and small kitchen - your basic bachelor apartment.
  21. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Wow that is amazing, inspiring and really interesting. Thanks for posting.

    As someone who loves looking at architecture and design (not with any knowledge mind you) and my favourite TV program is Grand Designs, the idea of creating something that is practical and more importantly totally sustainable is fascinating.

    I have mentioned before that I am having a place built at the moment (and taking a lot longer than the initial finishing dates). It is two bedrooms and will be just the right size for myself. The slab has been laid and it does look really tiny. But if I could build anything myself, this might be the sort of thing I would look at. I couldn't have something as small as the one in the video, and I would need a bathroom, but it wouldn't be very far off.

    Also in Australia we really do have a housing crisis with many properties now unaffordable and people do get caught up in the rental spiral. And so many places that you see on display are enormous with lots of wasted space. Maybe something like this might be the answer or what people should be thinking about.

    And the fact that I am currently putting a lot of stuff in storage as I have to move again (and will be living at mums and housesitting until mine is built), these things certainly get me considering about how I could downsize my life.
  22. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    I once had a 400-square foot apartment and it had all the rooms I needed--just more compact.

    But then I had to remind myself that I have friends living in that same space with their whole family.

    What you're used to as a child really influences what you can live with.
  23. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    That's so true. I have to say though, I think tiny houses like this might be kind of a waste of energy too. It seems they have a high "surface area" to volume ratio, so it's not efficient to heat and cool the inside.

    I think apartment/condo buildings are probably still the most environmentally friendly and cost effective way to go in terms of efficient heating/cooling, materials usage (sharing of interior walls), plumbing, electrical, etc. I don't think the tiny houses are all that sustainable (even though they look awesome).
  24. uyeahu

    uyeahu Agitator. Sharpie lover (figuratively speaking).

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    The Japanese really do micro living RIGHT - some amazing creativity on display in this article. I love the crystal brick, Penguin and Yachiyo houses. The others looked a little like prison cells to me. And I just found this new article today with some great pre-fabs from Dwelle's.

    Although I've been looking at tiny houses for several months I'm torn between wanting to go the trailer hitch house route or the 3 story Japanese Penguin house route. I love the idea of being able to just transport my house to a new place whenever I need a change of scenery, but I also love great architecture and plumbing and storage, etc. And realistically how often would you want to move house? Some stackable modular prefabs can't be too far off in the future, can they?
  25. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    I feel "at home" if I have the following:

    A three-seater sofa
    A separate chair
    A dining table that can seat four
    A queen or king sized bed in a separate room
    A separate desk
    A dishwasher
    A washer/dryer

    I can fit all of the above, fairly comfortably, in a 12 x 15 living room and 12 x 10 bedroom. Allowing for the dishwasher and W/D, I'd need about a 10' x 6' galley kitchen plus a 6' x 6' bathroom, and one 10' x 4' closet assuming good ceiling height.

    So 180 + 120 + 60 + 36 + 40 = 436 square feet is what it what it would take for me to feel at home.

    We have 760 square feet right now, and it allows for a living room, dining room with a table that seats 6-8, 10' x 10' kitchen (palatial for New York), one real bedroom, one small bedroom/den, one full bathroom, one half bathroom, a coat closet, a broom closet, and a walk-in closet. It helps that our entire apartment has floor-to-ceiling north-facing windows, which make all of the rooms seem deeper than they actually are.
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    More photos, Louis! :lol:
  27. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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  28. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    This is one trend I can get behind! :cheer: Houses really had gotten too big in recent years and the only way to go was down. My parents raised 2 kids perfectly fine in a house less than 2000 sq ft.

    In fact, living with my aunt for a summer in her 5000 sq ft house convinced me that big was not good at all, seeing how empty the house still seemed despite her shopaholic tendencies. And the fact they really needed an intercom, and someone to keep track of what they had or didn't have or what was going bad in their also-ginormous fridge...:scream:
  29. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Why must everything be in the extreme in the U.S.?????

    Seriously. How about a nice middle ground. Why can't we ever have that. We realize that everyone doesn't need a 3000+ square foot house. This is true. But then we automatically have to jump to living in the smallest possible space or getting a trailer? Really? What about the middle ground?
  30. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Some of us (namely the young childless 20-something hippies ;) ) like to do things ALL THE WAY!

    USA! USA! USA! :cheer2:
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  31. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Why not? Things like this really do get you thinking about what you need to get by in life. It sometimes takes an extreme to make people wake up and think about it.
  32. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Ugh, Dee Williams bugs. She's putting her ugly teeny tiny house in her friend's backyard (which looks like a typical suburban McMansion to me) and she's not paying any rent? Why doesn't she get a trailer park or get a teeny tiny condo?
  33. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Member

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    Damn! And I thought my 140-year old historically certified, classic Philadelphia trinity on a 6 foot wide 220-year old cobblestone street was tiny. :slinkaway It's 632 sq. ft spread out over 3 floors - 1st floor is a small kitchen living combo, 2nd floor a small bath and small bedroom, 3rd floor a slightly bigger bedroom with a little deck. (And mine was expanded from an original 12x12 footprint to a 12x20 footprint, with the crazy winder stairs replaced by ones that are mostly straight. The sq. footage is smaller than the mathematical calculation would have you believe because the original brick walls are so thick.)

    While I paid a small fortune for such a small house (location, location, location and charming + historic setting) I have incredibly low energy bills and have learned major lessons in downsizing and being comfortable with less.

    I will say though, that having tiny rooms and lots of stairs has made me long for 632 feet of open, all-one level space. I'd probably feel like I lived in a mansion if I moved back to your standard 650 sq. ft 1 bed apt., let alone an open loft style space with 15 ft ceilings in another part of town that is the same sq. footage.

    Here's a nice article about the Philadelphia trinity house phenomenon, also sometimes referred to as the vertical equivalent of the classic New Orleans "shotgun" houses. Some really are as tiny as 400 sq. ft. (10x10) on FOUR floors (with kitchen in basement), I've been in them!

    http://casacara.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/why-i-love-philadelphia-part-3-trinity-houses/
  34. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    In a house like that wouldn't you spend an awful lot of time just going up and down the stairs? Good exercise, yes, but time consuming as well.
  35. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    The parties seem comfortable with the arrangement. Free parking for free work in the house.

    ETA: Had I such a house I would have tried a similar arrangement (e.g. perhaps parking for $, not for work). This is supposed to be more an RV than a trailer, so I'd be more comfortable having it near a friend's or a relative's house.
  36. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Well you would save on gym fees and time spent going there.

    A little bit of exercise doesn't hurt anyone.
  37. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    One summer I sublet a 5th floor walk-up - my ass never looked so good. :)
  38. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    LOL. In Philly, I had a "trinity" house with a kitchen in the basement and the master bedroom on the third floor. As Jenny said about her fifth floor walkup, my butt never looked so good. The stairs are so tight that there are really no "hallways," so it actually doesn't take that long to get from floor to floor.

    I also had two sets of neighbors, who are still there, one in their eighties and one in their NINETIES living in these houses where they have to walk up or down spiral stairs (sometimes 2-3 flights of them) every time they need a drink of water, to go to the bathroom, etc. Stairs keep you young and spry!
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  39. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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  40. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    However, if you have lots of loved ones, you won't be able to spend time with them all in a tiny house.

    I'd be fine with less space than I have in my current apartment as long as it were arranged better for storing things.

    But already I go to my sister's house far more often than I invite her family of 4 to my place. If my father and stepmother, and/or my other sister and her family of 5, are visiting, it wouldn't be comfortable having everybody over at once. So I never get to be the hospitable one.