The Tiny House Movement

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

  1. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,071
    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.
     
  2. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Messages:
    9,277
    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?
     
  3. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    782
    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/
     
  4. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,850
    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.
     
  5. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    8,838
    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.
     
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,071
    Well you would save on gym fees and time spent going there.

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

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,495
    One summer I sublet a 5th floor walk-up - my ass never looked so good. :)
     
  8. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Messages:
    11,496
    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!
     
    Jenny and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,088
  10. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,587
    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.
     
  11. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,792
    You make a very interesting point. Society is becoming very isolated with people not gathering together or visiting and this movement would actually contribute to that.

    I like being the one to host others. We live in a small place (just in case anyone thought my previous post was based on my mcmansion or something)--basically five rooms and none of them could be considered large--to fit two people in our bathroom, one would have to stand in the tub. But we have enough room to have people over and be sociable.
     
  12. deltask8er

    deltask8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,067
    Or you could rent a dining room at a restaurant or club for occasions like that. No need to wash the dishes or clean the home after the party, either. (or buy more dishes than you need on a regular basis)
     
  13. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,792
    You don't alway have to have an "occasion" to have friends over. And doing it at home is far more economical than a restaurant for everyone.
     
  14. uyeahu

    uyeahu Agitator. Sharpie lover (figuratively speaking).

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    Messages:
    7,278
    I actually disagree with this. When I was staying in Italy I was struck by how most people live in small apartments and congregate in public spaces for gathering and visiting. And they do it every day at all hours. I think the movement towards every family having their own private Shangri-La has done much more to isolate people from one another than small homes would do. People leave work, go home and all their needs are met within the walls of that home. They need never leave except to work and re-stock the pantry. In Italy people go home, maybe grab a bite to eat or change out of their work clothes and then go out in the Piazza's, the pubs, the parks, the cafe's, or just walk around the streets with friends and become part of the life of the city. You only sit at home if you're sick.
     
  15. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,332
    I think the key difference is living in small apartments near public spaces versus living in small houses that are on big pieces of land, as is the case with many of these "tiny houses".

    You say 2000 sq feet like it's small, but where I've lived, that's huge! Some of my classmates were raised in apartments less than 500 sq feet for four people, and those 500 sq feet probably cost more than your 2000 sq foot home :lol:

    That brings me to another point. Living in small spaces makes the news when it's done in places with plenty of land, but for many people who have grown up in crowded cities, it's simply life as they've always known it. It's more noteworthy in the former case because it takes willpower to do, whereas in the latter case you don't have a choice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  16. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    9,894
    In the winter we live in 475 sq.ft. in FL. The most important part of the house is the deck, though. The serious 'living' goes on outside! The small kitchen (the appliances, including dishwasher, are full sized) has a small porch off it where we keep the computer (chair, loveseat, small table, coathooks). There is a long (relatively) room with a couch, a chair, and a flat screen TV, tiny table and chairs, and a bookcase. A 11x11 bedroom has a queen sized bed, and the tiniest bathroom ever off it, but it does have a decent shower. It is very challenging to get into the bathroonm without knocking the towel rod off the door, though.

    However, we use more electricity down there than we do where we live in the summer in a much bigger house. But the sunset views are really nice.
     
  17. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,332
    Yes, the bathroom would be the absolutely last room to go!!

    My college dorm was a 6-floor walk-up, and I was on the 5th floor. I got used to 5 floors, but it was weird how going up to the 6th--just one more flight--still winded me. And it was depressing how I'd be gone for winter vacation and come back and have completely lost my stairs endurance in just a few weeks!

    You'd be surprised how small a space you can live in, as long as everyone around you is doing the same. My current apartment is 300-something sq ft, and I don't feel like it's too small because none of my friends lives in anything bigger, and many in something smaller. My college room was 96 sq feet. But if everyone else were living in huge apartments, then I would feel like my place is too small.

    That's probably true. New York is one of the most "green" cities in terms of per capita energy consumption even though most people don't make an effort to be green. It's a natural result of living in apartments and taking public transportation.
     
  18. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,088
    Yeah, 2000 sq. ft (normally that counts as 3bd/2ba I think) is pretty sizeable, but I've been reading lifestyle articles where families think they need 5bd/4ba houses for two parents and one kid. :eek: I mean, what?

    Maybe on your second point, but the second house I'm referring to was in the CA Bay Area. ;) Despite the housing price crash, Zillow says it's still currently worth over $1 million. :rofl: What a joke. The first house I remember living in is currently worth about 10% of that, but that's cause it was in NJ. :p
     
  19. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    14,711
    My hubby and I have lived in this apartment for a long time, and now we have a baby here! :eek: We worked really hard to maximize the space available before he was born. It helped quite a bit, but 750 square feet only goes so far.

    I like small living because it keeps utility costs down and because it's easier to clean. But I would really like about 900 or so feet, especially for one more baby in the house (eventually).
     
  20. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,332
    By the way, I'm surprised no one has brought this up (apologies if someone did and I overlooked it). It's the first thing that popped to mind when I read the thread title.

    :rofl:
     
  21. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    8,838
    I agree. When I was living in a small space I went out all the time to meet with folks and such. Now that I live in a bigger space I actually go out less. Everything is in my house, and yes, there're occasions when you have guests but all the other times home is just a big space separating you and your next door neighbor, the closest bank, the closest grocery store, etc. So yes, I agree with the isolation thing
     
  22. deltask8er

    deltask8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,067
    Depends how much extra the larger home costs. If I bought a two bedroom apartment instead of one, it would have costed me $75-$100K more in this area. And I doubt I would have the spare change to entertain at home, anyway, after all that.
     
  23. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,792
    And here's where we are not talking about the same thing. I live in a midwestern town of about 5000 people. Everything is closed by 7 p.m. except a couple of bars. Earlier than that on Sunday night. And many of the town's residents work second and third shifts at the town's major employer--a chemical manufacturing facility, so they are at work. There is no "life of the city" here because this is simply not a city. And my friends and relatives who live on farms would have an even harder time getting out every evening to participate in the life of the city as the nearest "city" is hours away and the nearest town isn't even within walking distance for most of them.
     
  24. deltask8er

    deltask8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Messages:
    10,067
    Based on what I have seen on HGTV's Househunters International, I can see why Italians spend very little times in their homes :scream: .

    http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/on-hgtv-international-househunters-show-amalfi-coast-area.cfm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQhchIXCabw

    http://www.hgtv.com/video/second-home-in-calabria-italy-video/index.html
     
  25. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    8,838
    I once lived in a small town. The beauty was that it was so small I could walk to the bank, the grocery store, etc. So my small apartment (450 sq ft) worked just fine. And that apartment was powered by only a small AC unit in the bedroom.

    As for playing hosts, I see many people living in apartment complexes have friends over and they cook over the barbeque pit and party over the pool and such. Hosting shouldn't be an activity just for the middle class and up and it isn't
     
  26. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Messages:
    11,496
    Our downstairs is about 450 square feet or so, and we have no problem entertaining.

    Dinner for 8 is easy, for 10 is doable; could even do 20 buffet-style. I can fit 7 people comfortably for movie-watching or skating-watching or whatever, probably 9 or 10 if I had to.

    There are ways to lay out places strategically to maximize the space you have. Granted, it would be more difficult if there were little kids who needed space to run around or play, separate from adults. Between our spiral stairs, half-walled second floor, "window" that's really a sliding door to 100' drop, and other low windows with no guards, our place is a death trip for kids. :lol:
     
  27. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,088
    :lol: We visited my lil sis at her host family's apartment in Florence two years ago, and it was nothing like that. Maybe because it was Florence. Her own bedroom was small, but the residence overall didn't strike me as overly weird or dank or whatever. The kitchen was more old-school than I had expected, but her host mom explained that everything was from the early 1900's. They take their kitchens with them when they move, sometimes employing a crane to haul it through the second-story window. :lol:

    It was more like a condo than anything else.
     
  28. immoimeme

    immoimeme my posts r modded

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    8,264
  29. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,071
    Thanks so much for posting this. They look great. For the size they look quite spacious. Sometimes that is all you need in a home. I would quite happily live in something like that.

    I find this topic really interesting. I am about to move into my own new home which is a two bedroom unit. Not as small as something like that but has everything I need. It is not overwhelming. I have been housesitting in some large homes over the last few months and I have felt they are just way too large.

    Below is a link to one of the other properties that is for sale. It will give you an idea of what I am buying.

    http://www.realestate.com.au/property-unit-vic-carrum downs-107036648
     
  30. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,088
    Cute!

    One of my coworkers lives in what probably used to be a large woodshed. It's really an awesome size for someone who lives alone (with a tiny dog), and she's really good with delineating space, so she can have 4 people over even though the only place to hang out is the kitchen.

    The only bad parts about it is that it used to be a woodshed, so insulation is very poor and there are lots of holes in the roof/wall where the mice/rain get in. :eek: