It was a few months ago, while flipping through ‘The New Yorker’ (which is really way too smart for me, but just having it on my desk makes me feel more sophisticated), that I discovered the phenomenon known as ‘Tiny Houses”. I would link the article in question, but obviously it’s a lot smarter than this one, and if you’re planning on ditching me for The New Yorker I don’t feel like making it that easy for you. (I will say that it’s a lovely piece written by Alec Wilkinson. Quality stuff, man.)
Anyways, a tiny house is just what it sounds like it is; a very small house, generally occupying less than a 500-square-foot space. They’re not for decoration, or for storage, but for habitation. And they’re not cobbled-together sheds or cabins; they are designed like genuine houses, only miniaturized. Think of them as the architectural world’s answer to fun-sized candy.
Inhabitants of tiny houses obviously possess limited space. The living area generally consists of a small kitchen, a bathroom, a loft bed, and maybe room for an armchair or bookcase.
As such, the owner of a tiny house must be willing to sacrifice many of the comforts we who reside in houses of normal stature take for granted. Wardrobes must be whittled down, your wide-screen TV and hulking computer kissed goodbye, and the retainment of any household pets should probably be carefully thought over.
While the practice of living in a tiny house seems well-suited to a certain minority of people; those dedicated to clean, green living, working to live as lightly as possible (both in the material and spiritual sense); the fad has attracted a larger following than you might expect.
In such a grim economy, paying off a new house is more difficult than ever before, not to mention those who have lost their homes due to inability to cope with ever-increasing debt. The tiny house offers an elegant solution; an affordable home free of property taxes that can be placed and moved, generally for free, anywhere you choose (However, I wouldn’t recommend trying to park your tiny house on a neighbor’s lawn. It won’t be appreciated.).
Aside from being economically reasonable and environmentally responsible, they’re also just plain adorable. It’s like living in a dollhouse; everything’s in reach, every architectural feature is in your control, and the exterior can easily be designed in any way that suits you.
But I think my favorite feature of the tiny house is that they are usually built on trailer platforms. Seeing as in many places houses of such small proportions aren’t strictly legal, if found out the occupants merely hitch up their house to the back of a truck and drive away. Way to fight the system.
The tiny house craze is just the latest addition in a series of radical, eco-friendly endeavors. It’s anti-materialism at it’s most attainable, and a simultaneous statement on today’s increasingly excessive lifestyle and the importance of making environmentally-conscious choices.
Check out Kent Griswold’s blog, ‘Tiny House Blog’, for more on the tiny-house craze: