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(CNN)   Smug people are living large in tiny homes (w/pics)   (cnn.com ) divider line
    More: Cool, Hari Berzin, building codes, Blue Ridge Mountains, request for proposal, Whatcom County  
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18810 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Sep 2012 at 7:47 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-22 09:31:25 AM  

StrandedInAZ: I think a single person with no kids could easily live in under 1,000 sq ft. Kids, however, change that dynamic. They need their own space, and you need space from them, too.


Do they not have "outside" where you live?
 
2012-09-22 09:34:37 AM  
The reason people moved into large fixed houses rather than wood, grass or leather huts was that formerly, you had to spend nearly all of your waking hours outdoors dealing with the weather. More time spent dealing with your environment meant less time available to figure out ways to improve it. It's no coincidence that people these days still living in huts belong to cultures that are still living in the Stone Age.
 
2012-09-22 09:41:43 AM  
userserve-ak.last.fm

Does not approve.
 
2012-09-22 09:44:54 AM  
I notice the lack of children.
 
2012-09-22 09:45:16 AM  
Several years ago I moved from a spacious 650 sq ft one-bedroom to a tiny 240 sq ft studio/efficiency, and significantly downsized. It was worth it to be within walking distance of work, and I realized how much less space is necessary. However, I am realistic that it's very difficult to live this way effectively, and it requires good planning and lots of housework to keep clean and uncluttered. Whenever I read about someone who's rhapsodizing about how wonderful it is to live in a tiny space, I'm dubious about how honest they're being. Some of those people live in the tiny house, but then have a storage space or a workspace nearby. I always want to see photographs and diagrams about how exactly they divide their living space into functional areas, and what sorts of appliances and pieces of furniture they have. In most cases, when you dig a little deeper, you find that a lot of these people have an "outlet" that prevents then from actually being entirely restricted to living in their tiny space.

/and no way could I ever have a cat, since I'd constantly be within a yard or two of the litter box
 
2012-09-22 09:46:53 AM  
Were it just me, one of these little houses would probably suit me fine. But now with a wife and cats. Our home is 3200 sq. ft., which is comfortable, but really more than we need. But in one of those tiny places, I'd have no place for my books. Our house in the mountains is smaller - only 1100 sq. ft. But it also has a carriage house with a 600 sq. ft. full studio apartment, a studio cottage and a work shop.
 
2012-09-22 09:47:59 AM  

topcon: The irony being, in many places, you can buy a nice, already built house for the cost of building some of these little ones. Not to mention, if you're so worried about using up resources, these things aren't made out of unicorn shiat and pixie wings, versus buying an already built house.


True. And good luck getting your property zoned for a pre-fab.
The greenest building is the one that is already built.
Restore an existing house.
 
2012-09-22 09:49:41 AM  

Huggermugger: you find that a lot of these people have an "outlet" that prevents then from actually being entirely restricted to living in their tiny space.


So? Who wants to sit around in their house all day? This is a feature, not a bug.
 
2012-09-22 09:52:21 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: topcon: The irony being, in many places, you can buy a nice, already built house for the cost of building some of these little ones. Not to mention, if you're so worried about using up resources, these things aren't made out of unicorn shiat and pixie wings, versus buying an already built house.

Preservationists like to say the greenest home is one that's already built. That said, I think the small house movement should be looked at not necessarily as prescriptive, but more as a reaction against the idea that two people and a kid need 3,000 sq. ft. just to get by. Builders should think more about things like ergonomics and how space will actually be used. Virtually every house I see, you could end up with a much better, smaller house if the builders had thought more about how space would be used and less about making sure you could list "3 bedroom, 2.5 baths" on the sale sheet.

And when you make a home smaller, you can do all sorts of great things with it: finishing is cheaper so you can have nicer floors and fixtures and so forth, heating and cooling is going to be cheaper, and you'll end up with more yard space. So think of it more as showing what's possible to do with homes.


Up until the 1960's a family of four had a house smaller than 900 Sf on average.
We have become a nation of "bigger is better."

It is better to retain current housing stock and sensibly infill in urban areas. We will still need to grow since population is increasing, but resources are not. Smaller is the wave of the future.
 
2012-09-22 09:55:38 AM  

Spoon over Marin: It is better to retain current housing stock and sensibly infill in urban areas.


Yeah, and I think we're going to see a time not too far off when a lot of the big McMansions that were built are going to be divided up as multi-family dwelling units. I know many people back in the states that want to relocate and can't because they have a home that they can't sell, even for pretty low prices.
 
2012-09-22 09:56:32 AM  
If you want to see what these small houses look like in an urban setting, do a GIS for Nogales, Mexico.
 
2012-09-22 10:02:17 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Spoon over Marin: It is better to retain current housing stock and sensibly infill in urban areas.

Yeah, and I think we're going to see a time not too far off when a lot of the big McMansions that were built are going to be divided up as multi-family dwelling units. I know many people back in the states that want to relocate and can't because they have a home that they can't sell, even for pretty low prices.


farm6.static.flickr.com
 
2012-09-22 10:02:40 AM  
So, they traded normal-sized houses for upscale dorm rooms?
 
2012-09-22 10:07:00 AM  
They're just designer trailer homes.
 
2012-09-22 10:09:04 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Huggermugger: you find that a lot of these people have an "outlet" that prevents then from actually being entirely restricted to living in their tiny space.

So? Who wants to sit around in their house all day? This is a feature, not a bug.



It depends on how you spend your days. If your house is just a place to sleep, get ready in the morning, and cook a meal in the evening before going to bed, then no, you don't need much space. But if you like to entertain more than one or two guests at a time, or if you have hobbies that require indoor working/storage space, then you need more room. I think Huggermugger's point is that if you're crowing about living in a tiny house, but you maintain an off-site workspace/studio/storage space, then not necessarily "living small" - you're just spreading your stuff out.
 
2012-09-22 10:14:28 AM  

ScottRiqui: I think Huggermugger's point is that if you're crowing about living in a tiny house, but you maintain an off-site workspace/studio/storage space, then not necessarily "living small" - you're just spreading your stuff out.


I guess my point was more that "spreading your stuff out" comes with lots of benefits. It facilitates a lot of social interaction that tends to get lost when people lock themselves away in 3,000 sq. ft. homes in the suburbs a 30 minute drive from everything.
 
2012-09-22 10:15:44 AM  
Now, I'm all for people doing what calls to them, no insults; I couldn't help but be reminded of this:

depts.washington.edu

ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-09-22 10:18:39 AM  

Znuh: Now, I'm all for people doing what calls to them, no insults; I couldn't help but be reminded of this:

[depts.washington.edu image 400x325]

[ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com image 400x315]


Levitwown
 
2012-09-22 10:19:20 AM  
fark!
Link
 
2012-09-22 10:21:57 AM  

dready zim: In other news, small homes are great when they are sat on huge tracts of land....


s15.postimage.org

Agrees.
 
2012-09-22 10:23:37 AM  

Jon iz teh kewl: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Spoon over Marin: It is better to retain current housing stock and sensibly infill in urban areas.

Yeah, and I think we're going to see a time not too far off when a lot of the big McMansions that were built are going to be divided up as multi-family dwelling units. I know many people back in the states that want to relocate and can't because they have a home that they can't sell, even for pretty low prices.

[farm6.static.flickr.com image 500x332]


I kind of doubt that. When I lived in San Diego, developers were buying up the larger properties in older neighborhoods and building condominiums. Two or three lots and there was enough space for some parking and about 10 - 15 700-800 sq feet 1 & 2 bed condos. It was sad to see the old homes being torn down but understandably there was a lot of cash paid for the homes and the developers got at least triple if not more of profit.
 
2012-09-22 10:23:51 AM  
We have less than a 1000 sf and are happier here than in the previous place, which was 2600 sf.
Got rid off a ton of unnecessary "stuff" that accumulated over the years, less to clean, too.
No kids, so that definitely helps.
We did, however, upsize the property. From about 7500 sf (which was big for our SoCal suburban dream) to just about 20 acres bordering a National Forest.
I also have a large work space, almost triple the size of the house, and plenty of kennel space for the furries.
None of that would have been possible behind the Orange Curtain.
 
2012-09-22 10:24:21 AM  
Psst! I gotta secret.

/it's called a Trailer, you find them in parks.
 
2012-09-22 10:26:05 AM  

Special J: I notice the lack of children.


I notice you didn't read TFA.
 
2012-09-22 10:27:38 AM  

Stimulus: Nothing better than living in a house where when you fart, everybody knows it.


Hey, I own my farts! You feel that strong vibration and a sudden smell of rotten eggs?? All me baby!!!
 
2012-09-22 10:29:41 AM  

SurelyShirley: We have less than a 1000 sf and are happier here than in the previous place, which was 2600 sf.
Got rid off a ton of unnecessary "stuff" that accumulated over the years, less to clean, too.
No kids, so that definitely helps.
We did, however, upsize the property. From about 7500 sf (which was big for our SoCal suburban dream) to just about 20 acres bordering a National Forest.
I also have a large work space, almost triple the size of the house, and plenty of kennel space for the furries.
None of that would have been possible behind the Orange Curtain.


Sounds great!

Getting out of SoCal and moving next to a National Forest can't have hurt morale.
 
2012-09-22 10:32:01 AM  
Nothing new
media.comicvine.com
 
2012-09-22 10:32:23 AM  

SurelyShirley: We have less than a 1000 sf and are happier here than in the previous place, which was 2600 sf.
Got rid off a ton of unnecessary "stuff" that accumulated over the years, less to clean, too.
No kids, so that definitely helps.
We did, however, upsize the property. From about 7500 sf (which was big for our SoCal suburban dream) to just about 20 acres bordering a National Forest.
I also have a large work space, almost triple the size of the house, and plenty of kennel space for the furries.
None of that would have been possible behind the Orange Curtain.


Exactly - you at least realize that you haven't really "downsized" by going from 2,600 square feet to less than a thousand. My house is about 2,500 square feet, which many would consider to be "too large" for two people and some cats. We could also be comfortable in a much smaller house, but then I'd want to build additional structures like you did, or rent a space in an industrial park to accommodate my ammo reloading equipment, my wife's sewing equipment and supplies, my photography stuff and her glass kiln.
 
2012-09-22 10:32:45 AM  

TehBoognish: Psst! I gotta secret.

/it's called a Trailer, you find them in parks.


like Yellowstone (Jellystone)??

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-09-22 10:33:13 AM  

sonorangal: Jon iz teh kewl: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Spoon over Marin: It is better to retain current housing stock and sensibly infill in urban areas.

Yeah, and I think we're going to see a time not too far off when a lot of the big McMansions that were built are going to be divided up as multi-family dwelling units. I know many people back in the states that want to relocate and can't because they have a home that they can't sell, even for pretty low prices.

[farm6.static.flickr.com image 500x332]

I kind of doubt that. When I lived in San Diego, developers were buying up the larger properties in older neighborhoods and building condominiums. Two or three lots and there was enough space for some parking and about 10 - 15 700-800 sq feet 1 & 2 bed condos. It was sad to see the old homes being torn down but understandably there was a lot of cash paid for the homes and the developers got at least triple if not more of profit.


http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Geography_of_Nowhere.html?id= G euBvFV7olcC
Suggested reading.
The infill and re-use of old homes will happen. See Philadelphia and Rhode island and many other communities that embrace adaptive use.
 
2012-09-22 10:37:19 AM  

Dookie-chute: Fark that! No lib is going to convince me that living in farking cracker jack box is "smart", the first tornado that comes their way is going to make that home more mobile than intended!

Clearly these people have no kids, if they did they've already given into their primal instincts and devoured the the little cretins after being in such close proximity to them during the first week of living in this utopian fantasy.


Haha. Because we all know that tornadoes only hit houses less than 666 square feet!
 
2012-09-22 10:52:18 AM  

Nick Nostril: The concept is interesting. Having a small house on a relatively large lot would be ok, as long as it wasn't in the city or burbs.

Squeeze out a couple rugrats though, and that goes to hell. Also, where do these people put all their shiat? I'm not talking extraneous BS, but necessities like food, clothes, arsenal, etc?

Also...

[imageshack.us image 405x304]


LOLWHUT?
 
2012-09-22 10:53:46 AM  

sporkme: I have an super green tiny house for rent in my back yard. Let me just get that lawnmower out of your way and spray down this wasps' nest.


My wife has an interesting take on life: "Nature sucks."
 
2012-09-22 10:56:28 AM  
No thanks,we'll keep our 1700 sq ft & 2.5 acres.It's just the 2 of us & the dog,but she has her piano & sewing,I have 3 drumsets & a PA,we both like to cook so we need a big kitchen,also our books,my guns & we like to entertain,we've had as many as 100 people show up for our parties.

But we have been looking at buying vacation property & a small house would be great for that.
 
2012-09-22 10:56:38 AM  
www.alice-in-wonderland.net

......before it was cool.
 
2012-09-22 10:58:18 AM  
I live in a studio apartment and I'm just fine with that. I can afford a bigger place, probably could swing the mortgage on a small to medium sized house, but what's the point? I'm single, no kids... It takes me about 45 minutes per week to clean my place, the rent is low so I have money to save or spend as I choose, and less expensive toys like a 32" TV versus a 46"+ TV or bookshelf speakers versus big tower speakers work great and cost less. Sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if my bed wasn't right in the middle of my living room but other than that, I'm as content as could be!
 
2012-09-22 11:00:07 AM  

GibbyTheMole: I can see the appeal. I've considered the possibility of selling all of my unnecessary crap and doing much the same thing, only with a good travel trailer. Drag it somewhere pretty, work and live there til we get sick of it & move on to somewhere else. It's just my wife & I, and we like to be together as much as possible anyway. A notebook computer with HDMI output hooked up to a wall mounted LCD monitor & a pair of good, powered studio monitor speakers, and voila... all of your home entertainment needs are met. The utility bills would be a lot less, too.

The older I get, the better this idea looks.


Except that most people in local governments would then consider you "homeless" and make your life a living hell. In most cities and towns, at least in California, it is generally illegal to park an occupied vehicle overnight on any public street. The People's Republic of Irvine extends that ban to PRIVATE property - even if you have the property owner's permission.

The only "out" is a trailer park. But there you pay rent and have a lease.

/living in my truck with a camper shell.
//with wife, a cat and a budgie.
///not romantic in the least.
 
2012-09-22 11:08:04 AM  
They knew that moving two children, a dog and a cat into a 168-square foot space would be a challenge,

I'm not sure I would have used the word "challenge."
Perhaps "learning experience" would be more appropriate.
 
2012-09-22 11:08:19 AM  

havana_joe: I live in a studio apartment and I'm just fine with that. I can afford a bigger place, probably could swing the mortgage on a small to medium sized house, but what's the point? I'm single, no kids... It takes me about 45 minutes per week to clean my place, the rent is low so I have money to save or spend as I choose, and less expensive toys like a 32" TV versus a 46"+ TV or bookshelf speakers versus big tower speakers work great and cost less. Sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if my bed wasn't right in the middle of my living room but other than that, I'm as content as could be!


Could I recommend trading up to a one-bedroom? Small is fine, but I like having a separate sleeping space. A studio (unless it's a space designed with a sleeping gallery) essentially means that any time you have guests over they're sitting in your bedroom.

If you can find something that won't stretch your budget, I think you'd appreciate the difference.
 
2012-09-22 11:14:04 AM  
All of my suburban friends can't imagine having kids in less than 2,000sf. When I tell them people in the buildings I run (in NYC) live very well with toddlers in less than 600sf they just don't want to hear it.

I have about 1200sf now, and that's more than enough for me to start a family. I really have no desire, even if I move to suburbia, to ever live in more than 1500sf. I can barely keep the apartment clean as is.

I assume these people living in 168sf with kids spend 99% of their lives outside though, which makes up a lot for small square footage in the house.
 
2012-09-22 11:14:43 AM  

Nogale: havana_joe: I live in a studio apartment and I'm just fine with that. I can afford a bigger place, probably could swing the mortgage on a small to medium sized house, but what's the point? I'm single, no kids... It takes me about 45 minutes per week to clean my place, the rent is low so I have money to save or spend as I choose, and less expensive toys like a 32" TV versus a 46"+ TV or bookshelf speakers versus big tower speakers work great and cost less. Sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if my bed wasn't right in the middle of my living room but other than that, I'm as content as could be!

Could I recommend trading up to a one-bedroom? Small is fine, but I like having a separate sleeping space. A studio (unless it's a space designed with a sleeping gallery) essentially means that any time you have guests over they're sitting in your bedroom.

If you can find something that won't stretch your budget, I think you'd appreciate the difference.


Yes, you have a very good point... I totally agree that the one major negative is that the bed is right there at all times... For some reason in my area the price difference for a one-bedroom versus a studio is like a 50% premium, but then from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom is only a 10% premium... It almost makes me think that I'd be better off with a two-bedroom but then I'm getting into the price range where a small house starts to make sense... I do think about the options from time to time, for now I'm going to stay in the studio but the day will come when I will need to decide on an upgrade!
 
2012-09-22 11:22:21 AM  

Krieghund:
Sounds great!
Getting out of SoCal and moving next to a National Forest can't have hurt morale.


Well, Mrs Shirley wasn't to keen on the idea in the beginning, but the simple fact that we hear less vehicles driving past the property in a month, than we would during 30 minutes of morning rush certainly helped.
Now it's all good. I think this one is a keeper (the Mrs and the property).
 
2012-09-22 11:25:25 AM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: They're just designer trailer homes.


This.

Notice how many are built on a trailer bed because of local building codes?
 
2012-09-22 11:34:09 AM  

Heist: I would struggle living in an incredibly tiny house, but my wife and I live in a 600 sq ft apartment, and when we end up owning our own home we want it to be 500 sq ft or a little bit less. Besides the obvious reasons like being cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and easy to clean, living in a small space with limited storage helps fight the relentless pressure to buy material things. I have lots of respect for people who can downsize even further.

If you're into this sort of thing, look at Tumbleweed Tiny Houses


This! The lack of space wouldn't make me so crazy as deciding what stuff I should get rid of. Also having 1 German Shepherd and 3 cats might make me crazy.
 
2012-09-22 11:43:20 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: GibbyTheMole: I can see the appeal. I've considered the possibility of selling all of my unnecessary crap and doing much the same thing, only with a good travel trailer. Drag it somewhere pretty, work and live there til we get sick of it & move on to somewhere else. It's just my wife & I, and we like to be together as much as possible anyway. A notebook computer with HDMI output hooked up to a wall mounted LCD monitor & a pair of good, powered studio monitor speakers, and voila... all of your home entertainment needs are met. The utility bills would be a lot less, too.

The older I get, the better this idea looks.

Except that most people in local governments would then consider you "homeless" and make your life a living hell. In most cities and towns, at least in California, it is generally illegal to park an occupied vehicle overnight on any public street. The People's Republic of Irvine extends that ban to PRIVATE property - even if you have the property owner's permission.

The only "out" is a trailer park. But there you pay rent and have a lease.

/living in my truck with a camper shell.
//with wife, a cat and a budgie.
///not romantic in the least.


When we were in Key West last year our fishing guide explained that people live in old, often not-functional (they float and that is about it) sail boats that are just anchored around Key West. It is like a free trailer park and there aren't rules against it. They all have little inflatable rafts with motors to get to and from land. On the other hand for the extra amount they were paying for food and gas in Key West they probably could have lived in a trailer park in Missouri.
 
2012-09-22 11:51:30 AM  
Oh god yes tiny houses. Agughaghagljsadf.

I don't really have anything useful to say. I just really like the tiny house ideal. I have something like 2400 sq ft now and it just seems full of storage of junk and dead corners. It's frustrating.
 
2012-09-22 11:52:15 AM  

Heist: I would struggle living in an incredibly tiny house, but my wife and I live in a 600 sq ft apartment, and when we end up owning our own home we want it to be 500 sq ft or a little bit less. Besides the obvious reasons like being cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and easy to clean, living in a small space with limited storage helps fight the relentless pressure to buy material things. I have lots of respect for people who can downsize even further.

If you're into this sort of thing, look at Tumbleweed Tiny Houses


I'm pretty sure picture #3 is of a Fencl, so at least some of the pictures in TFA ARE Tumbleweed.
 
2012-09-22 12:05:42 PM  

havana_joe: Nogale: havana_joe: I live in a studio apartment and I'm just fine with that. I can afford a bigger place, probably could swing the mortgage on a small to medium sized house, but what's the point? I'm single, no kids... It takes me about 45 minutes per week to clean my place, the rent is low so I have money to save or spend as I choose, and less expensive toys like a 32" TV versus a 46"+ TV or bookshelf speakers versus big tower speakers work great and cost less. Sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if my bed wasn't right in the middle of my living room but other than that, I'm as content as could be!

Could I recommend trading up to a one-bedroom? Small is fine, but I like having a separate sleeping space. A studio (unless it's a space designed with a sleeping gallery) essentially means that any time you have guests over they're sitting in your bedroom.

If you can find something that won't stretch your budget, I think you'd appreciate the difference.

Yes, you have a very good point... I totally agree that the one major negative is that the bed is right there at all times... For some reason in my area the price difference for a one-bedroom versus a studio is like a 50% premium, but then from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom is only a 10% premium... It almost makes me think that I'd be better off with a two-bedroom but then I'm getting into the price range where a small house starts to make sense... I do think about the options from time to time, for now I'm going to stay in the studio but the day will come when I will need to decide on an upgrade!


Murphy bed. You need one. Google for wall bed. You will be surprised.
 
2012-09-22 12:07:26 PM  
I think it REALLY depends on where you live. The weather in the NE makes living small almost impossible, just because it's dark most winters and you're snowed in. But in Arizona, sure, whatever. The things to do outside around your house have to be compelling, a tiny trailer in Bumblefark Flatplains is not appealing.
 
2012-09-22 12:10:56 PM  

simon_bar_sinister: Murphy bed


simon_bar_sinister: havana_joe: Nogale: havana_joe: I live in a studio apartment and I'm just fine with that. I can afford a bigger place, probably could swing the mortgage on a small to medium sized house, but what's the point? I'm single, no kids... It takes me about 45 minutes per week to clean my place, the rent is low so I have money to save or spend as I choose, and less expensive toys like a 32" TV versus a 46"+ TV or bookshelf speakers versus big tower speakers work great and cost less. Sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if my bed wasn't right in the middle of my living room but other than that, I'm as content as could be!

Could I recommend trading up to a one-bedroom? Small is fine, but I like having a separate sleeping space. A studio (unless it's a space designed with a sleeping gallery) essentially means that any time you have guests over they're sitting in your bedroom.

If you can find something that won't stretch your budget, I think you'd appreciate the difference.

Yes, you have a very good point... I totally agree that the one major negative is that the bed is right there at all times... For some reason in my area the price difference for a one-bedroom versus a studio is like a 50% premium, but then from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom is only a 10% premium... It almost makes me think that I'd be better off with a two-bedroom but then I'm getting into the price range where a small house starts to make sense... I do think about the options from time to time, for now I'm going to stay in the studio but the day will come when I will need to decide on an upgrade!

Murphy bed. You need one. Google for wall bed. You will be surprised.


Thank you! That's a pretty good idea!
 
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