I find tiny houses a little bit whimsical. That’s not a bad thing at all; there’s much to be said for whimsy in an era of cookie cutter construction, capsized mortgage markets and oversized homes. I spent a year unsuccesfully trying to convince my husband to downsize with me from our 400 square foot cabin to an Airstream trailer, so I’ve got some bonafide tiny leanings of my own. (It’s been done, although I didn’t know it at the time. This guy is already living my dream):
(photo courtesy of http://www.dwell.com)
For all my tiny leanings, though, I can’t hold a candle to Derek Diedricksen. In an article in Sunday’s New York Times, Diedricksen shows off the tiny structures he has built in his backyard. They are impractical, colorful, basically unheated. And I love them.
What’s with this tiny house revolution? I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and guess what? That post has gotten more hits than any other post I’ve ever written. There’s a housing sea change taking place, and I have some ideas about why. I think we’re tired of spending more money for more square footage and lower quality. I think our generation is rejecting the McMansion. It’s a pragmatic choice, as well as an individualistic one. McMansions turned out to be unaffordable and flimsy.
As for the tiny options, Airstreams are really a less-insulated, three season kind of home; even if you can handle the space constraints, the climate in part of the country doesn’t really make living in one feasible. But I didn’t love them for their practicality. I loved their shiny, vintage looks.
And they’re not the only aesthetically appealing option-on-wheels. There’s also the homey, custom incarnation of the tiny house. Dee Williams showed hers off in a PBS special; I think it could best be described as adorable:
(photo courtesy of Tumbleweed Homes)
Now she’s started up Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD), which lately has caught on with the international minimalist/sustainability blogging community thanks to Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens and her post about entering into the planning stages of building a tiny home. I love the look of their houses. They remind me of dollhouses, playhouses, the little cabin where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. Oh, how I loved that cabin:
We talked about building one just like it some day. And maybe we still will – but now, we’ll have to decide whether or not that house will be on wheels! I’ve already blogged my concerns about living in a tiny house – what happens if we adopt a kid (or two) someday? What about the pets? Although I don’t require the luxury of 3000, or even 1500 square feet, I do like having my pillow more than ten feet away from the litter box. I love having a full size oven and a four burner stove. I like running water.
On the flip side, I hate spending hundreds of dollars and massive amounts of carbon heating my house each winter. I spend more on a year’s rent than Dee Williams spent building her whole tiny house. And when I move, I really hate packing up all my stuff. Maybe I should give this tiny house trend some more thought. There are some really smart, cool people making it work for their own households!