Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

State of the Tiny House Union – 2015

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I thought it would be fun to put together a “State of the Tiny House Union” 2015 edition!  So looking back at 2015 here are some of the things I’ve noticed, lessons I’ve learned and trends I’ve seen.

Results From The 2015 Tiny House Survey

In early 2015 we started getting the word out about the Tiny House Survey, which is the single largest census for the tiny house movement.  We had last done a survey in 2013 and it was clear that a lot had changed with our tiny little movement, so we launched a new survey.  This time around we learned a lot from the first survey and improved it a ton, this time we were able to capture a lot more really meaningful data that was designed to answer some very important questions about the tiny house movement.  It is important to note that we of course couldn’t survey everyone in the movement and our survey wasn’t perfect, but we were able to get a large enough sample size (just shy of 2,000) to clearly understand trends.

More Female Tiny Housers

In 2013, the last time we conducted the Tiny House Survey, women lead the movement accounting for 52%, in the 2015 survey we saw a dramatic increase to 64.1% of the movement being made up of women.  This is particularly interesting because most tiny house folks want to build their own tiny house, meaning we have a lot of women builders, it is in stark contrast to the construction industry that is high nineties percentile for men.

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Age And Locations Stay About The Same

Overall we saw very little difference in change (+/- 1%) with the tiny house community when it came to the make up of our movement when it comes to age and location.

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Household Income

I wasn’t able to compare 2013’s survey data with 2015’s data because our scales were different, but as a whole, it seems that tiny houser’s income is normalizing more to US patterns.  In 2013 we saw that tiny housers were typically more affluent by a good margin, but in 2015’s data we are seeing income following standard patterns for the USA.

Household income for 2015 survey

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Data source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032015/hhinc/hinc01_1.xls

Education

As a whole, tiny house people are more likely to hold a college degree or a graduate (advanced) degree that the average person in the US.  College degree attainment for the US is 34% while 35.2% of tiny house people hold a degree.  For advanced degrees like a graduate degree, Master’s etc. 5% of US citizen have graduated from such a program, while tiny house people are more than three times more likely to have graduated at 19%.  Data source: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=27

 

The Rise Of The McMini Mansions

Over the past year we’ve begun to see tiny houses that are pushing the limits of what you can fit on a trailer.  Triple axles and 30+ foot tiny houses are becoming more the norm in the tiny house movement. A large tiny home used to be around 24 feet, but I’ve seen 32 footers with huge pop outs and even 34 foot tiny houses.

Part of me wonders why all of a sudden are we seeing these large homes being built.  Is it because more designs are coming out, is it people want more space, or is it something else?  I’ve noticed on TV show builds and custom ordered pro built homes seem to fall in the larger category, while I see more DIYers tend to stick with the smaller homes; this is, however, anecdotal at best.

What does this mean? What does this say?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Part of me wonders if your mentality, which you gain working for a year plus on a build like most DIYers, actually changes.  I know when I first started my build, I knew I wanted a tiny and I thought it was right, but during my lengthy build something shifted for me quite dramatically.  It simply took time to sink in, to reprogram old consumerist habits, and shift my thinking.  The verbiage of talking to some (not all) of the larger tiny homes seems to be how to jam a large house’s function into a small package, not examining what must be cut out to simplify.

When I talk about downsizing material possessions, I often say “it’s not about organizing what you have to fit a small space, but reducing the things which you must then organize to begin with.”  It gives me pause when I see these McMini Mansions because I’m not sure the tough internal mental work has been done; that said, I don’t know every facet of the dynamics for each person, so I do put a large asterisk here.

TV Shows Galore

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If I had a dollar every time that a studio emailed me begging me to promote their show, casting calls or the like, I’d be rich.  Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Builders, Tiny House, Big Living, and Tree-house Masters. The ironic thing is, I haven’t had cable TV for over a decade now!  I remember me and the other bloggers trying to find someone with cable so we could see the first show and we ended up giving up because none of us did.

All that said, the shows have brought a lot of awareness to tiny houses.  It is astounding how much general public awareness there is about tiny houses.

Tiny House Fight For Their Rights

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We are beginning to see a lot of tiny houses built and as a results, more legal battles where tiny housers work to secure a legal existence in their own community.  Sarah Hastings has been a recent tiny houser to take her house to the city and push for acceptance.   We’ve also seen some cities allow tiny houses to slide by, Portland has been allowing tiny houses to flourish while still not coming out and fully endorsing or legalizing them yet.

People REALLY Want Tiny House Communities

There are a ton of folks looking for places to park their future tiny houses, but more specifically people want to do so in communities.  Countless community layouts have been proposed and even some folks have tried to develop their own communities.  There are some folks that have found parking in trailer parks etc.  Legal barriers still exist, but some headway has been made.

There are two communities that exist that have actually moved from idea to reality an import note, I think all these communities are full and may not be open to public tours:  The community of the Tacks of Tiny Tack House, Sean of Unboxed and Baliey of Little House Big Adventures.  The second community is Lina Menard‘s tiny house community which I’ve had the good fortune to meet all of them and tour their community in Portland.

Finding A Place To Park & Building Codes/Zoning

Tiny Housers still face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding a place to park and making it legal.  There is a lot of misnomers around building codes and zoning.  There is a huge percentage (almost 34%) of people in the tiny house movement who report that the legal ambiguity of tiny houses hold them back from going tiny.

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I think it also goes to show that one of my most popular videos is this video about finding land and the most popular tiny house ebook on the entire internet is on building codes and zoning

 

Your Turn!

  • What other trends did you see in 2015?
  • What do you look forward to in 2016 for tiny houses?

Faucets and Ranges and Bathtubs, Oh My: The Tiny Life goes to KBIS

Faucets and Ranges and Bathtubs, Oh My: The Tiny Life goes to KBIS

Last week, I voyaged to the far-off land of Las Vegas to speak at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2016. The kind folks at the National Kitchen and Bath Association, who were hosting the event, asked me to discuss luxury elements in small kitchens and baths, using tiny houses as a lens into the downsizing trend. It was a trip of firsts: my first solo trip ever, my first time to Vegas, my first industry conference, and my first big industry speaking engagement. Needless to say, it was very exciting. Follow me, Internet, as I recount my adventure!

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I had a layover in Salt Lake City, and it was my first time seeing the snow-capped Rockies. I snapped this photo of a river of clouds right before our landing.

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I’ve arrived! The airport was as full of slot machines and liquor stores as one might expect.

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The KBIS folks did not skimp on accommodations! This is a picture of me feeling perfectly at home and not awkward at all in a very luxurious hotel room at the Encore. In all seriousness, the hotel was great and I had a lovely stay.

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Here’s a panoramic view of the entrance to the Encore, as viewed from the cab line. The weather wasn’t that great that day – 46 degrees and rainy. Right after I landed, the guy next to me on the plane looked out the window and said, “Are we in Las Vegas or Bangor, Maine?”

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It’s the big day! I got a beautiful view of the Wynn, the Encore’s sister hotel, from my room. The weather turned out beautifully, too.

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KBIS 2016! This event was mind-bogglingly large. My cab driver told me that he heard there were 160,000 people attending the conference. Whether or not that number is exact, it’s clear that KBIS does not mess around.

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Here’s a glimpse into the madness. This was only one hall at the convention center, and it was packed to the gills with booths of all kinds.

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This is the NKBA Center Stage, where I gave my talk on Wednesday afternoon. I’d guess there were between 75 and 85 people who listened to my session. People came up afterward to tell me they enjoyed it and asked me great questions. It’s always fun to talk shop with industry folks! And no, that is not a photo of me on the stage – I didn’t transform into 5 people. I am in fact only one person.

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One of the coolest things about the speaker sessions was an artist who illustrated each talk in real time, as it was happening. Here’s my talk, cartoonified!

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Here’s the core of my talk: small is here to stay, and adding beautiful elements is important to making your home feel joyful – no matter its size!

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After my talk, I traded my high heels for sneakers and explored the expo. Gorgeous appliances and hardware could be found everywhere. I love the satin brass shower fixtures above.

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Corbelbot says hello!

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This dapper-looking gentleman was demonstrating an app-responsive refrigerator. Fancy!

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I fell hard for this super tiny, retro-styled enameled cast iron stove. Perhaps this will make it into my tiny house someday!

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I also came face to face with what might be the cutest bathtub ever.

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Drawer pulls for days! If you live in a tiny house, you better make sure that all your hardware choices are easy to use and nice to look at. It’s all in the details!

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I wanted to run around in this shower display at the Delta booth, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t have been too happy with me.

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Anyone else a fan of the HGTV Dream Home? This was one of the highlights of my year when I was a kid. No, I’m not kidding.

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After a crazy day at KBIS, it was time to catch my flights back home. Catch you later, Vegas! I can’t wait to come back and explore more someday.

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Here’s a very flattering selfie of me looking unenthused about my impending red-eye flight.

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One of the highlights of the whole trip was my 11:15 PM takeoff over Las Vegas all lit up at night. It was honestly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. I wish this photo could do it justice!

I had a fantastic time attending KBIS 2016 and representing The Tiny Life. I met great folks, saw some very beautiful and innovative kitchen and bath designs, and got to experience Las Vegas for the first time. I want to thank the wonderful folks at the NKBA for this fantastic opportunity. I’m so glad I got to share the tiny house movement with a new audience!

Your Turn!

  • How do you plan to make your tiny house kitchen or bathroom luxurious?
  • What are some of your favorite tourist spots in Las Vegas? (I want to know for my next trip! ;D )

Ethan Waldman – 2016 Tiny House Conference Speaker

Ethan Waldman is one of our new speakers for the 2016 Tiny House Conference. We’re excited to have him on board! Check out the videos below to hear more about his speaker sessions: Lifestyle Design and Tiny House Utilities. Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

 

Andrew Morrison at the 2016 Tiny House Conference

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Now that it’s 2016, the Tiny House Conference is officially right around the corner. The conference will be even bigger and better as it moves into its third year. It will take place in Asheville, North Carolina, April 2-3. We’re having a blast organizing the event and planning out all the great features and special extras we have in store for you guys.

This year we’re bringing back Andrew Morrison, tiny house designer and builder extraordinaire. Andrew is one of the big movers and shakers of the tiny house world right now. In addition to offering resources to tiny house builders, he teaches strawbale building workshops and travels the world to give talks about the tiny lifestyle.

At the conference, Andrew will be teaching the Building Basics and Advanced Building sessions. We’re excited to have him on board for the 2016 Tiny House Conference! Check out his speaker bio here and watch his video preview below.

Ten Essential Kitchen Solutions for Tiny Houses

We demand a lot from our kitchens, no matter what size house they’re in. This fact is magnified even more in a tiny house, where storage and surface area are at a premium. But if you live in a tiny house, you don’t have to give up your cooking dreams just yet! Luckily for you, the Internet is a magical place with space-saving solutions to be found left and right. I gathered my ten favorite kitchen solutions in this post to share with you today. Links and images will take you to the web pages where you can buy each item. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Slide-out Trash & Recycling Bins

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I know that I always forget to add in space for trash and recycling when I’m drawing up tiny house plans. It’s so easy to forget! Take advantage of the full depth of counter space in your tiny house kitchen with a slide-out cabinet for your bins.

2. A Hanging Rail for Utensils6f28eac04d33428d14818b984029f083

Everyone has a crock on their kitchen counter stuffed with cooking utensils – save some real estate by hanging them from a rail with S-hooks. The Grundtal, while being a great name for a disgruntled bridge troll, is actually a rail system from IKEA that is affordable and very popular in tiny houses.

3. A Hanging Dish Rack and Paper Towel Holder

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Continuing the vertical storage theme, we have a wall-mounted dish rack and matching paper towel holder. The dish rack can hang right above your sink for drainage, and is pretty enough to store your plates and cups on all the time. Plus, I’m of the mindset that a touch of gold here and there makes any space better.

4. Over-the-Sink Cutting Board with Strainer

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I think this one is just so cool. Not only does the cutting board extend your counter space over your sink, you can slide your vegetables right into the strainer for rinsing. Genius!

5. Vertical Dividers for Flat Items

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Even if you rarely cook, you know the pure misery of stacking and re-stacking cookie sheets, muffin tins, or cutting boards to find the one you want. Storing them on their sides with vertical dividers solves this problem handily. The photo above shows how you can use simple tension curtain rods as dividers, or you can buy a divider made just for this purpose.

6. Square-Shaped Storage Containers

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Circular objects are a space-saver’s nightmare. These square-based storage containers, however, come in all sizes and stack up neatly in your pantry or fridge. Very important if your fridge is particularly tiny!

7. Collapsible Silicone Measuring Cups and Spoons

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I have these in my own kitchen and I love them. I can store four measuring cups on their sides in my drawer in about 2 inches of space. They’re easy to clean too. There are all sorts of other gadgets that collapse as well – colanders, washing buckets, top hats, and more. Okay, so no one really needs a collapsible top hat in their kitchen.

(Note: it appears that the cups pictured above are discontinued, so the link will take you to a similar item you can buy from Amazon.)

8. Adjustable Measuring Spoons

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I personally like having multiple measuring cups and spoons if I’m measuring several ingredients at once. But if you think having too many gadgets is a hassle, this adjustable measuring spoon could be just the thing for you. Three of these can take the place of eight or nine measuring cups and spoons, which means more space saved in your kitchen drawers.

9. Wire Under-Shelf Baskets

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In your kitchen cabinets, there’s often a lot of unused space hovering above your stacked dishes and mugs. Put it to good use and avoid precariously-stacked cups, plates, and bowls with an under-shelf basket. You can find these at the Container Store and other organization specialty stores.

10. Magnetic Spice Containers

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These are the best. You can decant your spices into these magnetic tins, and eliminate the mismatched jumble of spice jars cluttering up your pantry. The transparent lids also show you when it’s time to buy more turmeric or tarragon. Line these up on the front of your tiny fridge to put some otherwise unused space to work!

Your Turn!

  • What are some of your favorite space-saving kitchen gadgets?
  • What’s the one kitchen essential that you can’t live without?
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