Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Monthly archive for June 2009

Effective use of space for a Tiny Kitchen

I love kitchens and I really love to cook, so when it comes to kitchen stuff, I am a sucker for it.  I thought I would share some innovative design ideas for tiny house when it comes to cooking.

I found this today when my copy of Dwell magazine landed on my doorstep.  The unit is made by Henry Built and while its a upscale custom kitchen designer, you could easily come up with your own version on the cheap.

hanging utility rack

hanging utility rack

The really interesting thing about this is that a rail is mounted right beneath the cabinets, flush with the wall, on this rail you can add anything you want, whether it be a cutting board, a picture, etc.  In this photo we see a knife block, cutting/serving board and a low profile colander.  The beauty of this idea is that first it gets things off the counter, it also can be slid from side to side and its it takes traditional large objects and maximizes the space by taking advantage of the smallest dimension.

Ikea has something very similar to this called their ASKER system.  The rail for this system starts a $8 and accessories hang from it start at

asker system

$3.99 and up.  The one I really like is the dish dryer, which folds to be an inch deep.

For those of you who haven’t ever been to an Ikea, I really suggest you do, you can find amazing things that are great for tiny homes, it looks good and they are cheap cheap cheap.

asker dish

Tiny House Village For Student Housing

For those of you who went to college or have ever spent any time on a college campus, you know one thing about college living, ITS SMALL!   Our friends over at Inhabitat lead me to this story of tiny homes hitting the main stream as a college dorm solution.  The houses where installed in Munich Germany were several college students and even a professor will be living permanently.  The homes are roughly 80 square feet and have a strong modern influence.

Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions:micromini2

Originally inspired by traditional Japanese tea houses and the efficiency of the Smart Car, was developed by students in a joint venture between Germany and Japan.  It come fully loaded and is designed to be able to be transported with a large flatbed truck.  Running 50,000 Euros or $70000 US Dollars.  Keep in mind this Unit is decked out with a LCD TV, heating and air, Mattress etc.

To see more of it check out their website.  http://microcompacthome.com/

USB Microwave

While I have my issues when it comes to microwaves, I realize it is a useful tool and that many people, to my dismay, rely on it for cooking most of their meals.  Though there are some things that I just rather cook in a microwave, but they don’t really have a place in tiny houses due to their size and power consumption.  That said, I never realized how much of an energy hog they were.  With models typically residing in the 750-1150 watt rang, they draw more energy than any refrigerator on the market does!

Heinz Snap Pots launches the world’s smallest microwave – the Beanzawave

The Beanzawave, which measures just 7.4 inches tall by 6.2 inches wide and 5.9 inches deep, doesn’t even need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.  The device contains a USB plug to provide its power.

This is great!  Not only is it about the size of a large thermos it also requires next to no power and can be stowed away easily

“Tiny” Is a Creative Solution

The tiny life is indeed a creative solution.  So much fine work is being done by people far too numerous to mention here who have chosen to live more simply in so many ways.tiny-house-inside

So much of life is stuff—stuff we accumulate, stuff we buy, stuff we are given.  Another word for “stuff” is possessions.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with stuff or any of our material possessions.  The trick is developing and then sustaining the discipline to make wise choices about what to retain, what to give away, what to throw away, and then what to buy.

The tiny life in all its dimensions requires necessarily that one look at one’s “stuff”.  What used to fit in a former dwelling is most likely not going to work in a smaller one.  It might indeed become difficult to part with stuff.

Maybe one criteria can be, “Will keeping this possession help further my goals and what I believe my mission in life to be, and help me actualize the talents I was given to develop?”

What do you think though?  Feel free to share your criteria.

Greg Rossi

The difference between a tiny house a mobile home or trailer?

I have thought of this question, what is the difference between living in a tiny house and living in a mobile home/trailer?  It’s hard to put into words but I’ll give it a try.

First off a Tiny house doesn’t need to mobile, they can be built as a traditional slab foundation.  The purpose of having your home on a trailer, is that it allows you to get around many building codes due to the fact that people at city hall scratching their heads saying “its kinda like a trailer”.

Aesthetics:

I feel there is a much larger push for aesthetics than your typical RV, Trailer or mobile home.   The cost per square foot of tiny homes, is often much higher than your standard built homes.  The limited space means you much pain painstakingly maximize every inch.  The use of high quality building materials, meticulous design and some style are a huge departure from the quintessential mobile home.  I would even go a far to say they are often built with these tenant (materials, meticulous design and style) more so than most traditional homes today.  I live in Charlotte, NC which has see and continues to see huge growth.  Thousands of new homes are being built every year and they lack these things.

Philosophy:

A big driving cause for people wanting to live in these homes is because they want to downsize.  They have been buying into the notion that bigger is better for most of their lives and have come to realize, well maybe its not better or maybe it is not for me.  In our world of consumerism, our culture of ownership, we have come to see that materials things are not the most important things in our lives.  While we still  participate in this consumer economy, it is at a much lesser degree. We have changed the focus of importance from things to people, relationships and free time for pursuit of things which hold intrinsic value to us.  The key thing to realize is that we choose to live in a small house because of the lifestyle it affords us.

Environmental Impact:
There is a very strong underlying trend which is associated with living small.  By doing so, you contribute much less in terms of emissions, waste, etc.  A tiny house requires allot less materials to build and can be built of renewable resources.  At present the average construction of a home yields over 4 tons of waste to build.  While you may not be a “hippie” or a card carrying member of Greenpeace, you know that because of you, the earth will be a little bit greener and that’s not a bad thing.  In addition to using less resources, it takes less resources to run and keep up.  When you are heating and cooling a tiny house it takes the same amount of energy as small bedroom.

Efficiency:
Tiny homes are built to generally be a normal house quality, often better.  While many trailer/mobile homes and RV/campers are not.  One thing of note is the insulation, these homes are well insulated and often better than a traditional home.  This results in a greater return on energy spent on heating and cooling.  This is one example, but in general, you see better efficiencies across the board.

Financial:
The financial benefits are astounding, from no mortgage, to less costs of renovations, maintenance and initial building costs, you save allot of money.  The average home price (before the economic downturn) was around $230,000 by conservative estimates!  Tiny homes have been built for as little as $5000, much less than many of us pay in rent or mortgage in a give year.

Time and time again I here the woes of neighbors who are in financial trouble, who were laid off and had no way to pay their mortgage.  I have seen people be slave to their homes, forcing them to get a second job and spend more time away from their families.  Is it worth it?….maybe not.  While being smart with your money and having a budget are concepts that should be used by anyone, you begin to see how its much easier to stay in the black during hard times.

The average person will spend a third of their income over their lives on housing.  Crunching the numbers on the typical home in America, based off the US income average for a single person, we will typically spend $465,000 in our life time. (based off US census 2007 information)   I personally would rather allocate that money to travel, education, hobbies or charity.

DIY and the Renaissance man/woman spirit:

Now this will not apply to all of you, in fact, it may not be any of you, but a large appeal is creating something with your own two hands.  The costs savings are obvious where labor cost of construction often amount to about 40% or more, but its more than that.  In America there many of us whom would be classified as white collar or have specialized trades/skills.

There exists a conflict within me which I find unsettling, that is:  If our way of life were to cease to exist tomorrow, what good am I?  I specialize in human resource consulting, where does that fit into things, if the grocery store ceased to exist, if the power was never going to come back on. While this probably won’t happen, the idea of knowing that I have no real worldly skills (carpentry, metal working, farming) is unsettling.  What is more, these things interest me as hobbies as I like to tinker.

The notion of a Renaissance man, originally from the latin phrase “homo universalis” translating to Man of the world, was a phrase used to describe a person who excels in many areas.  This is something that I feel is missing from modernity and perhaps creates a conflict in our world which focuses on specialization.  Perhaps building a tiny house help address this….but that might be a reach.

Going against the status quo:
The paradigm of what makes you successful, a big house, job, spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog all with white picket fence sounds nice, till you realize its being shoved down your throat.  While you can certainly be happy and seek this life, it isn’t for everyone, infact, I don’t think it is for allot of us.  It is not that they are wrong and we are right, that their plan is flawed or drives some agenda, its that it is what society tells us we want, when we should be the ones who decide what we want.  There are many socialized pressures that tell us what to do, what to buy, how to live, etcetera etcetera.  This doesn’t come out of wanting to be deviant, to get back at something or someone, or to be a rebel, it is being what we want to be.

Ok that was long but it was fun lol comments etc.  are welcome 🙂

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