I had been doing some writing for another project I have been working on when I started talking about how the form of many tiny houses today have actually been dictated by the use of a trailer. It reminds me about the story how the width of a horse has determined the dimensions of today space shuttle (though this isn’t 100% true), and so it appears this is the case with Tiny Houses too (read about it here).
There are many compelling reasons to have a tiny house on a trailer, I am building my tiny house on one, but it does have it does have some downsides too. For many the need the flexibility of being able to move locations, for others they like the legal gray area a trailered tiny house is, and for me, I like the idea that if code enforcement comes by, I can take a little road trip to a camp ground for a while if I need to.
If you are going to trailer a tiny house, inherently it can only be so wide, so tall and so long. You can certainly take the approach of getting permits to push these dimensions, but generally speaking it is going to be 8.5 feet wide and 13.5 feet tall. This means that inherently a tiny house on a trailer can only be so many square feet. People have tried different tricks to get around this, such as multiple tiny houses, put it on foundation, etc.
So it got me thinking about how the form of the trailer can be limiting on the potential creativity that we bring when building our houses. This then was struck home when I saw Tumbleweed’s new Cypress 20, which looks almost identical to the Fencl from the outside with the exception of it being on a 20′ trailer instead of a 18′. That isn’t to say that I don’t like it, but it was interesting timing.
Then I remember a conversation I had with Macy from Minimotives.com about how I thought there was only a limited number of design options when it comes to trailered tiny homes. Her stance was, being the architect she is, was that was so many options that could be done with a tiny house on trailer. I think it shows the creativity that could be had with the trailer that Macy is building, but the fact remains that the trailer holds us to a certain set of parameters. To add on to this, we also must use the current set of materials on the market and then there are certain features that make a house a home, so when we get down to it, we are somewhat limited.
Many will disagree and part of me disagrees with myself. The success of creativity is taking how we do things and approach it in a way not previously thought. It is taking those materials and re-purposing them in different and unintended ways. It is saying… “what if we” and not being afraid of failure, but seeing it as a learning process.
- Are trailers limiting tiny houses?