So a while back I did a overhaul of the website for The Tiny Life and gradually I am starting to build out the content in the various sections. It has been a bit slow going because in addition to blogging for you all, I am building my house, plus hiring our first staff person (more to come soon).
I got to the section of my website where I wanted to catalog the most Frequently Asked Questions about Tiny Houses and Tiny Living. I took a stab at it, but then it occurred to me that my awesome readers would have some good ideas for questions and answers.
What are some questions that you think most people just discovering Tiny Houses want to know or should know?
Questions can also be around simple living, off the grid living, sustainable housing, etc.
Over the years I received a lot of comments and emails saying that Tiny Houses aren’t practical, “how am I supposed to fit my whole family in 150 square feet”, etc. At this point I should disclose that I do have a bias to Tiny Houses for one or two people as I am currently not married and have no children. However, to understand this I would point out that Tiny Houses have no definition. They don’t have a dictated size, form, shape, color, etc. What does this mean? A Tiny House is what you want it to be; it is this flexibility that draws people to us, that opens doors and minds to what could be.
The answer is that the Tiny Houses that are 100-200 square feet aren’t designed for families. A Tiny House for a family might be 1,000 square feet, but it isn’t about the number, it is more a factor using space efficiently and reasonably to suit your life style needs. I always tell people to consider the square footage per person living there, if they are insistent about the number.
The truth is, that Tiny Houses of 100-200 square feet isn’t a magical number, that has been divined by some deep insight or other means. In fact the size of the trailer often dictates the size of the house, so in a way, it’s quite arbitrary. To this point, Tiny Houses don’t have to be built on a trailer either, because there is no true definition of Tiny Houses.
Today even the definition of a family is being challenged, it is no longer the traditional family unit that is being considered a family. Couple that with the fact that Tiny House is whatever you want it to be and we begin to see that the Tiny House Movement as a very flexible thing that morphs to your needs, not what someone else tells you it needs to be.
Some Families in Tiny House Links:
- What do you think about raising children in a Tiny House?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I am building a Tiny House! One thing I have been doing as part of my planning is a lot of research. Part of that was to talk to a lot of people about their experiences and I found it very helpful. So I thought I’d see if I could find other people that are building their own Tiny House that are either within a month of starting to build or just started themselves.
The idea would that as we work on our own houses, I think it would be great to do a google hang out with a group of these people every now and then to kick around ideas, share challenges, offer solutions and Etc. We could help each other out with helpful advice and how we decided to do things.
So I figure I’d put a call, do you all know any Tiny House bloggers just starting out? Are you just starting out? Let me know!
Are you about to build or just started to build your own Tiny House?
Do you know other people that are just starting the process?
Are there other Tiny House blogger you know that just started?
There has been some discussion on our site about Tiny Houses whether or not Tiny House have “arrived”. I personally think we are there or close enough, but certainly we will keep on growing. It got me thinking, if there were a few things that I’d like to see in the coming years, what would they be? Here are the top five things I think would take Tiny Houses to the next level.
1. Tiny House Lending
I think this is pretty self-explanatory; Tiny Houses face many barriers to getting capital to build their Tiny House. While I am generally against having debt, Tiny Houses often are about the cost of rent for 3 years if you build it yourself, but most don’t have the money all at once. I’d love to see a 3 and 5 year mortgage option for Tiny Houses. I wrote more on this here
2. Tiny House insurance Co-Op
I firmly believe that there is a need for a nonprofit insurance company, that doesn’t have shareholders. The idea that profits should be generated above paying staff and direct costs to the provider is something I take issue with. So let’s have a nonprofit cooperative insurance group that specifically ties into the tiny house community. I think much of the success of this will hinge on getting enough people involved and the establishment of plain language building code. More here
3. Accessible Tiny House Building Code
What if building codes were written in plain English? What if building codes made special provisions for Tiny Houses? I have struggled with this one; do we want to bring in a formal building code? It is a tough call. I think in order to establish safety standards and open a dialogue with municipalities this is something that will inevitably come, so it might be better if we write the code instead of someone else calling the shots for us.
4. Tiny House Land & Communities
I would that getting land might be one of the largest barriers to Tiny Houses, to put it simply, land is really expensive unless you want to live in rural areas. I’d love to see some land open up that is near a city and is opened up to Tiny House folks for a small yearly fee. I have kicked around the idea of purchasing land and opening it to those who want to bring their Tiny House. I’d charge a reasonable fee; I just need to figure out how to arrange it legally so I can protect myself from liability and squatters.
5. Tiny House Convergence
I would love to see a mass gathering of Tiny Houses and Tiny House people. I often refer to our community of Tiny Houses people and I think an event like this would bring our close knit community even closer, generate a lot of discussion and make strides in progressing the Tiny House cause. I would love to see it held where we could make a big splash media wise; just imagine a swarm of Tiny Houses converging on the National Mall in Washington DC one weekend! The trouble is that we are spread out over a good distance so everyone would have to travel a good distance.
What things do think need to happen next for Tiny Houses?
Recently Tiny Houses have been getting some BIG press. A few of the stories are reacting to Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to have a whole new class of tiny apartments to meet the cities’ growing need for more apartments for young single people. Does this signal the arrival of Tiny Houses? So today here is a quick round up of Tiny Houses in the news.
First off, in an act of shameless self promotion, here is the coverage the LA Times did on me and a few other tiny house folks.
Next up, our good friend Deek of Humble Homes and Simple Shacks was featured in US News which was a great article and brought a lot of attention to the Tiny House Movement.
The story that brought a lot of awareness to living in small spaces is Bloomberg’s vision for 300 square foot apartments.
Next up is The Guardian, which is a premier publication in the UK, talked about the interest and benefits of Tiny Houses.
Looks like the Tiny House Movement is crossing boarders to Canada where one couple is building their Tiny House to escape the rat race. Check out the coverage in the Canadian National Post.
Here is another article on the same couple above, but this time has a great video of the tour. Also interesting was the poll they did, I was surprised at how many people would consider actually doing this.
Oregon Live talked about living in small spaces and the process of pairing back your possessions to what is most vital and important.
The last one I will do for this round up is from The Epoch Times, which covers a new tiny house that has been built.
What is your benchmark for when Tiny Houses have “made it”?
Do you think Tiny Houses are here to stay?