Monthly archive for September 2012

Exciting Announcement Coming Next Week!

Hello All!
Coming early next week we are going to have what will be one of the biggest announcements The Tiny Life has ever made, we are excited to share this news with you very soon!  This will bring a whole new level of interesting content to you all and to the Tiny House Community at large.  We encourage you to keep an eye out for the announcement!

[countdown event=”Big News Coming In…” date=”3 October” hour=”8″ minutes=”54″] :

-Ryan Mitchell

Taking Tiny Houses To The Next Level

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.

Your Turn!

What things do think need to happen next for Tiny Houses?



Tiny Houses In The News

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.

New York micro-studios: Living well in 275 square feet

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.

Could You Live in a 120-Square-Foot House?

The story that brought a lot of awareness to living in small spaces is Bloomberg’s vision for 300 square foot apartments.

Bloomberg Proposes 300-Square-Foot ‘Micro’ Apartments

Next up is The Guardian, which is a premier publication in the UK, talked about the interest and benefits of Tiny Houses.

Cabin fever: I want a tiny home

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.

Two Calgarians are quitting their jobs, building a tiny house

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.

Calgary family trades in spacious home for tiny house

Oregon Live talked about living in small spaces and the process of pairing back your possessions to what is most vital and important.

Small, simple house uses ‘Irish vernacular’

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.

‘Tiny Houses’ a Solution to Massive Prices


Your Turn

What is your benchmark for when Tiny Houses have “made it”?

Do you think Tiny Houses are here to stay?


La Casita: Big Dreams, Tiny Spaces

Today we have a guest post written by Andrea Tremols of Charleston Tiny House who talks about their journey to building their very own tiny house:

Cedric and I’s interests in tiny houses began while volunteering on organic farms in Spain back in 2009. We stayed in all manners of small living spaces. From a yurt dwelling on an organic olive orchard overlooking a classic white Andalusian village to a 800 sq. foot apartment we shared with two other volunteers in a remote village bordering the Pais Vasco. These experiences, especially the yurt, increased our interest in the possibility of owning our own small dwelling.

Besides learning horticulture,  we were exposed to an alternative lifestyle that expressed intent on lessening the fossil fuel footprint and reusing resources wisely. This led us to a place dear to our hearts in Belgium called The Bereklauw. Also called ‘The Ideas Factory’, it is a community that strives to reuse material, reduce resource consumption and encourage experimentation concerning energy alternatives, gardening techniques and cultural enrichment. It was the influence of Gosse, the fearless leader of this community, that would later inspire us to create a tiny house with 90% reclaimed building material.

Once back from our trips we went to living community style in Charleston, SC. We lived in multiple bedroom apartments with several other people and tried to re-create the sense of comfort we had found in smaller dwellings. We also began volunteering with Rebecca O’Brian of The Sustainable Warehouse, a deconstruction business with aims to re-sale and re-use material that would otherwise end up in landfills. We helped take down a 19th century southern country store and we were hooked.

When we started designing in Fall 2010 we took painters tape to our bedroom floor and designed what we deemed would be a sufficient space to meet our shelter needs. For Cedric this meant a home with a sizable kitchen and a queen size bed while for me it meant lots of windows and a loft. We began construction Spring 2011 and come the new year we were moved in to “La Casita”. Our goal was to build a structure that was 90% reclaimed making it 100% unique! Every piece of wood has a story. The maple floors downstairs came from a cigar factory and the cypress siding came from a home in Awendaw, SC. Deconstruct to reconstruct is our favorite motto!

We love downsized living. We are outdoors people and La Casita forces us to move beyond it’s walls and be active. From gardening to biking to having a b-b-q with the neighbors, our home defines our lifestyle by pushing us out into our community.

Thanks to a lot of help from our friends we went from this:

To this:

Learn more about their great house at:


Choosing A Hot Water Heater For A Tiny House

Recently I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the best option for hot water heaters for my Tiny House, but I have been back and forth on which way to go.  So I realized, why don’t I see what my readers might know!

Rheem Hot Water Heater

So far I have decided to focus on tankless hot water heaters.  Essentially these hot water heaters don’t hold water like traditional hot water heaters, they rapidly heat the water as it flows through their heat exchangers so you only heat the water you use.  The area I am having trouble with is to go with an electric unit or go with a propane unit.  I don’t like how much power the electric ones use (13 kw/h) if I one day go solar, but the gas units are a lot bigger (not so great in a tiny house) and need to be vented.  I also don’t know how quickly I would burn through a propane tank (I take 10-15 minute showers daily).


Your Turn!

Do you have a tankless hot water heater, how do you like it?

How do you plan to heat your water in your tiny house?

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