Posts Tagged Family

Tiny Houses For Families

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:


Your Turn!

  • What do you think about raising children in a Tiny House?

City Cottage, Finland Style!

This was sent in from a reader, thanks Luke!, it is a small cottage designed for a family of four.  So it is a bit larger than normally covered by this blog, but considering the number of occupants, it is still Tiny. Here is how they describe it:

This compact home design measures just 14m2, but it comfortably accommodates a family of four with everything you want and need to enjoy the simpler things in life. Just two kilometers from their family house and the daily grind, this mini cabin is surrounded by nature, enjoyed through massive windows on every wall. And because the footprint is small, that means minimal environmental impact in terms of construction and energy use. In fact, this passive solar home can operate on sun alone! And because it’s just a stone’s throw from their everyday house, this sweet retreat also eliminates that hours-long, gas-guzzling commute to “cottage country.”


Is It Ethical To Raise A Child In A Tiny House?

So one of the most frequent questions I get about Tiny Houses is: “what if I have a family?”  It is a good question.  To paraphrase Jay Schaffer, “it’s not the size of the house that matters, it is the size in relation to the number of people living in it.”

But this question always bring to mind a question for me

Is it ethical to raise children in such small spaces?

Now I would love to hear you all weigh in on this in the comments section, so please, share your thoughts, I love discussion!  But here is my take on it all, it might not be right, so take it with a grain of salt.  It is also important to know, as a matter of full disclosure, I don’t have kids, nor do I plan on having any.

Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

I personally think that the raising of a child is successful when the child is loved, is socialized properly, is taught life skills and intellectual ones.   This combined with consistency, safety, room to be a kid and financial resources are also very important.  I feel that as a young child, living in a 400-500 square foot home would be excellent so long as there is a safe place to play outside.

As a child my mother almost never let us watch TV, we didn’t have video games or a computer and if it wasn’t raining outside, out we went.  Luckily we lived on a decent lot in a small town in New Hampshire.  My mother would always dress me in a bright red jacket, which happened to be my favorite color (here I was thinking she encouraged it because I loved red), and I would make forts, climb trees, jump on the trampoline.  In the winter it was snowmen, snow caves and munching on icicles.  I couldn’t imagine having anything less for a child of my own.

Family Bedroom

The reason I tell this story is that one of the big appeals to Tiny Living is that it gets you outside and reconnecting with nature.  The outside world becomes your second home.  This rare in our society and it is to our downfall, in my opinion.

There are two instances where I think that a Tiny House might not be all that ethical or good for the child.  These two, privacy/boundaries and evaluation of social services, really concern me.  As a child gets older she/he needs their own space, they need their own privacy, a dedicated space solely to them is important in my mind.  It also builds in responsibility for keeping up one’s own space, cleaning, folding, how to make a bed, personalization, and a place for solitude when needed.

The final issue that I think that is a huge issue and this has yet to be tested in the real world is how a representative of social services / child protective services would view a child living in such a small space.  It is often the case that Tiny Houses are not legal, that they in fact by definition (however  deeply flawed) is not a habitable space and would be condemned.

I fear that a child would be removed from the home and the custody of the parents.  That the Tiny House would be boarded up, the parents might be charged with neglect.  It is simply a parents worst nightmare, to have their children taken from them because they are labeled bad parents.

What do you think?

What would social services think?

Is it ethical to raise a child in a Tiny House?

Family Living Tiny

dad and son

Though he is still crawling, 9-month-old Thurston Conder takes about 10 seconds to have the run of the house. It’s not that he’s exceptionally fast; he just doesn’t have that far to roam. Thurston shares 380 square feet with his mom and dad, Kelly Breslin and Ryan Conder, and a medium-sized mutt named Charlie.

Lots of young families start out in small houses, just not this small. These parents say it’s their preference, and that the small space hasn’t cramped their style. It’s arranged for maximum efficiency, but it still looks comfortable and fashionably decorated. Conder, 35, owner of the men’s clothing store South Willard, and Breslin, 32, a ceramic artist, have given it a distinct personality: Quadruple their living quarters and it would look like a downtown artist’s loft with a carefully edited selection of contemporary art and Midcentury Danish and Italian design.
from kitchen
“Everyone who comes over says, ‘Wow, it’s so cute,’ but I know they are thinking, ‘Wow, it’s so small,’ ” Breslin says.

Adds Conder: “Even the guy who comes to fix the sink asked where the bedroom is.”


There isn’t one. Built atop a two-car garage, the 1950s house’s living quarters consist of two rooms — and that’s if you count the bath. There isn’t a designated nursery or even a crib. Along with other parents in their Echo Park circle of friends, Conder and Breslin practice co-sleeping, so Thurston rests with them.

Read more here