I Want a Tiny House!

Tiny House

This is the 117 SF Weebee by Tumbleweed Tiny Houses that I’m looking to possibly build.

Lately, I have been drooling over the idea of building myself a Tiny House. It may seem like a stretch for a guy who talks constantly about old houses to want to build a new one, but a Tiny House has plenty in common with a historic home.

I’ve been talking with Alex Pino at Tiny House Talk to pick his brain about Tiny Houses. I’ll be posting an interview I did with him in the next couple weeks too! Even my friends at Historic Shed added small cottages to their offerings this year too. It seems like the trend is continuing to grow.

My wife and I just finished turning our detached garage into a mother-in-law suite and it really got me thinking about Small and Tiny Houses. Our new guest house is about 400 square feet, and it has inspired me to push forward toward building a Tiny House on wheels for my wife and I. Of course, convincing her might require a little work. So, I’ve been putting together a list of reasons I want a Tiny House. Tell me what you think!

1. They’re Green

A smaller house is a greener house. A Tiny House requires less material to build, less energy to operate and less work to maintain. Saving all those building materials from those rooms we rarely use like the formal living and dining rooms makes good economic and ecological sense. Not to mention the fact we won’t have to heat or cool those rooms all year long. There’s even a company called Tiny Texas Houses that builds every bit of their houses with salvaged materials!

2. They’re Portable

Why waste the money on a timeshare when we can have a small, portable vacation home that we can bring with us anywhere we want. And we won’t have to stay in one place on vacation. We can tour the country in our Tiny House. It’s as portable as an RV, but with such nicer accommodations and style. It’s like the Rolls-Royce of the RV world!

Tiny House Interior

3. They’re Affordable

If you’re tired of renting, but can’t afford the massive expense of buying a house why not build your own Tiny House? Companies like Tumbleweed offer blueprints and materials lists to build your own house for under $50k. A Tiny House makes homeownership not only within reach but homeownership without a mortgage very possible. I definitely like that!

4. They’re Well Built

If we built a home with a smaller footprint we could afford better materials. High end finishes like hardwood floors, stone tile, or whatever else we want. $20 a square foot tile can’t hurt our budget too much when the bathroom is only 10 SF. Plus, since it’s a portable Tiny House it has to built to withstand hurricane conditions to be trailered at highway speeds. I know my wife will appreciate the finer materials. She has a knack for finding the most expensive options, usually without even knowing or trying.

5. They’ll Help You Declutter

Let’s face it, you can’t have clutter if you live in a Tiny House. There is no room for it and that can be a good thing. We’d have to decide what we really and truly need in our home and the rest will have to go. Maybe to a storage unit if it’s important enough to save but not necessary for everyday use. Life will be simplified down to what really matters. It would probably be a hard withdrawal period, but in the end I think it would be better for us since happiness really isn’t found in our “stuff.”

6. They’re Cool

I admit it. I drank the Kool-Aid. I really do think they’re cool! Maybe it’s the little boy in me still, but they feel like a cozy little fort. There has always been something comforting for me about being in a small cozy space (and yes, there is a difference between cozy and claustrophobic). I feel safe and comfortable. And every Tiny House I see makes me want to sit down with a good book and a good beer. My friends at Historic Shed added small cottages to their offerings this year too. It seems like the trend is continuing to grow.

I don’t know if I’ll convince her, but I have to give it my best shot.

Also, check out my other post “Why a Tiny House Should Be Your Next House”

 

Photo: tumbleweedhouses.com

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by Scott Sidler

Scott is the owner of Austin Home Restorations, a company that specializes in renovating and restoring historic homes in Orlando, FL and the creator of The Craftsman Blog. When not working on, teaching about or writing about old houses he spends time fixing up his own old bungalow with his wife Delores and son Charley.

http://www.austinhomerestorations.com

11 comments

  1. little gramma on said:

    Is this something you are wanting just for traveling/weekend retreat type of deal or do you want to change your lifestyle to the tiny/small home life like many of us have already done?

    The biggest obstacle people find with their endeavor is a place to buy/rent to park their little home.

    I don’t know what I could say to convince your wife. Either you love them or you don’t. For me it’s nice having no bills to worry about anymore. I love the cozy feeling a small house gives one and the future financial security I have.

    • For me, I love the idea if scaling back and living a simpler life. Although as my wife and I begin growing our family I don’t know if a tiny house (less than 200 SF) would really be feasible for full time living.
      For now it would have to be a vacation home to get away from the busyness of life. Eventually, I’d like to retire to a small or tiny house. So simple and would help focus on what really matters.

  2. Tall Grandma on said:

    Yes, I built my house [with help from six male friends]. I loved the process and I did about 1/3 of the construction myself. I started by drawing on graft paper, enlarged that to real scale with chalk on the driveway and sat on a chair “in it” on the driveway. I looked around “in it”, moved the chair around “in it” and said, “Yes! But this layout doesn’t work!” Back to graft paper and overlays until I drew what I’m now living in.

    I’m single, female and 66 years young. Yes, I’m up and down the ladder and I move the ladder out of the way in the mornings. I have been living in my house for two years this December 3rd. Changes I would make: I’m 5’10″ so my choice for ceiling height under the loft [7 feet] makes the loft height a bit tight [although I don't read in bed]. However, I think I would go with a 6″10″ height. Dormers in the loft.

    Little Gramma has made several good points. Know that moving one of these is not the same as an RV: first, they drive like a brick, and second, open shelving in my kitchen, desk area and three bookshelves require packing into boxes before moving the house. My house is located on my son’s property and my “rent” is $50/month for electric, water and garbage. [I initiated this arrangement.] Have you experimented with living in the granny unit you have? Or rented an RV for a couple weeks? Try the lifestyle out.

    By your list above you may not have given your wife any “reason” that hits her radar screen. Most tiny houses trend to modern and sleek. Is your present home in this style? Does your wife cook? I have a 3-burner stove with oven, seven drawers and a sink with built-in drainboard. My house base is an 18-foot trailer; for two people I think I would want more length, perhaps 24′. I have an 18″x24″ original oil painting hanging as well as other items in a built-in display, and mini-blinds with curtains at the windows. My interior is painted in three tints of green and with blue cupboards in the kitchen (same value as one of the greens). Does she like to have friends over? Where are you going if it’s just “the girls”.

    Finally, ask your wife to go with you to the Orlando event. Encourage her to design her house WITHOUT your input [ie, leave her alone, design your own across the room]. Then you may have a beginning point for a future in a mobile tiny house, or perhaps a 400 sq ft small house.

    • Tall Grandma, thanks for all the input, that is some great stuff!

      Our current house is a 1929 bungalow an I’d like to stick with the older craftsman like style. I love old houses to much to go too sleek and modern. With a 7′ height below the lift what height ceiling are you left with in the loft?

      I didn’t even think about open shelving being a problem. Maybe some rails or something to hold everything in place when the house moves will be a good idea if we do open shelves.

      And I would definitely be curious to see what she comes up with if she were to design her own tiny house. That is a great idea!

      Thanks again for all the awesome input!

  3. Candice on said:

    I’m a woman and I dove wholeheartedly into tiny houses as soon as I found out about them. I’m into them for the exact same reasons you are; and when it comes to those out there not recommending them for frequent travel, well, that just doesn’t make sense. If you build them right it is as safe as an RV but better built, like you mentioned – there’s your vacation destination! Always wanted a beach house as well as a home with land in the country? Not a millionaire? With a tiny house it’s done and done, and you can pick a different spot at the beach each time instead of be stuck at the same one when you travel. Traveling across the states in a tiny house is a big dream of mine. Living mortgage-free and free of clutter would be amazing. Depending on one’s outlook, it might take a certain kind of woman to live without lots of stuff, but there are plenty that can do so with all the comforts of home and stylishly, to boot, if they are willing to explore their creative side at home and buy resale clothes as one example, or outfits that can be worn several different ways. My husband and I actually visited a tiny house in person, we were so excited, just to make certain we could hack it before we committed to saving up for one. We walked in, and it didn’t seem tiny to us at all (granted, our apartment is just over 400 sq. ft.). It felt blissful, warm, inviting, and with more than enough room to walk around, do the things you need to do, and relax in a special haven of your own (I love lofts so much!). Tiny houses are magical! I wish I knew what I could say to sway your wife, but I agree with what someone else said about the design aspects. If she makes it “hers”, it may be more exciting to her. I am exactly the same in that I almost always point at the most expensive item or material without even knowing it is the most expensive. My husband and I make a game out of this, with prices covered and I point out which I prefer, never fails. Another reason I think tiny homes appeal to me personally is the sense of adventure in being able to take one on wheels anywhere; and I have always liked secret hideaways, passageways, and small spaces, and this appeals to that type of aesthetic, I think. I also love the Craftsman Movement style of homes, I was brought up with parents that adored Frank Lloyd Wright’s style.

    Best wishes!

    • So many great points Candice! Thanks for the woman’s point of view. :)

  4. Tina on said:

    I just got back from the tiny house weekend… were you there? I was the one from Utah who brought her whole family across the states… to do the tiny house weekend.

    • I was indeed there! It was inspiring wasn’t it? After the workshop it seems very attainable. Are you building soon?

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