A few years ago I started hearing this term “tiny homes” on HGTV, DIYNetwork and even mainstream publications like the New York Times. Since then, the tiny home movement has taken over and I can officially declare that it’s no longer a trend and here to stay.
What exactly is a tiny home?
Traditionally, they range anywhere from 150-250 square feet in size. To give you a sense of scale, the average garage is roughly 400 square feet. For fun, stand in the middle of a 2-car garage and split it in half. Now imagine living, sleeping, bathing, cooking, etc. in that space. Now you understand why the two pillars of the tiny home movement are the extreme utilization of space and de-cluttering. A tiny home can either be affixed to a foundation or more of a recreation-type trailer. While a mobile home might be your first vision of a tiny home, the fact that it is neither easily mobile nor attached to a foundation places it outside of the tiny home classification.
Surprisingly, the layout is much like a regular-sized apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, living area, and kitchen–only on a much smaller scale. To maximize space, the bedroom is often situated in a loft area allowing for a full-sized bed and the ability to place the bathroom and mechanicals (water heater, electrical panel, etc.) under the bedroom area where doors and walls will be needed for privacy.
Kitchens are fully functional with appliances usually used in the RV or boating market. Stoves are often heated using a specialized gas that does not require the same venting requirements of natural gas.
The bathrooms are also fully functioning, mini versions of a normal bathroom. That’s not to say it won’t be cramped. And definitely only a one occupant space. But honestly, even in regular-sized homes, I’m seeing the days of giant master bathroom is done— people would rather use that space in the common areas.
Common areas is where the space utilization rally pays off. No matter how much decluttering you were to do, we still have stuff. We’re not a nomadic tribe roaming the Plaines for goodness sake. That’s not to say that we all can’t find a whole bunch of “stuff” that we might use 1-2 times per year to get rid of. In a tiny home your “stuff” becomes a challenge rather than a burden. Take a look around your living room for a second and try to find all the hidden spaces— between the sofa and the wall, above the door, under the coffee table, under the sofa, on the walls. If you really look around, I think you’d be amazed exactly how much space you can find to put stuff. I fully admit that paring down life via the forced removal of “stuff” sounds at times like a wonderful thought; the idea that our stuff ends of owning us is valid and I believe often a source of stress in our lives. That said, the romantic clutter-free life would grow tiresome at about the 72nd hour, and the pursuit of happiness through isolation from the other people occupying the same 250 sq ft would be mission critical. When you get a free moment, read this hilarious open letter someone wrote to tiny home owners. And take a look at the video below for a walkthrough of a great example of a tiny home.Happy housing from your favorite Realtor.