8.28.2014

TINY HOUSES

Image via shareable.net

Have you heard of the tiny-house movement? It's something I've seen picking up speed among the home design world in the last couple years, and in the past couple months I've noticed it's cracking its way into the mainstream more than ever. There are blogs, TV shows and movies dedicated to the building of these homes under 200 square feet, and I find it absolutely fascinating.

Last week, I watched the documentary "TINY" on Netflix. I'd been meaning to watch it, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, for a long time, but finally had an open Sunday evening to get down to it. While it wasn't the greatest doc I'd seen recently (that title goes to Bill Cunningham New York...seriously, watch it. You'll never fall in love with another stranger so easily), I was caught up in the world of these adventurous people willing to let go of "stuff" and live sustainably in homes that are the size of some people's bathrooms.

The doc follows Christopher Smith (also the creator and director of the film) as he builds his own tiny home with no prior construction experience. We also meet a number of people across the country who've been members of the tiny home community for a number of years. Now, some of these people are what Eric so eloquently refers to as "Smell your own farts" people...a little too into themselves...a little almighty...so it can be a little grating to watch, but the movie makes you realize it's not only possible to live in a small space, but it can also be incredibly freeing.

Truthfully, there's a small part of me that  can feel a little inferior living in a smaller home. I look at the homes of friends who live in suburbs, rural areas and subdivisions and feel a little jealous sometimes. They've got huge spaces with flowing floorplans and more storage space that the entire square footage of our house. I wonder, when they come to our simple home, if they think it's too small, too cramped, too difficult to feel comfortable in. I sometimes wonder how we'll manage if and when our family grows, which is why we're adding a little more space on to our home (project's been put on hold until next spring...more on that later) to create more livable space. Our home is just right for us now, and we bought it because it's in an incredible, sought-after location...I've said it a million times before: I love our little home. But it's easy to feel a little inferior when your peers seem to have it all in giant homes larger than the one I grew up in.

But while I watched this movie I grew even happier that we have the home that we do. Our just-under 1,200 square-foot home is more than four times the size of many of the homes I saw featured in "TINY," and we've got a decent (read: dry and finishable) basement and an incredible backyard to boot. Our small home costs less to heat (we don't have air conditioning), is super fast to clean and keeps us in check when it comes to collecting "stuff" (lately I've had to forego bringing home some pretty awesome pieces of furniture because we literally have nowhere else to put anything). It keeps us cozy and close when we're hanging out, but gives us enough "separate" space when Eric's watching pro football in the basement on Sundays while I'm getting my Sam-and-Diane fix via a mini-marathon of "Cheers" in the living room. We're never too far away from one another, while still having enough space where we're not stumbling all over each other.

The tiny-house movement has kind of woken me up and made me realize we don't need a ton of "stuff." We don't need extra rooms that we'll never even use and we don't need a big, newly-built home to be happy. We can walk to the lake in two minutes flat, we've got an amazing little market three doors down from our own and we can walk to more than a dozen bars and restaurants within a one-mile radius. We live on a beautiful block in an incredible neighborhood and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I'm not coming down on big houses, I'm just realizing that, for us, having a small home works.

Have you heard of the tiny-house movement? What kind of space do you live in? I'm always curious to learn how other people use the space they live in...if they ever feel like making a purge and getting rid of their excess stuff in order to live a little more simply. There's nothing wrong with having a big house, but I think it's so interesting to see this movement reaching more people and rewiring them to think just how much space they really need to live comfortably.





4 comments:

  1. I totally dig the tiny house movement. We're house-hunting right now and it looks like we'll wind up in a small (but not tiny - I've got to have a guest bedroom) place, so tiny house sites are great for inspiration. I am perfectly content to live in a small house as long is it's a small house where I want to be.

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