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Tiny Houses Just a Big Trend? (And Where You Come In)

As you already know tiny houses are big trend right now. And it seems to be growing more and more, doesn’t it? We’re constantly seeing tiny homes on national television, big name websites like Yahoo!, and people are talking about them everywhere. But is it really just a trend or is it an ever-growing movement towards a better way of life?

Why Tiny Houses Are So Popular

Why? I think it’s because tiny houses represent an inspiring kind of freedom that’s ultra-simplified. We thought we needed so much more until we looked at a tiny house, right? That’s what happened to me! A beautifully designed and built tiny home gets us to question it all, don’t you think?

Tiny Housing – Here to Stay or Gone Tomorrow?

But are tiny houses just a trend or are they here to stay? And will the idea grow even more? I’ve been writing about and sharing tiny homes and simple living ideas almost every day since 2009 when I only had 3 readers. Right now some people who have been following the movement for several years are angry and even afraid because the idea has become so popular. They’re afraid that this will mean tiny houses will only be available for the rich. That they won’t be affordable.

The Future of Tiny Living (And Affordability)

I think that’s nonsense. For me, the opposite is true. And I hope it is for you too. The growing popularity makes me excited and hopeful because it means that we are closer to a place where the majority of people actually accept tiny homes as homes which means there will be more of them available and prices for them will actually come down.

Image © Nicolás Boullosa

Image © Nicolás Boullosa

Tiny House Living Options

When that happens we’ll have more options for tiny living. More communities to live in them. More builders to build them. More plans to work with. More options for living humbly. I’m not afraid. I’m excited. And I think you should be too.

Are Tiny Houses Only a Trend?

Some people are saying things like, “tiny houses are only a trend.” I don’t think tiny houses are a temporary trend. Tiny houses are homes. The ‘trend’ for smaller and more affordable housing isn’t going away. It’s just beginning to arrive.

Are Tiny Houses the Only Way to Live Simply?

Are tiny houses for everyone? No! If you live in a tiny house right now are you supposed to live in one forever? No! But if you want to, you can. Tiny homes might only be for a particular stage in your life. It may or may not be the last house you live in. It depends on where you’re at and where you want to go with your life, right?

Is Tiny Living Even For You?

The important thing is that you listen to yourself. That you analyze your own needs. That you make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones. Whether these decisions are to go tiny or not doesn’t really matter.

Listen to yourself. Don’t ‘go tiny’ just because someone else is. Do it because it’s the right thing to do for you and your family. And if it isn’t, don’t. The right time will come. Or maybe it won’t? Maybe you already have the perfect home and you should stop distracting yourself by gawking at tiny houses and put your focus elsewhere!

Side Effects of the Tiny House Movement

The current incredible popularity of tiny houses will have some seriously awesome side effects over the coming years in my opinion. It might not mean tiny house communities everywhere. But here’s what I think will happen…

More Tiny House Communities

First of all, more actual tiny house communities will exist. In addition, tiny house designs will inspire many developers to design and build homes that are smaller, smarter, more affordable, and more efficient because people are demanding it. It just takes a while for real estate to supply these demands. Houses aren’t built overnight, right, so we have to be patient.

Other Ways to Live Small (Or Tiny)

Finally, many people will realize that there are other ways to enjoy the benefits of tiny living without actually building a tiny house on a trailer. People are moving into and even renovating older and smaller apartments and homes. What if the perfect option for a simple life has been in front of you all this time in the form of an apartment, older home, or even a travel trailer? I believe we’ll also see real estate developers (and flippers) buying, renovating, and selling tiny and small properties for profit. Others who are handy and willing will do it themselves to save money.

Getting to Freedom With or Without a Tiny House

The real message here is to wake up and begin to take control of your life when you feel called to. To simplify your life so you can enjoy it more. To slowly but surely get rid of whatever is holding you back and no longer serving you. Whether these are beliefs, belongings, relationships, debt, or just thoughts that you need to get rid of. Start to simplify. And keep going. It isn’t just your stuff. It isn’t just your house. It’s even more about your thoughts, beliefs, and outlook on life.

What Else You Can Simplify Besides Your Stuff

Yes. Simplify not just your stuff but your thoughts. Your beliefs. Your outlook on the universe. Analyze your daily thoughts and beliefs. Are they serving you? If not, how can you make some changes that will benefit you right now? That’s where the power is that’s going to take you where you really need to go (whether it’s tiny or not).

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 247 comments… add one }
  • Terry February 3, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Love tiny houses. It is the way of the future.

  • Sue Gann February 3, 2015, 12:08 pm

    My husband and I sold our 1400 sq.ft house a year and a half ago and bought a 40ft RV. We had to get rid of alot of “stuff” It was hard at the time, but now I can’t even remember what I got rid of. We are so happy in ths RV, just enough room for me, him and the dog. Low expenses, no taxes, no yard upkeep…..we love it !!!! We have about 400 sq ft. It’s not for everyone, but we are happy. It’s very liberating to downsize

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:23 pm

      Glad you two are enjoying it! Sounds fun 🙂

    • Linda February 3, 2015, 5:30 pm

      This is great! Do you park your RV permanently? Or do you travel constantly? Or do you have some land on which you live in your RV? Or do you use the BLM camping facilities? In other words, how do you live in your RV?

      • Lynnette February 7, 2015, 1:17 am

        Yes, please tell us your situation. These tiny houses being built are way out of my price range to “downsize”. We own a rental right now on two lots that is a great small house around 900 sq feet completely re modeled and the payment including taxes and insurance are under $400 a month.

      • Kathleen February 25, 2015, 10:13 pm

        Here’s the missing link for me. How does one acquire the land on which to “park” the tiny house? I don’t have the funds to purchase land. + I am not aware that in my neck of the woods there are the hip, tiny house communities. In fact, I know there is not.

        I can see living in a cool, well custom designed hobo a go-go schtick. Although, my lifestyle is more permanent. I won’t be toolin’ around in my house. So, what to do?

        Certainly I can’t be the only one with this concern. Ideas????

        • Lisa E. February 26, 2015, 12:17 am

          You are certainly not alone with this concern. This has been my concern all along and I’ve been harping on it for a couple of years now.

          When I first joined the THM (Tiny House Movement,) there were just a handful of us interested in tiny housing. Now, only a couple of years later, our numbers have grown many fold over; it’s truly amazing how this is picking up traction. This means that more and more people will become available to deal with the problem of where to put our tiny homes.

          One suggestion is that there be a registry where people can put their name and contact info and possibly get together with others, pool their resources and purchase a larger parcel of land and each person then owns a portion of the whole; or whatever that micro group decides on.

          I think Alex has a THPark that used to be advertised here, but I’m assuming it got filled up and applications to it are now closed. Maybe he will start another one somewhere else in another state.

          Part of the problem is that different people want different things. Some want a parking place that allows for utility hookups, children, or pets, or community gardens, or shared laundry, while others want just a place to park and live off grid with no shared anythings, no kids and no pets. Finding enough people of a like mind, at this juncture, is a bit tricky. But I say, give it a couple more years and you will be able to find those who have the same tiny house world view that you do.

          Another problem is that the THM is the new kid on the block. Therefore, the McMansion people have gotten into all of the City Council’s and other organizations (Chamber of Commerce) that control the zoning laws and are doing their level best to keep the THM from gaining any traction.

          Dee Williams is one of the pioneers of the THM and she had to jump tall buildings at a single bound to get a special variance that would allow her to park her TH in a backyard. She got the variance, but it is with the proviso that another one will “never” be issued. It is this type of (corporate) monopolization of zoning and code laws that are going to have to be dealt with head on by enough of us so the public knows the THM is here to stay.

          But in the short term, I’d suggest trying to hook up with someone who will split the expense of a parcel with you. I recently saw two parcels in the Pacific Northwest for only eight thousand a piece. I’m not in a position to go and check this out right now (I have my mother with me,) but after I sell this house, I should have the ability to travel out of Florida looking for a piece of land that will meet my needs. If I find something big enough, I will advertise for others who need a place to park and live in peace.

          Don’t just sit and be a victim; get creative. What can you do to further the THM while at the same time meeting your needs. Be a leader. Don’t just look for others to solve all the problems (lol, there are enough problems to go around.) Our strength is in getting together with others and putting principles before personalities and getting the job done. No situation will be perfect; life is life. But if we stay together and stay focused, I’m quite convinced we can get there. 😉

    • Lynnette February 11, 2015, 9:33 pm

      Hi. Do you travel with your RV or is is just planted some where. Rvs are very inticing, howeverI dont want to live in an RV park.

  • liz n. February 3, 2015, 12:13 pm

    A trend, yes; a fad, no. I think this is a trend that will become a realistic option for many people, and will also influence the housing industry overall. What I see is that people are no longer enamored by large homes that are more expensive (in both time, maintenance, and dollars) to live in…especially when larger homes aren’t all that well-designed for actual living. I see the tiny home movement being part of a trend to smaller house living overall.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Good point Liz thanks!

    • Robyn February 3, 2015, 12:29 pm

      Agree with Liz that it’s a trend, not a fad. Trends cycle though human expression. Fads…well… Pet Rock, anyone? Although a pet rock might be great in a tiny home.
      I lived part time in a bread truck while working Renaissance Fairs. And seeing music.
      I’ve lived in 400 SF apartments, and rented smaller rooms.
      The largest I’ve lived is just less than 800 SF, and that was with a husband and teen child.
      Small versus tiny is indeed a life phase. And it comes around again. Like a trend. See how wise Liz is?

      I’m outfitting a van, smaller than the bread truck because I was always too intimidated to drive the Step Van.
      It will likely be home for at least a year, and likely I’ll only rent a room after that, returning to the van as wanted, not needed, wanted.
      But I’m living urban/suburban for now.
      Once I retire, some small piece of land where the codes are fewer and the air fresher, may call my name.
      Then I’ll build. Maybe 400 SF, between two buildings. I like company. I also like privacy.

      All the trailer built branded homes seem like overdone RVs. They look of the vardo, but cost of the condo.
      Small extends to upfront and contining costs, for me. And a lack of debt.
      As someone who selected helping professions that pay abysmally, without my own take on small to tiny, I’d be in a run down apartment for life.
      I’m not married, let aloe to a big earner.

      Small is independence, if you can afford the ticket.

      • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Thanks for sharing Robyn! Would love to see your van sometime too. Best wishes!

    • Linda February 3, 2015, 5:35 pm

      I agree. And if the trend holds and becomes bigger, I can see it impacting the real estate market. I’m hoping it will get big enough to impact city planning and zoning officials to modernize their archaic coding so that if you build a tiny house, you can actually park it somewhere. I know someone who build a tiny home and then found out it couldn’t be parked so the home has been parked on a farmer’s land for 3 years now… vacant. And another couple who have to travel with their tiny home all the time because they can’t find a place to park it permanently either. Neither of these people want to live in a tiny house community and I guess the places that DO allow tiny homes are not to their liking. Who knows? But I see parking a tiny home as a real problem today. That should be changed. These people are not a pariah. They are only trying to live without being cheated of their life savings.

  • Karin February 3, 2015, 12:14 pm

    Tiny house movement fascinates me. But I often wonder why people build a tiny house when great year round RVs are available. What happens in a tiny house when a resident becomes I’ll or simply grows old. A more traditional RV bedroom set up caters to both of those concerns. There are even RVs with bunk rooms for kids, guests, or dual function sleep and work space as needed.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Great point! Sometimes I wonder if companies in the RV industry will mesh with Tiny Houses for those reasons. Because I agree, many RVs are very well thought out. It’s just the quality that’s sometimes missing.

    • Robyn February 3, 2015, 12:32 pm

      Yet, for some of us, a tiny home and rv, or conversion van, might be one and the same. I can see using the bones of an RV to make a tiny home if one isn’t a skilled builder.

    • Karen R February 3, 2015, 12:54 pm

      I wrote something previously that compared RVs and tiny houses. As a former full time RVer, I love RVs, but my tiny house is built better and will last longer than many regular homes (it is engineered to withstand up to 130 mph winds). I expect it to appreciate in value.

      People seem to think all tiny house owners climb ladders to sleep in loft bedrooms, but we have a main level bedroom plus an additional half bath, all in slightly more than 400 square feet in addition to our storage/guest sleeping loft. ALL TINY HOMES AREN’T MICRO HOMES. People who tour ours often remark that they would like one because the space isn’t cramped and we kept many of our things. Too many of them think all tiny homes are miniscule.

      I agree that the super small tiny houses will ultimately become too small for families with children (my opinion is based on families I knew that RVed full time for extended periods with their kids), but I think the 300+ square foot homes, particularly those with hinged roofs that convert loft spaces to normal height, are a viable option for families.

      I prefer a Tiny Home for stationary living and an RV for traveling. Micro or a “huge” 500 square feet, each home fits a purpose. My main concern is the lack of communities for full time placement. RV parks are available for small homes, but often are expensive. Off the grid is not practical – or desirable – for all.

      Most of us need to rent or purchase little lots in planned communities or mobile home parks. Tiny Homes are the future for environmentally and economically responsible individuals and families.

    • Linda February 3, 2015, 5:40 pm

      I think people prefer tiny homes over RVs because tiny homes are well build and personal, whereas RVs are flimsy and impersonal. Somehow we’ve got the people who live in RVs are “trailer trash” (undeservedly)whereas people in tiny houses are up and coming… the new frugal, earth saving, sustainably modern generation.

  • Kris Polson February 3, 2015, 12:15 pm

    I find the whole tiny house movement fascinating and fabulous. Especially in the US we need to learn to live in and with less. I got interested when I was thinking about getting out of debt but still have a home to live in while we retooled and rebooted our financial lives. We are looking to move to a more rural area and have some land, and at some point build a permanent house on, but in the mean time we can be living on that land, growing crops, setting up systems that will be in use for years to come, all while we save up money and materials to build our home (which will not be big by usual standards). Thank you for all of the info you have available on this site!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Thanks Kris!

    • bobby February 3, 2015, 2:14 pm

      more than 75percent of the world live in smaller homes than most Americans therefore there must be some wisdom in living in smaller homes.

  • Brian Krebs February 3, 2015, 12:15 pm

    I am building a tiny home just for me, I don’t think the family’s that move in are going to last, Its terrible to see little kids having to live in one..seeing children with their heads bent over walking in lofts, its what some of us want to live a simple life and other people are spending $30,000 on building one to so called getting out of debt, but at the same time they owe for their tiny homes..I see that there will be a large amount of tiny homes up for sale this year cause people didn’t realize it wasn’t for them

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:27 pm

      Thanks Brian! And yes. It must be quite a challenge to live tiny (not small) as a family. But people are doing it. It’s definitely not something I recommend for most. But the benefits can be worth it for some who are willing to go through it. And for a few people out there it works great. For others, it just doesn’t.

      • Brian February 4, 2015, 3:40 pm

        Its time I fessed up. I don’t really like tiny houses on wheels, but I love Small houses and Motor homes. Tiny Houses on wheels have a place when land is not available but a family living in one is a big ask. I would recommend people hire one for a couple of weeks before committing to building one as they are not for everyone. I love these pages and I thank Alex for his wonderful imagination and tolerance. Thanks once again for sharing everyone. Cheers from Australia.

        • Lynnette February 5, 2015, 2:06 am

          personally, I do have to agree with this about children and tiny homes. I saw the tiny home show last week, and they had little children and a very, very small home that they had built. They lived in a place that did not have a lot of warm climante where the children could play outside. Maybe when they are small, it would be fun to run around in the loft, however when they get older I could see where this would get more difficult as they grew.

  • Mike February 3, 2015, 12:17 pm

    I think people like the idea of a small home more than the reality. People constantly talk about simplifying their lives in one facebook post and then post some new item they want to buy in the next. Most people do not change their behavior until they are forced to. I hope people choose to simplify their lives and make small homes or just smaller living a part of it.

    • Karen R February 3, 2015, 5:05 pm

      I think it works better when the change isn’t drastic, such as going from a large house to a micro house, from bedrooms and baths to a loft and wet bath and/or composting toilet, from an expansive kitchen to a hot plate, from nice furniture to a single bench, from many beautiful things to virtually nothing. There is a middle ground.

      • Heather February 7, 2015, 6:37 pm

        Karen,
        I agree with you that not everyone can do such a drastic change. If someone is considering living in such a tiny home then they should start “practicing” living tiny in their current situation. Instead of using the stove, use the hotplate(or whatever), try to live in only one(or two) room(s) that equate to the size of what the tiny home will be, start paring down the material items each day and so on. That is what my husband and I did. We went from 1200+sq ft to 130sq ft but before we did, we started to do all the things I mentioned (but didn’t try doing much more than that). It’s def not easy for 2 people to adjust to living so small but we def don’t regret our choice. It is exactly what we wanted, because we know ourselves really well and seriously did plenty of research before hand.

  • Lebron Burton February 3, 2015, 12:18 pm

    I feel that so much of the trend becoming a permanent way of life has to do with the bottom line. Meaning, will the resale value hold on a tiny home investment of will it fold like owning an RV or manufactured home. I also think that having a home on a foundation makes for a sounder investment, real estate wise that is.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:22 pm

      Another great point, thanks Lebron.

    • Cahow February 3, 2015, 12:51 pm

      I agree, Lebron, with the resale value. Here’s a link to Casey’s article about how he and his wife changed their thoughts from THOW to tiny apartment. https://caseyfriday.com/2015/01/wont-living-tiny-house/#comments

    • Karen R February 3, 2015, 3:04 pm

      RVs and mobile homes deteriorate while a Tiny Home should maintain its structural integrity as well as any “normal” home with routine maintenance (this is per a mobile home repairman who is employed by a major mobile home manufacturer – he was wowed by our place!). I have lived in all three; the difference is obvious.

  • Jose February 3, 2015, 12:19 pm

    I don’t think its a trend but it’s just another living alternative. I know I’ve heard people say ” OMG they’re so cute but I would never live in one too tiny” because of all the new shows about them, they are getting attention and offering people a housing alternative which they probably never knew even existed.
    I do hope that their exposure will have a few courageous developers think about building a tiny house community – that is near large a city not remote areas – and have the zoning laws modified to adapt to them. This will tackle the biggest issue with tiny homes – zoning laws and location aka ” where am I going to put one?” Right now the options are remote land areas and trailer parks – this isolates a HUGE market of people who work and need to be near a big city due to work – I’m in that category

  • Karen R February 3, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Great, comprehensive post! More tiny house communities are needed!!!!!

  • Ed Shsckelford February 3, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Alex..
    Just getting involved in this exciting movement…trendy, absolutely…but, a trend that will continue to gain momentum and eventually be a permanent part of the housing land scape.

    Question on resources. I am planning on building tiny houses on my property in Tennessee and would prefer to have self sufficient solar power for each home. Unfortunately, I know absolutely nothing about how to do this myself. Can you recommend an online solar power course that can go through the process step by step?

    Thanks for any help !!

    Ed Shackelford

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:31 pm

      Good question, Ed, unfortunately I have nowhere to point you to at the moment but I’ll start to look into it. Does anybody else recommend anything?

      • barb February 3, 2015, 7:47 pm

        Ed, a Google search for ‘online solar training’ turned up 118,000,000 hits in 0.38 seconds, including sites from solarenergy.org and solarliving.org, neither of which I know anything about. I’m bookmarking them for my personal investigation later.

    • barb February 3, 2015, 2:37 pm

      Ed, another Tennessean here… I’d flip through Mother Earth News and Countryside magazines, probably Grit also, and see what info you can accumulate re solar.

  • Lori February 3, 2015, 12:27 pm

    Unfortunately, the movement is being skewed by those who just want to make money. I’ve been getting spammed with so many ‘offers’ for things for tiny houses(that are outrageously priced no less) and now the tiny house ‘villages’ are charging more per month than I pay now monthly for my condo!

    It hope to park my tiny house in peoples side/backyard and pay them money to help out with their housing cost. People who are just not in it to make money.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:34 pm

      Thanks Lori. I feel you on those prices. My hope is that as the movement grows and more options become available that prices will come down. I looked into the costs for developing an RV park and I was astounded at how expensive it is to do it. I believe it costs somewhere around $20k per RV spot to set up (doesn’t include cost of land, etc.) but I like your idea of a backyard spot because it just costs less and the $ goes directly to help someone else out (instead of to government fees, etc)

  • Sandy February 3, 2015, 12:29 pm

    I love your newsletter! I have been receiving it now for about a year. I am moving to Oregon from SC and am trying to find land to put a tiny house on. I can’t wait to be unencumbered!

  • lisa February 3, 2015, 12:30 pm

    Good article. I believe once people try it they will like it. Even if it means jut downsizing from a big house to an apartment. i also think mankind needs to seriously think about the amount of stuff we feel like we need to accumulate. Think about all the pollution that is created from manufacturing of stuff we “need” to accumulate. And also how much stuff goes to the land fill because we live in a throw away society. If everyone was more mindful about they consumed, purchased it could have a positive impact on our environment. Thats why small houses or downsizing makes sense.

  • Sabrina February 3, 2015, 12:33 pm

    It’s not just for the rich. It’s for anyone that wants it. It’s great older people that don’t want to be in nursing homes. Can live on their own. It can be in your daughters or sons yard. I am trying to talk my hubsand in to it. Low light bills low everything. I wish I can win the lottery I would get the land and build me one. Then see if my kids want to build one to.

  • Cahow February 3, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Exceptional article, Alex. Exceptional.

    You bring up a “week’s worth” of topics to discuss and think about. This line really resonated with me: “Whether these are beliefs, belongings, relationships, debt, or just thoughts that you need to get rid of.”

    Are Tiny Houses a fad? Yes and No. Three years from now, will HGTV have the series “Tiny House Hunters” and the other tiny house shows. I seriously doubt it. Will current tiny house owners need MORE space in 5 years time due to L.I.F.E., like marriage, divorce, CHILDREN, just the desire to NOT climb up a ladder to sleep? Oh, yeah!

    But, as long as there have been humans needing shelter, there have been Tiny Homes and there have been Downton Abbey’s. It’s not going to change because each person who wants A or B is going to get it. Case in point is the changing thoughts and situations of Casey and Jessica, the lovely couple who’s tiny home was stolen and then found. Their tiny home is now up for sale and they moved into an apartment. Casey, via Jessica’s post, explained that ‘who they are NOW is not who they were 2.5 years ago’ and that they realize that for now, T.H.O.W. is NOT the answer to their lives. They wrote a heartfelt and very interesting lengthy article about their evolution and I really recommend everyone interested in tiny homes reading it.

    When I hear or read “…the tiny house craze” and “…the internet is obsessed with tiny homes”, I think of the Reality TV craze and Cupcake Craze. EVERYONE was talking about the shows and stuffing cupcakes down their gullet. Now, scripted TV shows are all the rage, again, and cupcake stores are going out of business left and right. There will always be a small group of dedicated THOW individuals but I feel that the “movement” should be relabeled to “Downsizing: Is it Right For You?” This takes the whole wheels/no wheels; what’s micro/tiny/small; grid or no grid questions off of the table and just addresses what the movement is really all about: pairing down your life via beliefs, belongings, relationships, debt, or just thoughts that you need to get rid of.

    I can’t wait to read other members thoughts about this most thought provoking topic, Alex! 😀

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 12:37 pm

      Really great points here! Thanks Cahow!

    • Karen R February 4, 2015, 2:51 pm

      I expect the extreme tiny homes (there sometimes seems to be a competition to see how tiny one can go!) to become less popular while the larger ones become more diverse and designed to meet the needs of virtually everyone. Hopefully, homes less than 1,000 square feet will be accepted as the norm. BUT it will require the efforts of all of us to change building codes. That is the MAIN stumbling block to people being able to live as they wish. There needs to be a community tiny home space within commuting distance from all major cities. People need affordable housing!

  • Don Bursell February 3, 2015, 12:38 pm

    I have intrigued with minimizing my own “world” for about 4 years.

    What I have learned from the Tiny House community is 1) how to make the most of small spaces, 2) ingenuity regarding storage, 3) multi-purpose rooms and furniture, and 4) being free from monetary burdens.

    Are there flip sides to each of those items that may not be enjoyable? I’m sure there are, but I’m also willing to risk it for the good side.

    My wife and I are in the process of buying the 6 acres we’ve had our eyes on for a year. We are not going tiny, but we are going small (from 4 people in our 2500 sq.ft. place, to 2 people in a 630 sq.ft. place). Almost every idea incorporated into our small house design came from tiny house people.

    Hopefully, in 6 months, I’ll be posting pictures of us in the new place.

  • Maria Hill February 3, 2015, 12:40 pm

    I think it is part of a permanent shift to more sustainable living arrangements. I think that tiny is good for many people for other slightly larger homes are needed – but 1000 sf of less should become the norm.

  • Ann February 3, 2015, 12:41 pm

    I agree as well. Although some of us didn’t need to see a tiny house to be inspired to want to live in one because we’ve known for a long time that (for us anyway) less is better. Over the years I’ve seen different people living simply and in small spaces either by choice or by necessity and most were very content.
    I used to say that I could be happy living in a cave if I had to. : ) I agree (as someone else posted) it’s not a FAD, but a trend that will continue. Because as more and more people are learning how to prioritize (as a result of the changing circumstances), and the small space concept is more accessible, it’s becoming a reality one can reach for. : )

  • Korie Veidel February 3, 2015, 12:42 pm

    I think the only part of the tiny house movement that’s really a trend is tiny houses on wheels. If zoning laws and regulations support tiny houses, I think the trailers will phase out, especially considering how pricy they are.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 1:05 pm

      Thanks Korie. Good point. Most who build on trailers do it to get by zoning regulations (not really for mobility reasons). So if zoning allowed for reasonably small homes, most people would probably just build a 300-500 sq. ft. home instead of a 150 sq. ft. THOW, right?

    • Deb Miller February 3, 2015, 1:16 pm

      Korie, I agree with you that tiny homes on trailers are sometimes prohibitively expensive but I don’t think they will die out altogether. In my own case, I live as a caretaker on private land I don’t own. And in the past I’ve been booted out of properties that I owned because horrid neighbors moved in and ruined the place. I also had to leave a rental home I loved when the landlord let it go to foreclosure. These experiences make me now choose to remodel an older park model, on wheels, for the very purpose of moving it if I ever again find myself in a situation where the location just doesn’t work any more. Ideally I’d like to buy a big chunk of land and put my park model on it. I like keeping that option open, of not having to walk away from another home when I did everything right – paid my rent, or paid my mortgage, but other factors that I couldn’t control made living there miserable. Wheels for some are freedom and safety against being trapped like that.

  • ROBERT SNUSHER February 3, 2015, 12:47 pm

    Hi Terry
    You do great idears for me,great photos but with silly planning laws
    here in the uk and land going though the roof we cant do these
    things here but keep sending photos we might see one,we can get
    away with.cheers robert

  • John Mauldin February 3, 2015, 12:54 pm

    There is no doubt the Tiny House movement will continue. Middle income Americans are now making approx. $10,000. less per year than they were a few years ago. Add that to the spiraling costs of utilities, taxes, etc. and there is no way that many families can survive without downsizing. Further, people are retiring at the rate of 10-11,000 PER DAY! Many are retiring with less income than they originally anticipated and, as a result, are going to be forced to seek a way to “manage” their finances in order to live. The problem, as I see it, is there is not a national spokesman for the tiny house industry. This is an essential because many lawmakers need to be “on the side of the tiny home industry” as opposed to thwarting their growth. Currently, I think that in many locales, outsiders view tiny houses as a place that harbors the poor or degenerates and this needs to be corrected.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 1:06 pm

      10k people retiring per day? Wow! Didn’t know that. Thanks John!

  • Sidqi February 3, 2015, 12:57 pm

    The reason for the popularity could be partly the mojo in the press lately. Combine that with our economic problems of late and tinkle down economics that has been affecting the middle class jobs. Someone brought up seniors, and some may have environmental concerns “go hippie/green movement,” a group in which I am a member. Also, tiny homes are just sooo cute !! As a senior myself, my house is too big. I built it myself but now I look at it and it totally overwhelms me: tall ladders, roof work, temporary physical disabilities that come from nowhere at this age. A tiny house would be so easy to keep up–and also do fun little ‘touches’ to express my more creative, wacky side. Also, I find myself wanting to travel to different places for fun, or to take advantage of nice climates in different parts of the country, which present themselves in different seasons. A lot to sort thru since I discovered this topic only a few months ago. It certainly has grabbed my imagination.

  • John Harris February 3, 2015, 1:03 pm

    The USA is bankrupt and so far in debt that we will never come out of it.
    Bank corruption is rampant and Wall street isn’t to be trusted.
    Tiny houses are way more than a trend–they’re an economic reality.
    It may take awhile, but the wisdom of the TH movement will be more obvious in the near future. The TH worked for our ancestors and if we have learned from our past history, they will work for us now and into the future.
    Now we need to look deeper into small/tiny commercial buildings.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 1:09 pm

      Wow. Great point John. Thanks.

    • LC February 6, 2015, 10:15 am

      Yes! “Economic reality” is exactly our reason for heading down the tiny path. Most interviews I’ve seen of other tiny housers is the same. Not that I feel deprived to go this route, it just makes sense, financially and otherwise.

  • Canyon Man February 3, 2015, 1:03 pm

    I believe we need to realize that tiny homes are not new, I have lived this way several times in the last 45 years. I see old houses in various areas of the west where people have done so for over a century. I believe the new part is the way people can communicate and the fact it now incorporates the idea of our ecology instead of simply economics. The ecology part is not new in the last decade, but the ability for the common person to communicate in a way that passes critical information around for free.
    We have always had those on the lower end of the economics in America, they now have more of a voice through social media and sadly more people are ending up in this lower section.
    We need to change more of the local governments attitudes to reflect that many people simply cannot or do not want a large home, mortgage, utility bills or tax bills.
    Maybe instead of ignoring the situation we can make them see the poor are simply not going to disappear and that our nation would be better by housing more citizens instead of warehousing them.

  • Deb Miller February 3, 2015, 1:05 pm

    I don’t think tiny houses are a trend – there is too much about them that makes sense for too many people for it to simply come and then completely disappear. But really, even if it did, so what? It brings happiness and better lives to people right now. If it evolves into something else, so be it. I bet that whatever else it evolves into will be even better, more thoughtful, more sensible, more fun, more real.
    I’m currently gutting a 40 foot 1979 park model I got very cheap because it needs work. I live in a travel trailer now and will go from 200 to 400 square feet, moving in the opposite direction as far as square footage goes, but I’ve discovered that for me and my two big dogs, 200 square feet is not enough. But 400 will be spacious and comfortable. And still on the small if not tiny side.
    And that’s what has been said in this excellent article – find out what works for you and live it. At one time I had 2700 square feet. I’ll likely never need that much again. Too much to care for in terms of cost and maintenance. So I have learned my square foot limits, both high and low.
    I love the ingenuity that shows up again and again in tiny homes. In so many ways it brings out the best of people’s creative abilities.

  • Wendy galbraith February 3, 2015, 1:06 pm

    What will be great is if tiny homes hold or increase in value, and more options for parking them is allowed

  • John Figueroa February 3, 2015, 1:08 pm

    As a Baby Boomer,
    I find Tiny Homes intriguing.
    Seems it’s been a popular idea for a long time and now it’s more necessity
    than want?
    With the reality of the middle class disappearing, I am more interested than ever before.
    I plan on retiring in the near future and I am realizing that I don’t need a lot of things as I get a little older.
    So, Tiny Living is something that is more attractive because of budget and ability to maintain and freedom. – John F

  • Trish February 3, 2015, 1:16 pm

    In today’s world it is important to have options, and with tiny house living it gives people an option to live debt free and enjoy life. The credit card debt, the high mortgages and car loans are destroying people’s lives. More and more we realize that something has to be done about it. Tiny house living is a great option to live within our means and save money for those unexpected expenses, trips we want to take, hobbies we’d like to try, etc. Also, it gives seniors the option to still be in a home of their own instead of being forced into a retirement building, students to live off campus and save money, and families to be a closer unit and share more of their lives together. I only see positives about tiny living, aside from where to park it. If the housing regulators and builders could see the potential, it could help the entire country to live better.

  • M JR February 3, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Tiny Houses are obviously a great starter home. Makes home ownership available to almost everyone. Some will eventually want more, that may be a larger home, particularly for family with kids, others may want multiple tiny homes to live in for different times of the year. It won’t matter, give the direction of the economy many will only have the choice of a tiny house or renting.

  • Jim February 3, 2015, 1:31 pm

    I don’t think the movement is a fad either. But people need to change to grow the movement. They must be willing to accept new ideas of living and really desire sustainability as a lifestyle. And current zoning ideas must change. For example, even if your home is completely energy self sufficient, you must still connect to the grid or you will not get a use and occupancy permit to live in your new house. Our elected officials need to be open to new ideas of energy self sufficiency, water conservation methods, septic water re-use and a host of other things that hamper this change.

  • charles February 3, 2015, 1:37 pm

    I like how efficient a tiny house is for space usage. The loft bedroom doesn’t work for many people who have problems climbing. I”m 45 and stairs are just painful. I wonder why don’t the eves on the tiny house extend out to provide more shade? AC wouldn’t be needed if this were done!

  • Kristen February 3, 2015, 1:38 pm

    I believe tiny houses will be seen, broadly, just as we see organic food–as naturally and wisely ideal, very marketable, and a timeless staple. (We just arrived before the crowd.)

  • Denise February 3, 2015, 1:45 pm

    * This is long, but please read (I put a lot of heart and thought into it):

    It’s nice to finally see an article that isn’t so negative about the movement “catching on” or “becoming too upscale” as if that were a negative thing. If beautiful high-end tiny homes get some of the more critical highbrow types to reconsider thinking of them as “shacks for the poor” or just a clever disguise of the negative mobile home/trailer park preconceptions, then that’s also a bonus. The fact that tiny living is now appealing to people for a number of more introspective reasons besides just not being able to afford anything else pushes the boundaries of acceptability farther into the mainstream way of thinking, thereby slowly diminishing the push-back from the negative “not in MY neighborhood” attitude. I truly think the movement is better served being represented by people who’ve adopted tiny living as a way of respecting the earth, it’s resources, and also family and society as a whole. When some of the “purists” take on their reverse snobbery roles by bashing the upscale tiny homes being written about, and complaining about the high prices of those homes being featured on blogs, they’re doing a terrible disservice to the movement as a whole. The high end and expensive tiny homes that receive a lot of press get that attention precisely because of their wow factors…that does not mean that affordable tiny homes are no longer being built and offered by an ever growing number of builders. There are plenty out there! It’s just that articles and photos about Maseratis are more exciting than ads about Ford Fiestas, because they aren’t as common to see on the road on a daily basis, so when a builder creates a slick high end house that incorporates some swanky or innovative (and yes, more expensive) features, that catches the eye of the mainstream press…and interests them enough to feature those homes in websites that aren’t traditionally focused only on tiny houses. This in no way diminishes the really amazing and creative tiny homes that so many talented do-it-yourselfers have built on shoe-string budgets, and in fact it actually highlights those amazing creations even more…and the general public grows to appreciate those innovative individuals and their talent even more.

    It saddens me to no end to read the vitriol that spews forth from that small segment of the tiny house community that finds it necessary to direct hatred and venom towards those people with the financial means who can afford to build and buy fancier and more expensive tiny homes. It comes across in an angry victim mentality that screams “we’re poor, and we want to continue to make ourselves seem like victims by not being inclusive to other like-minded individuals who are more financially successful than us, yet have the VERY SAME GOALS AS WE DO”. Why do they forget that last part, and continue to segment themselves with the “poor me” mentality? Seeing this movement reach across socioeconomic boundaries and appeal to people from all walks of life, with similar goals, is a beautiful thing…and I have NEVER seen a single “upscale” tiny house owner denigrate a humble creation that was done on a shoestring budget on any of the blogs or sites I’ve visited. In fact, most seem even more inspired by the skill and innovation of those people who are able to create these humble abodes with their own hands while deftly skirting their tight budgets.

    I’m sure this will anger some people, but I hope that I may be able to reach even one or two of the haters who continue to bash the “fancy” tiny home builders, buyers, and owners. Envy and jealousy are every bit as ugly as elite snobbery.

    Alex (or if not him, whoever wrote this column) did an excellent job of covering so many bases that usually aren’t covered all in one piece. I’d like to add one additional aspect of tiny lifestyle potential in a bit more detail, which is the backyard tiny house and what type of potential it can offer to its owners. For homeowners who are faced with mortgages that are difficult to pay, but with a family perhaps including a couple of teenagers who would have trouble adapting to such a radical change, can build a tiny house in their backyard to rent out for additional income that can help subsidize their primary mortgage. Then, when those teenagers go off to college, get jobs and their own places, or get married, the empty-nesters can move into the tiny house themselves and rent their main house…earning even more money towards paying off their mortgages sooner. The backyard tiny house can also be a wonderful option for a child who just graduated college but hasn’t yet landed a career and is able to come home without that feeling of “living with their parents” past a certain age. Or after a divorce. Or as an option for elderly parents who are adamant about not moving into the home of their adult children because of pride and a need for independence (even though they may need daily “check-ins”). There are so many situations that can affect a person at every stage of their lives, where their need for affordable living might not be available without sacrificing their sense of dignity and independence, and they’re more willing to get into insurmountable debt than let their pride take a huge hit – such as adult children moving back in with their parents, or elderly parents moving in with their adult children and their families. As so eloquently pointed out above, tiny living may be the perfect permanent lifestyle for some people, but it can also be a necessary or desired transitional lifestyle for so very many other people at various stages in their lives for extremely valid purposes. Many cultures around the world don’t think twice about multiple generations living under the same roof, but for some reason in America there is often a huge stigma attached to it. What a beautiful solution backyard tiny houses provide: a source of additional income to help pay a mortgage, a way to house an agile yet elderly relative as an alternative to nursing home care, a way to provide adult children a sense of independence as they prepare financially for their next move as adults, a way to generate income by renting one’s entire home in retirement so they can travel (and still be able to come home to one’s own property, even if it’s the one in the backyard, and still maintain that sense of connection to “home”), and hey…it can even be an affordable and potentially healthy way to manage a divorce when both parents aren’t contentious towards one another and want to co-parent their children without transporting the kids from one property to the next week in and week out, but not live under the same roof…the scenarios just go on and on! I’m simply bringing all of this up because these are forms of tiny living that don’t even necessarily require a 100% downsizing commitment, yet are utilizing a form of the “Tiny Lifestyle” to accomplish a vast number of very relevant needs and goals.

    I just hope a unified voice emerges before the movement fractures into angry segments who aren’t thinking about the overall picture. With creativity and a unified message, this lifestyle and way of thinking could easily become accepted on a more widespread basis in far more communities throughout the US…but if different types of tiny house proponents can’t even achieve peaceful coexistence, then how will this movement ever be accepted into “mainstream” society?

  • Linda Pond February 3, 2015, 1:54 pm

    The Tiny House Movement is not a trend. If we bring the manufacturer of Tiny Houses closer to the buyers, everyone would benefit. The costs to ship a finished Tiny House means it as already too expensive. Hey you American manufacturers of Tiny Houses! Come to Canada. Our dollar just went to 79 cents.

    • Candide33 February 3, 2015, 4:46 pm

      We agree, we are moving to Colorado to grow organic heirloom apples and build tiny houses. That is what we are doing for retirement and we will NOT be building $100,000 tiny houses.

      I figure that people who live in places like Colorado and California are more likely to embrace the tiny life. Which is fortunate for us because our daughter is a scientist and that is where she will be working but that was just luck that it would be somewhere that we all wanted to live. The whole extended family is going so we have a built in work force.

      Maybe you can go in with a couple of buddies and build tiny houses where you live. You could start doing it after work and on weekends. I spent decades repairing and redecorating a 170 year old plantation house. My husband built municipal water works all over the country so he was away a lot and I was home with the kids so when things needed doing, I had to figure out how to do them. Back then I would go to the library and check out the Time Life Do-it-Yourself books but now you can just use the internet. I replaced rotting window sills, broken pipes, laid down flooring, painted, plastered, you name it and if I can do it pretty much anyone can.

      • mountaingypsy February 4, 2015, 12:40 am

        Candide33, Welcome to CO! I think there are a few TH builders around. I have not researched much, but codes and rules may be a problem in some counties to have a place to set a new TH. I hope this issue gets resolved sooner than later, as I can see many people desiring a TH. Some counties are picky about everything. I am anxious to see your homes, when you get started. Good luck! I am so impressed with the homes seen here, and the new TV shows, way superior to many spec homes. I also hope TH builders build them for cold climates, a problem with typical RV’s. What city will you be near? The organic sounds good too! Perhaps you can design a few TH’s that are a tad more reasonably priced or design choices that are less expensive. I find that seems to be many people’s complaint.

  • Montie February 3, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Hope Tiny House continue to grow and become available to anyone that would like one

  • Sparrow February 3, 2015, 2:11 pm

    I think the problem with many tiny houses are two-fold:

    1. Where do you park them?
    2. The bathrooms.

    I agree that zoning laws MUST be amended all over the country to acknowledge the tiny house movement, because I think the movement is based on a very good idea. But I also agree that tiny houses should ALL have to adhere to certain standards – that’s only common sense. So anyone wanting to build their own tiny house had better keep certain regulations in mind while doing so. It’s for their own safety, after all. And then, once regulations on tiny houses are standardized, perhaps more RV parks will allow them. Acceptance of tiny houses is an ongoing process – people will just have to come together and work harder to speed the process up.

    Now, as to bathrooms – COME ON, TINY HOUSE DESIGNERS. Plumbing is a GOOD THING. It’s sanitary, it’s comfortable, it’s what separates us from the animals, LOL. SCREW composting toilets and all that nonsense. Build decent bathrooms OF A DECENT SIZE and make them more than merely utilitarian. No woman I know will want to live in any tiny house for long if all it’s got is a composting toilet and a tiny stand-up shower. And for Christ’s sake build in some decent ventilation. I know people who gave up living in a tiny house because of how stinky it got. They couldn’t sleep in it, they certainly couldn’t eat in it. If I were to design a tiny house bathroom, the shower/tub would be in one room and the toilet in another, as far away from the sleeping/eating areas as possible. Surely that’s not impossible?

    Oh, and screw ladders to the loft too. STAIRWAYS with RAILINGS, especially if you’ve got kids!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 2:58 pm

      Thanks Sparrow, very good points

    • signalfire February 3, 2015, 3:19 pm

      While I agree with the stairways with railings idea, there’s many ways to accommodate a bathroom without having to worry about ‘stink’; if someone isn’t keeping track of a composting toilet, that’s not the fault of the technology but of the homeowner; yeah it’s easier to use several gallons of fresh drinking water to flush an oz of pee or poo, but that’s not sustainable with climate change and drought in half the US, not to mention the rest of the world. Funny how ALL the other animals pee and poop in the outdoors without it being an issue, but humanure is somehow a big dangerous thing. There’s no reason it can’t be sanitary, non-disease vectoring, and lack any smell if it’s done right. A few hours of sunlight disinfects things nicely, believe it or not… In my area, water/sewer costs are $130 a month; to save that money, I’d be more than willing to properly deal with a compost pile, especially since I have two acres to work with (and unlimited BLM land behind that); obviously crowded city conditions are a different issue but in suburban and rural locations, there’s no excuse for needing expensive hookups to municipal water and sewer sources, especially when the safety of THOSE supplies are in doubt. Check sometime for the amount of undeclared chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones, etc, that are in your water supply. E Coli is the least of your problems.

      Sorry to go slightly off-topic here, Alex, but sometimes the obstinacy and stupidity are overwhelming…. we’ve gone too far from nature and sanity.

      • Cahow February 3, 2015, 3:30 pm

        “A few hours of sunlight disinfects things nicely, believe it or not… ”

        And this would work in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Tokyo or Dubai?

        If I can’t walk down the street in any neighborhood without seeing dog crap on the lawns/sidewalks, then how can we control the OWNERS with their own crap?!

        • krausdog February 3, 2015, 9:14 pm

          FYI: signalfire did say: ‘obviously crowded city conditions are a different issue.’ Overall, Cahow, I agree. Still, people in my neighborhood don’t seem to think that lots of dog crap in yards or on the side of the road is a big problem (not enough smell?). Yes, many regulations, laws, and stipulations are a result of actions by those who have acted in an irresponsible manner. People who think they are the exception, i.e., no one will notice if they break the accepted rules.

          Yet I think there must be a better way to handle human waste (in all situations) than flush it away with gallons of clean, drinkable water which then must travel dozens of miles then go through months of chemical and other cleansing in order to be available once again for use.

          Then again fracking now makes this kind of clean fresh water use (for sanitation) look positively benign.

      • Linda Pond February 4, 2015, 10:04 am

        What about incinerating toilets? No water necessary.

      • Sparrow February 4, 2015, 1:38 pm

        Oh PUH-LEEZE. Not everyone who wants a tiny house is a tree-hugger, ‘kay? Some of us are interested because of finances, and because a tiny house can be charming and just big enough.

        And my sister has lived on a farm all her adult life, with lots of fields and forests around her. And she does not have a composting toilet – she’d laugh her head off at the thought. Perhaps the answer is simply better waste management by the sewer companies, hm?

        Obstinacy and stupidity, huh? Look, pal, maybe you wanna do your business in a human litter box, but those of us who don’t aren’t bad people. Good sewer systems prevent disease and make life much more comfortable. All hail sewers and indoor plumbing! Huzzah! 😀

    • Karen R February 6, 2015, 11:23 am

      Sparrow, email me for my floor plan ([email protected]). I, too, was amazed by most of the bathrooms and the fact that NO plan offered an additional half bath. I have a big shower (could have chosen a tub) plus a spacious half bath. I want to live small, not as though I am camping.

  • Victoria February 3, 2015, 2:12 pm

    This is one major actions that will aid us once the New World Order is fully implemented. And no its not conspiracy theory, (the implementers of the program have encouraged it to look like that; so as to keep it hidden while being developed, along with dumbing down of the population, escalating costs, reducing medical svcs via massively raising costs, etc). Even Bilderberg (major player) openly referenced it in the Conference of world leaders last June. Given there will be no democracy, the best way is for us now to find total independence re; of income and/or health issues. We must recreate America in the form of community conscientiousness returning us to the original intent of the US, ie, of, for and by the people!!!!

  • Sherry February 3, 2015, 2:14 pm

    There are many shared opinions, and all of them are valuable. My husband and I dream of tiny home living, and we are not concerned about our teenagers living in a tiny home with us. (They say the want to live with us forever. We’ll see about that!) We’ve been following the Movement for almost a year, and I look forward to each of Alex’s newsletters. Our desire is to get into that “debt-free” zone and truly live within our means. We’re taking baby steps to downsize (i.e. many trips to Goodwill), and realistically it may be a few years before we are able to sell our 2500 sq. ft. home. However as we get older, we realize it is not about possessions but more about living (and truly enjoying the moments). That is our goal. As long as the movement is alive, it serves as a reminder of what is the truth (to live simply) and to live life fully without the material encumbrances.

  • Willa Cartwright February 3, 2015, 2:20 pm

    Being in my mid 50s, a tiny home would offer the ease-of-life management that would be very suitable.

  • krausdog February 3, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Well done Alex. Lots of important questions to think about. This movement is clearly trending right now and I think it is still in the ascension phase, though I also hope that it will promote more fully the discussion of its core values (simplicity, sustainability, intentional living, etc.) and not how ‘stinkin cute’ or expensive someone’s TH is. In this regard I agree with what Cahow said. A tiny house can easily become just another consumable thing that many people want to ‘have’ with the hopes that having one will somehow take care of all their life’s problems (as promised).
    Once you have done your personal downsizing “home” work and preparation, the ‘right’ size and kind of house for you will become clear, and how much someone else paid for theirs won’t matter. Looking at (and coveting) fantastical Tiny Houses is easy and fun. Spending time learning who you are and understanding why your current living situation is not serving you well is not so easy or fun, though I believe much more worthwhile in the long run. And this is the aspect of the movement that I see growing and hope continues to blossom.

  • Lori Anderson February 3, 2015, 2:23 pm

    The tiny house movement is a sign of a healthy condition. The Internet is an open book we can’t shut showing us how the whole world lives. Some of us are disturbed about it for one reason or another. Some of us are excited to find things we only dreamed of. Tiny houses are a representation of thoughts I have had since I had Legos and drew floor plans with draft paper that my brother brought home from school.

    I am a grown up and now I want more. I want a neighborhood where people leave me alone and reach out and help me when I need it. I want peace and quiet and social contact. Most of all, I want to be free to live, not a slave to where I live.

    As I grow old, I don’t want to be burdened with taking care of a large home. I want to be able to afford the utilities. I know I am not alone.

  • Daryl Pullen February 3, 2015, 2:32 pm

    Given that the middle class is being gutted by the Washington politicians, Tiny Houses enable us to live a good life and save money for a sustainable future.

  • Linda Spradlin February 3, 2015, 2:34 pm

    I am totally in agreement with you on all points; I believe the tiny home movement is something that will be around for a long time to come. The problem I do see with it is zoning issues caused by our government. They do not want us to live independently, they prefer us to be in debt and will not assist with tiny home communities. I live in Virginia and several people I know have tried to get the various counties to allow it but the laws are completely against us. The only way we can get around the laws is to open an RV park and run it as such. How can we change the laws to be more condusive to tiny living?

  • Debbie F February 3, 2015, 2:36 pm

    I do like looking at your newsletter. The tiny homes are unique and cute. However I do believe that it takes a very small select “type” of people who will ever actually chance their lifestyle and become tiny house owners. Trailers and the like are completely different because they are only for seasonal or occasional recreation. Buying large houses are still on the rise in the real estate market. Most tiny houses have lofts and that alone is not cohesive to elderly or people with small children etc. Soooo my verdict is “trend” but a cute one!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 2:45 pm

      Very good points, Debbie! Thank you!

    • Linda Pond February 4, 2015, 10:10 am

      You are right Debbie. A Tiny House design needs the bedroom to be on the bottom floor. I have seen a bed on pullies – where you winch up the bed to the ceiling when not in use. Underneath the bed was the room’s lighting fixture. There are ways to design a queen-size bedroom in a small space.

      • Michael February 9, 2015, 5:47 am

        I agree with you Linda. A sleeping loft isn’t comfortable at all.
        Ladder klimbing is nice for kids, but….When you are living in FL its obsolete – too hot. All hot air gets there.

  • Karen Duffin February 3, 2015, 2:44 pm

    I think that local economies are afraid that tiny homes are for the riff-raff that can’t afford what the zoning/townships etc. live in and until they realize that they’re behind the times, it will be an uphill struggle. I live in what would be considered a large tiny home and would love to downsize but my township makes it impossible as of this date. If they only knew that there are enclaves of tiny homes grouped in big cities. There’s a growing population of older people who would love to live in tiny homes. Let’s make it happen.

  • rachel February 3, 2015, 2:46 pm

    A trend? you know its’ not. After decades of builders making massive homes larger tha 3000 s.f. the common sense is leading many of us in a smaller energy efficient less wasteful direction. People really do not “need” such huge homes and they seem so impersonal and massive to me. I have looked at homes for sale and so many of them seem to be these huge homes and few people want them anymore. I rent a row house that is over 100 years old. It has charm and nice architectural details but is incredibly inefficient energy-wise (it was the only thing to rent that allowed 3 dogs). No insulation, windows suck out heat, the interior design does not flow, I do not heat the upstairs to keep my energy bills low and am amazed at my energy costs (only having the heat on a few hours a day). I look forward to my own modern well designed energy efficient small home and land to have a nice garden and peace and quiet!. All of the stories you feature are a huge inspiration although i prefer the larger of the small homes to the teeny ones that appear quite cramped. thank you, rachel

  • joe sweeney February 3, 2015, 2:48 pm

    absolutely not tiny houses are the new wave in living it is so much more cosy personal and affordable it is the way forward thankyou tiny houses for all your info.

  • bart February 3, 2015, 3:04 pm

    Tiny houses andere the dual functionality furiture i really like.
    Living in Belgium, no trend here, regulations here make no difference for small or big, you pay taxes always

  • Dominick Bundy February 3, 2015, 3:05 pm

    The tiny house movement is more than a trend or Fad. It’s a lifestyle of learning to live with less, to get organized and be without clutter. I hope it continues to grow . to the point there will be less restriction on the square footage one must comply to zoning with out having your little home on wheels in order to stay under the radar.. One should be able to build a 150-200 sq. ft home (without wheels) amongst a neighborhood of 2000 -3000 sq ft McMansions in a free society. As long as one keeps up the property there should not be any issue… The only set back I may see in the future would be the price of building one skyrocketing. to the point of not being mortgage free. Which is one of the main reasons Tiny house movement started in the first place…(I hope it never comes to that) If or when it ever gets to the point any tiny house getting close to 100 thousand. to build. then it would defeat the purpose of the tiny house movement..

  • signalfire February 3, 2015, 3:05 pm

    The problem is CODES! There is no earthly reason that someone shouldn’t be able to buy, free and clear, a small lot (inappropriate for larger houses) and put a small or tiny home on it totally off grid if that’s what they want, right in the middle of a city near jobs, health care and other amenities. The right to do that is in the Constitution, but the ‘laws’ that have been written since which are really taxes on living, prevent it. You need permits to do anything but breathe now, inappropriately large sewer hookups and mandated room sizes, all conspire to make it impossible to have a living space without also requiring you to work 40 hours a week (which means you’re hardly home anyways), large tax bills, large utility bills, all the rest. If city authorities were forward-thinking, they would realize that singletons and smaller families are not a real drag on public services; singles don’t need schools, teachers and all the rest that property taxes have to pay for.

    Until the codes and the fees, permits and fines that go along with them are challenged successfully (and the code Nazis that harass people are held personally accountable), nothing much will change. The economics are working against those people who want to live within a reasonable footprint and have determined that their free time is worth more to them than 200 pairs of shoes, a surfeit of rooms they never use, and storage space for rampant consumeritis!

    • Dominick Bundy February 3, 2015, 4:35 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more..Thing is , How can changes be made?

  • Louis Heydet III February 3, 2015, 3:09 pm

    Tiny homes need better & cheaper off the grid toilets, solar power, verticle axis turbines, and passive solar heaters……

  • Jane February 3, 2015, 3:12 pm

    I believe it is the way of the future. I am looking into this as well

  • Karen Taylor February 3, 2015, 3:12 pm

    I’ve taken several steps to a tiny house lifestyle. Just put my down payment on a 12’x40′ trailer. Using all the great ideas I’ve seen here to design my tiny space to hold my stuff. Also doing it on a tiny budget! Making it affordable, maintainable for me. I’m very excited to not live ‘to the max’ of my space, budget, time, & energy. Taking up a smaller foot print as well! Thank you for all the ideas!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 4:46 pm

      Thanks Karen! Hope we can learn more about your 12×40 park model tiny home soon 🙂

      • Linda Pond February 4, 2015, 10:14 am

        Bravo Karen! Keep us up to date on your endeavours!

  • Marsha Cowan February 3, 2015, 3:22 pm

    I have lived in a tiny house (or bus) for only two years, but I can tell you now that it would probably take wild horses to drag me back into living in a conventional manner again. The freedom alone is the draw–freedom from debt, from maintenance of things, from trying to fill up empty spaces with inane decorations– but the freedom I value most is the freedom to move around as I please and be able to take my house without having to pack! I also love the freedom of time to see and do things rather than spending lots of time taking care of unnecessary things, and I work full time, so don’t think
    I have lots of time on my hands to start with.

    The thing on which I would like to comment, however, is how to live tiny wihout a tiny house; how to simplify life without having to build a home on a trailer. I have always thought it was great to have grown up around my grandparents and even aunts and uncles under the same roof. It added a dimension to my life that was precious and meaningful and from which I have drawn much wisdom over the years. How simple for grandparents to live with one of their children’s families and be there to help out and to have fellowship. Many hands make light work. A simple home with enough room for extended family could be a meaningful and simple existance with every one working together and helping each other with the work load so all can have time for more meaningful things. With so much family around me, even work was fun and meaningful. It’s just a thought, and it does not take a large house to accomplish large family living. My aunt’s house was a one room log cabin with a loft that over the years a lean to kitchen annd small front room was added, but at any time there were at least 8-12 people living there helping out at the farm. It was the richest time in my life!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 4:45 pm

      Great point, Marsha.. And something that I don’t think is really brought up enough (extended family living together or on same property and helping each other out!)

  • Cyn February 3, 2015, 3:22 pm

    I love the tiny house movement and all it stands for. But, as most things, it is a trend. I hope it is a lasting trend that sees us all trying to live more simply and sustainably. And who knows what good idea will follow? Let’s keep our minds open and continue to innovate.

  • Cahow February 3, 2015, 3:24 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS, ALEX!!!!!

    If this topic isn’t trending by the end of the day, NOTHING will!

    #tinyhousesjustatrend?

    Oh, and by the way, THIS is the 1st topic I had to “unsubscribe” to; 95 responses to get through is too many for my feeble mind. LOL

  • Paula V. February 3, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Well Alex you wrote a great article that has stimulated alot of comments. Well done. I agree with everything you said. I don’t believe it’s a trend. I believe that what is slowly seeping into our collective psyche is the question of what is truly important in our lives….spiritually, physically, mentally. That’s the trend. The tiny house movement along with unloading, decluttering, paying off debt, not buying more “stuff” is the new consciousness, along with eating better, growing your own food if you can, supporting local businesses and farms. It’s a movement. It’s been a movement in different ways for awhile.
    I live in western NC and as you know there are two tiny house builders and a big awareness for all that I mentioned above. We have a 1929 bungalow on two acres that we renovated in ’95 and paid it off last year. We’re both in our late 50’s. It’s 2000 sq. ft and full right now with an elderly parent and 18 yr. old along with my husband and I. I question what we’ll do when it’s just the two of us. If we choose not to move to something smaller we can build a small cottage for us on the property and rent or sell the house. Property values in my area are kind of high. We could put a couple small cottages on the property for others. I’m trying to look at all the options that we have with our scenario. My “part” in all this may not be to live totally tiny but to provide garden space, a small place for others to live. Unfortunately my town has restrictions on anything with wheels but there are regulations in place for cottage developments and ADU’s. So that’s where I’m at right now. I adore anything small and have since my early twenties. I love the economy of design and space utilization.
    My hope is that I can create something for a few people to live small, not have to pay alot of rent, get to live close to a great small town, have property for garden space, etc. Thanks!

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 4:42 pm

      Thanks Paula! And way to go on paying off your mortgage. Good job! Your future plans sound great, too.

      • Linda Pond February 4, 2015, 10:23 am

        Paula – that is exactly the sweet spot of the Tiny House Movement – the ‘estate’ properties – big house, lots of land. Make it the Big House, surrounded by Tiny Houses! The Big House would have rooms for overnight guests, family gatherings, sports (pickleball!). Most estates have the room. The challenge is complying with bylaws.

        • Alex February 4, 2015, 11:27 am

          I love that idea Linda!!

        • Paula V. February 9, 2015, 4:58 pm

          yes Linda I’ve thought about this scenario. How our house could be used this way as we move into something smaller but still on the property. I think we could create a small cottage development. Ahhh….to dream. I am going to go talk with our zoning administrator soon.

        • Linda Pond February 9, 2015, 10:04 pm

          Yes, do talk to your bylaw folks Paula. We went to the city officials in Ottawa, and they were enthusiastic that things will change.

  • Candide33 February 3, 2015, 3:52 pm

    First I want to thank Alex for helping me get my hubby and kids to see what I was so jazzed about 5 or 6 years ago. When I first said ‘Tiny House’ they just laughed and thought mom was nuts but after walking behind me at the computer to see what I was looking at and then finally pulling up a chair when I announced ‘Tiny House’ newsletter, they caught the bug too!

    We live in a 170 year old plantation house, a house we had cut into sections and moved to the swamp over 30 years ago, a house that I love BUT the kids are grown now and it is too big.

    My husband was famous for saying that he was going to die right here, never going to move because he has put so much into this place but after a few years of my obsession with tiny houses, he has decided that moving is a good idea.

    He thought that I wanted our house because it was huge, NO…30+ years ago I wanted it because I had kids at home and because it was a special house, not the tract house of suburbia.

    How cool is that to be able to buy a plantation house and have it moved and reassembled?? No one else in the neighborhood will have one like it!

    Well, now I want a tiny house…in an apple orchard.

    So we bought land in Colorado and we are moving to plant apples and build tiny houses. The kids are moving too, we are all going together but they are going to build regular houses there just not huge ones because they also see the sense of not having more house than you need.

    I don’t think tiny houses will ever be for everyone, just like plantation houses in swamps were never for everyone, there will always be a certain number of us who march to the beat of a different drum, how long the music will last is anyone’s guess.

    • Alex February 3, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Very well said Candide and thank you very much for sharing. Wishing you the best on your move to Colorado 🙂

  • Lisa E. February 3, 2015, 4:03 pm

    I believe Megan Zopf said it when she made the observation that the McMansion lifestyle slowly drains us of our lives so “they” end up owning us and everything in our lives and we end up their serfs and our “Golden Years” looks more like rust.

    I think the THM is still in its pioneering stages and many McMansion people are looking at us, first as crazies, then with curiosity, then with admiration and awe, and then, I believe they will get hooked and want out of the McMansion rat wheel they are trapped in and all of the corporate living that now owns them.

    Choice: work overtime, miss dinner, home too late to see the kids off to bed, dead tired, no interest in anything but survival, OR debt free, biking with the family on Saturday, seeing the kids off to bed and watching them grow on an interactive basis?

    Choice: being older and living alone in a barny McMansion that you only use about 1/3rd of and all the rest is expensive storage, OR live in a tiny house that only requires 15 minutes of housework and then you’re free to go to yoga class, sit and knit, go fishing, go birdwatching with friends in the woods? And all of this freedom is debt free, too!

    I’ve been with the THM since the very beginning. I was totally fascinated by what Jay Schafer had done with his first build, but it was a little too confined for me and the ladder was the deal breaker. Then people started playing with the basic design and adding new ideas. Nowadays there is a broad range of tiny houses from teardrops to 26 footers with every comfort imaginable all on wheels! I particularly love the idea of living in a wooden house and not a metal tin can that will rust out and look terrible a decade from now.

    I love the THM and I’ll be in it until the day I croak. I love looking at the pictures of all of the different styles and decorations, and I love the people in this movement (big hearted, interesting, willing to share info, intelligent and often very funny.) Yes, the THM is more than just a house on wheels, it’s a whole world unto itself with a unique world view and it’s wonderful!

  • Breda Mason February 3, 2015, 4:05 pm

    I want a sm home so bad. I love your work. My basic wants or needs are lg. kit./ living room, full bath, stairs up to bedroom/ loft & some kind of nice porch. Would love to have a wrap around porch ( maybe it could be folded up for travel if necessary). My daughter & her family live in Prior Lake Mn. & we want me there from Va. to be closer to help with Grandchildren & help to bring them closer to God. Thank you Alex & guys. Any help would be so great. Thanks, Brenda Mason

  • Scooter February 3, 2015, 4:21 pm

    Hi! Thanks for the chance to write. I grew up in a pretty small house and we called it a “house” back 50 years ago–when we weren’t referring to it as a “Cape Cod.” Lots of people didn’t have large homes. Yes, we did move to suburbia in the late 60’s, but our modest ranch house did not have a separate family room or master bathroom. Our parents put in a second, and very unspectacular, bathroom in the basement. There was a cast off kitchen sink and sink cabinet for the lavatory and the toilet was under the stairs, but we could stand up for the stair landing was overhead. There was a plastic shower stall, but it DOUBLED the bathroom utility in the house. (My mother never had to go downstairs, she had permanent first dibs on the main floor bathroom!:) The 1950s ranch had PINK tile. It was great quality tile. But, PINK??)

    My parents loved to go to the Parade of Homes and after we decided where the Christmas tree should go, we heard the same comments over and over–why would you want more rooms than you can use? You have to clean ALL of the space. You have to furnish ALL of the space. Who wants so many stairs? Wouldn’t a first floor laundry be great?

    I remember having teenage parties in our unfurnished living room with card tables and chairs while our folks saved and shopped for new living room furniture. Oh, by the way, my folks lived through the Great Depression. I had no trouble with the Great Recession.

    Another pet peeve our folks talked about was young people feeling entitled to start their adult lives on the same life-style, possessions/toys, and big houses as their parents enjoyed. And we can imagine the parents had been working on their wealth for at least a couple of decades! This led me to want to start out about where my folks STARTED OUT–in the Cape Cod kind of house! I relish seeing the young folks in this newsletter putting so many things ahead of a big house, and also carving out some equity with their dwelling choices and enhancing their lifestyles. It is heart warming to see tiny houses giving many people an enhancement of their personal independence at all ages.

    I have been living in a Craftsman Bungalow and when I retire I might wind up with one or two tiny houses in one or two different locations. I think it’ll be a blast!! I’m trying to identify what I can give up from among all the things I have. I made a teensy start by shedding the VHS tapes I don’t want to watch again or can get in some other form, and I have enough dishes for two tiny houses, so no more dish buying!

    TREND? No! Many people will be choosing smaller homes for all kinds of reasons. This is a return to reasonable expectations, reasonable consumption and reasonable conservation. Hurray for Tiny/Small Houses!!!!

  • Lindsay Evans February 3, 2015, 4:22 pm

    Watching this ‘trend’ online from New Zealand, (where we have a long tradition of small/tiny housing we call bachs or cribs, and for Maori often alternate housing on Papakainga land), I am aware that the Tiny House Movement is being taken up by middle class and the upwardly mobile. It also appears that many are buying purpose built (at huge cost) or building them as extras to their main home – I expect soon the second hand market will have trailer tiny homes in abundance as they get discarded as the novelty wears off. To me this is an aside from the core movement and is a profligate waste of resources that could go to those needing even a basic form of shelter/housing. Perhaps it will balance out over time when the trend followers filter out. I live in a 18ft x 18ft converted (by myself and friends on working bees) carport on 5 acres of regenerating bushland – but alas still hold a mortgage. (A pledge till death. 1350-1400AD ; earlier morgage, Middle English < Old French mortgage, equivalent to mort dead – Latin mortuus + gage pledge.)

  • alice h February 3, 2015, 4:25 pm

    I think it’s the other way around, the super sized houses were a temporary trend and it’s going to be over one way or another before too long. It’s not a sustainable way of life. Luckily a lot of those places can be renovated into several smaller units. Our family has done it, turning a ridiculously large house into 3 separate apartments for family members. Tiny and small houses have been around a lot longer and work for a lot more people. Cute tiny houses on wheels are somewhat of a phenomena right now but there are so many other options as well. Individual freestanding tiny units are only going to work in certain circumstances but there is a huge need for small, affordable living spaces in cities. That’s going to mean multi-unit projects. Both setups can benefit from shared amenities like guest quarters, workshops, fitness centres, gardens, larger kitchens for group dining and canning sessions and the like.

    “Trendy” is a pejorative word for me and indicates some kind of temporary popularity but “trending” and “trend” just mean a noticeably increasing preference, which is definitely happening. Small or tiny may not be for everybody but it is the norm in a lot of places.

    • krausdog February 3, 2015, 8:04 pm

      Thanks for bringing attention to the word ‘trend.’ It has occurred to me as well that not everyone understands this term in the same way. For some it means ‘fad’ and thus is rather pejorative. For me, like you perhaps, it may also refer to a particular topic that is growing in popularity/interest in the current moment. A movement may first be noticed as a trend. It does not mean that the movement is destined to be short lived, just that is growing in popularity right now. My thoughts.

  • Diana February 3, 2015, 4:41 pm

    Trending that is here to stay! I see Tiny Home Villages where ppl can live with neighbors like RV parks only instead of renting space you purchase your spot flat out and you trade places with other ppl in other Villages when you want to go stay in another place and see more of the country. If handled properly each person would be able to rent if they couldn’t afford the purchase at first and rent going toward the purchase. And this would pay for the land and the infrastructure of the set up. And what I envision would have solar panels and compost toilets, solar hot water heaters and rain water catchment, etc. An off grid operation that is sustainable and once the initial investment to do all this is paid for then a small fee to maintain the operation that could be paid for through a community gardening project. Live together, work together and enjoy life. Kids, elders and in between. Because what makes a community if you do not have all the elements? For those who wish to go live in 55 plus community, good luck, I want to be around young ppl and help to guide those who didn’t get that. There are tons of other ideas but this is the basic to begin with. Go tiny homes, all shapes and sizes!

    • Lisa E. February 3, 2015, 5:02 pm

      I think there would have to be some kind of HOA and money would have to be collected to pay for the property taxes and anything else.

      Not all tiny houses are completely off the grid, so the community would have to pay for the lines to be run in and for any short fall like water, sewer and electricity.

      To me, this would mean that there would be different types of THVillages: some with utilities run in and others that are totally solar and off the grid.

      Some THV’s will charge rent and you can come and go as you please. I don’t know how a subdivision (purchased land/plot under one tenth of an acre) would work, especially in view of the McMansion city council types who don’t want to see tiny house anything (as competition.)

  • Claudia February 3, 2015, 5:03 pm

    Much as I love tiny houses, they require a significant upfront investment of time and/or money (which people often don’t have) plus a place to park (in most urban areas, it is illegal to live in them unless located in an RV park).

    So, I tend to think that tiny houses will continue to be a niche market, albeit a much bigger one that it is today. However, I do think the trend of living in smaller spaces will be permanent, partly for environmental reasons but mostly for financial. The sad fact is that most people are in debt and have nothing (or next to nothing) set aside for retirement.

    Given that the Social Security Benefits program is funded by those currently active in the workforce, it probably won’t be around for anyone younger than the Baby Boomers, because the worker-to-beneficiary ratio drops significantly as they retire. Out of financial necessity, I see more people embracing a more modest lifestyle, which includes not paying for more space than they absolutely need.

    • Lisa E. February 3, 2015, 5:14 pm

      When Social Security was first implemented it was set up so the current work force would pay for their parents. Then Ronald Reagan came along and made the Boomers pay, not only for their parents generation but also their own. There was MORE than enough money in SS until George W. Bush and his crowd broke the law, went in and took it. Then it was full of I Owe You’s. Democrats like Bill Clinton and the current administration have made efforts to return SS to its full capacity and I don’t think you have anything to worry about as long as the government leaves it alone, like they were supposed to. However, my caveat is, if we get a Republican president in 2016, together with a Republican Congress in 2016, then I think you will be right; SS will be dismantled and that tranche of money stolen again for good. SS is THE most single successful program in the history of this country. We need to fight to keep it. Many young people believe the nonsense about it being some kind of a burden; but it is (1) people helping people, (2) they need to remember that as they put in for others, others are putting in for them, and (3) when you become older the work place no longer wants you, no matter how educated or willing to work you are; they just don’t want you and you get pushed out. It is a blessing to have a monthly “paycheck” coming in versus absolutely nothing. Women are the ones who are most impacted by this because men always seem to find someone’s couch they can sleep on.

      • Claudia February 3, 2015, 5:45 pm

        @Lisa

        It’s not a matter of fighting to keep it. It’s more a matter of demographics, plain and simple. When Social Security was first established, the ratio of people paying into SS to people collecting SS was 15 to 1. Currently, it’s closer to 3 to 1. As more Boomers retire, that ratio will shrink to the point where the program simply won’t be sustainable. Moreover, people are living longer, which places an additional burden on the program.

        The bottom line is that anyone more than a decade away from retirement would be wise to make some contingency plans. That includes downsizing as much as possible as early as possible in order to save as much as possible, because that’s the best safety net there is.

        • Lisa E. February 3, 2015, 8:23 pm

          “As more Boomers retire, that ratio will shrink to the point where the program simply won’t be sustainable. ”

          — More Boomers are out working than ever before with little hope of ever retiring. Part of the problem is that we are slaughtering our children in foreign wars and also, not so many people are coming into the US looking to become citizens. Once upon a time, the Irish came here in droves but because of our foreign policies, they are now going to Poland. Some would say that the Mexicans are coming in, but while they may stay for a while, they really don’t want to stay here. I was a shift manager for a time and had 40 people under me, most of them from Mexico and Mezzo America. They all wanted to make enough money to go back and own bull farms. This was their dream; not staying on here. America has become very toxic in the past several decades but I believe SS is totally sustainable as long as the Right-wingers stop tipping the till. No one ever should have touched that fund; it has nothing to do with the General Budget for our government; it was and is a PRIVATE trust fund that B43 plundered… just because he could.

        • Claudia February 3, 2015, 9:33 pm

          When it comes to retirement — and life in general, for that matter — my motto is “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

          Years ago, I wanted to simplify my life so I intentionally downsized to a studio apartment to live more frugally. I don’t have any debts, I cook most of my food from scratch and my little second-hand car is over a decade old.

          I’d love a tiny house of my own and have even saved up for one. But where I live, it’d be just as expensive to live in an RV park (the only place I’d legally be allowed to live in a tiny house) as it is in my apartment. Crazy but true.

          In the meantime, until the day comes where it becomes economical to live in a tiny house without having to move to the boonies, I live what I think of as the tiny-house lifestyle — that is to say, in a small space with minimal possessions.

          The interesting thing is that I’m discovering that maybe it’s enough for me to look at other people’s beautiful tiny houses yet be content in my little rental apartment.

          All of this is a long-winded example of what I mean about preparing for the worst 🙂

  • Peter February 3, 2015, 5:04 pm

    I like the concept of the tiny home movement. However, from what I have read in articles about tiny houses the cost of building or having built a tiny home does not scale with the smallness compared to the cost of homes with 1500-1700 sq ft of living space. So, it can’t entirely be cost that is driving the movement.

  • J0hn Halley February 3, 2015, 5:09 pm

    We are thinking about this for our daughter’s long term college housing. She has two years in with at least seven more to go. Dorm; she had seven feet by four feet to call her space. Seemed like the visitors were always on her bed and in her space. Quite for studying was never there for her. Now we are just about ready to pull out the tools and get started for next fall. We have found place to park it close to campus (with all the modern hookups of life). Dorm $1200 a month, food $300 a month, and transportation $200 a month. (Place to park with hookups $250 a month.) Seems like we could get recoup of funds fairly quick with school cost going up next fall 15%.

  • Donna February 3, 2015, 5:16 pm

    Tiny houses may be too small as a permanent residence for more than one person over time but I certainly think small houses (400 to 800 square feet), if well designed, could easily house a couple or family. Big advantages-less expense to build, less maintenance, less energy requirement-more time to enjoy life!

  • Martha February 3, 2015, 5:34 pm

    I think the tiny house trend is here to stay, but it’s going to be much different in the future, and will probably split into two types of groups. For one, the notoriety and TV shows will make it popular with many who have the money to pay for the finished product, and they will want the finished home to look similar to the 2500+ sq.ft homes we often see on House Hunters (HGTV). This could include full sized appliances, lots of countertop space, regular plumbing (and toilet), space for entertaining, etc.

    There will still be those who will build their own tiny homes, with economy and ecology in mind.

    I’m not saying one is better than the other, just that things will change and diversify. I read this post early this morning and put off responding until I could give it some thought about how to word my reply. I know my response doesn’t adequately

    • Martha February 3, 2015, 5:39 pm

      I did something to make the reply publish before I was finished. Sorry.

      …. doesn’t adequately convey what I want to say about the future I see for the tiny house movement.

      I feel that it will only grow and especially if you believe the economy is going to take a dive in the not-so-distant future, then downsizing and reducing consumption is the only way to meet the housing problems we will face.

  • Richard Tipton February 3, 2015, 5:40 pm

    I think Tiny Houses are a necessity. They are affordable. Would a great little subdivision of 55 and older.

  • paw February 3, 2015, 5:49 pm

    the bad is they’ll start being over priced and become another expensive way of living, i live this way my self , and i wont over pay,

  • Shirley February 3, 2015, 5:50 pm

    Alex,
    I have to tell you, regardless of specific thoughts or viewpoints on any one topic, you do a TREMENDOUS job and put a massive amount of energy into capturing as many aspects of this topic as you can. Hats off to you!

  • Jim A February 3, 2015, 5:55 pm

    I think it is going to become a way of life for the working class people. As everyone ages and the unemployment rises, many people will have no other alternative but to downsize. It seems to me that we are just going back to the way it was in the past, just with fancier wooden tents.

  • Steph February 3, 2015, 6:02 pm

    I think it’s a trend that is certainly growing. My two biggest frustrations/fears right now here n Denver is the fact that the only place you can do this is on land that is pretty much unincorporated therefore way out on the fringes where poor folk like myself who don’t drive are sort of out of luck. We drag our feet here just trying to get/build affordable apartments which are scarce right now . My concern is that by the time they make room for tiny house folk,that the real estate industry will figure out some way to make it too expensive to obtain and I’m getting older not younger. I want to see a time when communities for tiny homes is plentiful and not out of reach financially and real estate wise. Just my grumbly ol pessimism sorry. But I’m all for it as I have lived in studio apartments all my adult life so I’m used to smaller being better. I like my creature comforts,they just don’t require thousands of square feet to be had in my book.

  • Madison Matthews February 3, 2015, 6:29 pm

    I love the tiny house movement because it not only allows for a higher quality life, but also is so much better for the environment. I think young people like me will be the ones to really latch on to the tiny house movement because it allows us freedom from financial burdens so that we can go out on adventures and truly live. Student loans and unemployment are a big problem for recent graduates. Small, self-sufficient houses that you can build yourself for almost less than the price of a car will be the key to living for yourself and not for money.
    Personally, I can’t wait until I can build my own tiny house and live (hopefully completely) off-the-grid so that I can write and travel, or settle down on my dream farm!

  • CathyAnn February 3, 2015, 6:39 pm

    Alex, I agree with everything you said, and you said it very well! I really don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said. However, there is one thing I want to point out.

    Post-WWII housing, was typically small 2 -3 bedroom, 1 bath homes with single or double car garages. My folks bought our house new in 1952 for $12,250. It had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a double car garage with almost the same square footage as the rest of the house altogether. We were a family of 4. There was enough land on the lot to have a small garden, but my father opted to keep the front and backyards in grass, flowers and shrubbery. Most homes in the area were smallish, and I’m talking about the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Since then, McMansions have been built in the neighborhood I grew up in, and in the whole region. My mother sold that house in the early ’90’s for $380,000. Almost 10 years ago, an old girlfriend from high school emailed saying our old house was for sale for a little over $900,000!

    I think the THM is in part a reaction to this trend in housing prices. My sister and brother-in-law who still live in the Bay Area, sold their McMansion, and built a much smaller house with solar power.

    Tiny/small houses have always been here, but there is definitely a resurgence of it because of the economic times we’re in. More and more people, including me, are resenting the intrusion of bureaucrats into our lives telling us what we can and cannot do. Hopefully that will change as more and more people become aware of and involved in the tiny house movement, and put pressure on city/county, even state governments to loosen up.

    One world government has already been mentioned. I would like to add “Agenda 21”. If you don’t know what that’s about, there’s a lot of information online.

  • Bruce February 3, 2015, 6:42 pm

    Trailer parks… yeah I know that word has a funk about it, but that is what we are talking about. This idea has been around for so long, TH living is nothing new, but the approach is. TH living can also be in an old Spartan Mansion, Boles Aero, Airstream etc… and I know of one TH community (Lemon Cove Village) that will be allowing 1975 and older trailers along with TH’s, they even have a builder on site. I am leaning that way since the builders have gone somewhat crazy with prices, or at least their expectation of what people are willing to pay. I can reno’ a good choice of trailer for far less, and Spartans have a great feel to them along with lots more room.

    The average person does not have the time/space/skills to build their own TH (or any combination thereof) So they (including me) are left to the whim of the builders. I am disappointed in what appears to have happened to Jay and the movement so many credited him in starting. So much marketing, selling plans, workshops etc… it is now ALL about the money from my perspective. The designs leave me flat since so many do not utilize space, rather they are slick looking HGTV type of designs. No shed roofs to prove a point. Fortunately he is not the only builder… and I hope you are correct Alex, in that more communities will crop up along with decreased costs of homes.
    Time will tell…

  • Kate February 3, 2015, 6:45 pm

    King Solomon said it…”There is nothing new under the sun.”
    My grandmother lived with her parents and grandparents in a huge house as a child and teen. During her married life and as a widow, it was very small houses.

  • jenaeni February 3, 2015, 7:06 pm

    The government has very specific reasons for impeding the ability of citizens to live self reliantly on very little money. Also for preventing (or making it very difficult or uninviting) to be nomadic. We will have to work hard to change the building and zoning laws to allow for our desire to live simply, be mobile, grow our own food, live on very little money and be off the grid. Soon we may see the laws loosening up to allow tiny home communities. But, I for one, do not like being as close to my neighbors in suburbia as I am already and would not like to be stacked up check by jowl in an “rv” type designed community. Plus, I really seek self reliance, independence and privacy. I have no wish to “share” community space like a garden or pool or whatever. I would like to see tiny home communities developed that allowed for small lots of say, 6,000 sf which would allow for fencing, food growing, privacy, etc. Sharing community with others should always be optional – never co-dependant, I think. Then it can be joyous with no reason to find conflict and no reason to compromise (another word for no one getting to realize their personal vision and dreams). I also think that these communities should not be banished to the side of busy highways or inner city crime areas. They should be in idyllic locations. Finally, given that our government does provide us with sophisticated infrastructure, protection, emergency services and many other welcome institutions that greatly increase our quality of life, we should most definitely pay taxes to pay for those luxuries. Taxes that are levied fairly and taxes that people who wish to live on very little can actually afford. I don’t want much do I?

  • Neil February 3, 2015, 7:11 pm

    I believe tiny houses are here to stay!! That is why I am looking very closely into building tiny houses along with my cousin. He’s the builder and I think we can help people live their dream of not being tied down by so much STUFF. Having a home that is paid for giving them a financial freedom they have always wanted in life!!! It’s more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle and people are really wanting something different for their own life!!! We’re going to help make it happen starting in West Georgia and beyond!!!

  • Jack Seggie February 3, 2015, 7:12 pm

    Of course it’s a long term growing trend. There are problems that will need to be worked out but not insurmountable problems. Builders and developers don’t see a good way to make all of this profitable right now and will need some encouragement. Retired people on a slim budget, such as my wife and I, would find it very easy to convert to a much smaller house. Tiny may not be a very inviting description and may turn some people away. Potential buyers need to have lots of encouragement.

  • Suze O February 3, 2015, 7:27 pm

    I think tiny houses are the beginning of a change in how Americans view their lives. We are all getting tired of the consumer culture. I won’t even go into malls, I find them so crowded, and I am becoming very fussy about my consumer habits – everything is divided into wants vs. needs. The loss of good-paying jobs is going to make owning a big home a pipe dream, and so many people are working extra long hours just trying to make ends meet trying to follow the “usual” American life. Part of the solution will be to rethink the cost of living. There are other things in life besides money (although that seems to be lost on those who feed the consumer culture). I think the tiny house movement will also nourish the small house movement, community farming, less use of “the grid” and more reliance on natural energies, and co-op living arrangements as opposed to “renting”. People will have more control over their lives, and that always leads to more satisfaction. It may not be easy, since our society has been constructed around money – housing laws and regulations have been written by banks, insurance companies, power companies, governments that depend on taxes and fees, and those with a profit motive in mind, not by those of modest means who need a break. These interests will not like being cut out of the pie, and they will not like people forming close communities with common interests. So much of their control depends on divide and conquer.

    I also think there is (hopefully) a social change that will take place with this movement. I’ll bet there will be more community-oriented people who put efforts into group or neighborhood activities, taking on group projects and helping neighbors. Our culture has gone too far to the extreme of individualism – the “you’re on your own” or “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. If you look at human history (and prehistory), that attitude has never been true. We are social by nature and have always settled in communities. This was for so many reasons other than safety; different individuals had different skills and talents to contribute, big projects were taken on by many people (think of the Amish building barns and having a community feast besides), there was a lot of social interaction and activities, and everyone relied on everyone else to get by. There was more sharing of resources. For a long time, families consisted of several generations and extended family living nearby, (although part of that was the difficulty of travel). Old or disabled people were not sent elsewhere (unless they were dangerous) and remained within the shelter of relatives. There was more equality. There was more direct democracy. You can still see this in tribal communities. We need to get back to that. I like to think I could live in a tiny house for a while, but I suspect a small house would be better, if only to provide more room for my hobbies. And I would be scared to death to tow a tiny somewhere; my lack of depth perception makes it difficult to drive large vehicles. That will have me hiring drivers to do it for me.

  • Cat February 3, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Whether it is a major or minor trend, increasing or fading, or even just a temporary “fad” in terms of however “popularity” is measured, I hope tiny housing will always be an option. It may not be feasible or desirable for everyone or even a large minority, but for me it represents an antidote to the tyranny of “stuff”, an outlet for creativity and my DIY gene, the freedom that comes from mobility, adaptability, and compactness, and the unexpected bonus of a connection to the quirky, diverse, outside-the-box community of tiny house folk. Among other things.

  • gianni February 3, 2015, 7:46 pm

    Is this a trend? Maybe. Young people holding off marriage till older, is that a trend? Trying to be more efficient, in our work, our cars, our homes. Is this a trend. People staying single or couples deciding not to have children, are these trends?
    It really doesn’t matter. We all have to do what works best for our situation.
    I think that there is a strong market for tiny or small homes whether on a trailer or foundation because of the way we live our lives today. The market place will dictate if this is a trend or not. People will do what they need for themselves and that is good.
    Thank You and God Bless
    Gianni

  • Robin Latham February 3, 2015, 7:56 pm

    I have a tiny home on five acres with three hundred feet of lake frontage.
    In Wisconsin. Under 600 ft., well and septic , real toilet and shower.
    Built 100 years ago. A dream place for less than the cost of some of the tiny homes on wheels. Low overheads and a real paradise.

  • Katherine February 3, 2015, 8:03 pm

    For me, the tiny house movement is not a fad. And it’s not a trend either. People have been happily living in small houses for centuries. I think the importance of the current tiny house movement is that it is creating a big time reality check for builders and others who have been pushing their super-sized versions of houses on us for too long. People are realizing that they simply do not need 3000—5000 square feet of house to be happy. People do not want their space to control them. They want to be in control of their space.
    HOW SMALL IS TOO SMALL: That being said I try to remain moderate in all things, and I personally do not think I could live in a micro-home (under 300 sq. ft.) While it obviously works for others, power to them, for me this is too extreme. I am a big fan of the “Not So Big House” principles propounded by architect Sarah Susanka and others, who believe in the concept of well-thought-out, smaller homes designed for how people really live, and not how a builder wants others to think they should live.
    I am completely supportive of the conversation the tiny house movement has engendered. It is very much a way to re-think what is important and discover ways to take back the financial and emotional control of our lives. In this way the tiny house movement is bigger than a discussion of the physical space we live in and more about a holistic way of thinking and being.

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar February 3, 2015, 8:07 pm

    Well, having been a part of the tiny house movement for a very long time living in a tiny off grid cabin and designing many tiny houses for other people to build I can say in my opinion the tiny house trend is a symptom of a bigger issue in America and other countries of unaffordable housing, an increase in homelessness, and a rising resentment of codes and failures of the system that prevent people from having sustainable housing and security in their lives.

    The movement was around long before it was a media sensation and it was primarily started by people that were living in “illegal” houses because that was all they could afford to build and they were small to remain hidden from inspectors.

    That movement increased after the housing market collapse and many people lost their homes and increased more after many Vets returned from war to find they could not afford a home. Homelessness drove many people to look for a solution and they turned to designing and building their own affordable houses and houses on trailers.

    Some of these were cute but most were designed from whatever they could find and made livable using composting toilets, solar power and other alternative systems.

    A few people then seen an opportunity to get media attention for themselves and profit from designing and building these houses and now it has become a major driver of a media frenzy and become “fashionable” for even the more affluent to want a tiny house only they want all the unsustainable features in those houses that they enjoy in a regular home and the tiny house is becoming bigger all the time and more expensive.

    Some designers are pushing $7,000 furnaces and fridges for these units because they get a kickback from selling those units and they are making people feel if they don’t have those expensive appliances they are building or buying “lower class” tiny houses. those same designers are now pushing for RVIA licensing for tiny house builders that would prevent people from building their own tiny houses and could give states authority to regulate that construction or end it completely hurting many people that need these homes.

    That is a fad and trend that I hope and believe will go away as it does more harm to the movement and that is why I still design low cost easy to build houses for DIY people and not the expensive luxury tiny houses many designers are now promoting.

    LaMar

    • LK February 3, 2015, 10:41 pm

      This is scary to think about:
      ‘same designers are now pushing for RVIA licensing for tiny house builders that would prevent people from building their own tiny houses and could give states authority to regulate that construction or end it completely’
      The ‘Tiny House’ movement can not stand by and watch this happen. I am willing to write letters or talk to legislators (I live in Ohio) and I think that others need to be proactive in this matter. In other words, what can be done? People who care need to be made aware and act now before the big guys get their way.

  • Rebecca Drew February 3, 2015, 8:08 pm

    I don’t think the tiny home living is a trend. Its getting to be to expensive for big home living, plus They are so cute and very much easier to take care of. Wish I had one in the worst way.

  • Dorie February 3, 2015, 8:50 pm

    My husband and I live in a 2300 square foot home that is way too much for us. We are researching tiny homes and dreaming of the day that we will downsize into an affordable, green, tiny home that meets all of our needs in retirement. We want freedom to travel, to live in an environmentally responsible way, and to live happily within our reduced means as a retired couple. A tiny home is the perfect solution.

  • Sharon Proctor February 3, 2015, 9:18 pm

    After selling a home when widowed and living presently in an apartment I again want my own tiny home. Love the idea of downsizing and being in my own space. What a terrific chance to experience life again.

  • Nan February 3, 2015, 9:49 pm

    I would love to see the builders here in Tuscaloosa, AL embrace the tiny house movement. I’m a realtor, and since I am now 61, I feel like Susan does about a senior community. How awesome would that be? I’ve spoken to a few builders. They acted as if they’d consider it….to appease me I’m sure.
    I was scheduled to begin turning my backyard building a few months ago into a tiny house. The first person I hired didn’t do the structural reinforcing properly, and since my daughter found a nice home to rent, I’ve put my plans on hold for awhile. Today I talked with a great handyman and I may do the renovation over time in phases. My lot is large, but this is not something that I’m supposed to do per my subdivision restrictions. But since I’m a painter, ass far as anyone is concerned…it’s going to be my art studio. If a permit is denied….I still may go forward with it. When I retire from real estate, I’d like to rent it out for extra income. It backs up to a wooded area, and isn’t very visible from the road. Wish me luck!!

  • Charlie Knight February 3, 2015, 9:50 pm

    I believe “small” if not “tiny” houses are a return to reality and not a “trend”.

    Many years ago people lived in smaller houses.
    Then cam the end of WWII and “prosperity”
    and houses grew and grew until folks with “money” were building “mansionetts” big houses but no land to go with them.
    The “tiny house” movement goes back tot he smaller size AND a size that a retired person can handle much better.

    Some people do not want congregate living, but heating a large sprawling thing is not what they can afford also. I can see a larger house in the summer and a “tiny home” in the winter.

    I can also see a “tiny home” on wheels to visit places and just stay for a while there.

    This is not a fad, it is returneing to some sensibility and sustainability and being responsible with the resources we need and use.

    Amen

  • Wendy Greggs February 3, 2015, 10:00 pm

    I had been living in a condo for over 15 years and it was 1,370 sq.ft. I missed the privacy of living in a home and while visiting a childhood friend in California I came across tiny houses. I put my condo on the market and moved into a 900 sq. ft. bungalow that is perfect. I tried to find something smaller but this house just seemed so perfect for me. I had to get rid of a lot of furniture since it would not fit in my new house. The whole experience of downsizing was very powerful for me. I love reading about all the different types of small houses that are popping up all over the country in your Daily Tiny House Newsletter. Maybe a tiny house community will become a reality here and I will downsize again.

    • Alex February 4, 2015, 11:10 am

      Thanks Wendy! Your little bungalow sounds great. And I think 900 sq. ft. is a great size that’s still easy to manage. 🙂

  • LK February 3, 2015, 10:20 pm

    -I think that it is a trend for many people – something that is happening with the ‘boomers’. Well, only time will tell – but I see many young people willing to be college educated, willing to have the jobs that they trained for, but unwilling to work mindlessly to fuel a system that views them as workers on a treadmill to keep the economy going. Every non essential thing that we work to purchase at the expense of what we truly care about robs us of a meaningful life – and a mortgage is at the top of the list for many young people as a non essential, if they plan right!
    -I think by the time that the larger population wakes up to what is happening it (the tiny home/simple living trend) will be unstoppable. Smiling faces, contented people versus folks rushing to jump the next hurdle that society constructs – that will convince many more to simplify, whether they live in a big city, small town, or the country.
    -I have lived small, and while I am in a larger space now, I value the lessons learned while I lived on a converted bus and later in a 500 square foot home. I valued time outdoors in the woods and later outdoors on the shores of Lake Erie with my dog, Charlie. I left California and a good job to earn less money (still in my field of training) because I agree with your quote from Dr. Suess.
    -Now I listen to people tell me of all of the things that I can buy to make my home look like those in magazines – I could care less. I like simple, clean lines and don’t like clutter. It helps me think – and I can think about what I see out of my windows when inside and be drawn to go outside to enjoy nature. Simple is also easier to take care of. Simple is easier on the purse.
    -A less catchy name but more to the heart of the matter would not be ‘ tiny home’, but the ‘just right size home to hold what you really need and space to really live home’, which would be much smaller, better designed to fit real needs – meaning no huge collections of wearables, collectibles, papers, and my nemesis – books! The library is my friend for books, DVDs, books on CD’s, and more. I can love things and not have to own them!

    • LK February 4, 2015, 11:50 am

      Yep, I’m answering me! I saw this ad and thought about this site:
      $899,900 3575 XXXXX Woods Dr XXXXX, OH
      Bedrooms: 4 MLS ID: 3475046
      Bathrooms: 7 Neighborhood: XXXXXXwoods Estates
      Square Feet: 7,000 County: XXXXXXXX
      Year Built: 1993 Garage: 3 car
      Acreage: 4.296 Basement: Finished, Full, Walk-Out
      XXXXX Candy Woods Dr XXXXX, OH 44XXX
      Architectural integrity. Beauty surrounds this custom built home with 7000 sq.ft.on 3 levels. Top of the line in design & amenities. Incredible 4 acre cul-de-sac private setting with woods, ravine, stream, in-ground pool, outdoor spa, pool house with remodeled full bath, lavish master suite & bath, 24ft. high ceiling in great room with a wall of ceiling high windows, library, family room, study, office, loft, exquisite kitchen, 3 gas fireplaces. Walk-out lower level consists of huge game room, exercise room, full bath, fully equipped newly remodeled kitchen, wet bar, additional spiral wood stairway from lower level to the second story. Current owner has spent over $400,000 in the last 6 yrs. on amenities and upgrades. A new roof was just installed on entire home and pool house.
      HOW FULL OF POOP DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO REQUIRE 7 BATHROOMS IN A 4 BEDROOM HOUSE? HOW DOES SOMEONE CONVINCE THEMSELVES THAT THEY NEED THIS MUCH SPACE AT THIS PRICE? THE ACREAGE IS NICE – BUT THE HOUSE – OBSCENE! THE PITCH IS SMOOTH, AND IGNORES THE INSANITY OF THE SIZE AND OVER USE OF RESOURCES – BOTH MONETARY AND NATURAL.

  • susan February 3, 2015, 10:45 pm

    I think the “ultra tiny” homes may be more of a trend or perhaps more of a smaller “niche” group. Less likely to be a trend is the “small” house which is still very much downsized but remains practical enough for larger numbers of people and can be more accommodating to life changes. On a couple of occasions, I have commented on the issue of disabilities (which seems generally to get ignored-not surprising since it topic that tends to be uncomfortable….). Tiny houses will not accommodate any major disability and a small house will not either, if any major equipment is needed. Space is not a luxury in these situations (my husband had ALS), and the reality is that as people age but live longer, there is a much higher chance of being is this situation-whether it is temporary during a rehab or permanent. This will shift the equation over the longer term. Very easy to feel more “invisible” when young or if never had to deal face to face with major illness/injuries, etc. that don’t just heal up in a month. “Universal design” in any size home still gets shunned all too often.
    Communities also still need to address the lack of accommodation for tiny or small homes, since size still too often is equated with “quality” and maintenance of property values (if so many communities fear that the wrong color of a house will bring down property values, there is a very long way to go to change attitudes when it comes to size or shape differences). If the mobile type tiny homes grow in significant number (and my understanding is that property taxes to not apply to them), you can be sure communities will find a way to tax them, and this will alter the economics and probably desirability to some degree. At this point, it seems more people are interested or intrigued but I don’t know if/when/where a “critical mass” will get reached.

  • Melissa L. gill February 4, 2015, 1:07 am

    I’m very excited to see the tiny house trend growing. I think this is just the beginning. What’s the purpose of living in these giant houses where everyone in the family is living on a different floor of the McMansion? My dream is to have a tiny house of my own someday. Right now, though, I don’t have anywhere to put one. I’m hoping that the growing trend will make this more possible.

  • Joey Madlangbayan February 4, 2015, 1:17 am

    I’m banking on the fact that as time progresses the price of a tiny home goes down. As the demand goes up, more properties will be developed for accomodating the demand. When I turn 60 I pray I will have that Tiny Homes model Elm 24 Equador. I would buy one right now, but spaces to rent is sparce in OC, CA.

  • Ginger February 4, 2015, 1:40 am

    I don’t think it’s a trend, and, as mentioned, it’s been going on a long time. Look at all the park model home communities in AZ and FL. This year I rented out my 2300 sq ft house in NY, bought a used park model in Tucson, and moved into my under-400 sq ft home. Still getting rid of stuff but much happier. Easier to clean. So comfy and cozy and so much cheaper. I think that, for certain demographics, tiny homes just make sense. For young people just starting out. And for older people who are winding down. I would also like to see small homes, say 500-800 sq feet, being built. That size is perfect for small families. And, I agree, I hope smaller spaces are simply an introduction to simpler lifestyles. How did ‘things’ become so important in our culture? I don’t have much yard space or I think I could enjoy growing vegetables. I enjoy my dog and my neighbors. I might volunteer. I work part-time. How did our lives become about working all the time to pay for stuff? And then we wonder where our values have gone astray?
    The tiny home movement inspires me and gives me hope. Our legislators pay no attention to us, but the tiny home people just find new ways to create vibrant, sustainable lives. Bravo!

  • Mike February 4, 2015, 2:03 am

    I like to think of tiny living as a niche market. It is naturally created in response to the mainstream style of living big. This is good and bad It’s good because it can allow a person to drastically cut their cost of living while still earning the same wages as before, boosting their ability to save, invest, work less, or retire. It’s bad because it’s often illegal/against local regulations, and as such it’s a hard to see it as a long term solution.

    If we push for legal tiny house lots I think that prices for the small lots will go up per sq. ft., and there will still be expensive hookups and uncertain taxes. Tiny house people are different, they want more community, gardens, and freedom, and less fences and manicured lawns. What we need are more RV- style parks with less expensive rent to accomodate the lifestyle. What tiny homes need is really a rethinking of a neighborhood and community utilities because tiny homes are all about low cost, low impact, low energy usage, environmentally responsible, sustainable, easy way of life. The way it is with the modern setup means most of the costs to build would be in lot purchase, foundation, and hookups to utilities. Even if code permitted, lots here start at $30k. Banks won’t loan money for a bare lot, it has to be tied to a structure and they’re not going to loan money for a place that costs less then the land/utilities. This is why most of the tiny house people I see are living in their parents back yard, or on someone Else’s land. Buying land outside of town is possibly an option but it’s also adding a travel penalty and as has been said here and other places before, is not really environmentally sound. You have to dig a well for water, often times you have to install a septic system, and all of this is cost prohibitive, and again, there is no financial support for it, and you might still need electricity hooked up.

    The tiny house movement is great, I love it. But it needs more than inexpensive shelters and code allowances, it needs access to cheap land and services. It needs to form communities who can share the cost of simple services, perhaps share solar, a well, and septic if necessary, because the energy usage and services needed are too low to justify the costs for a single dwelling. It needs people who buy the land, develop a community, and do so for less than the monthly cost of an RV park. Perhaps a co-op style development would possibly work?

  • TJ Houston February 4, 2015, 3:34 am

    I think it’s a recurring trend. This is by far not the first “tiny house movement”, nor is it the largest. Look back to the twenties and thirties. Google images are loaded with pictures. I think it has to do with the economic times, which are different for different people. Like the saying goes: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Even during the depression people who had jobs were doing well. I had a great uncle who was eating steak while other members of the family were eating beans. My grandmother lost her house to taxes and moved her family in with her steak eating brother (who was eating a lot of pork and bean sandwiches when I met him).
    I think people are fearful of losing what they have and ending up on the street or trying to get off the street to some type of ‘normalcy’.
    I’m 61, soon to be 62. The railroad bought my house 3 years ago so I bought an acre-and-a-half, put up a small pole barn to work in and a 6′ chainlink fence all the way around it. I live in a $200 – 32′ camper and am building a tiny home on wheels. For me, it will be my last home. The reason I chose this route is pure economics. The job situation is such that I was always stressed about losing my home, taxes never go down. I’m going to be retiring within 3 or 4 years and my social security won’t be that much and I don’t know how long it will be around. I don’t want to lose everything I’ve worked my whole life for and end up on the street because I can’t pay my taxes because of a fiscally irresponsible government that keeps wanting more and more. So to me, a tiny house on wheels makes perfect sense, but I’m taking it a step further down security road. I have a ’74 F600 (no electronics) grain truck that will run on the Wayne Keith wood gasifier that I am also building. The steel grain bed will be enclosed to carry a generator, tools and wood for the gasifier.
    I know that some people think these tiny homes are ‘trendy’ or they’re saving the planet, etc. etc. My advice to people sitting on the fence is to get busy gathering materials and start building. Treat it as a priority instead of a wishlist item—unless— you’re going to be one of those people eating steak during the coming depression.

  • Jack Palmer February 4, 2015, 6:48 am

    Having been in the building trades all of my working life ( now 64) tiny homes seem to be a radical reaction to all the really large houses built in the past 20 or so years. I’ve always thought that theses mega large houses were a result of cheap fuel prices and easy money. Now with much higher energy prices a weak economy and job market, the trend has been smaller houses. These truly tiny houses I beleve are a trend and will end up representing a tiny fraction of the home market with low resale value. Small house ( 800-1200 sq.ft.) are another thing altogether and I think are here to stay.

    economy

  • Sue Gann February 4, 2015, 8:04 am

    We park it permanently in an RV park. I am still working for a little while longer. We have a 16 ft. travel trailer that we will be using to do some traveling this summer, family, music festivals etc.

  • Sherrie February 4, 2015, 10:11 am

    I think the tiny house movement is part of a larger trend toward downsizing and simplification. This is, in part, a positive response to a bad economy. People are delaying gratification, looking for more affordable homes and generally reconsidering their expectations of what is helpful (and not) in order to bring about a peaceful happy life. In our 50’s my husband and I spent many years accumulating “stuff” for ourselves and our children. Now realizing, we do not want it, and they will not take it, we are faced with the onerous task of choosing what we really want and need to bring with us to our next much smaller, home. It will not be a tiny home, but it will be much smaller and less cluttered. I enjoy being inspired by the clever solutions put forth by the tiny home dwellers.

  • Brian February 4, 2015, 10:18 am

    Well first of all, I absolutely love receiving the Tiny House Newsletter. I look forward to finding it in my email and frankly I am a little bummed if one is not there for some reason.

    Do I think that tiny houses are a trend or fad? Like many have said already, the concept is not a new one. Look back to the late 1800’s. There were many houses that were simple one room homes. Beds in nearly every corner, simple cloth hung separating “Mom and Dad’s room” from the children’s. A stove that was multi purpose for cooking and heating, “fetching water” from the nearby stream, outhouses, gardens to grow their vegetables, etc.

    This way of living evolved over time into the now popular McMansions. People working just as hard as earlier times, but with higher costs (even when you figure in inflation). It seems to me that we as a society has given ourselves the impression that we are worth more than our Great-Grand Parents were and we have, in a sense, lost our roots. Generally speaking as a whole of course. Not all of us feel this way. Europeans typically do not live large like Americans have for so many years. We Americans “Super-Size” everything. From the “Value meal” to the size of our vehicles that we drive and the houses that we own/are in debt over. Our society has grown up destroying our possessions and then throwing them away and not repairing it to make it last longer. Yes, this unfortunately also refers to our personal relationships. The point is, we need to go back to a simpler way of doing things if we are to succeed. We all came from humble beginnings and I find it very unfortunate that we have turn into the “brats” that we have become.

    Unfortunately, I feel that with the birth and continued success of the THM, the cost to build and live as such will become astronomical like everything else in our current time. In terms of cost,it will be no different than “Super-Sizing” the #3 at your favorite fast food establishment. So, how do we change it? Simply put, build it yourself!!! We have all seen the stories that someone had no experience in building, yet they built with their own two hands a wonderful home. The facts are, if you want something bad enough you will find a way. Our Great Grand Parents did not hire a contractor to build their home. They learned and did it themselves with possibly help from nearby friends or family. So what if you don’t have that standard flushing toilet right off the bat. Or the tub instead of a shower. Work towards it. Any house that is purchased is subject to change of some kind over the course of ownership. Building it yourself will bring much more pride and joy into what you OWN and at a much cheaper cost. Hence, living more simply like what the original intention was to begin with.

    From campers, transformed school buses, the vintage VW “hippy” bus, the 100+ year old school house transformed, the re-purposed wood from a barn, brand new wood from the local hardware store, shipping containers, etc. Some people have lived quite comfortably in small spaces for several decades, even centuries. Where there is a will, there is a way.

    Do I think that Tiny houses are a trend or fad. NO!!! It’s always been there. Just some of us have realized and remember were we came from and are taking steps to revert back to that way of living again. The others are simply still lost. They are eating that “chocolate bar” whilst they are sulking in hopes that the “chocolate bar” will help them feel better.

    In the approximate words of Jay Shafer. “Would I be living in a tiny house if the Government said I could? Probably not. Because they said I can’t, just pisses me off.”

    Thank you Jay and thank you Alex for your contributions in getting America straight again.

  • Jim Freeman February 4, 2015, 10:35 am

    This is no trend, and I’m jumping in with both feet. I have to admit I do have an extensive background in construction, 20 yrs in commercial construction and 21 yrs of cabinet work, design and build on motor yachts 75 ft to 147 ft for an average. I am looking forward to begin my project. After completion of my home I am considering doing a tiny home construction company which will depend on the input from other tiny home owners and builders when mine is completed. I will be keeping video documentation and submit for all to see. more to come………and thank you to Tiny House Newsletter for bringing this to my attention along with all who have jumped in and started a new and better way to live, Thank You!!!

  • Zoey February 4, 2015, 11:27 am

    5 1/2 months I live in a 8’x30′ 1977 Royal International RV which is winterized, next to a small lake and love it! The rest of the year I live in a senior mobile home park in my 2 bed, 2 bath 14’x66′ home which seems way to big, but it is paid for and in a wonderful community and I love it too. Having a large home for the winter is a big plus for me and my 2 cats. So I have a foot in both lifestyles. If there was a tiny house community in my area that would accept my RV I would seriously consider it.

    • Alex February 4, 2015, 3:55 pm

      That’s awesome Zoey! And way to go on having your home fully paid for. That’s huge! Your 8’x30′ RV sounds awesome too!!

  • Wolf February 4, 2015, 2:01 pm

    If you are not cash rich, it ain’t lasting. Money is the problem with this moving from trend to movement to mainstream. We need an appraisal system and comparables, so some kind of resale value system emerges. Only then can all THM folks feel good about the costs involved and remove the debt stress. When the value is a known, then we can decide if it’s a mobile life, a retirement on SSI kind of existence, or just a simple lifestyle choice. I think we could all join together and input to a spreadsheet of costs and products and sizes and eventually a standard will be agreed on. Then values can be compared and then land rent, personal property taxes, and true life choice costs will help grow a fad into a balanced part of housing options.

  • Lisa E. February 4, 2015, 2:07 pm

    I can’t believe how many people have posted to this topic. How can anyone doubt that the THM is alive, well and growing!

    • Bart February 4, 2015, 2:20 pm

      Guys,

      Check wikihouse

      I have seen one today, it builds like a puzzle.

      • barb February 4, 2015, 6:55 pm

        Thanks for the pointer. I watched an assembly video; I think I could convince a few people to help me 🙂 Where did you see the build?

  • Tom February 4, 2015, 3:47 pm

    I am in the process of buying a park model RV that is permanently attached to a foundation in an RV resort in Cathedral City Ca. You own the land on which it sits. It’s a gated 55+ year round resort with pools, gym, tennis, lake, lawn areas etc. The monthly HOA fess include all utilities except electricity. This includes water/sewer/trash, cable TV and internet. Not bad for $237 month. They also take care of all the landscaping for you.
    The unit I am purchasing is 400 Sq Ft. One level, vaulted ceilings, one bath, washer/dryer and full kitchen. It was built in 1996. The woman I am purchasing it from bought it new and she now has moved on to assisted living. She loved her tiny house. The unit has a small yard for a dog as well as a huge covered deck and carport.
    You pay property taxes on the land only, not the structure because it is considered an RV even though it is constructed like a regular home. i.e. wood, drywall, dual pane windows ,HardiPlank siding, shingle roof. Very well built. Not the old “stick and tin” trailer of the 60 and 70s.
    Taxes will be about $350-$400 a year here in Ca. License for the RV is $105 annually. So all in all,very affordable.
    I also intend to purchase a small used class b motor home to travel and escape the desert summer heat. All in for both, I will will be spending less than $85,000 cash. At 59 years of age I will owe nothing and be able to enjoy travel as well as having a permanent home.
    So if you look around, you can find communities to either buy the lot or rent the lot for your tiny house. I know of two in the Colorado mountains west of Denver, one in Surprise, Az and 4 here in the Palm Springs area. These are just the ones I know, there are more out there. Just keep looking. Some are not age restricted either. Good Luck Tom

  • Martha February 4, 2015, 5:03 pm

    Me again. I just noticed on your post today (2/4/15) 4 out of 5 offerings were in the 600+ to 700+ ft. range, which in my opinion makes them more in the “small home” category rather than tiny. So as I commented previously, I think the movement will go in two directions – those who are definitely in the mind set of “tiny” (this is best for singles or possibly a couple), and those who are of the “small home” mindset – folks who just want to have a little more room, as well as families with children. 160sqft is tiny 650 sqft is small.

    • Brian February 4, 2015, 6:23 pm

      I do believe you are right on the button. My house is just under 600 sq ft
      and I find it adequate for my needs. (I live alone). However my home would house two people very comfortably (and a pussy cat). Being routed to the site makes me feel more secure somewhat. I also have an RV to escape in when the need presents itself. I found the hardest part of downsizing was getting rid of all those “treasures” which, when gone I forgot about almost immediately. Thankyou you sharing and cheers from Australia.

  • Lisa Lutz February 4, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Tiny House Talk, I recently purchased 30 beautiful acres in South Central Missouri. ..I would like to begin a tiny home community.
    How would I do this? Is there special requirements that you are aware of? Thanks for any info you can share, Lisa Lutz

    • Lisa E. February 4, 2015, 9:33 pm

      The first thing you need to know about are the zoning laws and codes for this type of endeavor. I’d suggest talking to a “real property” attorney (there are law firms that specialize in real property) in the area the land is located.

      You can get the names of some firms at the court house from any one of the clerks (filing clerks, or clerk of the court). When you meet with your attorney, take a pad and pen with you. Take good notes of the zoning laws and codes you will have to work with, and anything else
      the attorney mentions.

      You will end up at the law library doing research to educate yourself on these materials. I highly recommend you learn this stuff by heart. You can expect a run-around from any and all of the City Council types, Chamber of Commerce, builders association people, etc. It will probably be an up hill battle at worst and just a lot of running around, filings and fees at the very least.

      I admire you for doing this. I’m planning on doing the same thing in Oregon. As you go through this process, please keep us all posted and let us know what’s been going on, how it is proceeding, what you’ve accomplished and how you accomplished it. This is REALLY valuable information for the rest of us AND the movement. Bon Courage!

    • Mike February 5, 2015, 2:54 pm

      I think that what you might find is that the legal description might well be an rv park or a trailer park. As far as an actual permanent community the county will likely conform to IRC building codes which is going to give some minimum sq. ft. requirements for walkways, bedrooms ect., and this becomes problematic for the currently fashioned tiny house.

      You would have to consider how much a well would cost sufficient to supply all the tiny homes, how much a septic would cost, and electricity to the property for multiple tiny homes.

      • Lisa E. February 11, 2015, 5:00 pm

        Ummmm…. not necessarily. Check out “Caravan” in Portland, Oregon. This woman has creatively made a show place of tiny homes but you can rent one and stay in it like a B&B.

        While I admit the road to getting your own park set up isn’t easy, it can be done. A while ago, either Jay or Alex had a schematic up of a THPark they were building. I went looking for it but they have taken it down, so I would tend to think that they got enough people to sign on and so they have now closed the openings for their THP. I’ve sort of been waiting for them to do a spread on their process to this end, but so far all has been pretty quiet.

        One approach might be to allow THers to sign on but only if they are completely off the grid. There could be a community garden for growing food, but where people park could be left fluid. If you got enough people in the community, you would then have the leverage to make changes to the existing codes to allow for THPs.

        I would suggest avoiding the “no-can-do” attitude or mentality. The THM is only in its infancy and from the way TH’s are being snapped up off the listings blog, there is no shortage of committed interest in the THM. Yes, we need to take on the McMansion establishment and get some changes made, but that will just take a focus group in each venue to stay at it until they move the door to open wide.

        • Mike February 11, 2015, 8:33 pm

          Lisa do you have a reading comprehension problem? This is the second time I have simply given a factual statement of a tiny house situation and someone has responded as if I were against the tiny house movement! I’m not against the tiny house movement! My sister works for the county building department, I talk her ear off all the time about tiny living. I’ve read the IRC (and read it to her) as it relates to tiny homes and it’s doable but there are some regulations. The IRC isn’t really the big hurdle though, it’s the area development rules which largely state that a residence therein will be a minimum sq. ft. These rules are very common, everywhere. Legally a tiny home community will be seen as a t RV park or a trailer park in most locals because they’re not on a foundation. So first, there’s zoning. If you make tiny homes that rent out like in Oregon, that is not a tiny house community, it’s a MOTEL!, and is not regulated the same way as a residence, and you CANNOT live there! Finally, as I said, there will be huge utility costs for establishing a community, just as there are for a RV or Trailer park. Most counties will not permit a residence to be built anywhere without a septic system, no matter what they plan on doing with the waste, and they won’t permit for water or electricity without one. There are exceptions county to county, but they are few and far between. The reality is that most people living tiny right now are doing so illegally due to these laws!! That is the reality. All these facts are not to say that it can’t be done, or shouldn’t. It should, but there are big hurdles and land to put them on is a relatively insignificant one . As someone who has also done his due diligence, I am aware of these realities offered my perspective. We can cheer tiny houses all we want but it doesn’t change the reality. And I am pretty sure I was responding to a question of putting a tiny house community on a property, not whether tiny houses are cool and should be legal!

        • Lisa E. February 11, 2015, 10:39 pm

          Mike: I spent the bulk of my working career in law offices (civ. pro) and Real Property was one of the areas I worked in, so I think my reading skills are okay. I think all serious THers need to take judicial notice of the fact that (1) tiny houses are cool; but not necessarily for everyone, (2) the McMansion folks have been at it longer than we have and so they got there first with the most (rules) but (3) that doesn’t mean they get to control everything ad infinitum.

          Many of these rules have to do with kick-backs to the construction industry (as a quid pro quo for political support.) Also, the people who are now the Chamber of Commerce and the City Council people get bigger salaries based on larger property taxes; so there is a “consideration” [legal term] for implementing bigger house building guidelines and other things they have been and are doing.

          My comments were not meant as any kind of attack on your views; I just want people not to get discouraged because (4) at this moment in time, control of the land is a rigged game and it’s going to be an uphill battle. But (5) people have to want this badly enough to come together and put in the time and effort it is going to take to open this market up to other than McMansions.

          Of course they don’t want this. Many tiny homes are being built by other than builders and contractors (in conjunction with building workshops being provided by the THM.) Many people are opting to use recycled and reclaimed materials (so no one is making a bunch of money off of this.) Many of the homes are off the grid (and, in the case of an Incolet toilet) won’t require city sewage (have we forgotten leaching beds???) (6) The whole thing really boils down to money; we are not participating in the fascist economy and, of course, they are going to fuss about this. (7) They want us living our lives according to their prosperity and we need to recognize this and meet the challenge head on.

          I’m really glad you are so well informed; we need people like you. But don’t stress yourself out so much at the beginning; this is going to take a long time and burn-out won’t serve you or others well.

          So far, they have configured everything to suit themselves. We are the new kids on the block and before we can gain their respect and acceptance, we are going to have to go a few rounds with them.

          Of course, they are going to try and fit us into their existing scheme of things (RV Parks, etc.) We are just going to have to prove our uniqueness to them, assert then establish our rights to live as we want to and keep doing so such that they realize that we aren’t going to just go away; we have rights, too.

          As for living illegally… When I lived in California, the State used many insecticides to kill off unwanted bugs. Collateral damage for this was the extinction of the Peregrine falcon that used to make their homes in the Marin Headlands overlooking the bay. At that time, the Dept. of the Interior had made it illegal to hold in captivity any Peregrine falcons. However, the powers that be were so upset at the loss of these precious falcons that several gracious falconers came forward, through an intermediary, and offered to replenish the stock with their “illegal” birds, as long as immunity from prosecution was on the table. The State was so happy to be able to backtrack on their disastrous pesticide program, they willingly agreed. Five years later, there was a thriving community of Peregrine falcons in the Marin Headlands, and it is all due to the “illegal” activities of the falconers. [Footnote: A raptor in the wild has a life expectancy of five to seven years. A raptor, properly held in captivity has a life expectancy of twenty-five years. Fact.]

          Take heart, the THM may be illegal today but it will be tomorrow’s silver lining as people turn away from the McMansion madness, and consider living a smaller lifestyle in a world where burgeoning populations threaten our very existence.

  • Lynnette February 4, 2015, 6:58 pm

    I could not agree more. Thus way of life is so appealing abd refreshing. We have already been through the “more more more” way of life and it’s too stressful to maintain all these belongings. We’ve lost the family unit as we’re so busy and hide in spaces of our living quarters. Think of colonial days where everyone shared ONE ROOM and enjoyed each other. Sleeping space should be for sleep. Eating spaces for actually eating. I think this is the wave of what needs to happen. Back to basics. Less stuff and space, more time and closeness for the family unit. Kids these days have WAYYYY too much crap (mine included ) and we need to learn to utilize the earth again to grow out own fruits and vegetables. We don’t have time for this anymore as we are too busy maintaining our “stuff” and our surroundings. Can I get an Amen? 🙂

    • Lisa E. February 11, 2015, 10:43 pm

      “AMEN!” When I was a baby, my mother says that for all the pretty, expensive and fancy toys given me by the family, my favorite was her pots and pans I pulled from under the kitchen sink to play with. Just goes to show…

  • Marlene February 4, 2015, 7:40 pm

    Thanks for articulating those thoughts and letting us know there is more we can do to simplify. I really enjoyed this article. I just started giving away all my stuff and it is so liberating. My things served me during one phase in my life now I want freedom from stuff and a better lifestyle.

    • Alex February 5, 2015, 9:31 am

      Thanks Marlene I’m glad you’re finding it valuable 🙂

  • Megan Zopf February 4, 2015, 9:17 pm

    I don’t think this is a trend. I honestly believe that a lot of people would be willing to live in a tiny house if they could find a way. I am in the middle of building one in the yard where we are renting a very small home. My landlord has a very large old farm home and lots of land. She is 90 years old and believes this is going to be a doll house for my granddaughter. Meanwhile we are trying to buy land that is rural and about 4 acres. The owner knows what are plans are and is ok with it. As far as the town is concerned, I’m not sure. I am going to finish this home and this will be where I live. Nothing else makes any sense to me. Downsizing has been a real joy and liberating for me. Most of the stuff I’ve given away are things I haven’t seen in years. I think the tiny house movement is a wakeup call for a lot of people. I wish there were more affordable ones though and loans available to get these without hassles. Banks aren’t too eager to give loans with little to no return. I was denied. It’s not going to stop me. It will just take me longer.

  • Rebecca Davis February 4, 2015, 11:15 pm

    Hi Alex!
    My husband and I just paid off our house after 10 long years on a land contract. It’s an old cabin that previous owners have just added rooms onto. But the only thing they didn’t put in their add-ons was storage of any kind. Now that the house is legally ours and the only thing that we need to pay once a year is the property tax($200/yr. approx.), we can now take that monthly payment and fix up this house. It’s quite a bit bigger than a tiny house on wheels(1,046.6 sq.ft.), it’s still small by comparison of other homes in the area. My husband is handicapped so a tiny house would not work for him, but this house will work for him. We have a lot of work ahead of us and going through boxes that we’ve not opened since moving here. We will probably end up throwing them all out. Out of site- out of mind, I say. But we will have a nice home when we’re done and our expenses will be way less, too. My husband has expressed an interest in traveling on his Harley. It’s not tiny but it’s perfect for us. Thanks for listening/reading.
    Sincerely, Becky

    • Alex February 5, 2015, 9:29 am

      Hi Becky! That’s great!! Way to go! You should be proud. 1046 sq ft is still pretty easy to maintain and still gives you guys some extra space. And being mortgage-free now, that’s huge!! Keep it up 🙂

  • drew February 4, 2015, 11:39 pm

    I feel Tiny House people are minimalist in their behavior. You couldn’t be closterphobic and like small but nicely decorated spaces. I think the cost of building will go up, it already has here. Some tiny houses are as much as a full fledge house by the time you figure everything. Finding land to where people won’t complain or convenance code is an issue is a problem. You almost have to be off the beaten path. Would I be happy in one, absolutely ! Do I want one, yes! Being on disability might be easier. You must rent or be in HUD housing so I have nothing to show for my education and my years of work. My credit is shot because of medical bills that caused my bisability so how does someone like me, get a tiny house going?

  • Michael B. Smith February 5, 2015, 4:20 pm

    While we will build or buy a tiny home and live there for the balance of our retirement, it’s a fad.

    Unless the zoning laws and house building codes are drastically changed it will be nearly impossible to find land on which to build. I am of course referring to land within a 3 or 4 hour drive of a large town or small city.

    Taxation for a property on an acre lot depends on the value of the house on the property. Cities or towns have no incentive to allow a tiny house on a piece of land that would support a $400,000 home. Realtors would have no incentive to show and sell a home that only costs a few thousand dollars.

    So between the two there is little support for the tiny house movement.

    But, as I said, we’ll find a way. We have to because it’s the only answer to high and rising costs of living……. Though we won’t get much support from the “Powers that be.” : )

    Kind regards,
    Mike

  • carol February 5, 2015, 8:27 pm

    i totally agree!!!!

  • moby4444 February 5, 2015, 11:27 pm

    I too, have been watching the prices of tiny homes steadily climb. Likewise, the costs of shipping containers, (a favored start for many Tiny Home builds), has more than doubled over a similar period. Companies selling them suddenly think they are gold plated! I guess they forgot to notice that there are still many thousands sitting idle.

    There are still huge savings to be realized if you have the skills to do your own or partial building, or if you have salvaged materials to utilize and/or reuse, but that has always been the case with any size home.

    The concept of the Tiny Home is still certainly a valid one, but probably only for a particularly tiny minority of the populace. For the rest, it’s wishful thinking. It is not a lifestyle without sacrifice, and for most Americans, we don’t do well when we lose our accustomed luxuries and space for our stuff. Rightly or not, it has become the barometer of our success in our measurement of our achievement of The American Dream.

    The father of my best friend growing up, traded in his pleasure boat every other year like clockwork. The same for his cars, RV’s, etc. He often said, “The guy with the most stuff when he dies, wins!” The person who can resist this flawed perception has achieved far more than financial independence and simplicity of life, he/she may have ultimately unlocked the secret of happiness! And you won’t find it on amazon.com!

  • CathyAnn February 7, 2015, 1:17 pm

    The city of Missoula, Montana, where I currently live, stopped allowing the building of “mother-in-law” apartments in backyards a few years ago. There was such pressure from the populace that the “powers-that-be” backed down, but left some restrictions in place.

    When I’m ready to move, I’m going to have to buy land in a very rural area in order to be free of covenants. There, I will be able to make a pad and put a small mobile home on it, one manufactured for cold climates. There are some very nice used ones. Being retired, it doesn’t bother me to live way out in the hinterlands. Even there, in Montana, small towns are not too far away.

    Most of Montana is very rural. The state is quite large, and only a couple of years ago did the total population break 1 million. There is no sales tax, and the income tax is comparatively low.

  • Heather February 7, 2015, 4:26 pm

    Hi Alex,
    I’ve read your article and everyone’s comments. For starters I see and feel that the true “Tiny living for the better” people will always step up to the plate and push for what they know to be best for the future of Tiny home Living. What I say may not make sense to others reading it but I AM a true “tiny home living for the better” person and I want to say my peace too. I appreciate this topic for an article and there is a little relief in reading the comments, seeing that there still exists people who don’t agree with the way tiny homes are overpriced(for whatever the reasons). I think it’s one thing if someone decides that they need to put that high dollar amount into their own tiny home for THEIR OWN needs(to each his own), but I do not agree with companies shelling out tiny homes on the conveyor belt at high dollar prices trying to make a great business and profit from this “trend”. And my next comment is geared towards a few previous statements regarding the prices of tiny homes….we all must remember that a lot of the HIGH priced tiny homes out there are priced that way so that the builder/homeowner can make back what they put into the project as well as make as much profit as they think they deserve for it(NOT saying that this reason makes it okay to list the home for such a HIGH price!). And for the builder who says that the buyer will have piece of mind knowing that the house was built with the best materials…this shouldn’t mean that the builder is only limited to one type of material/product and nor should it give the builder the right to still charge a bundle! I understand that not everyone can build a home themselves and usually it will cost that person extra to have someone else build it for them. MY IDEA on this matter is if people want a closer nit tiny house community where everyone helps one another out and is looking to help the future of the tiny house living, then why don’t some offer their building assistance and “expertise” to those who need it(for a small fee or no fee-whichever) as well as include them in the building process. That’s the very basis of the idea and I could go on more about it but I also want to comment on the actual question for this article. TREND: a general direction in which something is developing or changing, a fashion, (of a topic) be the subject of many posts on a social media website within a short period of time. The Tiny Houses are trending right now. It was said earlier that this is not a new concept, tiny living, and I do agree with that because even before Jay Schafer…in my own ancestry from the 1920’s here and in Japan existed the concept of tiny mobile living and literally building a tiny house on the back of a truck. There have existed tiny house shacks and cabins EVERYWHERE and what about the Yurt?! Yes tiny house living has existed for a LOOONG time BUT has not become a TREND until the past couple years. Small example is the owl or mustache. They both have existed since the beginning of time but neither one became a “trend” until the past couple years. I personally am glad that I had decided to live this way a decade ago before it became the trend that it is. I am the sort that usually doesn’t want what is “popular” at the time(probably silliness on my part at times). So thankfully I already have my tiny house. But however I do think the idea of the tiny houses on wheels(and tiny house living in general) is a GREAT idea for a way of living! Therefore I do promote it to others where it would seem appropriate. My CONCERN with the “trending” part is that if the concept is not carefully executed then there is the potential for laws to change in the opposite direction that we want them to go. Certain officials may see the “moneymaking” factor and want to set regulations (where not truly needed) but where the officials want to make money and just have control over everything or basically Setting laws that end up ruining it for the rest of us(Who just want to live in peace and quiet and don’t want to be in the same position we were in when we had our house with the mortgage). Although I think there could be potential for a bright future for tiny house living I do know that no human government can provide us what we desire, completely. Btw for those that do not think it to be possible… WE built our home with quality materials(new and reclaimed), with new appliances, a truck for towing, the decor (inside and out) etc. for less than 20k! I’ve kept records of everything including the travel expenses. I had to, we had a fixed budget and no other money coming in to count on. To all those interested/thinking about having a tiny house, do not be convinced by “pro tiny house builders” that their ways are the only ways to have a quality built home. Even I would be happy to give tips, suggestions, pointers etc. on how to save money without sacrificing quality(if I thought people would actually listen). A simpler life living tiny CAN be accomplished with an open mind, careful planning/research and being honest with ones self.

    • Heather February 7, 2015, 4:53 pm

      my example of the owl and mustache trend may not be the best examples…. but I do think the tiny houses are trending big now but the interest in them for a lot of people will fade away. However I do think the idea of tiny house living will continue to exist but just won’t be as popular as it seems to be going. Ok maybe better example: there exists a trend in healthier eating/dieting nowadays but for most people the idea fades away because it’s not what really matters to them, however better options for healthier eating/way of living will continue to grow even if not at the quick rate it had in the beginning.

  • Lynnette February 7, 2015, 4:57 pm

    I must state my complete honesty on this. I was all Gung ho on the tiny house movement and by tiny I mean no less than 500 sq feet of living space. So I went online for days and days pricing out diy, then kits, then park models (my favorite of course $40k+++) and cabin kits, totally done and shells and with finishes it’s just out of hand expensive. If you are very crafty and can fashion your own home out of repurposed materials and can aquire a tiny bit of land out of town then I can see it as a reality. Otherwise for regular folks (like myself) I’d have to pay someone to construct it…purchase all materials and a piece of land, yadda-yadda and next thing I know I’m in it for $60-100k. Just not feasible. I own two homes now one 800 sq ft other 1300+ sq ft and both together with taxes and insurance are only about $95k. I think this movement is simplistic mimalistic at its best…and I dream of the concept..however my wallet doesn’t see it as a good investment. Buying an RV and living in a camp ground would be a cheap alternative but it gets mighty cold here in Ohio. It’d have to be a newer camper with the best insulation and the freedom of having your own land would just drive up the cost. I cannot live “off grid” as water and sewer and electricity are a must For me. But I’ll keep looking…I don’t give up easily.

  • Liette Patterson February 9, 2015, 3:33 am

    I’ve read all of the above comments with great interest and have had a rousing conversation with my husband regarding our plans to build our tiny house (we bought our 8.6 x 24ft trailer last year). Boy, did I throw him off by playing devil’s advocate… 🙂 In particular, our conversation was about whether or not we’d be able to recoup our costs when we sell our tiny house since our plan is to live in it for five years (during that time building a 600 sqft home on acreage). We’ll be building it ourselves (my husband is very talented and I can follow directions) but I’m fond of my creature comforts so I imagine that the total cost will be around $25,000 when it’s all done to have a bathtub, flush toilet, full size fridge, apartment sized gas stove & dishwasher & a w/d combo. Our children recently moved into their own homes and my 88yr old mom-in-law who has been living in our basement suite for the last 8 years is getting to the time of her life where she will need more assistance then we can give her, so paying for and maintaining our large home for 2 people & 3 small pooches is such a waste of resources-especially since we pretty much live in one room these days. Now one part of me says, $25,000 to re-sell no problem! After all, I just priced a very popular TH Building Company home with similar amenities at $86,000 USD yesterday (To bring that unit to Canada including the exchange and taxes and inspections and travel comes out to about $125,000 CAD) But for Canadians not interested in building or paying that ridiculous price – there is a company in Delta, BC building 8.6×20 ft models for approx $33,000 CAD. So you can see where the worry might come from – will my home depreciate like RV’s do here? (Very low build quality plus rain & wind kill RV’s in BC-after 5 years there is very little value left) Or will it appreciate like an actual house or will it at least maintain its value? And even more importantly will someone understand how special and comfortable and desirable a tiny home is in five years. Also – $125,000!!! That’s significantly more than we paid for our first home and almost as much as we’ve paid for our current 2800 sqft home-with a beautiful full ocean view included!!! One of the comments above was about having standardized valuations of tiny houses. That would be really helpful because in my opinion while everyone deserves to make a profit on their labour/materials there seems to be some extreme price gouging going on south of the border and we’re not in it to make money but nor do we want to throw money away. To answer the actual question fad or trend? I believe TH’s are a very positive trend that with the recent mainstream media attention are becoming a more realistic and palatable option for people. It doesn’t matter whether your TH is rustic/primitive or loaded with the latest features and luxuries you’re still lessening your footprint and reducing energy outlay. There are so many of us (still the tiny minority (hahaha), unfortunately) that wish to remove ourselves from the over-consuming world that we live in and have realized that our world cannot sustain the current rate of development/population/economics that is touted as progress. For our part, we can at least model a reasonable alternative lifestyle that is more sustainable and enjoyable, not to mention totally cool!

  • Michael February 9, 2015, 6:23 am

    Everything which is going trendy is going up when you would like to get it.
    Tiny homes have been around for a long time. Perhaps not the ones you can tow behind your truck. But our country is expensive for a home owner.
    Property tax is high and utlities aren’t cheap, maintenance cost a fortune.

    How many people lost their jobs and homes when the economy went down?
    I guess this is the main reasy that TH living became a trend.
    And now the government tries to regulate it. Probably other burdens are going to be created. So much to our so called freedom.
    A TH depends very much on the purpose of its owner and how much
    privacy they need. Do you want to move or to stay?

    And then the style of course. The Majority of TH are looking like shrunked
    houses, especially on wheels – tall and narrow.
    The amount of modern TH is small and beside the do it yourself homes they are getting more expensive.

    I think a modified shipping container could be a reasonable alternative.
    You can get 20′ or 30′ high cube ones for less than $ 2,000 and standard trailers are available. A decent rock solid TH for 10k to 20k. That sounds to me reasonable if you don’t have a problem to live in a box which could have as much wood as you like inside. RV type slides can expand them 1:3
    if you like. I believe 300 t0 400 sqft isn’t too tiny for a small family.
    When you look on the good qualtity marine stuff you can save power and water and you don’t need a composting toilet.
    I am working on my design for while and hope to get started soon.

    Anyway, great article Alex and the no of comments is showing that you hit the points. Thanks

  • Diane February 10, 2015, 8:56 pm

    High density living is a way of life for me and I think it has many advantages for sustainability, too. I recently downsized from a two bedroom, 1,220 sq. foot apartment shared with another person to a 550 sq. ft. studio apartment of my own. Paring down possessions was a chore but I found there is little, if anything, that I miss. The best decision was to purchase a Clei wall bed.

    Questions about tiny homes:

    1. How does one attain physical security, especially for women living alone?

    2. How well do tiny homes fare in extreme weather (hurricanes, blizzards, etc.?) Like mobile homes, they appear to be very vulnerable, since they do not have foundations.

    3. How well insulated are tiny homes? Are they truly warm / cool inside?

    4. On TV, one sees people with pets in tiny homes from time to time. Are these families located in areas where it is always easy to exercise pets outside? Same question goes for people whose tiny homes are located in cold areas of the country – doesn’t cabin fever set in?

    5. My tiny home fantasy would be tiny condos in an apartment building or tiny houses in a condo community, with grounds services and security handled via an HOA fee. Do such arrangements exist?

    Thank you!

    • rachel February 11, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Hi, to your comments…Terrific for you to downsize like you did, congratulations. I do not yet live in a small home of my own but am single. I do find the ‘tiny” homes way too small, and i do not need a heavy home to be on wheels as i prefer more permanence and a foundation so i can have a garden. My home will be smaller like 600 s.f. or more so there is more open space. I am sure great quality doors, windows. locks would keep all of us feeling safer. I could see a small dog or cat in a small home of mine and again a yard, and a large deck, would provide freedom for both of us. namaste’, rachel

  • Lynnette February 25, 2015, 11:37 pm

    To be totally honest. I think the tiny house movement (as I’m watching FYI right now) is the answer to a lot of people’s situations. Yes a loft for a toddler or small child “FUN” but they do grow up and only fair for them to be able to run and play. And trust me I’m doing my second round of teens and you need to get away from them as much as they need to get away from you! I think for young couples trying to save money for a fuller sized home, older couples who want to downsize (first floor sleeping a must. Lofts sound horrible in my opinion to try to climb into at my age!) and people who do travel a lot assuming the home moves easily. Watching it on TV looks to be a major ordeal to move most of them. It also appears, as when they check back with new tiny home tenants, that they aren’t 100% satisfied with their decision to go tiny. I’m all for downsizing and ridding my life of clutter a d “stuff” but I think a small house of no smaller than 400-500 ft would be my very minimum. My husband is almost 6’2″ and he’d be like a bull in a China shop in some of the homes I’ve seen. I’m 5’4″ so no problem for me lol but we’re a package deal. I would never give up my bath tub for one. Never give up a real walk in and-around bedroom with closet. Must have a washer and dryer or a combo at least. Full size refrigerator. And even if my kitchen is smaller, we MUST have a good size living space for sofa and tv etc. So options are definitely there but these over-the-top tiny homes intrigue me but doubtful I’d e very go that small. A park model sounds like it would be up my alley or even a small mobile home. 🙂

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