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Tiny Houses on HGTV: Are We Mainstream Yet?

It is funny for me to turn on HGTV and see a small house about the size of my own called an “Extreme Home.” For me, and I am sure for most tiny house dwellers, these little spaces are just “home,” not extreme at all. On Thursday, December 6th HGTV aired a segment on tiny house bloggers Tammy Strobel and Logan Smith along with their tiny home designer Dee Williams.

The segment, only a few minutes long, was a quick look into the way tiny house owners live their daily lives. The integration of their environment to their daily activities is most notable and I think is one of the most fascinating things I notice about people who chose to simplify their lives in this way. None of us just slog through life waiting for the next thing to happen to us. We are people who take control of our world and face it deliberately. They focus on Tammy leaving her corporate job to pursue writing. I believe that this drastic lifestyle overhaul is what allows many of us to live our dreams.

Photo Courtesy of RowdyKittens.com

I encourage you to read more about tiny houses featured on HGTV below:

Tammy and Logan’s tiny house is well designed and when the show was aired it was tucked in a back yard in Portland, Oregon. Tammy mentions loving to relax and sleep in her loft. Her cats agree, as they can be found sleeping there throughout the segment. Logan and Tammy have since relocated their little house to California.

This isn’t the first time that tiny houses have appeared on HGTV. On the Labor Day 2010 episode of Design Star

, the contestants were charged with decorating the interiors of three small houses designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. It was interesting to watch these interior designers over-fill these houses with stand-alone furniture and shelves full of knick knacks. They seemed to miss the concept of tiny living all together in favor of creating visual designs to wow the judges.

HGTV’s sister station, the DIY Network, will be airing a show starting next year hosted by tiny house designer and builder Derek “Deek” Diedricksen. He will be posting updates at his blog, Relax Shacks.

It seems as though Tiny Houses have moved a little bit beyond counter culture. Right now they may be in the novelty stage for average Americans but as bigger audiences are exposed to the tiny house movement it will begin attracting more people genuinely interested in changing their lives. Even those who have no intention of transitioning to a 120 Square Foot house, some of the ideas and lessons that can be learned from downsizing and changing your attitude can lead to some pretty positive cultural changes.

Laura LaVoie is a contributor for Tiny House Talk who lives off the grid in a 120 square foot tiny house in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. She and her husband built the home themselves with the help of some friends. Learn more about Laura at her blog 120squarefeet.com.

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Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Carolyn B December 12, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Good post, Laura.

  • Andrew December 15, 2012, 4:23 pm

    As you’ve referred to in another article, in the UK Channel 4 recently aired a series based on small/tiny houses, although there was an emphasis on many of the examples only being for weekend/holiday use, although the presenter did visit the apartment in Barcelona featured below.
    http://tinyhousetalk.com/transforming-tiny-apartment-in-barcelona/
    I believe there’s also going to be a one-off Christmas special episode as well.

    (TBH my only disappointments with it was that there was no reference/acknowledgement of the Tiny House movement in the US during the series, nor of some other higher-profile UK examples of tiny living projects, e.g. http://www.cubeproject.org.uk/).

  • BIll Burgess December 22, 2012, 2:44 pm

    As an ardent supporter of the Small Home Movement, finding a blog for the Park Model segment is an issue. After working with Tiny Texas houses and being simi converted to that philosophy, I still look at Park Models as a stepping stone to down sizing. I try to design alternatives to what trailer House manufactures put on the market. When bottom line is the only goal it’s hard to get past “Bigger is Better” with them. 189 sq.ft. is fine for couples that have worked out their personality issues. That accounts for half a million people, I think 400 sq.ft. can fit another 30 million if done in a more ergonomic and expressive way.

  • Connie Smit June 23, 2014, 1:19 am

    How do I find places you can put these on your own property instead of paying for a campsite or rv park?

  • Patrick August 24, 2015, 9:50 pm

    I saw a couple of shows on HGTV that built tiny homes for less than $25,000, the websites I’ve been able to find are going from $40k-70k for a tiny house. If I were wanting to pay that much for one I’d just buy a normal sized house. I’m looking for a house less than 400 sq ft that you can pull behind you and move to wherever you happen to want to live. HGTV had some fantastic tiny house that were so ingenious in their design and their looks were fantastic. Is there anyone in eastern NC that builds tiny houses on wheels that you can live in and still move if you decide to see other parts of the country? Oh yeah . . and not go broke buying one . . lol. I live in eastern NC right now but am thinking of relocating to Seattle and would like to take my home with me . . it’ll be enough taking on a new job, making new friends . . learning to not be with other southerners . . lol, without having to worry about a mortgage payment on top of that for a place I may decide I don’t really love enough to settle down at.

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