Tiny House Movement Thrives

A couple of months ago Terence Chea from the Associated Press contacted me wanting to do a story about the tiny house movement. Terence wanted some local examples of tiny house builders so I put him in contact with Jay Shafer and Stephen Marshall. I also gave him Gregory Johnson of Small House Society contact information. Terence than arranged to come out and interview and video tape us at different locations.

Yesterday the Associated Press published the story with Jay Shafer and Tumbleweed as the top story. He than went on to quote Gregory and myself and closed with Stephen Marshall and Little House on the Trailer. The article went live yesterday and than spread almost virally across the web. Below you will see the story highlighted on Yahoo.com.

The good news is that there has been a huge spike in interest and traffic to our websites and blogs. I had triple the traffic yesterday and if you tried to get to the blog you found it extremely slow. Many more people have discovered the idea of tiny houses. I have been asked to be interviewed on two radio broadcasts and more requests are coming in. You can read the Associated Press article here.

20 Comments Tiny House Movement Thrives

  1. Bill Zaspel

    Well, this is America and it takes all of us to make it so. I am glad for the exposure. Maybe Tiny Houses aren’t for everyone, but those who choose them will be gratified. To each his/her own…

    Reply
  2. Brand

    Awesome article, Kent! Thanks to the recession, many people are getting acquainted with the idea that less house and less stuff can lead to more financial security, more freedom and more fulfilling lives.

    Reply
  3. ginmar

    Anybody ever watch those hoarding shoes? Inspired by them I’ve been donating more and more stuff, and the more I get rid of, paradoxically, the more I feel like I have. YOu feel choked with too much stuff. With just enough stuff, you can see everything you have and it’s a comfort. I think there’s a tipping point, where you get so much stuff that you can’t mentally keep track of it, so you fall into a trap where you forget you have one thing, so you buy another, then you forget you bought THAT thign, and buy another, and so on….

    Reply
    1. Brand

      Yeah, my mother is definitely in that trap. She has boxes and boxes and BOXES of Christmas ornaments, picture frames, plastic flowers, kitchenware, clothes and junk mail. She won’t look in the boxes, so when she wants an item, she just goes out and buys a new one. Many of those items then go into boxes because there’s not enough room. She’s positively overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff, so she just avoids dealing with it by having my dad push it into the attic, spare rooms and their huge basement. They live in a 3000 square foot house (2000 finished + 1000 unfinished) and you can’t walk in a straight line through a single room. She does the same thing with the fridge–at Thanksgiving I found a dozen pork loins in the freezer, purchased at different times, that got frozen because she doesn’t know what’s in the basement fridge, so she just buys new food. They had 20 boxes of frozen pierogies for two people! My blood ran cold when she asked me if a Sam’s Club membership would be a good idea. ;)

      I’m super minimal now, because I’ve witnessed first hand how too much stuff can prevent people from enjoying a clean house, inviting friends for visits and achieving their financial goals. Every holiday is a frustrating battle for my folks because they struggle to clean the house. I’d rather have a modest house, a small tree and lots of holiday cheer.

      Reply
  4. FamilyLifeBoat

    That was a good article and this is a pretty good idea. It doesn’t fit all niches but that isn’t the point. I could see building something like this on some good remote land. There isn’t much room for storage though. I don’t like having to go shopping every day or two. Especially when we can get snowed in for a few weeks.

    Reply
  5. Amanda Bretz

    I was so inspired by the Yahoo post that I posted an article on my blog about the Tiny House movement. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I am amazed and pleased at how the movement is grwoing.
    Congrats on the upcoming interviews and on increased traffic to your blog!

    Reply
  6. walter riddle

    The “movement” will never be recognized until you and the other “leaders” in the “movement” find a way to reduce the enormous cost per sq ft.

    The cheerleaders will say now people will go smaller because they are losing their large homes. These people you feel are being helped by the movement can’t afford $50000 or $10000 for 150 sq ft. The cost of land and the trades will always keep the cost high.

    Their lives and credit will not permit it. So until you find a way to reduce the costs of construction, this will always be considered a “rich” person hobby.

    Reply
    1. Anne

      This is why I mentioned in the Yahoo comments to check out Kent’s blog…

      Only Tumbleweed and a few others (mostly more commercial companies, builders, etc. hoping to cash in during the downturn) charge the prices in the article… Many of the early proponents of the movement charge less then 20K for a fully equipped home… Some offer seminars on building your own, plans at a mere couple hundred (not thousand, lol).

      Read the years of articles here… You and many others have a lot to catch up on ;)

      Reply
      1. walter riddle

        I have been a reader here for 2 years.

        My point is still one of that you have to be in a place in life where you can go out and do this. You need capital to secure land, meet code standards in most states and have to have time to do it

        Someone loosing their home to foreclosure cannot just go out and build a tiny house. Their biggest concerns are how to keep their family together and find a place to live.

        Most middle class people with families will not follow this trend. I am a CKBR with the NARI org and we see the trend moving to 1500-2000 sq ft as the norm.

        Whether or not you want to acknowledge these issues, this is not a movement, it is a trend. Being set by single, couples or retired people.

        Reply
        1. Brand

          I agree with Walter to a certain extent. When prices are through the $25K range, living in a tiny trailer becomes more of a lifestyle statement than a viable housing solution for low-income families. Some of the strawbale, adobe and cob homes presented here are arguably cheaper, but you’d have a hard time meeting code in most residential areas. It’s also necessary to factor in the land price and fees for water, sewer, electricity, gas and other hookups.

          I don’t see a strong impetus to buy one of Jay’s homes at fifty grand when there are lots of areas in the U.S. where $50,000 gets you an existing regular-sized house with all the tap fees paid.

          I do believe tiny houses are a great solution for the third-world housing crisis. Many materials discussed here are renewable or cheaply available, and the tiny homes represent a quantum leap forward from present living conditions for those people.

          I’d love to live in a 600 sqft strawbale house, but I’m under no illusions that it’s a cheaper solution than a traditional home built with typical materials.

          Reply
        2. Anne

          “Most middle class people with families will not follow this trend. I am a CKBR with the NARI org and we see the trend moving to 1500-2000 sq ft as the norm.”

          That explains a lot… I suspect this middle class generation is the last that will see those numbers as the norm. The move to smaller has been growing for years, be it in houses or apartments. Zoning codes will change with that trend… Add to that the trend for smaller families, my guess is 1500 will be the high end, 900-1000 sq ft for stand alone houses being common. We will catch up in 20 years and see who predicted the actual trend ;)

          I agree, tiny house are for singles, couples (and retirees) mainly, but there are more choosing to be this way for life.

          Reply
  7. Rich Daniels

    Walter Riddle makes some good comments. My solution and/or contribution to the problems we face as a society are as follows. I am currently developing my cabin manufacturing facility and adjoining property to serve a population that is in need of low cost housing as well as a place to put it. My version of utopia is to build a community that will offer some of the items needed for a fulfilling life- shelter, recreation, and employment. I’ve taken an abandoned mill site and have transformed it into a useful, clean parcel that has the potential to hold 100+ units. See my cabins at http://www.richsportablecabins.com and check out my version of the tiny home at http://picasaweb.google.com/richsportablecabins/8WideLoft. I think the wave of the future should be all about downsizing and reducing our dependency on goods and services that are both renewable and non-renewable. Here is my version of a tiny home.

    Built on an 8′ wide platform, this cabin can be moved with a full sized pickup truck. Built for shows and parades, this cabin has a loft that a person can stand up in – a feature that I’m proud to say I created for the industry. It is small with a square footage of 240 on the lower level and roughly 100 in the loft. The bathroom is large with a plenty of space to move around. It even has a 36″ shower. The cabin has large holding tanks in the floor cavity as well as a 40 gallon fresh water tank. High quality on demand water heater, propane fridge in addition to a propane range and oven. Even has a microhood. Large windows with blinds offer great views. I put a solar panel on the roof and has an inverter charger and batteries for the times when there is no shore power available. Cedar siding on the exterior in addition to a metal roof, will make this cabin last a very long time. I plan on renting it out on a nightly basis or installing it in my park for guests and tenants. See pictures of this cabin at http://picasaweb.google.com/richsportablecabins/8WideLoft or visit my website for more cabin selection. Here is a video of a recent cabin being built http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOOliKnrqDg

    Be sure to read my story at the FAQ link on my website

    Reply
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