Cash strapped minimum wage workers and students in the Seattle area are seeking and welcoming more affordable housing in their city, but the explosion of the aPodment micro housing units in Seattle is drawing new criticism in this dense metropolitan area. City officials are claiming that these 200 square feet tiny units are unregulated and skirt the city’s building laws.
Many of the aPodments built by Calhoun Properties offer downtown amenities like private bathrooms and kitchenettes, lofts, security, private decks, access to public transportation, skylights, granite countertops and shared amenities like BBQs, roof decks and ADA accessible group kitchens. Some of these tiny spaces also come with furniture and utilities paid all for around $500-$750 a month. All this in a city where rent prices are around $1,200 a month.
The city is concerned that these more condensed forms of housing, which only require a building permit, increase the density of a neighborhood but don’t provide additional parking. They are also concerned that there is no design review before construction and have asked for a short-term moratorium on building these types of units until they can decide how to regulate them.
Micro-housing developers defend these units by stating that many people who live in downtown areas want to be closer to public transportation, shops and city amenities, but don’t want to pay higher rental prices. The idea has become so popular, that other units are being planned in Portland, Ore., California and New Jersey.
Photos by aPodments/Calhoun Properties
Sunset magazine, a home and lifestyle magazine about the American West, has embraced the tiny and small house movement with several features on tiny houses and trailers. Tiny house dwellers who enter their Small Space, Big Dreams Home Awards could win a $250 Container Store shopping spree and could also be featured in a future issue of the magazine.
Until January 31, 2014, Sunset is accepting photos and descriptions of small and tiny homes and how you use the space. They are looking for space-savvy ideas as well as alternative ways of living including floating homes and homes on wheels. The award categories are:
- Whole House: If your entire home is space-savvy, show it off. There’s no square-footage limit—it’s how you use the space that matters.
- One-Room Wonder: A single space filled with ideas for maxing out the available room. Kitchen, bath, kid’s room, or multiuse? You decide.
- Outdoors: Show us photos of how you make your compact yard, tree- house, patio, deck, or shed seem roomier than it is.
- On Wheels or On Water: If your home floats or rolls, we want to see how you’ve kitted out the unconventional space.
- Satellite Space: Guest cottages, writing sheds, the party barn—we’re looking for outbuildings that live large.
To enter, upload 2-6 photos and descriptions (100 words or less) on the use of your space. Entries will be judged on quality of photographs; creativity in the use of space; use of language to describe the small space functionality; and appropriateness to award category. The magazine will not accept photos depicting people. Winners in each category will be notified by April 15, 2014.
Photos by Sunset magazine
For anyone who enjoys winter outdoor sports like ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, the tiny warming hut is a blessing in cold and snowy weather. Used all over the world, warming huts are small structures that can be both temporary or permanent and usually contain a place to hang up wet gear, seating and sometimes a wonderful wood stove or fireplace where you can warm your freezing fingers. Warming huts are also a great place to break out a small stove to heat up some food or a cup of hot chocolate.
Over the past few years, warming huts have bloomed into an interesting architecture. Innovative designs have popped up near frozen lakes, near cross-country trails and in the middle of mountainous forests for use by snowbound travelers on their way to a cabin or campsite. Many of these huts utilize passive solar design, raised platforms, creative heating elements and unusual materials. Continue Reading »
The name of this vacation rental company in the United Kingdom might have picked the best name to describe the simplicity of staying in or living in a tiny house. Canopy & Stars have taken it a step further and offer handpicked quirky and eco-friendly small places to stay within Europe. They include tree houses, cabins, vardos, caravans, barges, yurts and more. Several of their properties caught my eye and stilled my heart: two shepherd huts on wheels in Hampshire, two shepherd’s huts located at a farm in Norfolk, and a train carriage in Wales.
Alex Evan’s Wiggly Tin shepherd huts (one pictured above) are located in Hampshire in the South Downs National Park. The huts (named Beacon and Butser) are completely off-grid and contain raised beds with storage underneath and wood-burning stoves. Showers and a bathroom are accessed in a nearby converted shepherd’s hut. Continue Reading »