Feng Shui and Tiny Houses

Guest Post

Decorating a tiny house can be a challenge. Colors that would bring drama into a normal sized room can overwhelm a small space, making it seem even smaller than it already is. Many décor items take up to much valuable floor and wall space—space that would be better utilized for storage. However, these concerns should not reduce tiny house dwellers into living in an austere, prison, or nunnery like environments. Using the tenets of Feng Shui, small space owners can easily maximize their space and bring in a cohesive design sense to the home. Feng Shui focuses on the movement of energy through each room—minimizing clutter and carefully arranging the furniture not only improves the flow of energy, but these actions also improve the use of the limited space. Feng Shui also puts a lot of emphasis on light and mirrors, both of which can help make small areas seem more spacious.

Discover more Feng Shui-friendly decorating ideas to help improve your tiny house interiors by following this infographic from SoothingWalls.com. It shows you colors and design elements best suited to each space, and how each décor element impacts the Feng Shui of your house. Try implementing a few of these tips for a more harmonious dwelling.

Dee Williams Lives Large in a Tiny Footprint

By Alyse Nelson

How much house does it really take to be happy? Some people are taking a hard look at the question, and discovering that the answer is: not much.

These “tiny housers” are bucking the idea that “bigger is better.” Their homes, ranging from 800 square feet to less than 100 square feet—a far cry from the 1000 square feet per person that has become the North American norm—take many shapes and sizes. And the people who live in them are as diverse as the homes themselves. Some hope to save money on housing; others hope to “live green” by choosing a smaller space; some are trading living space for a neighborhood they love; and others want to live closer to family or friends.

Dee's house with class

Dee Williams talking to a group outside her tiny house

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

Dee Williams’s story starts with her questioning her lifestyle choices. After helping build a school in Guatemala and watching a close friend fight cancer, Williams reevaluated her priorities. “He was getting sicker and sicker, and I didn’t have the time or the money to really throw myself into helping him. I was spending a lot of time and money on my house. So the house was the easiest thing to try to get rid of,” Williams told Yes! Magazine.

“I started really wondering if the cost of owning a house, of maintaining a house, of remodeling my house, was really kind of socially what I wanted to be about. So I decided to bite the bullet and go for it!” Williams said in this video. So she sold her 1,500 square foot Portland home and built an 84-square foot tiny home for $10,000.

Her 8-foot by 15-foot home is parked in a friend’s backyard in Olympia, Washington. She helps out with household chores in exchange for the space and drinking water. She lives with just a few outfits and shoes, but also is mortgage-free. This has allowed Williams to work less and spend more time and money investing in giving back to her community.

Williams’s story has spread far; because she’s been featured in national news more than 20 million people have viewed (in person or via video) her tiny home. She received the 2008 Governor’s Award for Sustainable Practices in Washington State. Now she co-owns PAD—Portland Alternative Dwellings—a tiny house company that holds workshops to help future tiny housers get their start.

Dee showing her house

Dee Williams shows off her tiny house.

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

But the help tiny housers need most isn’t advice about building or living in a small space; it’s navigating the maze of regulations they’ll confront as they downsize.. Some cities set minimum size requirements for dwellings. Others say a recreational vehicle can’t count as an ADU, which is typically how a tiny house is categorized. This means “you can camp in your little house, but not live in it,” writes Williams. Williams helps other tiny housers navigate the regulatory barriers that come with tiny house living.

Through her activism—and her lifestyle—Williams is helping create a wave of interest in tiny homes that local governments cannot ignore for long. Williams proves that even if your house has a tiny footprint, you can still live large.

Bio: Alyse Nelson is an urban planner for a small town in Kitsap County, Washington. She is a Writing Fellow for Sightline Institute. This post is adapted from a full article published here:

Is it possible to live large in a small space?

by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

If you live in 500 square feet or less, we want to hear from you.

Hi Kent,

I wanted to let you know about an assignment we just launched on CNN iReport inviting people to share their photos and stories of living in small spaces. I figured it would be perfect for your audience and wanted to invite you to spread the word on the Tiny House Blog!

Here’s the assignment page: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/814380

We’ll be collecting stories through mid-August and will feature some of the top ones in a CNN.com article and possibly on CNN TV. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information (and keep up the awesome work!).

Katie Hawkins-Gaar

tiny house in Colorado

Designing for Small Spaces

Nancy Mitchell from Los Angeles writes an interesting article over at Apartment Therapy on how as a child she always wanted to live in an RV. Recently, she discovered a unique caravan built by Caravanolic and decorated by Viceversa and she was inspired to write 5 tips about designing and living in a small space. Here they are:

  1. Stick to just one color palette
  2. Make your furniture multi-task
  3. Use vertical space as well as horizontal space
  4. Arrange more public uses closest to the door
  5. Don’t be afraid to have fun

To read the full article go over to Apartment Therapy and be inspired by all the great photographs.

Ajustable Modular Stairs

Alice discovered these neat stairs that are great for small tight spaces. Called the Mini Plus, the structure is completely modular, this allows easy assembly of the components and makes it easy to adjust for the steepness of the climb. For added rigidity some special lateral supports attach it to the wall.

Made of solid European beech wood with a thickness of 1.5 inches with beveled round edges. It is both attractive and very stable. Steel tubing makes the railing sturdy and it is accented with solid beech wood. A very attractive solution for a small space. No price was listed and more research should be done if you consider using these. Here is the Stairs by Design website. Thanks Alice for sharing this great find with us.