A Tiny House On Steroids

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are drugs that are structurally related to the cyclic steroid rings system and have similar effects to testosterone in the body. They increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords and body hair (secondary sexual characteristics). Maybe more than you wanted to know? How does this have anything to do with tiny houses you may also be wondering? Allow me to explain.

As of last month I read about three new couples/families who were preparing to anchor their tiny houses down on some land that they were going to start building a small house on. Before jumping to conclusions though I want to add that children is not the primary or motivating factor. One couple wanted to begin some hydroponic farming pursuits. Another family was preparing to welcome a second child into their home. The third family just wanted to get off wheels and put down roots in a particular community. That said, I should probably point out that only 2 of the 3 were going to build a small house. The other was moving into a 1960s-era cottage. So back to steroids. What is this small house thing? What is a small house? If tiny houses are supposedly less than 300 sq.ft., what constitutes a small house? Less then 800 sq.ft? What about less than 1,000 sq.ft.? At what point do we enter into ‘medium house’? Surely we have to make that determination, don’t we? No! We don’t. Without launching into more discourse and me following the closest rabbit trail, I want to return to the idea of a small house being a tiny house on steroids.

How are a tiny house and a small house the same?

  • Bathroom? Check.
  • Kitchen? Check.
  • Sleeping area? Check.
  • Entry door? Check.
  • Windows? Check.

Clearly the two have a number of similarities. In this extended metaphor, square feet is the steroid. They are added to the body (the house….of tiny size). They increase the number of bedrooms and perhaps living space, allowing for a more robust domicile. They cause the development of more living space, a sometimes larger kitchen, perhaps a porch or two, and even give you more windows and perhaps a door or two (I liken this to the whole body hair thing). See? A small house is simply a tiny house on steroids. The intention is to offer the homeowner a very manageable space that allows for more room to raise children, cultivate plants, have some pets, take on a roommate, or even put in a recliner. The motives are endless yet the results are the same. A small house is not to be demonized but rather seen as a logistical move to larger needs.

In October 2015 my family of three moved into a small, country home of just at 1,000 sq.ft. (some still unfinished). Our purpose? Threefold. Proximity to family and community. Amazing deal on a house with small farm property. Space for me to work from home full-time and us to continue our homeschooling pursuits. Do we have a front door, you might ask? We do. It is similar to that on any of our tiny spaces. The difference? We also have a backdoor! Do we have a grotesquely, oversized kitchen? No, we don’t. In fact, we didn’t have enough to fill the cabinets that came with the house, so we removed some of the upper cabinets and made some open shelving to have better access to our things and to make it more visually interesting. What about a bathroom though? We now have two. Before we only had one. Of course before we only had an infant (and then a toddler). We now have a daughter that is learning to do her own hair, who brushes her own teeth, who picks out her own clothes, and who has decided showers are more appropriate for her age than a bath. The extra bathroom is fantastic in that I inherited it. The two ladies of the house share a bathroom and I get the one with just a shower stall (a little wider than a bath kit stall though) that doesn’t cause me to bump my elbows regularly as I did in all of our tiny spaces.

One of the reasons I think small houses are an attractive option as well is because many of them are already built and are just waiting for occupants. I regularly see bungalows, cottages, and (I despise this term, mind you) “starter homes”, just waiting to be given some attention. Many times they are priced well and offer the options I mentioned above. This sort of salvation and liberation is even quite sustainable. Because they are already built they disturb the land around them less, the material needs are less, and the building supplies (which are manufactured largely by the use of fossil fuels) is considerably less.

Small houses are not to be feared. They are not curses on American families and they certainly aren’t blemishes on our nations landscape. They are canvases just waiting for a little color and creativity. And, unlike Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), they are legal!

What do you think about small houses? Would you live in one as opposed to a tiny house? Do you live in one now? How do you feel about it? 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Rebecca - October 27, 2016 Reply

I love the idea of tiny houses, but realistically, I’m a lot more likely to move into a tiny house on steroids or a “small house” when that time comes.

Brad - October 27, 2016 Reply

Same here. I’m all about a small house, but a tiny house goes too far for me. Plus, some of these tiny homes cost as much as a regular house. I don’t get that. Defeats the purpose. At that point, you’re just doing it for show rather than practicality.

Amy Parsons - October 29, 2016 Reply

I think I love the idea of a tiny house because they are so thoughtful in their design of space. I live in a small house but don’t feel like it uses the square footage very well. I love the idea of saving small homes from destruction but sometimes feel like “fixing” it to make good use of the square footage would take more work than it would be to build from scratch.

Deb Anderson - November 12, 2016 Reply

I currently live in TX in a home that is at least three times too large for me now that I live alone. I have been searching for a builder that will build a small house for me in the Jefferson County, KY area, 1,000 to 1,100 sq ft with space saving, simple features similar to those in tiny homes. I’ve found that most builders aren’t too interested in building a small house at a moderate price. Hopefully, times are changing. ?

Emily Hammond - December 13, 2016 Reply

I raised my son in a 550 square foot house, but as all the houses in that area were about the same size, I didn’t realize it was small, until we left the community we were in. At that time there wasn’t such a thing as a tiny house, so I don’t know if I fit the bill or not.

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