When Does The Tiny House Story End?

I have spent a rather large amount of time over the last month trying to grasp the concept of a tiny house history, how it plays into a more obtuse history of domiciles, and the inspiration spots we tiny housers regularly resort to. It has been eye opening to say the least. I am even using it as a basis for a lecture at this weekends upcoming Tiny House Jamboree Dayton Mini Jam. Entitled ‘Tiny House 101: Tracing Little Digs Through History’ the presentation begins with a look at the “tipping point” of houses post-WII, travels back to the Ice Age and continues through Tudor houses, Igloos, teepees, modular homes of the mid-1960s, and ends with the modern tiny house movement.

Each day I went to work researching and dissertating the subject matter I kept coming back to a question that hadn’t previously even occurred to me? When does the tiny house story end? Having build my own tiny house, documented almost every single step in great detail, lived in it, and then ultimately sold it, I was faced with the puzzle of what to do with Tiny r(E)volution at that point? A website built on a single tiny house and the process of bringing it to fruition, what was going to happen? Was the site about just the house or was it about a families life? Was it about the process of moving in to and living in a tiny house? And when we sold it, was Tiny r(E)volution about the process but that would subsequently become an extensive archive once done?


Through the years I had watched as several of my favorite tiny house projects had wrapped up and seemingly fallen off the InterEarth. It isn’t that the couples/families perished. It wasn’t that their house rolled away. Rather, it appeared to be about a process with a very distinct beginning and end with little room or desire to extend beyond. By late 2013 I was looking at tiny houses and almost asking myself aloud, “when does this tiny house story end?” I was approaching these new beginnings with a pre-determined and resolute ending. I had become jaded without even realizing it. I realized that no matter how much I loved the house or had fallen in love with the people living within or drew inspiration from it, ultimately it would end.

The blog would have a last post and – typically without fanfare or announcement – the posts would stop showing up. I would be left assuming all went well and all involved are living happily ever after. I think back to two of my absolute favorites:

The former stopped one day in April 2012 as Even and Gabby had just settled into an RV park “for the time being.” Clothesline continued on after the build – sort of – with more academic posts including the October 10, 2013 post that was the couple’s last original entry.

But despite personal disappointment and confusion at the expense of the reader(s), what is the importance of maintaining a tiny house blog ad nauseam? At what point does it cease being an inspiring, helpful, tiny house blog, and begin being nothing more than a personal online documentary. Even as I continue posting on Tiny r(E)volution I ask this question…and others. Are we still relevant? Do readers still care? Has [the blog] become more of a rant or a recycled DIY repository? When does the tiny house story end? 

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Bob Ratcliff - June 17, 2015 Reply

The Tiny House story will only end IF the web site fails to keep up with REAL current trends and the evolution of what people are not only buying today, but even more importantly sticking with long term. While living small appears great during moments of austerity (or a zen like state), most still need a bit more room for normal day to day living. If only Tiny House would realize there’s probably more need for homes in the 500 – 1,000 square foot range. For one or two people & if the home is brilliantly designed, that’s a home many people could comfortably spend the rest of their lives in. Now as far as these rectangular tiny homes on wheels that have very few places to go (where do people put them?), that’s proven to be a serious issue plus most come with mighty steep prices, especially when compared to an RV the same length and width. Tiny homes will evolve, but my bet is this exterior house style illusion is probably wearing thin. Let’s evolve tiny homes into living with less but without giving up the things that matter most in our practical long term lives.

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    Really great thoughts Bob. Thank you so much for commenting. And you are right. Relevancy is key and that is why Tiny House Blog continues to offer new subject matter and more in-depth features.

    Carol - June 17, 2015 Reply

    I agree with Bob on the size requirements. Even though I fell in love with the tiny houses, I realized that I could not live in one with my husband and four pets. I work from home and he is dispatched from home, so we both need individual rooms that can block out noise. A house that is closer to 1,000 sq feet would work better for us at this time in our life as we need more than a loft for privacy.

      Tobit - June 18, 2015 Reply

      I don’t understand why people have been conditioned to feel the need to stay under “one roof”. I’d like to see society get back to spending more time in the out of doors.

      Unfortunately, this is getting harder and harder for many Americans to accomplish thanks to local governments and their excessive building codes and special interest groups making off-grid living illegal in many municipalities.

      However, it is still possible for many. This fall, I will finally be moving to my five acres in the middle of the Ozarks. I plan to live out of doors as much as possible.

      My main shelter will be a 12×12′ canvas tent for sleeping, a small writing desk, reading/sitting area, and small cooking area for when the weather is truly nasty. It will be heated by a 12″x12″ wood stove in the winter.

      I will then have a larger outdoor kitchen for canning and more elaborate meals. This kitchen will have a wood fired stove and cob oven for baking breads and pizza. The entire area will be covered to handle most showers and all but the heaviest rain storms.

      I will start off with an 8×12′ shed for tool and water storage along with my freezer for long term meat and veggie storage. A lean to roof will be added to the southern side for my outdoor shower. I already have a composting toilet built and located on the property.

      Lastly, I have a variety of outdoor sitting areas planned for lounging and reading. Some will be covered and/or screened in, some others will not.

      Maybe once I get started building my woodstead, I will write an article for Andrew’s site.

        Tobit - June 18, 2015 Reply

        I meant to say Andrew or Kent’s blog. I always confuse the two. My bad.

        Lester - June 27, 2015 Reply

        Tobit, based on the description of your proposed Ozarks tiny home, I would say that it actually will not be a tiny home, but a small home. Adding up your proposed spaces would reach a total of approximately 1000 square feet, If you were to place everything under a single roof.

    jipsi - June 17, 2015 Reply

    GREAT REPLY! I agree 100%.
    But then, I have been championing the ‘small house’, here on THB, from day-one (for me, about 5 years ago) – a single-level small footprint that INCLUDES a liveable little bedroom (not a mattress squeezed into a 4 x 6 ‘closet’, not the hidden-in-the-wall or under a desk beds, but a bonafide little room allowing a double to queen bed with at least a couple feet to walk around on either side and the foot), in addition to small but well-defined kitchen space (small to full size appliances) and living area, possibly a nook that would allow a little table (or at least a pull down) to accomadate two adults.
    I’m absolutely not talking kitchen islands, separate dining rooms, etc., just a little more ‘elbow room’ in each of the 3 standard areas (living, kitchen, sleeping) than most of the ‘tinies’ provide.
    And this can be done in less than 500 sq. ft. quite easily!
    But I live alone… had I a spouse with work-at-home needs (and/or a preteen with private space needs?), there would most likely involve a couple hundred sq. ft. more, in the 500 to 1,000 sq. ft. range, as previously stated.
    Many of us, in our quest to create the ‘superlatives’ (smallest, most efficient, etc.), forget how SMALL 1,000 sq. ft. really is.

    But in any case, a WELL-DESIGNED floorplan can turn a 500 sq. ft. dwelling into a roomier-feeling home than a house actually having twice the footprint.
    Of that, we can all agree, I’m sure.
    So maybe it’s not that there could conceivably be an END to the movement, it’s that we’re all looking at the concept of living in and with less but WELL.
    And that ‘efficiency in design’ pursuit will ALWAYS be relevant and desired. 😉

    Elisa Negroni - June 19, 2015 Reply

    I totally agree with you Bob. After reading over tons of information, blogs etc. I came to the conclusion that I would have to have something in the range of 500 – 1000 sq ft. I could not do anything smaller with my husband. I also agree the design is crucial. We are currently renting a 580 sq ft apartment and it has been a challenge as it is not designed in a manner that makes for efficient use of space and storage. This is teaching me a lot as we hope some day to build our own.

    marie - June 28, 2015 Reply

    I agree, the very tiny spaces are fine – many of them are lovely and well thought out. However, a little larger for the remainder of my life. S

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - June 17, 2015 Reply

I still read the blogs and love the stories…even if I’m probably done building myself, I guess, and my tiny “house” is really my tiny shed studio, next to the house I live in.

I grew up in a small house, I stayed in tiny cabins all through my childhood, and consider them a kind of magic. I have a lifelong fascination…so hope to keep seeing your offerings as well.

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    Hey there Cathy. Tiny House Blog is not ending or ceasing to offer great content. Today’s post was a rhetorical post offered up by me: a tiny house blogger of almost 6 years now.

    Thank you for being such a loyal reader!

Rico - June 17, 2015 Reply

In most ways you’re talking about wood RVs. There are established manufacturers for park models that are taking these styles and incorporating them into their product lines.

DIYers will always be around and some will want to build their own homes, whether tiny on a trailer or small cabin or whatever. Nothing is new in the DIY space other than a bunch of people doing construction with little to no experience, and that usually leads to getting an experience, which is part of the journey.

Following how Tumbleweed has changed to an RV manufacturer, that is how I see this industry evolving.

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    And there may be just cause for that Rico. Local municipalities – for reasons usually dealing with tax structures, building codes, etc – aren’t as willing as we would like to accept tiny house trailers. It is almost a “survival of the fittest” scenario in which some builders, and those wanting to live in, are having to get more involved with the much more legal RV community. Excellent thoughts though my friend.

swabbie Robbie - June 17, 2015 Reply

I guess you found out when it ended – for you. Deek had a similar subject on a post yesterday. His was more about the up sizing of flashy “tiny” houses and less true tiny house interest. He also admitted he does not live in a tiny house because he is a family of 4 with a big dog.

The thing about movements is that once moved they ultimately end, even though they may be picked up by people new to the concept. But really, how much new info can be said? Later, looking back at what has gone before, it can be looked at with fresh eyes and new concepts an ideas will be discussed.

To many people, tiny houses are a fad. they try it on for a while and move on.

There will always remain a place for the tiny house:
1. Young people who don’t have much accumulated stuff yet, nor much money but don’t want to or can’t play the rent and mortgage game.
2. Older empty nesters and widowed who don’t want a lot to take care of and may also been hurt by the recession.
3. Free spirits who don’t fit into the “house with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, three cars and a 9 to 5 job to pay the mortgage will always be interested in exotic and eccentric living arrangements.

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    Please note that today’s post was written by me – Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution – and not Kent Griswold. And for the record neither blog is going anywhere. The question posed is more rhetorical than actual. You are right though swabbie in that fresh eyes will always mean relevancy.

      swabbie Robbie - June 18, 2015 Reply

      Hi Andrew. I know the post is yours. I also think it is a very relevant and valuable question to ask. All things end as we know them. They evolve into something different. What fits us in one phase of our lives will not in another. One thing that will not end is the need for small efficient housing. Ultimately it may not be so much tiny houses on wheels, but apartments in cities and towns for a over populated planet.

      I am in the empty nest category. I will be 65 yearly next year. My wife and I are working to transition away from a large property with too much house, too much stuff and too much taxes and expenses.

      I have studied the tiny house movement for years and even attended a couple workshops – one with Jay Shaffer. I have designed several tiny houses on wheels in several sizes including a park model RV in 10 foot and 12 food wide iterations. I also have designed several tiny house shells with the interiors for workshop spaces. I like that idea even though if we move it would be two trips to haul the house and the workshop.
      However, we will likely be going to a small ranch type house. I would love to do a tiny house on either wheels or a foundation but my wife is not into that. Truth is I am more of the free spirit type I mentioned, and my real choice would be a live aboard sailboat for the next 5 years or so.

Kate - June 17, 2015 Reply

I read every blog entry…. I wasn’t expecting this…

I assumed it had no expiration. I remember when we were just a few original followers who used numerous blogs to have discussions and seek advice. It seemed that we were here to share. I guess if you are not doing it as a hobby and you are no longer enjoying, then it will end sooner. I would be sad to see you go but would definately understand. Kate

    Kent Griswold - June 17, 2015 Reply

    Hi Kate, the Tiny House Blog is not coming to an end. Andrew Odom is just asking the question here and looking for answers. -Kent Griswold Owner/Publisher

Rolf - June 17, 2015 Reply

I hope this story never “ends” but evolves just like all other housing changes over time. I read everything about Tiny Homes that I can get and have been inspired in countless ways. I also send various articles to friends who have been similarly inspired. Some want to to the Tiny route, while others, myself included, are looking how to incorporate the best of what we see into small homes. Until municipalities come around to allowing these homes on a regular basis, I don’t think Tiny Homes will ever be anything other than a just a niche product. However, the ideas and discussion that this movement has generated can continue forever.

Eve Forbes - June 17, 2015 Reply

I’m going to take a totally different spin on this, the point of view of a writer who has also become interested in the tiny house idea.

When does the story end is a question about the writer, not the movement. If the movement hinges on one person’s interest and contributions, it isn’t a movement at all. Writers deal with all sorts of subject matter. The story ends or sometimes the series of stories ends when the writer has moved the ideas forward to their own satisfaction, not when the issue ends. How many novels, essays, or whatever explore various aspects of the question of evil? Has any aspect ever been answered to everyone’s satisfaction? I don’t think so.

In short, it isn’t your job to keep the subject going indefinitely, and in fact it is probably not true to yourself or even your audience to keep writing if you do not feel the passion behind the words.

Worried that the blog will fall apart? That you will be to blame?

Put out a call for other bloggers, perhaps even others new to the idea, exploring the possibility for the first time. People with real questions to raise can be enormously effective.

In short, the question itself tells me you are done. What you are really trying to figure out is an exit strategy that does not disappoint people. Unfortunately, it is not possible to please everyone.

For you readers who have a keen interest– if you want this blog to continue, offer to write.

Best wishes, Eve

    MJ - June 18, 2015 Reply

    I think your spin on the entry here might be a little off the mark, especially to say that to ask the question means the writer is done. Having had a blog for a long time, I had a point where I asked my readers, are you still interested in this? I was still interested in writing but wondered about my audience. It was and is a valid question when writing about a niche subject (rather than about food, economics or technology, for example, more obviously constantly evolving on a faster time line). Having guest writers is always a good thing for fresh ideas, new takes and renewing the writing spirit, but I didn’t hear you saying quite that.
    Re the article: I’ve been watching this subject in its flowering, bright blooming and maturing stages and am enjoying every one of them. Just as the wild enthusiasm of any growth can get a wee bit stale, along comes the next stage and we’re off again on the ride! Having lived in small and tiny spaces for the past 30 years or so (and moving into smaller spaces – a 20′ foot houseboat here in the Caribbean (out of a 250 sq. foot ‘shack’ I lived in for 14 years) and a 20′ long mini motorhome in the States, I now have a whole new set of ideas to look at from people who have been there before me and have ideas to offer along with the pros and cons I’ll find out myself.
    Roll on!

alice h - June 17, 2015 Reply

This is where my dislike of calling something a movement comes in. There are so many expectations and disappointments carried in that word. It’s an option, nothing more, nothing less, and definitely a niche option. There needs to be a certain amount of organizing or show of interest to get recognition as a legitimate option and to carve out a space for possibilities. Not there yet in legislative terms so hopefully people keep up the interest and pressure until that happens. Some people will give up because it just isn’t something that will happen in their lives for a variety of reasons no matter how interesting they found it to begin with. Some people will achieve their goals and go on to other things or other things will become more important as their lives change. New people will be attracted and it’s nice to have such a great body of information to look at.

I agree that as long as there is relevance there will be interest. Smaller and more flexible housing options are inevitable given the increased density in cities and the mass migration to urban life.

kb - June 17, 2015 Reply

An individual’s close focus on the subject will end when they find something else they want to focus on. But a new crop of individuals will keep sprouting up. What changes is the type and style of media used to promote the subject to others. As you said it is nothing new and others have written about it before. There was a tiny house movement among the wealthy that started in the late 1700’s grew on through the 1800s and on into the early 1900’s. They had their grand palace and also a tiny house to escape to where they could enjoy the simple life. There were even plan books published for them.

Ben B - June 17, 2015 Reply

Good conversation!
I have been living in my 200 square foot tiny for over 3 years now and because I stuck closely to my charter when I built it, my lifestyle is much richer than when I lived in 2500 square feet. What I think is happening is the initial romance and freedom perception of living tiny has given way to the realities of this lifestyle. I have had hundreds of conversations with folks about what it’s really like to live day in and day out in a tiny. Part of my charter involved having the house fully off grid and self sustainable so I can pretty much put it anywhere so long as I have access to good sun exposure and access to un-pressurized water.

Back to point, I think the next logical step in tiny house discussion is what does it really take and mean to live in a tiny permanently. How to build a tiny so as not to live in an RV park or in your relatives/friends driveway. How to design and live in a tiny with all of the comforts of a “normal” sized house day in and day out.

Unfortunately there are far to many stories of folks who bought into the romance only to find reality bit hard for many reasons.

I would like to evangelize and see stories that legitimize living tiny permanently. What does it really take to truly live a life this way. The construction/design/ “I built a tiny for $10k” stories are interesting, but indeed are getting a bit stale and redundant. I want to talk to/hear about folks like me that are living permanently in their tiny homes and why it works for them, how they made it work successfully and have no intention of going back so to speak. I think it’s a great time to begin the maturing process of the tiny life and change the focus from romance to reality. (not that there’s anything wrong with romance!)

    Bob Ratcliff - June 19, 2015 Reply

    There’s nothing better than the logical approach – your comment hit every note perfectly! I also enjoyed your reference to creating your OWN situation instead of just supplementing your lifestyle while you live in someone else’s driveway.

    There’s a certain degree of voyeurism in how we watch others live in less square footage than what most call an acceptable hotel room for a weekend, yet WE’RE STILL LOOKING INWARD while reevaluating what we want in life. That’s what I call growth.

    In the lower 48 it’s called Tiny House Living. In much of Alaska especially north of the arctic circle, they’ve been living this way forever. Perhaps it’s just WE that are catching up?

Ron - June 17, 2015 Reply

The tiny house movement has always been here but has only recently been noticed and called a movement. The first home I owned was 490 sqft. It was perfect for me, my wife and son. As I moved on in life and got sucked into the idea that bigger was better we built a house that was a whopping 1100 sqft. After 15 years in this “mansion” we are ready to move back to a small house. I was never more comfortable then in that little home. Although I could easily live alone in a sub 200 sqft house it would be doable but tough for a couple for any length of time. I’m betting that the trend for long term living will move on to well designed houses in the 500 sqft range. There will always be a place for smaller but 500 is the most functional.

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    Agreed. I think for a number of people a THOW is a jumping off point into understanding more about themselves and delving more into need -vs- want in their own lives. I like where you are coming from Ron.

    Kathleen-Florida - June 17, 2015 Reply

    I agree with Ron. My version of a tiny house is not 200 sf but something small-er and most importantly AFFORDABLE. Like 500-600 sf. To so many it is less about HAVING less, and more about OWING LESS. Being able to pay off your residence, free-and-clear in maybe 10 years (or paying for it out-right from savings while young) then retiring requiring less money to live on.

    Lorraine Davidoff - June 17, 2015 Reply

    I love tiny houses. I bought 5 acres for mine and my plan has grown to 1000 square feet passive solar, partially underground dry stack cement block. About 8 ft by 32 ft is a greenhouse. The rest is great room and bed/bath. This is my dream house and I love a huge kitchen, walls of books, quilting and painting, gardening. I have gardens and chickens and a dog. I have felt poor since the crash but owe almost nothing and look forward to my retirement. I know many who claim tiny is enough, and it is. I don’t see it dying, I see it evolving and influencing. I had 4000 square feet. Now 1000 square feet with 5 acres. We will see.

PJ Slade - June 17, 2015 Reply

I’d been researching possibilities and trying to sketch a plan that is functional for a life-long foreseeable future living arrangement for many years before the crash in 2008 started tumbling people all over North America out of their homes like abandoned pets. For me it’s been about living those years in a small town, but one that has basic services, and isn’t several hours drive to and from suppliers of more commodities, be that a mall, building supply place or auto repair shop. Distance from a small town to medical assistance & likely a hospital has to be within reasonable distance too. We are talking about being where I, with mobility & other health issues want to settle for life.
Here in a Canadian province with many small non-council areas, land is lower in price, and most have less rigid guidelines or codes for size or visual design… as long as the home meets National Building Code, plus any for electrical and plumbing (depending what systems you chose to have), it’s normally a lot less hassle. If you’re a commuter, you can be as close as 45 minutes away from work & still live in a solid but modest home on your own freehold land, you pay for trash pickup, snow clearing and a fee to the local volunteer fire dept. annually, your power system is your own to chose, so if you want to go solar or buy a few building lots and share costs of a wind turbine among you & your friends, you can be off-grid. Your computer ISP can be the cable company or Bell, with or without TV and landline phones if it happens to be a fringe coverage mobile service area. There’s seldom any issues with having a small shed to store garden care tools, a bike, seasonal needs, so whether you build elsewhere then bring your small home to your living site or you do a ground-up build from the start, putting your unheated bulky storage in an inexpensive separate storage helps your heat & power management. When you’re able to build on-site, your costs will drop massively, since your costs don’t include a chassis on wheels, an RV lighting system, brakes and registration & insurance as an RV. Building on owned land whether you use a pressure-treated wood or cement or brick foundation, or a built to fit asphalt or cement one, there are almost no end of companies that sell prepared plans as well as experienced local-type building contractors who can & will work with you to design and then build your shell or the finished small house.
Here in the damp chilly environment of the coastal North Atlantic, you’ll need to not only use the National Building Code, but be realistic about the proper level of insulation, heating and weatherising so in the long term, you won’t need to be retro-fitting after the first harsh winter!
I’ve settled on a choice of buying a plan set from one of the companies that advertise on this FB group, with my contractor modifying it to the higher R factor insulation, and making sure it meets Canada’s NBC standard, or the other viable option is a chain of building supply companies offer a materials package to build a equal to house quality building originally designed as working sheds or detached garages, ranging from 12 x 20 up to 24 x 32, including the total shell structure materials, from studs, footplates, roof trusses, wall & roof sheathing, & the exterior, (building wrap, siding, (either insulated siding or plain vinyl type, as you choose, a low-E window, insulated overhead door, and insulted steel entry door right to the eave & trim & all the roofing finish, most chose asphalt shingles. You can self-build the package or their contract team or your own choice of contractor will do the build for you. They’re good people to work with, willing to credit the garage door for more windows. How you want to lay out the interior is your choice – open concept to traditional cottage or house layouts, and DIY or have the contractor do whatever level of interior finish you want/ need. I’m opting for the shell with plumbing & code wiring w/ panel installed, then do the final interior finish myself, as I have a huge stock of antique house interior, mostly pine, from doors, crown mouldings, baseboard, the inside window & door mouldings – Even a solid Victorian mantle with side pieces if I decide to install a propane fireplace as auxiliary heat during power outages in winter…
I’m figuring I’ll settle for a 20 x 20 -24 footprint, as stairs or a 2nd level will take away the prospect of this as a home for life and reduce that time to maybe 10 years or less. Well insulated with very efficient heating & ventilation will help recover the extra cost of those systems in as little as 2 years, plus allow me to take advantage of government & energy company rebates for building the >500 sq/ft home with a regular bedroom for me, small spare room, 3 pc bath, & open concept kitchen-dining-living room, completed with 170 year old trim for a homier but quality built residence that will be well worth a decent selling price when I’m no longer able to live alone.

Luisa - June 17, 2015 Reply

Glad the blog will continue! I’m a long-time lurker, and I’ll second what Bob R said above: I’d love to see more about homes in the 500 – 1,000 square foot range, and maybe a bit less about the rectangular tiny homes on wheels. But I’ll be reading as long as you’re covering the tiny house beat!

JoanE - June 17, 2015 Reply

I, frankly hope it never ends. I have lived in 11 mobiles and think that the “tiny house” movement is much more satisfying to my artistic sense and I can see how storage is so much better in most of them

Margy - June 17, 2015 Reply

My husband and I bought what I call a small cabin (now about 675 square feet since we added a bathroom). We fell in love with the cabin on a camping trip and purchased it immediately in 2001 even though we couldn’t retire until 2005. I wasn’t aware of a tiny house movement until I discovered Kent’s blog while looking for like minded people soon after I started blogging in 2007. I can’t swear that all of my posts are heart stopping page turners, but I enjoy sharing how we’ve have learned to live a simpler (sometimes) life. In the last seven plus years of blogging, some of the sites I’ve enjoyed reading for ideas and common stories have gone away. I’m so glad Kent has kept up with it and share such great information. And where will my tiny house story end? Not sure. New and different things keep happening. – Margy

Peter ODwyer - June 17, 2015 Reply

Sold your tiny house. Rather a significant change for someone who’s invested a bit of energy in an online presence aimed to monetize his efforts to carry on the all things tiny house conversation.

Bit of a sea change for Tiny R(e)volution. Does it get refocused? Probably. Does the all things tiny house conversation stop or change significantly? Probably.

I lived tiny (400sq ft standalone home on a foundation that sacrificed nothing) for years. I never tire of following DIY types designing and building modestly sized, attractive and functional structures.

Peter - June 17, 2015 Reply

Sold the Odom Tiny Home. That is a significant event for an individual who has invested so much energy to establish an online presence to monetize his efforts to carry on the all things tiny house conversation.

Potential sea change for Tiny R(e)volution for sure. Does the focus change? Probably. Does the all things tiny house conversation cease or change significantly? Probably.

I lived tiny (400 sq ft home on a foundation with nothing sacrificed) for years. I live small now, appropriate to my changed circumstances. I never tire of DIY types sharing their designs/builds of small, attractive and functional homes. Loose interest quickly when it devolves into a broad ‘everything is a home’ discussion (habits without bathrooms, sailboats, buses, campers, utility trailers, etc..).

    Andrew M. Odom - June 17, 2015 Reply

    We did sell. In fact, I believe the new owners took over on May 6, 2014. We were already living in a 27′ travel trailer on our land at that point and mapping out a “Great American Adventure” looking for what is next for us. We have toyed around with everything from a houseboat to a yurt to a small cabin to a renovated Cape Cod. So many beautiful structures with so little time on Earth. We have had the opportunity to visit a number of other tiny housers and gain inspiration from them for whatever our next build is. I do have to say though Peter, the extra 40 sq.ft. we gained in the travel trailer has been quite nice! HAHAHAHAH! I long to build another THOW but I am just not sure that fits the needs of our family any longer. However, the experience from 2009 (the “dark ages” of the movement) to 2012 when we moved in taught us so many lessons and enabled us to learn so many things. I couldn’t imagine not sharing it with folks.

    I hate to hear that you lose interest regarding anything that doesn’t fit your idea of DIY small spaces. The conversation has to be broad so that inspiration continues to flow and new conversations can be had. I shudder to think of life with only apples and without the sweet discoveries of tropical fruits, citrus, and melons; fruits, the lot of them. Oh, and then there is that occasional tomato….yet still a fruit!

      Peter - June 18, 2015 Reply

      It’s just there is only so much time in a day.. I can’t read it all.. So I focus more on what interest me.

      Regarding very tiny homes on wheels, I simply couldn’t imagine anything less that 32′ with cantilevered lofts (I’ve done several plans on autocad / sketchup and I always come back to that). Kudos to you folks who can do it.

      I will concede I’m impressed by folks who live on boats that have nary a square place to store anything (everything is sloped/angled/otherwise) and require some form of capture/tiedown.

      And who doesn’t love that Castle truck in New Zealand?

      I found I really like to stay in a place for 5 years or so. I will return to one of those places (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico) and build this: http://steveareen.com/domehome/index.html. But with more kitchen.

      Peter - June 18, 2015 Reply

      It’s just there is only so much time in a day.. I can’t read it all.. So I focus more on what interests me.

      Regarding very tiny homes on wheels, I simply couldn’t imagine anything less that 32′ with cantilevered lofts (I’ve done several plans on autocad / sketchup and I always come back to that). Kudos to you folks who can do it.

      I will concede I’m impressed by folks who live on boats that have nary a square place to store anything (everything is sloped/angled/otherwise) and require some form of capture/tiedown.

      And who doesn’t love that Castle truck in New Zealand?

      I found I really like to stay in a place for 5 years or so. I will return to one of those places (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico) and build this: http://steveareen.com/domehome/index.html. But with more kitchen.

elisabeth in CT - June 17, 2015 Reply

My earliest memories are of a very small house (a 400sf converted photography studio) – it felt perfect! The family grew, but we always lived in places less than 1,000 sf…even with my parents, brother and sister! I found small houses or apartments to be the most comfortable, and lived in them until my mid-thirties – even with four kids and assorted pets! But when I got married for the second time and acquired a combined family size of eight, I landed in a house (his) that was over 3,700sf…it was a nightmare for me, as I had no idea HOW to live in or care for place that size – not to mention the swimming pool! I was introduced to the world of service and servant management – which I still find bizarre. Needless to say, we moved within a short time, when some of our kids went off to college – downsized to a 1,700 sf apt and then to a 1,400 sf house and now 24 years later, with all children grown and out, our current home is way too big. At 1685sf, it was one of the smallest houses in the area – and a vandalized foreclosure at that! But it was affordable (we could purchase outright!) it was in a great location for us and it had potential. We only live in about half of the place, the other 800 feet is either basement storage or under construction) and I’ve continued to purge and downsize our possessions in the three years we’ve been here. In the unused portion, I designed and I’m halfway through building a 400 sf senior friendly flat for just the two of us. Using tons of the ideas I’ve gleaned from tiny house designs, it joins to the main house through a single, conveniently blockable door. Each part has a front and rear entrance. The plan is to have the main 3 bedroom/one bath area as a rentable 1,200sf private space – since our home can’t be divided by city code. Or perhaps one of our children will come here with their own family one day…who knows? I’ve really benefitted from all the validation that the TH ‘movement’ has given me. Small spaces feel warm and natural to me and I’m looking forward to the day when a bookcase is pushed up against that joining door and I look out over my own tiny porch into my little side and back yard and my new ‘roomers/boarders’ take up paying off my equity/construction loan bills with their rent!
I’d say that the tiny house movement has always existed; the anomaly was the late 20th century fantasy era of huge, unsustainable piles.

Curt Lyons - June 18, 2015 Reply

Andrew, I am replying to so many comments regarding the practicality of small versus tiny. I have some at least semi professional experience with this as a city affordable housing board member, as well as someone who bought land and couldn’t make the numbers work to develop a small pocket neighborhood of five sub 1000 square foot houses. A lot of people only need a tiny house and our current system makes that very difficult. They are of course not for everyone, however most people could live in a much smaller house, which is seldom available for the reasons I will discuss. The reality is that it is often not possible to make the numbers work (which means build something small, 1000 feet or less, and still be able to make a return on the building investment). Where I live, along the front range of CO, our houses prices are going through the roof, averaging over $300K. This drives up the cost of developable land as well, which is one of several fixed costs to building. I am trying to be brief on a very complicated subject… Here is the reality that works against smaller houses being built; there are several fixed costs to building: land, impact fees, water taps, street improvements, permits… The price difference is often nil or negligible given the size of a house built. Here in my part of the country, by the time you have bought a lot and paid all the municipal fees you will be out well over $150K before you even start a foundation. That cost is the same for a 3000 s/f house or a 500 s/f house, so it has a tremendous impact on the price per square foot of a house. Unfortunately this cost per square foot is used by banks, realtors and people to judge value (more money per square foot “You’re getting a bad deal”) . A small house will always be more to build per square foot, but less overall. Builders unfortunately can get forced into building larger homes to recoup costs or make them seem more of a value, which cause many people to only be able to choose from houses that are far more than they need. An 800 s/f house for $300K or a 3000 s/f house for $400K. The cost per square foot difference is $375 for the first and $134 for the second. There is a whole other part of this conversation regarding non sustainable, suburban housing and its associated mortgages, supplanting manufacturing as a major economic driver of our growth at any expense economy.

jipsi - June 18, 2015 Reply

I am a ‘regular’ here, a THB member/reader of the ‘I plan to have one of my own someday’ species. And I, too, read through every post and reply here, long or short, all valid, intelligent, concerned.
I read with interest those that seemed to misconstrue Andrew’s ‘question’ as a goodbye or farewell, and more interest those who defended Adrew’s POINT as being the question – not the actual ‘end’ of this blog, or Odom’s blog, or anyone here’s interests/involvement….
And it struck me.
Just a few short years ago we were people all drawn together, into discussions, debates, plans and dreaming, sharing and advising, all on our particular love for ‘living tiny’. Some of us have always preferred to think of ‘living tiny’ as ‘living with LESS, but WELL’, as I mentioned earlier.
This has not changed, friends. EVERY POST HERE, in this place today, tells me that WE have not changed: we are all still people who have found each other based on a common thread that runs deep in our personal tapestries.
Whether many of us STILL find ourselves living not-so-tiny (as we dream and plan of someday otherwise), or others have their tiny then move on to larger, or back to standard, there is still that common denominator that keeps us together as a group with the same LOVE, of LIVING WELL with less.
As with anything GOOD and ‘new’ (brand new or resurrected ‘new’), there will always be the masses who jump onto the bandwagon and the very core of the ‘trend’ becomes warped and… changed. Those of us who have been ‘in this’ when it was still a strong but relatively small blog saw numbers increase, saw TV invade our realm and TAKE OUR BABY to Hollywood and CHANGE HER/HIM, into ‘Tiny House Hunting’, or ‘Tiny House Nation’, or any of the other reality shows that permeated the DIY stations the past few years.
I think I even opined on this subject a year or two agon, when one episode of one of ‘those shows’ featured a NYC couple wanting a ‘tiny house’ for a vacation retreat… their choice? A small but medium sized cottage/cabin on a lakefront in Northern Wisconsin, over 400 sq ft (still okay) but at the bloated price of over $400k… And they were not ‘regular people’ on a tight budget looking to live in their downsized nest year-round, but a couple of tired New Yorkers wanting a country getaway. They COMPLAINED of a kitchen as being ‘too small’ when it, in fact, was the largest room in the 400 sq. ft.! They complained of the bathroom being ‘too small’ when it was likely bigger than many THOW’s living space combined….
TRUE fans of ‘living with less but well’ would NEVER complain of such, we are ELATED when we find such efficiency and ‘roominess’ in small spaces… of course we will always have subjective viewpoints on what it truly ‘tiny’, ‘too small/too big’ or just ‘not enough space’. And there will always be those of us who as of yet have not been able to make out tiny/small/little house plans come to fruition yet, just as there will always be those who harvested theirs and found it didn’t quite fit their needs ‘after all’ (with many continuing their search, equipped with more experience and understanding their particular needs better).
If any house goes up for sale, it does not mean any ‘end’ to the house or idea of that house, it simply means it is not quite the right one for the owner leaving.
Because it will ALWAYS be the ‘right one’ for SOMEBODY. If this were not the case, there would be empty, unsold houses on the market forever, and we know this is not the case. There’s always a person who wants what another no longer wants.
We got together here , many of us in the early years, some of us came aboard recently, the ones who will stay, and have stayed, are those who SHARE the love and need for discussion, for knowledge, for exchanging ideas or even their slightly dangerous personal viewpoints.
Folks, WE are the ‘tiny house community’, the ‘nation’. NOT the tiny houses and their occupants as a ‘trend’, the tv shows and the glamping fans… WE are BIGGER than the ‘object’ of our desires, because we are human beings who connect on that intangible attraction to efficiency, living with less, living BIGGER in living small, etc.
I haven’t had my ‘tiny’ yet, but still plan to. Andrew has had ‘his’, doesn’t quite now, but still has the love for tiny, as an ideal, a goal, and REALISTICALLY, we can’t ALL be there on the same level, all times. I still value Andrew as an active part of the tiny movement because of his experience, and do not count his move from his tiny to a small ranch as any ‘end’, for him OR the rest of us!
We women LOVE shoes, and just because I can no longer wear those beautiful high-heeled pairs these days and give them to someone else, younger or in better shape (or both!), does NOT MEAN I LOVE GREAT SHOES ANY LESS!
It just means I have to tweak my needs in a shoe a little differently now, but I still plan ‘it’ to be that certain high-heel shoe style Ive always loved.
I did not become a ‘sandal girl’ just because I sold off my pumps, you know. 😉

marie - June 28, 2015 Reply

I live in the UK. We dont have the freedom of space residence of the US enjoy. Also, we have extensive planning laws, which call for demolition if you try to build without – or outside your planning remit. In the past it would have been a great idea to buy an old dilapidated house, demolish it, and encourage a community of people to plan smaller, more ecologically sustainable houses on the land available , incorporating growing plots for veg. These days property is in such a bubble, its beyond the price of many. Though still possible for those who are willing to take the risk by selling off their present homes – relieving them of mortgages, and possibly leaving them debt free – with sensible planning.

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