Guest Post by Scott Sidler
The Tiny House movement is a growing trend in home design today. You might be surprised to find that a Tiny House is the perfect answer to living better than you ever imagined. With a focus on quality over quantity the Tiny House makes the finer things in life more affordable and accessible than ever before.
Most people can’t imagine living comfortably in a 700 SF house. And that’s mainly because society tells us we need MORE space. As Americans we should buy the biggest house we can afford, right? It’s a status symbol. After all, you can’t let the Joneses get ahead, can you? But what if you flipped the whole thing on its head? What if you stopped focusing on how much square footage you can get and started focusing on how good you can make the square footage you have? That’s what the Tiny House has done. The movement acknowledges that people are happier when they are surrounded with quality materials that are incorporated into a design that uses space so efficiently that you don’t even notice it’s small. The cozy design makes us feel secure and relaxed, but small and poorly thought out makes us feel cramped (even in bigger spaces).
Tiny Houses can be anything from a 60 SF shed built on a trailer to a 1,500 SF house. There really isn’t a hard and fast definition of what size qualifies. The important aspect of the Tiny House is intelligent and efficient design. From the very start the house is designed so that every inch is used to the peak of its potential. Empty wall space is utilized for built in storage. Many rooms serve double duty when possible. Honestly, do you really need a formal dining room or do you just have one because that’s what everyone else has? Why not have a room that with a few minor changes can serve as both dining room and living room? And for the amount of money you spend to buy a house with an extra bedroom for guests that rarely visit you could put them up in a four-star hotel when they finally do come and take a cruise every year with the money that’s left over! There is no wasted space in a Tiny House. The layout is designed for the way we live today not what some commercial builder tells us we want.
Here is Orlando, FL the average new home costs $85 per SF to build and the average size is 2,500 SF. That comes out to a cost of $212,500 for your new home. Now what if you wanted to upgrade to granite counter tops, crown molding, solid wood flooring, marble tile, super efficient windows, exterior trim detailing, etc? That $85 a SF price just went way up. Now imagine your house is designed well enough so that you could shrink your square footage down to 1,250 SF. Now you can double your price per SF since you cut the footage in half and still stay in budget.
Due to it’s small size the Tiny House can be built using the best practice methods of builders and the best quality materials. Solid hardwoods, high-end tile, hand-painted sinks, anything you can imagine. Tiling a 30 SF bathroom with $20 a SF tile is much more attainable than a 300 SF bath.
If you think energy prices are going anywhere but up you need to get your head examined. All the signs point to increased costs for electricity, water, gas, and oil. But with a Tiny House you don’t have to worry about the price of energy. With such small square footage your heating and cooling costs are exponentially lowered, not to mention the lower initial cost of a smaller HVAC system. Now you’re not paying to heat and cool an extra 2000 SF while you sleep in your 500 SF bedroom. And to top it all off, you can afford to build a better insulated and more efficient house since you’re not paying for the extra square footage. When you have 5 windows to buy instead of 35 you can afford the best.
A quick Google search for “Tiny House” will open your eyes to the dozens of companies out there building and promoting this kind of living. For now it’s a fad to be sure, but one that in my opinion has legs. Here’s just a few of my favorite sites where you can learn more and even buy your own Tiny House.
What do you think? Why would or wouldn’t you consider a Tiny House?
Reposted from The Craftsman blog by request.