Why a Tiny House Should Be Your Next House - Tiny House Blog

Why a Tiny House Should Be Your Next House

B-53 tiny house

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.

The Premise

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 house interior

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.

lusby tiny house interior

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Jill - August 15, 2012 Reply

While I’m not planning on moving anytime soon (and I currently live in a 1,300 SF house), I love the innovations that go into Tiny Houses and am planning on using this as a year-long focus for my curriculum with my 7th grade students. Hopefully it all go swimmingly, and they can move forward with the movement.

    Adam - August 15, 2012 Reply


    I’ve integrated tiny houses into several lesson plans, and I have to say that I enjoyed them a lot. I teach English as a Second Language.

    I was surprised by some of the student’s reactions to the whole idea of a tiny house. Ranging from, “Why would we want such a tiny house?! This is America! Bigger is better!” to
    “Of course tiny houses are better, we already have those!”.

    I’m curious to see how American K-12s would react to this sort of thing.

    Jing Fong - September 14, 2012 Reply

    Jill and other teachers (middle school through university),
    YES! Magazine embraces the idea of tiny houses. For our Fall 2012 YES! National Student Competition, students will read and respond to Dee Williams’ story, “Living Large in a Tiny House,”about why she chose to move from her 3-bedroom bungalow to an 84-square-foot house—a place where she keeps no more than 300 items and has never been happier. Sidenote: Her house is a Tumbleweed Houses design.

    The writing prompt asks students about their ideal size of house and important features it would have (and avoid). To sign up, visit http://www.yesmagazine.org/for-teachers/essay-bank/for-teachers

    We host the contest so students will have an opportunity to write for a real audience. Winners are published on our website, and the author writes a collective response to the essay winners. It’s rewarding to be taken seriously as a writer!

    Hope you’ll join us.

    Jing Fong, YES! Magazine education outreach manager

    P.S. We host the writing contest every school quarter, featuring a particular YES! story.

cozygirl - August 15, 2012 Reply

I’d love to see neighborhoods popping up with little home options or ads for country living resales…or is there links for that already?

Andreas - August 15, 2012 Reply

While we don’t live in a tiny house, our family of five is happily ensconced in a 120 year old Victorian worker’s cottage.

Small rooms, but big enough for everything we need. I am now looking at the possibility of purchasing some land near one of our beautiful lakes here in Ontario, then building two tiny houses there – one for my wife and myself, one for our three kids.

phil - August 15, 2012 Reply

I grew up in a ~700 sq ft house. I knew it was small but have never thought of it as tiny

patty - August 15, 2012 Reply

I love the idea of small. I lived in a small rowhome in the city and moved to the country where the home I live in is pretty close in size from what I moved from. Big, is not necessarily better. Here are some things you need to also think about.

You are going to have to put the house somewhere. Even if you are on a trailer you at somepoint stop someplace. If you are in the middle of nowhere you have to think about water. Water to drink, shower and clean with. The land has to have a well or it become the adventure of getting water.

Yes it is great to be in the wild outdoors. Nothing around but the scenery. Okay you break your leg, you have to be able to call or somehow connect with the great masses to help you out. You also want to have someone checking on you to make sure you are safe. Don’t forget the flu in the middle of nowhere with no meds is no fun and potentially dangerous.

I am older than your potential market while I love the whole small premise, what about wheelchairs, handicap access, age friendly house. How many 60, 70, 80+ year olds are going to want to climb up stairs to get to bed?

What if you are young,
Careers change, you get divorced, have kids, have parents show up at your house because the 401K they were living on is gone? It happens. You have a small house and if things are dire you know that you really can’t say no to mom.

Road access
cars, snow, ice, try to get to your little house when it is a major snow storm. What about when you want to throw a thank you party. Yes you can have it outside, but think chairs, tables, umbrellas, storage for food…

Do I love small places and how the people live in them. Yes. But as with everything, there are downsides and you need to be aware of those too.

    Hazel - August 15, 2012 Reply

    I too am older, in my 60’s…not the ‘target market’ as you say…but I WANT TO BUILD A TINY HOME!!! I want this to be my next step in downsizing although I do already live in a small, self-built cottage with 4 rooms.

    I really think that if we are really responsible for our health…ie daily exercise and an anti-inflammatory diet…we can continue to live a vigorous lifestyle. So many ‘seniors’ just sit down and stop living! My homes will always have stairs, will always need me to climb and stretch and be strong. Use it or lose it!

    I can contrast two women I know in their 80’s: one, age 86, lives on her own, teaches Tai Chi, swims daily, and dances and sings in nursing homes to cheer up the seniors! She explores the world, taking 2-3 trips a year; last year she climbed the Great Wall of China! She is healthy and vital because of her lifestyle. The other one, 82, sits in a chair and watches TV; she eats poorly and has become stiff, weak and depressed, and is on many medications. All she talks about is her poor health.

    We do have so much control over our health…no excuses! Personally, I want to live a vigorous life! Having a tiny home would mean that I could easily leave it to travel in my equally tiny Casita trailer in the winter.

    Rant over…;-D

      Kelly Kleiner - August 15, 2012 Reply

      I’m sorry Hazel, but from my perspective as a person with a chronic illness, i think you have it backward for the most part. People of all ages are able to have an active life because they are in good health. Some type of chronic illness is going to get everyone some day, if they live long enough. People that are well are not in any way better than those who are in ill health.

        Hazel - August 16, 2012 Reply

        I’m sorry for your health issues (and don’t want to hijack this post) but that IS the point: be as healthy and vital as you can for as long as you can.

          Kelly Kleiner - August 17, 2012 Reply

          and i am happy that your health is good, but i don’t think that you understood my point. i know that my poor health has nothing to do with lifestyle or attitude, and i am questioning your assumption that the difference in the behavior of the two women in their 80s that you mentioned is that one “is healthy and vital because of her lifestyle”. perhaps it is actually much more difficult for the woman who sits and watches TV all day to get herself out of bed than it is for the other woman to climb the Great Wall of China? perhaps she eats poorly because that is all she can manage? since we can’t really know what another person feels, it seems kinder to take people at their word for what it is like to be them. and instead of feeling like you have the answers for your sick acquaintance, perhaps you could really listen to her. you might be able to help her, or learn something from her.

          Sandy - August 19, 2012 Reply

          I’m willing to bet that the Tai Chi lady has money and the TV lady doesn’t. Money, genes, and motivation all play their parts in personal health.

    Ken Sturmer - December 31, 2014 Reply

    I already live in a small house ( 600sq ft ). I am also in the older age category. However I don’t see that as a problem, but as a boon. The smaller the house, the less to have to maintain. As far as location, I’m not sure. I would not want to be in an isolated place, as I do have medical needs. I would really like to go smaller. Have thought about boats, houseboats and have had a small travel trailer, which was perfectly comfortable. So I don’t see where the problems lie. I only see benefits. Other than many municipalities do not allow homes under a certain square footage. That is the only problem I see with tiny homes!

Charlie - August 15, 2012 Reply

Starting to do a lot of research on smaller homes for us to down size to in several years when our last child heads off to college. Really like Ross Chapin cottage designs but the yellow house image at the top of this article looks awesome. Anyone know what plan it is and who offers it? Thanks!

Sharon - August 15, 2012 Reply

Second the comments on climbing a ladder to get to bedroom area … tiny houses are a natural choice for retirees, but the prospect of navigating a ladder in the wee hours of the night to use the bath is daunting, indeed. Yes, the futon option is out there, but a lot of folks don’t like the idea of company using your bed as a couch … Another big irritant – sooo many of these builders are located in areas like Texas or the West Coast – what about those of us in the I-95 corridor? Communities of these little houses would be a natural (in my opinion)in large East Coast cities where old home stock has either fallen down, been abandoned, or is too expensive to repair. Any forward thinking builders out there willing to give it a shot?

    Erica - August 15, 2012 Reply

    I feel your pain! I know in CT here the laws are very strict and tiny house friendly…but I keep dreaming!

    Sonje Bianca - August 18, 2012 Reply

    Here, here! I’m in Baltimore County in Maryland. There are so many places that would be perfect for tiny home communities in this state. I’d love to see it happen here. I know of only one experimental community in downtown D.C. I hope it catches on. As to the knees, even younger people can have bad knees, etc. I’m 48 and was stricken with Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens Syndrome and Arthritis at 35 years of age, despite a healthy diet and active lifestyle. I’d love a tiny home and the freedom from stuff and cleaning. Now to convince the hubby …

      Brenna - July 25, 2015 Reply

      Hi Sonje-
      My question is bit delayed from your original post. But, I’m hoping you may see this!
      What is the name of the experimental community in D.C.? I’m in the Baltimore area and have been scouring the web for resources , info, and/or communities in the Baltimore/D.C. area

Beverly - August 15, 2012 Reply

Patty is right . . . future needs may dictate the size of the home you choose. I would love a smaller house. I’m working on a floor plan to take to my blue print expert. It is a one bedroom 1 1/2 bath small home with a 1 bedroom 1 bath basement apartment. The apartment could be rented out for extra income, used for an aging parent or a returning adult child. It could also be used as a guest room. My plan is to use the space for a full time housekeeper/cook/nurse/assisted living person. While I am still ambulatory, I recognize I will, at some future point, need assistance and I want to stay in my own home. This is my attempt to solve the worrysome issue.

Why a Tiny House Should Be Your Next House | {clearly} not astute - August 15, 2012 Reply

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Jeanne - August 15, 2012 Reply

I love the concept of the tiny houses. We live in a 976 SF house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. It’s just fine for our family of three. My issue with the tiny houses listed on this blog is that the sleeping area is always up in a loft. As someone who somehow can’t seem to get through the night without using the facilities, I wouldn’t be a happy person in one of those houses. But, our house is pretty small, has everything we need, and is just the right size. 🙂

Vappu - August 15, 2012 Reply

We live in a 1300 sf house and I would never consider it tiny. Barely even small.. But then, I’m not American 😉 and it depends on how many people you have living under one roof ;)We used to (spaciously and happily) live in a 600 sf apartment, a family of three. We moved because it was moldy, and we did dream of having a house and a garden. We would have bought a smaller house, but this just happens to be my childhood home.. There is still building permit left for about 850 sf, and perhaps one day we will build a separate tiny house on the lot. Sometimes I feel like this house is a little too large, with the guest room and living room, but even though we could do well with less, all the space does get used frequently. But maybe there is a true tiny house somewhere in my future.

Matt - August 15, 2012 Reply

Property Taxes are based upon the value of your Home, additional buildings, improvements and of course your land. If you want a “tiny house”, no problem (assuming you don’t have issues with local zoning and the building department.

You will also feel the financial ramifications on your assessment. Your neighborhood and the values of properties on your street will also affect your assessment and tax bill from the county Treasurer.

Just because YOU want a tiny house does not mean that you will be seen in a positive light with your neighbors. If you have a tiny house, live frugally, possibly have backyard chickens, hang out your laundry, etc…(Certainly GOOD ideas anyway!), yet when your neighbors try to sell their home, they are not going to like your way of living. Just because YOU have seen the light, does not mean that a prospective buyer will.

Just considerations to think about and remember…governments LOVE big houses! They generate more revenue in property taxes.

    Abel Zyl Zimmerman - August 15, 2012 Reply

    Matt, your comment is actually honest information about the general climate in suburban-upper-middle-class USA.

    Just for reference, there are places where hanging out the laundry and having chickens are not seen as an affront to property values (I live a city that is full of laundry and chickens.)

    Additionally, the Tiny House Movement (which is undeniably a movement by now) is a sort of ‘back to the basics’ paradigm. It has happened before, and it is happening again… even in very urban communities. Values are shifting away from the ‘high property value’ way of thinking. It is refreshing, no?

      Matt - August 15, 2012 Reply

      Abel, I agree wholeheartedly.

      I am just passing on some things to consider based upon my former “dead-end” life of being a government bureaucrat working as a real estate appraise for a county Assessor. LOL

      Just glad I left the city life… 🙂

Hazel - August 15, 2012 Reply

“What do you think? Why would or wouldn’t you consider a Tiny House?”

I WOULD live in a tiny house…and plan to!…because it would reinforce living a ‘considered’ life. After basic needs are taken care of, life can be simplified down to what brings you peace and joy. A tiny house makes sure that your life stays simplified!

(For those who insist that stairs or a ladder are not doable for seniors, create a design that works for you!)

Anna - August 15, 2012 Reply

I’m always amazed how Americans consider a 700 sq ft house small. I have to say, where I live, 700 sq ft homes are nothing unusual. And as for apartments – 700 sq ft is a lot. My in-laws have been living in 550 sq ft apartment with 2 children for years and they don’t think it’s weird – it’s quite normal here. Me and my husband have just bought a 700 sq ft apartment with two rooms – one will be our bedroom/living room and the second one will be a kids bedroom/playroom. We also have a walk-in closet, a tiny bathroom and quite a big kitchen with a breakfast nook. For me, a 700 sq ft place is perfect, especially if we’re talking houses, where you have a yard and therefore more living space.

    Paige - August 16, 2012 Reply

    Where do you live, Anna?

alice h - August 15, 2012 Reply

Our house is big, but it now has 3 separate apartments for 4 generations of family members instead of being one big house for a small family like it was previously. We’d love to add another apartment over the garage for another family member but so far we’ve pushed it as far as it can go legally. A tiny house on a tiny piece of land is a nice dream, achievable for some, but with so many people living in cities by choice or circumstance we should also encourage further densification by converting more large buildings to smaller living spaces. Especially affordable living spaces. Right now all of the single story shops along our area’s main street are slowly being changed to 4 story apartment buildings with retail on the ground floor but most of the apartments are a lot larger and more expensive than they should be. Other small houses in the area are being replaced by huge single family stucco palaces though the odd one is a duplex. There is also a cohousing development that was built before land prices went nuts a few years ago, not possible now unless you’re fairly well off. Tax rates are constantly being adjusted so if a city wanted to they could have a minimum tax or some other means of taxing tiny houses to make sure they pay their “fair” share. Some cities offer tax incentives to resettle blighted urban areas. There are a lot of ways to deal with housing but if you’re going for increased density in urban areas the way most places are, for a variety of valid reasons, tiny houses on individual lots are not going to be a favoured option. They are more suited to smaller towns and villages and rural areas.

MelD - August 15, 2012 Reply

Although I am fascinated by the tiny houses and being in Europe, used to fairly small houses, it is unlikely I would ever need to live in one, though I’m sure I could manage with the tiny space. I don’t find it daunting or anything.
I would like to see more people use existing buildings instead of building new. Where i live in Switzerland, we don’t have much land overall (mountains…!) yet there is an incredible building boom using up more and more land and the houses are getting bigger, or maybe it’s just the expectations.
Personally, I consciously looked for an existing smaller house when we finally bought our own, as our eldest daughter had already left home and I was aware that it was only a matter of time before we would just be a couple again – what’s the point in a big family home, then?! Our house is a 1770 washhouse with a footprint of 63 square metres (680 sq ft). There is an 11 sqm room downstairs my husband uses as an office, plus utility and cellar, we live on the middle floor (bedroom 11 sqm, living-dining-kitchen about 30 sqm and small bathroom) and our daughters have had the attic floor at their disposal (now only one living at home) – this does not use the whole 63 sqm because the roof comes down to the floor but perfectly sufficient for teens. We consider this plenty of space, even when there were 4 and 5 of us here, we can sleep 10 if guests come – and yet our neighbours look concerned and ask how we “manage” in our tiny home!!
An added bonus is that we live centrally in a small green town with all amenities, so walk or bike more, and yet the countryside is only 5 minutes away. Win win.

MelD - August 15, 2012 Reply

PS Hazel – you don’t always get to choose to stay healthy as you age. While both my own parents are fit and travelling around age 70, my in-laws both got Parkinson’s in their late 60s, FIL died at 70 and MIL is 68 and going downhill fast… nothing to do with unhealthy lifestyles at all (all their parents reached late 80s/90s).

    Hazel - August 15, 2012 Reply

    Oh I know, Mel, there are no guarantees! But many of the over 60s that I know consider themselves ‘old’ and so simply sit down and BECOME old. For them, being healthy means going to the doctor for drugs.

    We have a responsibility to our minds and bodies to do the research and follow a healthy lifestyle. It’s about the highest quality of life as long as we can maintain it.

    Using existing buildings is a great idea as long as they are energy efficient. Studies have been done on the environmental impacts of 1) living in an inefficient house; 2) renovating such a house to be energy efficient; and 3) building a new, energy-efficient house. Surprisingly, building new was the least harmful solution!

Steve - August 15, 2012 Reply

GREAT article. Just posted it for all my friends to say. My new philiosophy is not TINY, but SMALL, and using the extra money to have nicer things IN my house, and more money for leisure!

Susan - August 15, 2012 Reply

I myself would love to have a Tiny house. But finances would not even permit a tent. LOL These homes would be perfect for HUD homes for those small families that would appreciate having any size roof over our heads,. Does anyone know if HUD has been approached by anyone with this idea? They talk about recycle, reuse, saving money, etc. Seems to me like they would be looking in to these small homes as possible alternatives to larger, less energy efficient, and more expensive homes. Does anyone know how many of these cottages were built in Louisianna after Hurricane Teresa and how many are still being lived in? By the way if anyone knows if any of them are for sale, they should let everyone here know.
Maybe someday I will be able to build one for myself. In the meantime I will keep reading and planning. 🙂

    Abel Zyl Zimmerman - August 15, 2012 Reply

    Because tiny houses are not universally accepted into US codes and municipal regulations, it will probably be a while until an agency like HUD might consider FUNDING them — unless they are meant as temporary housing (like the Katrina examples).

    So, write your mayor… county planner… congressman… and tell them your tiny house is every bit as legal as a 3200 sq ft tract house! Tell them how much energy and water they save. Send them a picture.

Scott Sidler - August 15, 2012 Reply

The orange/yellow house pictures above is offered by Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. I forget the style name but it is one of their biggest ones.

So glad most of you enjoyed the post! I’m also glad it’s sparked a little conversation about feasibility. Our company plans to start building not quite Tiny houses, but small efficient houses in the near future. For now I just enjoy studying them and restoring the historic homes we work on that are very similar in structural ways. I just think life is too short to be surrounded by cheap materials in a cheaply built house. I’d always sacrifice quantity of space for quality of life.

    Charlie - August 16, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Scott. Would be interested in looking at the small home designs you plan to build in the future. Do you have a web site showing what the plans and small homes will look like available to view now?

    Tom Thomas - August 18, 2012 Reply

    Scott – where are you and your Company located??
    I am seriously considering a small house (not on wheels) on my lot in WA state. Unfortunately I am not talented as many people amongst the tiny house movement are to build my own.

Dave - August 15, 2012 Reply

While i am not a “tiny” person, i love the movement! I am a little more “small house” than tiny, my GF and i currently share a 2 bedroom condo, which has lots of extra, albeit poorly designed space… After owning multiple houses, i am really wanting to build a 1000 square foot country place, using the smaller space savings to afford to make it very energy efficient, perhaps even passivhaus…. Keep the designs and info coming!

Cropper - August 16, 2012 Reply

I have lived in big and small apartments, big and small houses, and I enjoy the little ones more. Of course more space is nice or handy at times, but 99+% of the time it’s an expensive “habit” I don’t need. Or want. More space means more cleaning, more maintenance, bigger utility bills, and I found myself investing a lot of money and energy in spaces and on things that weren’t even being used. I don’t need dozens of cars, or hundreds of shirts and jeans, and I don’t need a bunch of space filled with stuff that will never serve me as much as I serve it.

Niki - August 16, 2012 Reply

My first home purchase was an older 865sqft bungalo. It was small, but it didn’t bother me.

Dan - August 16, 2012 Reply

Serious question: If you get one on a trailer, which I want, where do you put it?

    Mackenzie - August 16, 2012 Reply

    A friends flat, level driveway, or a street.

Mackenzie - August 16, 2012 Reply

I live in a room that is less than 100 sf, and all of my space is very well utilized and modular; my room doubles as my studio and it is not even a lofted bed. But some day I’d like an even more modular space, and perhaps I’ll build it.

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AH - August 16, 2012 Reply

My principle concern would be having people over. Having even five or six friends over for a party would quickly become uncomfortable in a “small tiny” (ie < 500 sq ft) house.

    Helenbeee - February 4, 2013 Reply

    Whats wrong with a BBQ or a picnic?
    Okay in winter it would be more limited to smaller group entertaining but you could afford a venue if you wanted to have a party with no clean up say in a local hall or just accept that entertaining during winter is limited. I cant see it being a problem during the summer months though.
    Anyway how much big event handling does one do in a year?
    There are lifestyle changes involved in this type of living you really cant live like you are in a palace you have to be resourceful and look for alternatives.

Buymyhouseuk - August 17, 2012 Reply

Well, tiny houses are generally built for economically weaker section of our society. Since these houses are small therefore less electricity & water bills you have to pay that type of house. But any one who wants to live good looking & quality tiny house, then please visit our site: http://www.buy-myhouse.co.uk to choose right type of house at affordable price.

Mitch Toews - August 17, 2012 Reply

Our lakeside cottage, built in 1950, was 600 sq. ft. That *was* a little tight for our family of four, but we made it work on weekends and vacations. We later upped it to 900 and that suits us fine. Storage is the only lingering issue. We have a 192 sq. ft. boathouse that I converted to a workshop/man cave (for post-windsurfing gatherings) and now we want to add kitchen, bathroom, upstairs bedroom and deck; adding around 288 sq. ft. plus 144 elevated screen porch and a 96 sq. ft. deck over the water. NOT cuz we need more space, but rather so that we can live in this new space — Jan + I will be in here and rent out the cottage as a part of our retirement plan. We want to incorporate solar and wind power and get off the grid as much as we can. Our advantages? A freshwater lake literally at our doorstep and a forest full of fallen trees (for firewood).

Anyway – just want to say that small dwellings are good in so many ways. Socially and environmentally responsible, easy to maintain, affordable and logical. A rewarding and intelligent way to live.

Michele Favarger - August 17, 2012 Reply

I know that I have seen the interior of the tiny house photo included in this post, and would like to reconnect to the post where it first appeared. Kent, can you help me out?

stpauligirlmn - August 17, 2012 Reply

Age 51 and hoping to downsize when I retire. With every floor plan and photo of small and tiny houses that I salivate over, I always think – where would I put a staircase? Look at the popular website for coyote cabin. They learned that a ladder was not practical access to their loft, and built a staircase where one “wouldn’t fit.” www. coyotecottage.com

Also, a small addition to a tiny house for a main floor bedroom is also always an option. Tumbleweed houses added them nicely to their small house designs.

Kelli - August 17, 2012 Reply

After living in a “McMansion” for over 10 years I’m excited about the prospect of living permanently in my small (1340sq.ft.)lakehouse. My kids are in college and I’ve given about 80% of our “stuff” to charity. It feels good to give and it feels great to have the unnecessary weight of all that junk out of the house. My house is still a work in progress and I’ve studied “tiny homes” for ideas. I love the energy efficiency and am incorporating many “green” aspects into the lakehouse. Some days that I’m in the lakehouse I actually think it’s too big! Funny how that works. Good luck to all those downsizers!

    Sandy - August 19, 2012 Reply

    LOL, I’ll see your “small” 1350 SF lakehouse and raise you an 1100SF cape cod in the city. To me a tiny house is much much smaller than what either of us have. We’ve become so used to having extra space….I grew up in a 2-bedroom duplex, which couldn’t have been more than 500 SF, with 5 other family members, and we all survived.

Mary - August 18, 2012 Reply

What do you think? Why would or wouldn’t you consider a Tiny House?

I wouldn’t want 100 square feet. For me that would be fun for awhile, but would be unsustainable for a long period of time (10+ years). I’d prefer 300-400 square feet. Maybe 500. On a permanent foundation.

I plan to build a house like that. I live in about 600 square feet now and have enjoyed it. It takes 5 minutes to vacuum/sweep. My first electric bill in the rental was less than $20. I’m happier without all the clutter that filled a larger space. The smaller space is comfortable and cozy. And I find myself outdoors and active more often in a smaller space than in a large one.

Yes, I have considered it, and have plans!

Charlie - August 18, 2012 Reply

Well I guess I don’t have to move if 1,500 sq. ft. counts because that’s what I’m living in right now, but alas in the city. I could certainly go smaller but not TINY. Starting at 16×24 and going up to 24×32 would probably be perfect for me although my fantasy would be to have a wrap around porch which would increase the seasonal square footage depending upon the climate.

Gina - August 18, 2012 Reply

In Hawaii, where I grew up, smaller houses were the norm and much of living was done outdoors. We ate on our decks and held parties outside, sipping cocktails and watching the koi swim. I can see a tiny house (with big deck, of course) in very comfortable climes. I would not want to be nose-to-nose with my family for weeks on end in blizzard country. I had a 1000 square foot place in Lake Tahoe and after being house-bound for a few days we got decidedly testy. It would be easier if you didn’t marry a loud man I think.

eric - August 18, 2012 Reply

One of the points of your article contained the notion that living small means you can afford to live better, but one of the most disappointing things I have noted in most of the tiny house designs have been really bad kitchen designs (I design kitchens for Lowes) and really cheap or inappropriate building materials or other home necessity solutions. I have become confused about whether the movement is toward smaller, more efficient, sustainable homes or just an RV that looks different parked in a friend’s yard or driveway that couldn’t BE a home without the extra support of the larger, fully functional structure.

Judy - August 18, 2012 Reply

Kelli,I enjoyed your post.I am leaving a 3600sf house for a 1400 sf raised ranch and can’t wait to spend the time I’ve been using to keep up with the larger home to do hobbies that have been on the back burner.While a raised ranch may be looked down upon by some,it utilizes it’s space well and is a good choice for a pre-retirement age couple.

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