What Do People Really Think of Tiny Houses?

chris and merete tiny house

A recent article has been circling the internet that features my friends Christopher and Merete at the front of the story. It is called DEAR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN FANCY TINY HOUSES – Do you ever wake up wondering, “I’ve made a huge mistake? It is a must read and is featured over at Medium.com.

Christopher says on FB: “Alright everyone, we have to share this one simply because everyone we know is sharing it with us! For the record, we think it’s fun and funny and snarky and even more hilarious that our own faces ended up as the cover image. (Also for the record, our tiny house is not very fancy.)

I’m curious to hear what your friends and family say and think of you when you tell them about tiny houses and your dream to live in one? Please share your reactions in the comment section below and I will pool them all together for a future blog post so that every one can read them.

Please share below and also be sure and click here to read Lauren’s thoughts.

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Dee - July 9, 2015 Reply

Tiny houses are great. Less energy consumption is the main reason to move towards tiny living . What I don’t care for are houses on trailers. For the price of some of these house on trailer homes, I could buy an RV, 5 Wheeler or cabover camper…..with the plumbing ,electrical and comforts of home already in place.

    James Foster - July 9, 2015 Reply

    I love the concept, but the prices for tiny homes do not make sense at all for an intelligent investment. People can buy a smallish home with a little land plus a used RV and come out ahead, and still have much more living space and storage. If reducing your energy footprint is your goal, adding insulation is very reasonable. Then heat or cool one room for use in the daytime, then turn it off and use another room for sleeping at night with heating or cooling. We don’t need to cool or heat areas we are not using at the time in our home. I just can’t see living in an expensive (per sq ft) teeny tiny space ALL the time just to be mobile or to save on heating or cooling. But I have four kids too, so that does change everything in my perspective.

      Lisa E. - July 9, 2015 Reply

      It isn’t just the utilities, it’s the property taxes, the maintenance and being stuck in one place that you may or may not like. It’s also the housework.

      I live in an 1800 sf foundation house built in 1920. I bought it ten years ago, before the THM was a glint in anybodies eye. I’m ten years older and I’m chained to property taxes and housework. The roof that was brand new then, needs replacing now. I’m a retiree and really can’t afford to do so with all of the mandatory, compulsory insurances we have been hobbled with these days.

      Also, when I moved here, I did not know the area well at all. Over the years I have come to hate where I’m living. If I had a tiny house, all I would have to do is back up the truck, couple the hitch and that would be that. I’d be heading for Oregon.

      It isn’t about being deprived of more living space, it’s about having a living space that is so efficient that you are free to do other things. I love to study music and write, but these days, having slowed down with age, my whole life is devoted to a bunch of rooms, stuff, and a failing roof.

      No thanks, give me a well designed tiny house any day and let my people go!

        Anton - August 5, 2015 Reply

        Lisa, it sounds like you need to sell your house. Which is relatively easy to do as opposed to selling a tiny house. But as this article points out, it may not be that much easier in a tiny house. Finding a place to park legally is definitely an issue and having access to a truck that can move these behemoths can be expensive on its own not mention having the skills to move it safely. Things that you take for granted now, like running water, electricity and sewage all require maintenance and replenishments that require knowledge and handyman skills. For most people downsizing is a much more appropriate measure.

    Ron - November 8, 2015 Reply

    I like the tiny house concept only if you going to use it for a guest house. I live in a 40ft. 5th wheel Trailer. Paid Only $30,000 with 5 Slide outs and has approx. 350 sq. ft. With a Hobbit Wood Stove installed. The Tiny IMHO I could not live in something so small and expensive. IMHO it’s not worth the money $60,000 hahaha wow. IMHO it would be like living in a large closet. There are not slide outs to give you more room. Also you have to make sure that the Trailer is not higher that 13.8 feet otherwise you may hit a overpass bridge. So make sure you use a truck route lol.

Ron - July 9, 2015 Reply

We have always adapted to small as well as shared spaces. We did this out of need.

After world war 2 some many house were built which were 750 to 1000 feet. This house are still being lived in with children raised. Drive around in the poorer sections of the city you live in and look. They are still there.

Small is not bad. I think many readers are simply to young to remember that many homes had three generations in them. Ron

mick - July 9, 2015 Reply

Dee is right…..unless one uses used materials and does the work themselves, the costs of having tiny houses built get very expensive. One can definitely buy a regular RV, with all the toys and ready to live in, for a much lower cost. If one has the money and knowhow, a fancy tiny house is great……but the smaller less fancy one made of recycled materials is the more realistic way to go.

Jamaine Cripe - July 9, 2015 Reply

My family thinks I’m nuts but they always knew I’d retire/move on to something “different”. I have a few friends who have come to love the idea of tiny living. We may even start a tiny house beach community in NJ! We’ll see what happens over the next 10 years or so.

Jeff - July 9, 2015 Reply

I am a police officer in a major metropolitan city. I have been dealing with housing costs for about as far back as I can remember. I am going to build a tiny house, and I can hardly wait to get started…
My mother thinks they seem interesting, but there’s nowhere to put all my “stuff”…of course I have little to no stuff, she’s just applying the spacial relations issue to her “stuff”…
My father needs to categorize everything, and as soon as I said “yes” when he asked “so it’s really just a mobile home…” After that he was fine. Of course he then said “well then why not just get a mobile home?” Hours of explaining followed…
When I explained to my kids that they are going to have a triple stacked bunk bed, they want to start building NOW…
Most of my family and friends apply the idea of a tiny house to their lives, and have difficulty seeing it as a possibility for others. They are a change in space and lifestyle. The good news is everyone supports the idea, now it’s just time to get started…gotta get some of that pesky money first…

Pete - July 9, 2015 Reply

I live in a tiny house and after a year, the quarters are too tight, more space is needed fir any creative activity indoors
Plus- and this is a big plus in my mind- how many adults Really want to climb into bed or wrangle on pajamas where they cannot stand up. Unrealistic the lofts!!

alice h - July 9, 2015 Reply

Tiny houses aren’t for everyone but if they are for you, you’re going to love it. Sure it’s not all sunshine and roses, but neither is living in a big house, especially when it’s time for chores and repairs. Time to repaint the entire house? Pretty much done in a day in a tiny house with minimal fuss and expense. Big house? Ugh. Probably doesn’t get finished due to time and money constraints.

Tiny house too tiny? Big house too big? Easy, just go with a small house. Don’t know why people have to overcomplicate things by trying to shoehorn everybody into any particular mode whether it fits or not.

David Feldman - July 9, 2015 Reply

Gee, Kent, aren’t you glad you asked. Finally a few doses of much needed common sense that just might really advance the tiny house movement.

“For the price of some of these house on trailer homes, I could buy an RV, 5 Wheeler or cabover camper…..with the plumbing ,electrical and comforts of home already in place.” Dee

“Dee is right…..unless one uses used materials and does the work themselves, the costs of having tiny houses built get very expensive. ” Mick

“I live in a tiny house and after a year, the quarters are too tight, more space is needed fit any creative activity indoors
Plus- and this is a big plus in my mind- how many adults Really want to climb into bed or wrangle on pajamas where they cannot stand up. Unrealistic the lofts!!” Pete

All this prompts the question:
Where is the 8’x20′ TH shell complete with doors, windows and roof which is shipped flat like a cardboard box; can be taken to the site on a borrowed boat trailer behind a borrowed pickup; can be”unfolded” in a day: “camped” in that very night; lived in while it is finished over time with salvaged, recycled, repurposed and found materials FOR UNDER $5,000?

    Barb - July 9, 2015 Reply

    Well, David, apparently the answer to your question is: it’s still inside your head!
    If you really want to make it happen, you will.

Barb - July 9, 2015 Reply

Kent, I think it will be interesting to see what thoughts and comments come to current/wanna-be tiny house dwellers from their own family & friends. Your topic will prove to be helpful to people who are contemplating downsizing but may be pre-empted by worries of what their families will say. Many comments (above) are not answering your topic specifically but are merely giving their own pros & cons of tiny living.
May I share with you some of my personal experiences in this department?….
Altho I have built a “freehand”cottage camper on a 6×10 trailer rather than a code-compliant plumb/level/square professional looking residence on wheels, I still find the comments category fascinating. What I have experienced time & again is that at first, upon HEARING the concept spoken to them, they respond with raised eyebrows, furled lips and plenty of negativity, obviously sprouting from a lack of knowledge. However, I have seen and heard the nay-sayers giggle with excitement and delight when they SEE my CottageCamper. It may have something to do with the fact that some people are left brain analysts and others are right brain creative types, dunno. But I also find that those who are curious are at least open minded and will allow you the space to do your own thing, if tiny is for you, but those who say nay, are not going to be converted with any amount of verbal explanation. Let them stay trapped in their McMansions, they are determined to drown in them and stay on the hamster’s wheel in their own rat race.
My actual responses include:
“Wow, YOU built that?”
“It’s surprisingly big inside when you get in.”
“I love it! Good for you, Barb, You Go, Girl”
“I could totally see myself living in this”
Now, some of them are negative, it is true:
“What do you expect to do with THAT?”
“You can’t possibly think you can live in that do you?”
But my favorite response came from my older brother who just bought a 32ft C-class for over $100k: “Well, I’ll be darned. Who’da thought?” (…he said after he rolled his eyes in the RV campground for the first 20 minutes and looked down his nose at it until after the THIRD set of passers-by stopped to oogle my camper and ignore his brand new tin!)

Well, I’m anxious to hear other people’s real responses from real family & friends. I am open to learning from them…
Thanks for the post!

Lynn - July 9, 2015 Reply

My family of three, 2 adults and one child, have lived in an experimental neighborhood of small homes – some are connected – that allows a family to live next to aging family members and still maintain privacy while being care giviers. Each home is slightly different. We raised our child in less than 1,000 square feet. We had 2 bedrooms and two small baths plus a great room with a kitchen and laundry closet. I believe our child had a more stable childhood and adolescence due to size of our home. He had his room but preferred to do homework, read, etc in the great room. Our small neighborhood monitors the safety of children and older adults. We tend to work out or ignore problems. A tiny home is simply a small home YOU create based on your preferences. As a child and adolescent, I grew up in a home with 3,200 square feet. My siblings and I really never new each other, and my parents were not aware of our problems. I will always suggest tiny houses for most people.

    Lynn - July 9, 2015 Reply

    I’m sorry ! I meant knew rather than new.

Judi - July 10, 2015 Reply

I saw this article earlier this week on FB (it was sent to me by a friend) and was a bit offended by it as I love tiny houses. However, it does have some valid points and tiny living is not for everyone. I, too, go round and round about whether to buy a tiny house or an RV when I retire.

Wilbour - July 10, 2015 Reply

What you have to realize is that life is all about balance. We recognize in all facets there are extremes that tug us one way or the other but when all is said and done, we find a place somewhere in the middle.

In politics there are the over the top conservatives and equally far reaching liberals. Most people are quite happy somewhere in the middle.

But it’s the extremes that show us how we can better ourselves.

Can we all live in mansions? No. Can we all live in Tiny Homes? Equally, no. What we can do is study and appreciate other points of view and adapt our behaviour in either direction.

Personally I could stand to purge a lot of my “Stuff”. I spend much of my free time at a 160sqft cabin. Its therapeutic to be without a lot of possessions.

Lynn - July 10, 2015 Reply

I had to add one more comment. When the electricity goes out during ice or snow storms, our great room and the one hallway bathroom stay tolerably comfortable. We added gas logs to our fireplace because two of us have asthma and cannot be around smoke. We cook on the gas logs, keep a kettle warm for tea, and invite neighbors to join us. We shut off the rest of the house, and enjoy the company of others in about 450 square feet. Our bathroom still functions, so we aren’t too smelly. You just have to plan what works for you. Regarding the comments about farts : We live in the South and have to pretend they
don’t exist if any little ladies are staying with us. Usually, they are the ones responsible for them. 🙂

Pam Dyer - July 17, 2015 Reply

My daughter, a friend, and I are seriously exploring the tiny house concept. We are tired of rent and HOA increases. Wouldn’t dream of taking on the maintenance responsibilities of conventional housing. We would cluster several houses – one for my disabled son, another for my out-of-the-box-thinking grandson. Maybe a communal kitchen. All of us love being out of doors and lIve in an ideal region where never is heard a discouraging word about tiny houses.

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