Would you live in a tiny home?

Posted By: Jilly

Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/11/11 04:27 AM

I am actually getting very used to living in small spaces. My studio is 150 square feet and I share that with hubby. And cats. smile

Previously I lived in my RV which wasn't much bigger.

The interesting thing is now that I can't imagine wanting to live in a big house. My place is just right, is cozy and has cheap utilities.

Tiny houses are becoming more popular as the economy sinks. Would you live in one? What is the smallest space you ever lived in?
Posted By: Diana-Exotic Pets Editor

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/11/11 04:41 AM

I had always wanted a big historical huge house. We bought one in South Dakota. I deeply regret it now for many reasons. One is that it runs on two furnaces, very expensive. After my last surgery we moved downstairs to the other side of the house, today we moved back upstairs. It was just too much expense so we closed down the other side. Two, its very hard to clean. Spring cleaning takes forever. Three, I had bought it with an extended family in mind. My daughter, her husband, and children lived here for quite sometime. They recently bought there own, old big historical (they use that term-just means old, hard to maintain and things break). I took care of my mother-in-law for about five years. My own health kept me from doing that anymore. Now it is just George and I rambling in this old house. The other day he was looking for me. With two stair cases we literally missed each other for about an hour. I long for a small house again. So, in answer to your question, YES!
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 02:27 AM

A big place always seems appealing! Rooms to do whatever you want, lots of space, more storage...but also more to clean, to maintain, to decorate, to clutter up and to heat/cool.

I really am reconsidering a lot of things we take for granted lately with times so tight. Like that we need big homes to be comfortable. I think i'd rather have a nice piece of land and some outbuildings and a small dwelling. So, for me, i am thinking a little studio to live in with the other buildings being a workshop, a shed for storage, a potting bench/shed and a large covered porch for outdoor dining/living. An outdoor firepit too. A carport too, maybe.

I agree that for you, closing off some house sections makes the most sense.

Didn't people used to have bath houses that were not attached to the home? That could be neat - it could even have a wood burning sauna!
Posted By: Susan-Colleges

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 03:07 AM

My house that I live in now is pretty small (in my opinion). It probably wouldn't be considered tiny, but it's far from big. I don't know the exact size but I know that it's tight with four people and a dog. I have been trying to downsize my things for a while. But that takes time. And I can only downsize my things, not others' things.

In a lot of ways I like a small place. The worst parts are that I don't always have a place to put things and it looks messy right away because all the living happens in one small room. I have been to friends' houses where they have more stuff laying around but it doesn't look as bad because it's spread out into different rooms.

The smallest space I lived in was a tiny efficiency apartment. I had a roommate and we both had friends over fairly often. So, it could get quite tight. The worst part was there was only one closet and it was a tiny coat closet. We both had more clothes than any one person needs. So, the closet was a bit of a problem, but we made it work. However, I think we would have gotten along better if we had a little more space. She was (is) a good friend, but that much togetherness in a tight space can be rough. More power to you Jilly.

I think "needing" a big living space is a very American culture notion. In a lot of other countries everyone has small spaces. I try to remind myself of that when it starts to get to me.
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 05:34 AM

Susan, that is very true that in MANY places in the world - an entire family lives in a small one or two room space. It is astounding, really, to think of the massive homes we think are 'normal' American birthrights.

I know in places like New York and London that an efficiency flat is considered spacious.

Some of it is about re-sizing our expectations of need, as you said. And the rest is probably downsizing our stuff!

At this point I am keeping my nicer clothes in the shed. I have my everyday sweats and PJs in the studio. It helps to have a nice piece of land to have adequate, unheated storage, doesn't it?

I should take a video of what I have going on here.
Posted By: conniem

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 12:52 PM

We also live in an 100+ yr old 2 story house and have 2 furnaces and I totally relate to your post! I broke my ankle a couple of years ago and couldn't get up to my bedroom for 3 months. As my kids left it seemed like such a waste to have 2 different floors! Hubby says when we get too old to go upstairs we will just shut the door and turn the upstairs furnace off. We also have a large basement (where the laundry and deep freeze is) so hopefully one of us will be able to go down there to get the laundry done when we get old!
Posted By: Sandy / Cocktails Editor

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 02:39 PM

I just moved into a really tiny space a few weeks ago and I'm liking it more and more as I get settled in.

A wildfire necessitated a very hasty move so I wasn't financially prepared to shop around for housing. I work from home so I needed to get settled quick so I could get back to work without losing too much business. I'd been sharing a house with a friend who had all the furniture needed for the shared part of the home so my stuff was limited to bedroom, bath, and office. That's pretty much what I'm working with now.

I call it my basement cabana because it's underneath my sister's big house built into a very steep hillside. My indoor space is about the size of a two-car garage and there's no plumbing coming in. In this space, I've got a makeshift kitchen, my office, bedroom (there's a closet - yay!), a big round table for dining, arts and crafts, etc., and a library area lined with 5 bookshelves and tons of my books (they weren't destroyed by fire or smoke - I was so relieved about that!). It's all one big open space. There is a separate bath house with all the necessities, including a second closet (but, alas, no sauna). There's a commercial-size double sink outside the bath house that I use for washing dishes.

My makeshift kitchen consists of a microwave, coffee maker, crock pot, and toaster oven. I've got an antique armoire that I use to store my dishes and eating utensils. Plastic bins and similar devices store my cooking utensils, kitchen linens, spices, and pantry supplies. I use an electric skillet outside and would probably BBQ if we didn't have very strictly enforced burn bans all across the state right now. After having my life changed by a massive fire, I'm not excited about open flames for any reason right now, either. BBQ-ing can wait.

My indoor area has lots of windows on three sides. As I sit here at the computer, the ground is above eye level so I look up and see trees, flowers, deer, squirrels, and my dogs, when they roam that part of the yard. There's about 4 feet of walkway between me and the retaining wall so I can almost reach out and touch the animals out there. It's so cool to look up and be face to face with deer grazing just a few feet away. (We feed them fruits and veggies so they come around often.) My sister's granddaughter (age 4) likes the view and calls this my treehouse, even though it's technically at root level and not in the tree tops.

The entire area under the sister's house is concrete patios and wooden decks so I've claimed those spaces as my living room and dining rooms. Between her patio furniture and mine, it's a very comfortable place to hang out. This outdoor area is bigger than any house I've ever lived in and I'd rather be outdoors than in so I'm loving it. I often take my computer outside and work there instead of indoors. Living mostly outdoors in Texas is quite doable most of the year.

The house is supposed to be on the waterfront of one of Texas' coolest lakes but our awful drought has our cove totally dry, no water in sight anymore. Instead, the hillside becomes beautiful rocky canyons (that are usually hidden under water) at the base of the hill and the view from my living space is miles and miles of rolling hills, frolicking deer, and breathtaking sunsets.

I do laundry upstairs in my sister's house and, when my dirty dishes pile up, I borrow her dishwasher, too, but I try to respect her privacy as much as possible and contain my activities downstairs.

I find the smaller the place the more important it is to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I hate housework but it seems easier to keep this place tidy than the bigger homes I'm used to. I lived in a tiny apartment in downtown Portland, Oregon, when I went to culinary school there in the 1990s and I thought it was so cute. This place is reminding me a lot of that apartment, instead of looking out the windows at an urban landscape there, I'm getting countryside here. Very nice, either way.

I live alone, too; my family is me and two dogs. I think that makes living tiny easier than trying to share very limited space.

It's unconventional living space but I've always preferred unique places. All it takes is a little imagination and the willingness to be innovative. Home is where the heart is and my little basement cabana has lots of heart. smile

Posted By: anna*AHHA*

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 03:15 PM

Interesting food for thought you guys.

As mentioned, a big house = $$$, esp. if you live in a cold climate. Heating costs are through the roof! And cleaning such a large space is a pain in the you know what.

I would definately live in a smaller house (ours is on the bigger side) and with the economy being what it is, it makes a lot of sense. Sandy as you said, being able to glance out the window and see nature, is a must and your cabana sounds creative, cozy and your HOME.

I've seen some House Hunters episodes where people are looking for apts. in Europe -- for example Paris -- and they are small -- 150 to 200 feet, but lovely and they meet all needs.

With all of the Mc mansions that were built in the heyday, I think it came down to wants vs. needs. People went with the wants and the whole thing went south. We see the results of excess, of expansion. Now, we're experiencing the polar opposite of contraction. Everything balances out eventually.

WHAT is it that we really need?

A bed to sleep in
Protection from the elements
Clothing to cover us (optional certainly in some cases)
Food to eat

A simple life has advantages!

Great post, Jill. Thanks for getting the brain cells thinking.

Posted By: Elleise - Clairvoyance

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/12/11 04:10 PM


A small home is just space.

Some nights I take a look up into the sky and I'll either feel a significant part of something solid, something that has stood, that we can see, across the millenioums (sp) or I can't relate to it at all and that's usually the time I'm trying to make sense of the trivia of everyday life.

As much as people are facinated by the Queens and Kings and newly elected, whatever...forget how they were living even before they become elected -

Try to digest what happens no matter how big a house or powers they get into to.

Isn't it the "Wizard of Oz" where they say, if happiness isn't in your own back yard...

It's kind of like that. If you're not happy within your own Soul, you're not apt to find it no matter how large a space you live in. You're kind of more likely to have to try harder to pay the bills or if you have a public to appease, keep spending money to make the pretense that you are the epitomy of what people should look up to.

Either a part of something Universal
Posted By: Claybird

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/13/11 12:06 AM

I have lived in my small, not tiny, house for over 30 years. It suits me, my 2 cats and 30- 40 house plants very well. 830 sq.ft. on one floor with a basement. I work at home and the second bedroom is my framing studio while I create most of the art by a window in the living room. All of my friends have much bigger houses, some of them so huge I wonder how they can feel comfortable living in them! I don't envy them at all! I DO manage to clutter all 830 Sq.Ft up pretty well, though. I had some friends over for dinner last week, which forced me to clean the place up and get rid of some stuff. Getting rid of stuff is a constant concern, so it really helps me to have company every now and then. ;-)
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/17/11 10:37 PM

You guys are so point on about having to keep things tidy and to downsize everything. I am at the point where I am thinking about having one great wine glass, one perfect cereal bowl, one teeshirt for each day...stuff like that. I just can't have so much stuff in here, especially since this is a shared space. In fact I think I will take out some of my excess tupperwares right now.
Posted By: Eileen Brit TV

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/17/11 11:46 PM

Sadly, I find that wherever I live, and whoever I may live with, I manage to load the place up with clutter.

I live in a two up, two down - as they're known in the UK - ie two rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs, namely a lounge (living room, sitting room)and a kitchen on the ground floor, and two bedrooms upstairs.

Nowadays there is also a bathroom upstairs and often a dining room downstairs - in the 'olden' days ie Victorian/Edwardian, when many red brick terraces (small houses adjoined on either side, like in Coronation Street)were built, the toilet or 'little girl's room' was out back, in the yard, and you washed/bathed in the kitchen, with a tin bath.

A big house to me says space, and history. Of course a pile like Downton Abbey (could that ever have been just a house? Well apparently so) is highly unusual. Even by 'English county estate' standards, that place is HUGE!!!

Many of the fittings in eg a Georgian house are so beautiful, and in the 'modern' 60s and 70s, many of them were ripped out to make way for the pared down 'minimalist' look. What a shame.
Posted By: Kass -- Costuming Editor

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/18/11 12:07 AM

I used to live in Japan so I know how to live in a very small space. When I graduated from college, it irked me that all these studio apartments in NYC were so big! I just wanted to sleep, eat and live in one little room and save on rent. Nowadays my house shares most of its space with my business (80% according to the tax forms) so I live in a small space even though the house is a total of 2200 sq ft. Clutter is something I cannot stand. I have it. Lots of it. But it makes me nuts. So the ability to go into a room without clutter is important to me. But the other thing that's important to me is conservation of energy. I don't want to heat a two story cathedral ceiling. Why? My house was built in the 1880s and many of the windows are on the south side, so it gets good passive solar. And that's important to me. Recently, we had a power outage for nearly a week, and we lived in one room (the room with the fireplace) to conserve our resources. It was okay, but I was really happy when the electricity came back on and I could go upstairs!
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/18/11 07:11 AM

the hardest thing to me about this space is the lack or room to get in a decent workout. The treadmill won't fit! I have limited space for yoga, even. I do have the outdoors to get my fitness happening, so it's a fair share for the amount of money saved on utilities.

My books, of which i own many, just get stored in the unheated shed. My extra clothes go there too, among other things.
Posted By: Eileen Brit TV

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/18/11 06:15 PM

Well maybe this is one up for the Kindle - like you Jilly, my home is laden down with books.

Since getting my ereader, I realize how much space books take up. I now worry about what happens if my kindle breaks - I've got so much reading material on there! And if I was stranded on a desert island (as you do!) where would I charge it up?

You can't beat a good old book, but a regular clear out is always good. It's heartbreaking to part with them though, and I'm ashamed to confess that many of mine have gone mouldy in the damp cellar, so hopefully your shed is dry.
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 11/27/11 02:16 AM

I actually have a solar power charger for my iphone, so I'd still be able to read my ebooks on a desert isle. smile

My shed is pretty dry, thankfully. All my books do get ruined when I move, as I do a LOT. Except now I have my own home and don't plan to move any more.

Lisa and I were talking once about how stacking books against the wall could be great as free extra insulation. I guess that's something you could do. smile

Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 12/05/11 04:24 AM

Here is a tiny house article about someone making a Molecule House.
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 12/05/11 04:30 AM

And this house, at 84 square feet, even is tinier, with a hidden toilet and shower. The designer used trick from movie set designs to create his 'art' - Microhome.

This makes my 150 sq ft home seem luxuriously big!
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 12/05/11 04:51 AM

ok, this is pretty cute - a shipping container home!
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 12/22/11 03:24 AM

End of December, and I have to say I am LOVING how easy it is to heat my 150 sq ft home!

We only need one small space heater to use briefly in the morning and before bed, and it heats things up nicely. I did put in as much insulation as I could afford when re-walling this place (was an old shed).

I might want to draw up the plans for my tiny home in case there is interest in what I did here - this was not hard to do.

The actual 'real house' - an old,bad mobile on my lot - doesn't require any money expenditure at all. I treat it like a big storage unit. smile
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 03/21/12 12:01 AM

Looking at my utility bills from when i was in a regular sized house, and comparing them to this last summer and winter in my tiny, but well insulated, house i am amazed at the difference! I have actually saved thousands of dollars in electricity alone for heating and cooling.

Posted By: RV Editor Erin

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 03/22/12 10:21 PM

I'm so ready to downsize. We have our motor home, but also live in a 1700 square foot house that we would like to sell. It's too much space, and costs too much and we just don't need it. The only issue is, the money we would lose selling it in this market.
Posted By: loong

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 03/23/12 01:06 AM

Dear Jilly,

Never wrote to you before.I am a Buddhist,living right now in an 3 1/2 apts, that I find too big and unnecessary.I lived in a plywood shack for 22 years.In winter weather goes down to -35-40
Water froze 7 winters out of the 22 years I was there.
A few months ago I received a letter from our Hydro co,saying that I had cut my bills by 36 %.

A house is the space you live in .not the walls around oneself.
Bravo for Volontary simplicity.

With respect
a simple buddhist named
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 03/27/12 03:55 AM

Erin, true, this isn't time to sell. And it's hard to know if the economy will ever improve. A lot of folks are selling their homes for loss. Are your long term plans to keep the home and wait out the economy?

Do you feel like you could be happy living in your RV?
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 03/27/12 04:02 AM

Loong, i would love to hear your plywood shack stories. Did you build that yourself? WHo was living in it with you? Was this a peaceful place to be?
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/06/12 10:59 PM

My neighbor's house went for sale at incredible foreclosure prices and i was tempted to see if i could figure out a way to get it.

Then I thought about how wonderfully inexpensive my place is to run, compared to everyone i know, and thought the better of it. I love my little home!
Posted By: loong

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/07/12 01:11 AM

To Jill,

Great moments in that shack it was not even plywood but aspenite.
It was about 20X20.No foundations ,standing on concrete blocks
a small wooden box had been built for the water pump but not isolated enough,thus the 7 times the water froze.

I had just lost my big job,my house so I found this shack for sale,phoned up the owner from the city they used to use this shack when they came for hunting partridges and wild rabbits.

I had known about that abandonned shack.Went there opened a window,there was electricity ,a small shower.All I needed to live.It was 300 feet from the road in the bush.
Made him a stupid offer for the house and instead he said .no i'll rent it to you for $150. a month. After 22 years my rent was just $ 250, he did not want to increase it more,because he said ,it would change his bracket income.Where I live there is alot of snow,so I would shovel the 300 foot driveway on my way back from work.

That period helped me rebuild from substance abuse.I love frugal living.After 22 years I had started a furniture design and building business,so took part of the 2nd floor shop and built myself a nice little appartment,kind again with plywood floors. For shower I had to cross the whole shop .built myself a meditation room and at the time ,I lived with a woman ,and built her her little room also.
So that's the whole story.I am living now in a 3 1/2 apt,that I find too big .Might be novind in a loft ,right in the center of the village fully insulated for noise,fridge and stove furnished plus in the basement washer dryers. I could live with just my bicycle.I wish that happens.

With friendship
Posted By: Debbie-SpiritualityEditor

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/07/12 02:39 AM

I would definitely live in a tiny home. If I could be comfortable enough with utilities and modern conveniences, yet not have a huge financial burden, then I'd be happy. I already live in a small in-law apartment so a tiny house would be great.
Posted By: Ninjahedgewych

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/07/12 06:54 AM

From what my US friends and acquaintances say I think most people in he UK live in a "Tiny Home"! smile
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/08/12 09:30 PM

Ian, that is probably true. I find myself looking to how people in Europe and Asia live for managing my tiny home, rather than what my compatriots do in their overbig homes.

When I was little i dreamed of a big house. As an adult i now see the big house as a burden. An albatross.

Have a small house and a big garden instead! smile
Posted By: Ninjahedgewych

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/13/12 07:30 AM

It can be. When the clan and I go on holiday to the US the first comment about the place we rent is "Isn't it big!!" followed in short order by "Bet it's a bugger to heat/clean/protect though!!"

The biggest surprise is the ban on washing lines and the insistence on using big, and very expensive, dryers.
Posted By: Jilly

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/13/12 02:47 PM

I know of no such ban on washing lines here? Hanging the linens is something many people do.
Posted By: Ninjahedgewych

Re: Would you live in a tiny home? - 04/13/12 06:04 PM

When we rented a villa in Orlando in 2006 & 2008, then in LA in 2010 we were in places with no washing lines. Perhaps it's a zoning thing?
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