The Tiny House Movement
Do we really need houses that are so BIG? How much square footage does a person truly need for a home? Maybe it's time to reevaluate.
Some people have discovered that living in a tiny house brings them great personal satisfaction. They have little or no debt, the maintenance costs are low, and the upkeep is, well ... tiny. A spin-off benefit is that they find they have escaped from the consumer merry-go-round because they have no place to keep extra stuff, so they simply don't buy it. By choosing a small house, they free up their time, money and energy to live big and to follow the pursuits that truly matter to them.
This is a collection of videos showcasing small houses and the people who live in them.
Photo Credit: Tiny House in Toronto by Mr. Schu, used under a Creative Commons license.
Tiny Houses by Jay Shafer
Jay Shafer may well be the poster child for the small house movement. He skyrocketed to tiny house fame after the video by Kirsten Dirksen showing his lifestyle gained momentum on YouTube. It has been viewed over a million times. For ten years he has lived in houses of less than 100 square feet (9 square metres).
Not only was the house his residence, but he also ran his business from the same building. You guessed it - tiny house plans.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company - Jay's website
Fair Companies - Kirsten and Nicholas' website
Buy it Through Amazon
A Place for Peace
Diana and Michael are completely content in their 144 square foot house in the woods. After thirty years of living in almost twenty tiny homes, Michael designed this one, the smallest yet for them. It is heated by wood, and lit by sun, candles and firelight. Simple meals are simply cooked in the fireplace.
Whimsical Living Space in Japan
In Japan, there is a housing niche market that features tiny, highly designed and completely unique dwellings. They are tucked wherever a bit of space is available. Many of them also serve as the family business, even as storefronts.
Ingenious use of space is one key. Conscious attention to design and beauty is another. Many of them have been created by architects who enjoy the challenge of creating superbly designed compact houses. These are houses like you have never seen before, both inside and out.
Part of a Long Term Plan
Carl and Hari decided to make the move to a tiny house in 2008 after their Florida business fell casualty to the recession. Now their family of four lives comfortably, if closely, in a buiilding with a footprint of 168 square feet (15 square metres). By carefully scouting for materials through classified ads, they built their charming home for $12,000.
Their micro house is a major part of their plan to save enough money to build a modest home (with a bathtub) in the future, mortgage-free.
Walk a Few Steps to Work
When the cost of keeping their big house and property seemed to be eating up their entire lives, the Jordans made a deliberate choice to go small. Now they live in just 320 square feet (29 square metres) that cost them less than $20,000 and is completely paid off.
Debra and Gary run their family business from a tiny workshop right next door.
A Childhood Obession Fulfilled
Deek is fascinated with small structures - really small structures. His backyard is filled with all types of salvaged material that he uses to create one-of-a-kind shelters. One day he came upon a Tiny House book and felt like he'd found his tribe. He has self-published his own book about his creations, which appears to be just as creative and wild as his tiny houses.
Watch the video and see for yourself.
A Documentary by Kirsten Dicksen
Simplicity. Self-sufficiency. Joy and freedom.
This documentary, released in April 2012, is the result of years of filming and interviewing people who have opted to turn their back on conventional square footage and housing debt. Like Thoreau of Walden Pond, they have chosen to live deliberately with few possessions and a lot more freedom of time and finances. From California, Hawaii and New York City to France and Spain, the locations and stories are fascinating. So make some popcorn, grab a drink and enjoy this journey into the world of the tiny house people.
A Shorter Overiew of the Documentary
If you don't have time to watch the full documentary by Kirsten Dirksen, you might enjoy this eleven minute trailer. The Sivia music is a little distracting, but try to focus on Kirsten's beautiful voice instead. She says that when she first started documenting the Tiny House Movement, she had no idea that she would be trapped in a parallel universe of small houses and the micro-celebrities she helped to create. Fun and inspiring!
Eco-Friendly and Design Conscious
Books to Help You Build a Tiny Shelter
If you enjoyed looking through these tiny houses, you can go on more virtual tiny space tours by visiting my leaf about tiny apartments: