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Tiny houses! We have been on the tiny house bandwagon ever since it began. My daughter was instantly drawn to the whole tiny house movement and we have watched all the shows like Tiny House Nation on the HGTV type channels where they build amazing little homes.
A residential structure under approximately 400 square feet is generally considered a tiny house. The structure can be a permanent one, or a mobile house that can be towed from location to location. They have become very popular with a segment of the population who is interested in downsizing and shifting away from consumerism.
According to research:
- The average home size in the U.S. was 1780 square feet in 1978, 2,479 square feet in 2007, and 2,662 square feet in 2013
- 68% of tiny house owners have no mortgage, compared to 29% of all U.S. homeowners
- 55% of tiny house owners have more savings put aside than the average American
- More women than men buy tiny houses
- Almost half of tiny house owners are over 50 years of age
- Tiny house owners are twice as likely to have a Master’s degree than those with traditional homes
My daughter is currently in college, and has always thought that moving into a tiny house right after college is a great idea because you’re already used to living in a small space, especially if you have lived in a dorm. I think she’s right. The transition would be an easy one. Plus, tiny houses can be an affordable option for a new home.
I think the “dream” of owning a big house is changing. Maybe those of us who live in houses with mortgages haven’t made it look all that appealing to younger people just starting out. They seem to value their freedom and autonomy and reject the idea that a big mortgage is just what you do.
We live in a “normal” size house. I often look at really large houses and wonder what the people that live in them need all that space for. I look at gigantic houses and just think, more to clean. 🙂 How much space do we really need?
Tiny houses can be very appealing to people who want minimal possessions and financial commitments and the freedom to do other things.
So guess who has gotten into the tiny house market? Amazon! They have started selling them as kits that are delivered straight to your door, ready to be constructed. Many of them sold out immediately, so there is definitely interest in this housing movement.
The most popular kit they currently offer is the Allwood Solvalla Garden House. It’s a wee 172 square feet, is made of Nordic wood, and sells for $7250 with free shipping.
All the materials needed to build the house are included, but if you want to add electricity or other utilities, those would be added expenses.
If you are interested in a structure with more enclosed space, you might like the Allwood Sommersby Garden House which is 174 square feet and sells for $8,360 with free shipping. It is made of Nordic spruce.
There is the Allwood Sunray Cabin, which is 162 square feet and sells for $8,690.
If you want something a bit bigger, there is the Allwood Ranger Cabin, which is a 259 square foot main floor, with an additional 168 square foot loft. This one sells for $19,900.
Then there is the Lillevilla Allwood Getaway Cabin, which is 292 square feet of floor space, with an additional sleeping loft, and sells for $18,800.
And the Allwood Timberline Cabin, which is 359 square feet of floor space with an additional 129 square foot loft. It sells for $34,900.
So you can see there is a wide variety of styles and price points from which to choose. And from there you can go crazy customizing the space to your liking.
As awesome as tiny houses are, there can be some challenges that accompany the choice to live in one. The most obvious is space. There isn’t much, so if you are downsizing, you will need to edit your possessions ruthlessly.
On one of the tiny house shows we watch on HGTV, the builders lay out the square footage of the house with tape in the yard of the person who is moving from their larger house, and tell them that all of the possessions they take to the tiny house must fit in that space. It is a great way to visualize just how much less space you are going to have.
Another challenge is where to put the tiny house. Zoning laws and deed restrictions can hinder where you can build one, and the size requirements. There are some communities who are embracing the whole movement, and one in particular is right here in Texas, in a little town called Spur. Of course. 🙂
They have declared themselves the first tiny house friendly town in the country and they actively court tiny house builders to their town. You can watch a segment about this from one of favorite local TV shows called The Texas Bucket List.
I’m sure as this movement to downsize continues, more communities will consider welcoming those who wish to live tiny.
And here’s some great news. I already have your first kitchen appliance picked out if you decide to build a tiny house with a tiny kitchen: a Kitchenaid Mini Stand Mixer! I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer and now they are making mini ones, perfect for tiny kitchens! 🙂
If you are just starting out and thinking about a first home, or are an empty nester or retiree who wants to downsize, consider a tiny house. There is a lot of information available to help you decide if the lifestyle is right for you. It isn’t for everyone, but it just might be for you! There is a best selling book on the subject called Tiny House Living, which gives you:
- Worksheets and exercises to help you hone in on your true needs, define personal goals, and develop a tiny house layout that’s just right for you
- Practical strategies for cutting through clutter and paring down your possessions
- Guidance through the world of building codes and zoning laws
- Design tricks for making the most of every square foot, including multi-function features and ways to maximize vertical space
- Tours of 11 tiny houses and the unique story behind each
So if you are intrigued by the tiny house movement, I encourage you to look into it. It could be fun! If you live in a tiny house, please share your tips and expertise in the comment section!
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