|TINY HOME MOVEMENT
by Georgina Callan
|The Wedge created by Wheelhaus, is a rolling one bedroom cabin with a rustic modern
appeal. There are trapezoidal windows, glass doors leading to a patio, and a ceiling
height of 14’ in the living room area. The bedroom will fit a king sized bed and the
kitchen offers a sink, two burner cook top, a 24” refrigerator/freezer, a microwave
and dishwasher, along with wiring for cable and internet. The bathroom has a
stacking washer/dryer and a shower. www.wheelhaus.com
|The GreenPod Waterhaus is a prefabricated home that measures 450 sq feet but unlike
typical narrow homes, this one is laid out on a T-shape providing extra nooks and corner
In a country as vast as the USA, it’s perhaps a contradiction to think of living not in just small houses, but
tiny houses, as defined by a growing movement. The tiny house movement, and tiny, rather than just
small, is generally exemplified by homes under 450 sq feet, is attracting an increasingly wide range of
For some, the appeal of a tiny home is making use of a backyard space. It’s like adding another self-
contained home onto, but at some distance from, an existing residence, an addition that could be
occupied by granny, or a returning college student living at home while sourcing a job, most likely
someone of a different generation than the occupants of the main home. The tiny house could be
set up as an office or just a get-away from the hubbub of the main house. It is also possible, depending
on area housing codes, to rent out the tiny home for extra revenue. In this case, almost any structure
|As many tiny homes are built to qualify as recreational vehicles and must be a maximum
of 8’ wide and fit on a trailer bed of a maximum of 26’ feet in length, there’s an obvious
market for a generation of people who like to travel with their own stuff in tow. The RV
market is, in turn, impacted by the creativity brought to tiny homes by architects and
craftsman, particularly those practicing in a modern style.
|GreenPod exterior of the Waterhaus
|The weeHouse is a prefabricated system developed by Geoffrey Warner of Alchemy
Architects using a concept of building blocks to accommodate homes from 400 to
2,400 square feet. This home, located outside of Marfa, Texas, has two rooms and
a bathroom containing a bath and shower and is fitted out with custom cabinetry..
A separate building houses the washing machine and hot water tank.
|The Clara, a project from the Harvard Innovation Lab startup Getaway is a way to test
drive tiny house living for $99.00 a night. Solar powered it measures 160 sq feet and the
interior (below) is finished in untreated wood. More at getaway.house
|But the tiny house movement is focused both on style and function, on the careful
crafting of interior and exterior space to create a home, a building that is clearly
recognizable as a tiny home rather than an extra building or annex. The tiny home
must feel effortless to be successful but the effort is reflected throughout in every
square inch of the home in the thought and creativity that goes into creating a
compact but functional space that is also desirable.
|Other groups of people who find appeal in tiny homes are those concerned with a need
or desire to reduce living expenses (substantially cutting the costs of utilities and house
maintenance, for example), and who seek to pare down possessions to minimal needs.
Yet another group, focused on preservation and ecology, seeks to occupy a smaller
footprint and to use, or reuse, less toxic building materials, in the creation of what is
seen as a more honest lifestyle focused on authenticity.
Regardless of the journey to a tiny home, upon arrival there are multiple options
to explore, and not one pathway requires any hobbit-like characteristics.
|While many homes are indeed built to be moved on a trailer, most do not move but
connect to a grid and provide year round alternative accommodations for singles,
couples and even small families. For tiny homes permanently situated, the home
may be extended with the use of outdoor decks and covered areas.
One of the biggest challenges facing designers of tiny homes is where to place the
emphasis on living. Given the restricted space, designers and their clients must
determine if the bathroom, kitchen or living/sleeping areas occupy the primary
spaces, and how much of that space, in the same way that these issues are
resolved in the design of a residence, but in a tiny home, and absent any
extra space, the interior must be There are other considerations of items to
include in a tiny home, from big screen tv to a hot water heater, closets, bath
tub or shower, size of bed (queen, bunks or singles), dishwasher, and all the
other appliances and space we take for granted such as air/conditioning
Through the strength of the “tiny house” community and promoted by HGTV
since the first airing of its TV show Tiny House Nation in 2014, various blogs and
websites, such as tinyhousecommunity.com, there are many options
available for anyone interested in building or acquiring a tiny home, whether
that is a movable RV or a building permanently situated. From a stylistic point
of view, whether you are a traditional homesteader, a cabin dweller, cottage
lover or modernista, there is a tiny home style that will suit.
If you’re not sure you can try renting first. airbnb.com offers tiny homes as part
of its inventory of hosted dwellings.