Good houses come in small packages
Homeowners downsize their lives into spaces as small as 65 square feet and are happy they did.
Many of us fantasize about stripping our belongings down to the essentials and living in a streamlined space, such as a 158-square-foot vintage Airstream trailer.
Most of rarely get down to below 1,000 square feet unless we live in Manhattan or somewhere equally expensive.
To feed our small-space fantasies, architects continue to design tiny, perfect houses. Elka Karl at Casa Sugar has picked out "10 tiny homes that prove that small is beautiful."
We particularly like the weeHouse, which starts at $79,000 for a studio — not a tiny price. If you want to try one out, you can rent one in several locations, including one with views of the Pacific Ocean. The retro 1971 Venturo Modular Home may be appealing, too.
The smallest house in the slide show is the 65-square-foot X-S Home from Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. The company's owner, Jay Shafer, lives in an 89-square-foot house. He writes: "My houses have met all of my domestic needs without demanding much in return. The simple, slower lifestyle my homes have afforded is a luxury for which I am continually grateful."
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Karl also includes photos and information about a small house her brother built himself in Wisconsin.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, architects designed several cottages to be erected quickly and used for emergency housing, in place of Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers. The idea was that homeowners could live in a Katrina cottage on their property while their home was rebuilt, keeping the cottage to use as guest quarters later.
Many of those who live in small houses seem to be writers (hey, we know about small salaries), and many are interested in sustainable living. April Blankenship blogs about the decision she and her husband made to simplify their lives and build a house of less than 220 square feet at "A Great Leap in the Dark." "Tiny House Blog," a treasure trove of small-space stories, detailed its adventure.
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, a freelance writer from Kansas City, Kan., started writing "Living Large in Our Little House" when she, her husband and their four dogs moved into their 480-square-foot vacation cabin in the Ozarks rather than build the dream house they had been planning for years. They've since added a 320-square-foot building, which is her office and their basement tornado shelter. She offered advice in Mother Earth News for people considering living in a small space.
She and her husband say they are happy that they ended up living small, or large in a small space. She writes:
This process has also allowed me a finding of myself and a renewing of my relationship with my husband (we've been together 30 years this summer) and learning things about each other after all this time. Hey, we really can share the remote!
I was designing and making shells for geodesic domes in the 80s, but could not find banks willing to finance. I could make a shell for a 800 sf dome (32ft diameter}, in a week, cost of materials was about 600.00. I was selling them for $1000.00.
The ones I was building is called the Hexadome developed by Gene Hopster. I modified his design a little, so they went together without any special washers that he called for (Gene was in the business of selling a hardware kit that had the pieces to fully assemble). The last one I made was for a contractor, it was 35' diameter, and had 2x6 framing. That is one simple low cost dwelling that is inherently much more efficient than square building, and they are earthquake, tornado, and hurricane resistant.
H. Thoreau visited Native American roundhouses, commenting they were cool in the summer and warm in the midst of winter. Downsizing urban sprawl would be one of the most Earth-friendly endeavors in history because man's creations are dead planet, unlike the real, natural surface of the Earth.
And, as many posters have expressed, living in paradise in a tiny cabin is as awesome as it gets. Personally, I would eschew a mansion in a city, anytime, for a tiny cabin in paradise and the serenity of the silence.
$80K for a shed. They should go shopping at Home Depot. If it floats those hippies boats, I hope they have fun!
you wrote "The wee house, $80k for a glorified shack?!?! Those folks are out of their minds."
the article author has learned nothing with this housing crash if she "likes" 20' x 25' complete homes @ $180 sq ft.
A complete waste of money for something that is entirely dysfunctional
what a deal!
Funny, but more than half the people in this (US) country lives in a "home" less than 1050 Sq. F.
Apartments, condos, side kick to parents house, and then just plain old "cottages" or a room/rooms upstairs!!, and yes small complete houses.--Why is it that you do not know that? it is all over the country (especially east and west, and where it is warm, south of I 40!!---I guess you prefer to look at the castles---at least in your mind!!.--Yes I have seen all of it!
I think we need to revisit these people in a few years and see how this social experiment works out. I would bet they are hostile to each other or if they are single they become bigger hermits. Of course there is a spin that can be pushed here. Think of all the former prisoners that would probably have no problem adjusting. Might be come a new housing market.
Anything less than 1200 sq ft is just not going to cut it for the two of us
My living room and dinning room are both 150 sq ft each and neither is what i call big....kitchen is at least 200. I have weekly game nights of 4-10 people, more with holiday and birthday parties...cant do that in 200 sq ft much less 65
I appreciate that some can live this way but until forced to give it up, i think most Americans can't even come close
We don't travel, eat out often or spend much money on cars, clothing or electronics. We spend on quiet get togethers with family and friends
My life revolves around a nice house(not Fancy) that people want to come to visit and spend time with us!
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.