Tiny Homes for People Who Know That Less Can Be More

Tiny Homes for People Who Know That Less Can Be More

When I lived in San Angelo, I had a home that was almost 3,000 square feet including the garage apartment. My daughter and I were the only two people living there, and on more than one occasion I remarked that the only rooms we really needed were the kitchen, our bedrooms, and my office – which also served as a den. When I moved to Eldorado, I finally had an opportunity to downsize.

It takes a bit of discipline to weed through your belongings and live in a space that is more than half of what you were used to, but the benefits in so many areas become immediately evident: you have less room, so you own and store less “stuff”; heating and cooling bills are reduced; mortgage (or rent) payments are reduced; there is less area to keep clean; and with less space to sprawl out in, the space you do have is (hopefully) more efficiently used.

Our current home is slightly under 1350 square feet. Since it is just my husband Kevin and I that are there full time, this is still even more room than we actually need. Our home only starts to feel truly “tight” on the holidays — when Kev’s girls are here, my daughter and her family are here, and we have all of our other immediate and extended family members over for the big holiday meals; even so, we have managed to find places for as many as 11 to sleep — no comment on how comfortable it was, though.

I’m fascinated with the whole “Tiny Home” movement that seems to have sprung up in recent years; whether it is because of the current economy because people want to recycle and reuse, or because people are just finally ready to downsize, businesses such as Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Tiny Texas Houses seem to be booming. I thought it would be fun to post pictures of some of these miniature cottages, and I would love to hear your reaction. Could you imagine downsizing from a full-size home to a tiny home? Would you ever even want to? Take a look at the gallery and let me know what you think …

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company sells plans for homes that range in size from 99 square feet to 884 square feet; they also sell a few complete homes that can be trailered around or installed at your location. You can check out their blog here.

The small houses available for purchase are: XS-houseEpuWeebeeLusby,TarletonFencl, and the Popomo. Other home designs featured on our website and in our Small House Book are only available as plans for the homebuilder.

How each house gets used depends on the occupant’s particular needs. What one person would enjoy as a quiet studio in their backyard, another couple might choose to inhabit as a full-time residence. What some people see as the perfect weekend hideaway in the country, others will use as a beautiful free-standing addition to their existing home for accommodating an elderly parent, an adult child, guests, or as office space. My houses have been composed with meticulous attention to light, warmth, energy efficiency, and proportion. I have made the most of each cozy interior by minimizing transitional areas like hallways and stairwells and by using otherwise unusable space as storage. The simple, formal designs that have resulted are the best way I have found to order most any space and make it beautiful.

At Tumbleweed Tiny House Company its our mission to make the plans and tools available so you can build your own little building based on my designs, ready-to-build kits, and even already manufactured tiny homes ready to be transported to you.

Tiny Texas Houses builds complete homes at their facility that they will ship to you; their “houses start at about $35,000 for the 10’x12’ Essay Contest House which is 10’ x 12’ with a fairly large loft.  The larger sizes, such as the 12’ x 28’ can easily hit $75,000.” TTH offers a free set of plans to their Groom’s House, which you can see here, and the TTH, which you can see here.

[Texas Tiny House’s] goal is to show people what can be done with a concept I call Pure Salvage Building, thus what you see is 99% Pure Salvage. That means that everything from the doors, floors, windows, lumber, porch posts, glass, door hardware, and even the siding has been saved and re-used to create houses that we hope will last for a century or more. I believe that there are presently enough building materials sitting on the ground to build much of the next generation of housing. All it takes to make it so is pure human energy, spirit, and the desire to build something that will last for several lifetimes.

Tiny Texas Houses have been designed and built with the best trees ever harvested, the best hardware ever made, and great salvaged materials to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint, simplify our lives, and live in a healthy house that will be energy efficient as well as beautiful.

Each Tiny Texas House is a unique piece of House Art that will last for the rest of their lives, and the next couple generations as well.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

9 Comments on "Tiny Homes for People Who Know That Less Can Be More"

  1. Kat thinks our 1300-ish house is too big for us, even with The Boy being here two weekends per month. Of course, she ignores the menagerie she manages. I have a hard time imagining a tiny house with a pit bull, husky, cats, snake, skunks, rabbit, squirrel, and chinchilla. I’d have to get myself a tent.

  2. Well, I guess it all depends upon the size of the back deck and the year, right? =)

  3. I just downsized from 1600 square feet to under 1000 square feet and happy I did. My biggest issue are my daughters Barbie doll collection, they took over my huge walk in closet. The sacrifices we make for pur kids.

    The tiny homes are a great idea. The only issue for me would be property tax and property upkeep (reasons I’m no longer a home owner)

  4. Drew Guttadore | November 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    Went from a 5000 square foot home to a 900 square foot flat with a roommate when I got my divorce..  Amazing what you can live without!

  5. And have you noticed that when you downsize, the stuff you get tends to be much nicer? Whereas before it was just a bunch of nice to mediocre crap? It’s a lot easier to spend a “fortune” on items when you know that they will be more of a focal point. =)

  6. I read up on these a few years back.  Some of those are pretty clever designs that would have been swell were I still single.  I wonder how well they’d hold up to severe weather?

  7. I bought a 900 sq ft. house in 2007. It has six rooms and a short hall where the washer and dryer are located. It’s an older house built in the 1940s. None of the walls are straight and the floor slants noticeably in the few spots. It’s not properly insulated in the walls or floor, and I’d need to invest in some storm windows to make it more efficient.

    I would really like to sell it at some point and build a new home. Based on my experience living in this space, I could probably shave another 100-200 sq ft and be perfectly content. I could do with a smaller kitchen, and I rarely go into the living room.

  8. Go Tiny!  My wife, our 3yr old and I just moved out of a Tiny Texas House.  It’s pictured above, interior shot of Christmas tree and bookshelves.  We lived in our house for a year and have recently moved to Mexico where we continue to live in a small space.  Our home was a 12’x28′ with a 8’x12′ loft on each end.  We had a “large” kitchen and a bathroom with a 4′ tub.  We had more than enough room and never felt cramped, actually one of the lofts wasn’t even used 90% of the time!  The house had a front porch for sitting and a nice screened back porch that was our dining/activity “room” for much of the year (It probably could be easily converted into an actual insulated room that is added on after the house is delivered).  The homes are very well built and the quality of the material as well as craftsmanship is outstanding.  Our electric and gas bills were incredibly low and our home was non-toxic!  We loved it and recommend small or even tiny space living to anyone.

    If it sits in a box for six months at a time, you probably don’t need it.  Keep a couple of your favorite things, let the rest go.  Repeat.  Do it a couple of times and you’ll be surprised how easy it is, how “light” you feel and how nice your new space is with those few special items.  Splurge on that one new rug or that one new tea kettle.  Take the time that you’re saving by not cleaning a 3,000 ft2 home and enjoy it! Own that tiny home and live debt free!

  9. Great post. There are many emotional benefits to living with less as well. Sometimes we don’t realize how material things can weigh us down in so many ways.

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