How Big We Talking?
Although tiny homes are pretty easy to move, we’re not talking about physical location when we refer to the term, “Tiny House Movement.” We’re talking about a generation of likeminded people looking to simplify their lives. Those looking to get more from life by owning less.
When referring to these dwellings, terminology is actually important. There’s a difference between a “tiny house’ and a “small home.” Here’s how wikipedia defines the difference between the two in their “Tiny House Movement” wiki page:
- Small house: 400 – 1,000 SF (93 sq. meters)
- Tiny home: Less than 400 SF (37 sq. meters)
- Micro Tiny: 80 SF or less (7.4 sq. meters)
We made up that last term, but think it appropriate. Actually, we may try to add “Micro Tiny” to the Tiny House Movement Wiki page.
From the infographic, you can see the in proportion of these sizes to that of the average home, shown below.
- Average home size in 2007: 1,780 SF (165 sq. meters)
- Average home size in 2013: 2,662 SF (247 sq. meters)
That’s an increase of over 40% in just 6 years! If we keep up that pace, the US will be living in 6,000 SF homes by 2025! Hide & seek with your kids could last hours. You’ll need a compass just to get some Oreos form the kitchen.
Where did this whole “Tiny House Movement” come from? It’s been an organic shift in thinking with influences stemming back over 100 years. Some point to Henry David Thoreau as a major influencer having written “Walden” in 1854. Here are a few books that are credited in the progression of the Tiny House Movement.
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)
- Shelter by Lloyd Kahn (1973)
- Tiny Houses by Lester Walker (1987)
- The Not so Big House by Sarah Susanka (1997)
Some of our personal favorites include Humble Homes, Simple Shacks… by Derek Dr Diedricksen (2012), The Small House Book by Jay Shafer (2009), and Little House on a Small Planet (2009).
Of the authors mentioned above, Jay Shafer took the tiny house movement to the next level by founding Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. After designing and living in his own 96 SF tiny house, he began designing for others wanting to follow suit. He was the first to offer plans for a tiny house on wheels. The company is now thriving as a leader in the space and offers four different models to choose from.
PS – you might ask yourself, what’s the difference between a tiny house on wheels and an RV… a tiny home is made with similar design, technique and materials as a regular home. They’re also built to last as long as an average home.
Once the Tiny House Movement was introduced to the public, a series of unexpected events helped propel its popularity. For one, there was Hurricane Katrina. Many unfortunate victims were displaced as a result of the Category 5 storm. While FEMA was providing standard, efficient housing, one woman came up with an aesthetically pleasant alternative. Marianne Cusato offered her 308 SF Katrina Cottages as an option. While the product was popular with victims of the disaster, it was also sought after by other commercial developers for use in resorts and other developments.
Another unfortunate and unexpected incident to propel the popularity of tiny houses occurred in 2007 with the financial meltdown and subsequent crisis. For the previous decade, everyone was trying to buy more and bigger houses. Once the house of cards fell, people sought financial refuge in Tiny Houses. While the “typical” home costs $186k, tiny owners could own their houses for less than 20% of that. The average cost of a completed tiny house is $35k. And that’s for a completed home. Often, the tiny community reports building for under $10k. One Oakland California resident, Gregory Kloehn, claims to build tiny houses with used material for as little as $40!
The Tiny House Movement really came into the spotlight with the TV series, Tiny House Nation. Side note: the founder of TinyHousehold.com was actually featured on the reality show. To see him, his tiny home, and the episode, check out our TinyHousehold.com About Us page. Tiny House Nation is currently on Season 3 and has spawned other Tiny Home reality shows.
Since the Tiny House Movement is relatively new, their have been some challenges to the community that have yet to be worked out. The major hurdles facing this community include the following.
We’re seeing many amateur builders take on the challenge of constructing their own tiny home. We love that and very much encourage this! However, there are safety implications that aren’t yet ironed out. To address these, the American Tiny House Association was formed in 2015. The non-profit organization hopes to work with the government to figure out zoning, codes, and other associated issues.
As silly as it sounds, it may be illegal to park your own tiny home on a piece of land you own. Sadly, some municipalities have regulations against “camping” on property. And zoning regulations may require a minimum square footage for new construction on a foundation. Additionally, tiny home owners may be shunned from RV parks that aren’t specifically made by within the framework of the “Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
In an “average” neighborhood, some tiny home owners may face discrimination. As we saw with Steve Harvey’s nationally publicized rant against Tiny House Owners, some people just don’t understand the lifestyle. They go as far as to call tiny home owners “faithless” and “stupid” as seen in the video referenced above.
Although there are a few challenges to deal with, the benefits far outweigh these minor setbacks. In a recent article, “Tiny House Movement; the generation of MORE,” we show how the Tiny House Movement is about gaining the following.
- More Freedom
- More Stability
- More Options
- More Experiences
- More Money
- More to Discover
From that piece, we explain how the benefits expand far beyond our wallets.
To sum up the Tiny House Movement in a way that’s more fun to digest, we’ve created the following infographic. Feel free to share it with friends, family, and your tiny communities!
For more Tiny House news, tours, and fun, please join us by subscribing with your email below.
And please “Share” this post with others to help spread the word about our Tiny House Community!