Living Large in a Tiny House
Although some trace the beginning of the Small House Movement back to Susan Susanka's 1997 book The Not So Big House, visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian houses could be considered the original inspiration. Designed for the middle class of the 20's and 30's, these one-story homes, with their open floor plans, connection with the outdoors, and simple materials also influenced the design of the ranch houses of the 50's.
Today's Tiny House Movement, for many, is a response to McMansions, mortgages and out-of-control consumerism. Followers seek a simplified life with more freedom and leisure time. Costing an average of $23,000, tiny homes range from 100 to 400 square feet, with the average at 186, which will fit into the average American house (2169 square feet) about 11 times.
Tiny homes are big in Colorado - a recent article in the Boulder Camera highlighted a local couple who constructed their own 120-square foot abode and made a documentary about the experience. If building your own is too daunting, you can check out tiny homes for sale, or just admire them from afar with Tiny House Swoon.
Tiny home dwellers face some challenges, though, beyond where to store a new pair of socks. There are building codes, minimum square footage laws and access to land, among other things. The movement's leading guru, Jay Shafer thinks the answer lies in Tiny House Villages, which would be zoned for RVs, and would share common facilities, such as meeting rooms and storage spaces.
Tiny Houses by Mimi Zeiger (2009)
Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn (2011)
A Little House of My Own: 47 Grand Designs for 47 Tiny Homes by Les Walker (2000)
We the Tiny House People (a 120-minute documentary)
Jay Shafer: The Politics of Tiny Houses (a 24-minute documentary)