Inspiration for the Tiny House Movement

Posted by in Alternative & Eco-Living, Articles, Little House Plans | 7 comments

Inspiration for the Tiny House Movement

A tiny, small, or little house may not be for everyone, but there’s definitely a trend towards downsizing from the McMansions of the housing boom to a more simplified and streamlined abode. This train of thought appears to have started around the peak of the housing boom; housing prices were skyrocketing and some people started to rethink what that might mean financially or environmentally (or both).

This trend coincided when I started my Little House blog – I was interested in eventually owning my own home, but I had a long road ahead of me to make that happen financially. The more research I did on owning a home, the more little houses kept popping up as an alternative to owning my own place without the massive financial commitment. I don’t know if that’s the direction I’ll finally take to owning my own home (as this isn’t solely my decision ;) ) but it’s still a possibility and an interest of mine.

Yet, if you’re looking for some inspiration on the tiny house movement, two people come to mind: Dee Williams of PAD and Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. Both women made the choice to downsize their living space and build a tiny home for themselves.

Dee Williams built a Tumbleweed home in 2004 and then started her own alternative building company called Portland Alternative Dwellings, or PAD. She hosts workshops and promotes sustainable living. Dee has been known to inspire others including….

Tammy Strobel. Tammy downsized her life; she sold her car and became a bicycle commuter, de-cluttered by getting rid of “stuff”, and just this year she and her husband finished building their own tiny home. Her downsizing story is inspiring.

Sometimes, stories of how strangers simplified and refocused their lives can motivate others to do the same.

7 Comments

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  1. First Gen American

    Yes, I’ve been thinking about this more and more too now that I’m house hunting. We are trying to look for a place with an in-law suite and most of the homes that have that kind of setup are ENORMOUS. I mean I really don’t want 4000+ sq feet of living space and 5 bathrooms. My realtor was trying to talk me into a place that had 10 toilets (7 full and 3 half). I don’t even want to step foot in that place no matter how good a deal it is. That’s twice as many toilets as the # of rear ends we have. I think we may just need to buy a normal house with some land and add a little small house for my mom on the lot somewhere.

    • Little House

      @First Gen American – It might be cheaper to build your own in-law guest house/suite instead of buying a huge house. Tuff Shed’s have some great options if you’re looking for something simple. Also, check out their above garage living quarter – though this might not be the safest option for Babci. ;)

  2. krantcents

    Personally, I think it is more symbolic of just cutting your expenses. I don’t think I could live in a house that is smaller than 1,500 square feet. That said, I cut my expenses to almost nothing. My utilities run $75-80 per month and my home is 1,850 square feet. I bought it for less than $100 a square foot in southern California. What could I downsize to after saying that?

    • Little House

      @Krantcents – Sounds like your expenses are really low – you’re very lucky. Tiny house living may be more of a metaphor for some, but I think for others it’s a necessity. I know that right now, my income level doesn’t justify buying a traditional house in the area I live in. Homes in my neighborhood are pushing mid-$400K. I’d need to make about $150K per year to justify that expense (and that’s not going to happen anytime soon). Salaries just haven’t kept pace with expenses or housing costs. For those who bought homes pre-1993, you gotta steal!

  3. retirebyforty

    My ultimate goal is to get 5-10 acre near a nice beach on the Big Island and put down a few of these tiny houses. That way, my whole extended family can stay there part time or full time and we’ll have a cool family compound. How does that sound?

  4. San Diego Plumber

    These are inspiring stories, indeed. Maybe eventually, as the advocacy of greening becomes more and more prominent, a lot of people will follow the footsteps of these personalities who made big sacrifices in their lifestyle for nature.

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