The housing market is in free fall, the sub prime mortgage companies are folding, and disappearing into the sunset. New Mac Mansions sit empty for months on end, nobody can afford them anymore. So where’s a person to live. Full time RV’ing is an option, but they’re built so cheaply. Tons of money and you still must head for warmer climates to be comfortable. With lightweight materials they just don’t last. Is this the best that’s available?
Not anymore. Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is an industry leader in the shall we say art of building and living in a Tiny Home. Jay states that since 1997 he has been living in a home no larger then some closets found in larger homes built today. As a designer specializing in sustainable architecture, his company concentrates on creating plans for very small homes. The smallest being only 70 sq. ft. with other mobile designs as large as 120 sq. ft. None would come anywhere toward meeting the statement of being large.
Concentrating on quality materials, and making the best possible use of space, Mr. Shafer has packed a lot in a very small space. Most models come complete with functioning kitchen, compact but complete bathrooms and comfortable sleeping arrangement large enough to accommodate a King Sized bed.
How is this possible in a structure that can legally be hauled down the highway with only a 3/4 ton pickup. Think multi-function, the living room becomes a dining room with the quick setup of a portable table. The bathroom is constructed as a Wet design, meaning the whole bathroom is the shower stall. This arrangement has been used in RV’s for years. The King sized bed fits into a sleeping loft making use of the “A” shaped space inside the confines of the roof. The kitchen contains a small cook top, sink with hot, and cold running water. Completed with an electric refrigerator and a built in microwave oven.
The whole structure is built on the frame of a dual axle trailer. Limiting the width to 8’6″ maximum the dimensions for a 120 sq ft house would be about 8’x15′. Not a lot of space, but an easily manageable trailer .
The key ingredient to living comfortably in such a small space is quality of construction. Well insulated and built as a normal sized quality house would be built. With more of a craftsman flare, as every small nook and cranny will be used and fashioned into storage space, or other useful applications.
Most cities have zoning requirement that prevent such a small structure from being permanently built. This is easily circumvented by building the small home on a trailer frame. It also gives the project flexibility as the option of relocating is much easier.
The beauty of simple living like this is usually the lack of mortgage, and if you set things up right, say with solar panels and composting toilet, you can avoid public utilities all together. Truly self sustained living at a fraction of the cost of a standard sized home.
It’s much easier and cheaper to rent a small corner of someone else’s property when they realize there will be no mess left behind, no inconvenience on their part. Just a cute little cottage to accent a corner of their property. Win win for everybody.
To learn more about Tiny Homes be sure to visit Tumble Weed Houses your sure to find some good ideas that will help you simplify your life. Even Oprah supports the notion of small homes. You can read about them on her site Oprah and Small Homes after Jay Shafer made an appearance on her show.