Live Tiny: Protect Yourself From Future Housing Crises

With past housing booms and crashes and the potential, if not probability, for history to repeat itself, many of us in the tiny house world understand these risks and the need to protect yourself from future housing crises by living tiny. We were recently directed by Ryan Mitchell from TheTinyLife.com to an informative article which covers housing trends, the economy and where things are headed. The author, Richard Florida, points out that another perfect storm for a ‘real estate crash’ is brewing (much like the 2008 crash). We were personally affected by the ’08 event as we were in the middle of a Green residential development project when the bottom fell out of the real estate market. As such, the news of another potential crash brings with it a familiar sense of concern. In the article, the author reports that, “When it comes to housing, sometimes it seems we never learn” and that “a spate of reports show that families are having a harder and harder time paying for housing.” At the crux of the problem is the fact that “Americans continue to want more space in bigger homes.”

Somewhere along the line we began to build bigger and bigger houses. The promise of the American “dream” is alluring and as material costs have decreased over the years, our ability to get more for our money has become an irresistible temptation, leading us to build as big as possible. According to the US Census Bureau, the average house size in the United States has increased 61% since 1973 (now about 2,600sf). Interestingly, the average household size has decreased in that same time period (meaning that less people are living under the same roof); however, the average square footage per person has nearly doubled (now about 1,000sf each). Does one really need 1,000sf in order to be comfortable? And is it worth the extra cost and stress?

protect yourself from housing crisis by living tiny

By building houses we can actually afford, we secure housing for the rest of our lives. Photo credit www.theshriverbrief.org

The cost of this increase in square footage has been significant not only to our resources and planet (click here for an infographic showing the environmental costs of tinys vs. average houses) but also to our pocket books. According to newly released data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Americans spend, on average, more than 33% of their income on housing. 33%!!! How much time each week could you save if you didn’t have to give 33% of your income towards your housing? How many hours away from home, your family, your hobbies does this represent? For most people, two out of their 5 work week days go towards their housing payment alone. Consider that most people are living in spaces much bigger than what they actually need, and that the same level of comfort can be achieved in much smaller spaces with good design. Paying 33% of your income is insane!

It is clear from the recent studies that Florida sites in his article that more and more people are struggling to make their housing payments. A CNN article on America’s unsettling comfort with personal debt, shares, “Americans haven’t become much better at keeping track of their personal finances since the recession began in 2008″. Further, in the article, Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, says, “American consumers are not showing improvement in these areas”. Compounding this debt issue is the fact that mortgage underwriting standards have become even more lax.

protect yourself from housing crisis by living tiny

Don’t let this be you! There IS a better way. Photo credit www.loanshak.com

The trend towards larger housing continues and 2014 marked the largest average home size on record in the US. The average cost of new house construction in the US according to the National Association of Home Builders NAHB was nearly $250k in 2013 (not including land). By rough calculation, the average down payment on a construction loan is 20%, or $50,000. Now consider that the cost to build hOMe was just over $33,000. You see where I’m going with this: why not build a totally functional, beautiful and safe tiny house for $17,000 less than the DOWN PAYMENT of the average construction loan?

It doesn’t take a genius to understand how tiny houses can bring back equilibrium to our spending habits and economy. Not only do tiny houses cost significantly less to build, condition, and maintain, but they also make more mindful consumers out of us. There just isn’t space for unnecessary items. As such, we can’t go out and spend money blindly. The lessons we personally learned from the ’08 real estate crash were in large part what motivated us to break from the shackles of high housing costs and to downsize into our 207sf tiny hOMe. Now, no matter what happens with the economy, one thing is certain: we will always have a beautiful roof over our heads. There is nothing tiny about THAT luxury.

protect yourself from housing crisis by living tiny

We own hOMe outright and as long as we stay living here, we will never ever have another housing payment to worry about again

50 Responses to Live Tiny: Protect Yourself From Future Housing Crises

  1. Larry November 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Gabriella,
    Four of our friends live in tiny houses and another is working on one. One challenge has been to get an affordable, licensable trailer capable of handling the 8 tons of weight. Do you have any guidance on this aspect? It is nearly impossible in NY to get a home built trailer.licensed by the way.
    I really like your design. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      That’s a lot of tiny friends Larry! Amazing! Check in with these folks in NH: Rep Auto & Trailer Sales in Greenland, NH, phone 603-431-8445. They’re a distributor for http://www.ricetrailers.com/wp/

  2. Stephanie Burrows November 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Hi Gabriella…that trailer distributor is just down the street from me here in NH! Are you saying they will customize trailers for tiny homes? I would love to support them locally and recommend them to other tiny home enthusiasts here in New England.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      That’s so great Stephanie! They were recommended to us by someone in the tiny house world. I haven’t worked with them directly but I would certainly check in with them. 🙂

  3. bob November 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    I’ll have to look into this even more now. I usually like to do some research on my own, for myself, on things like this. Thank you for posting it. Most of this I have already read many articles on but some I want to dig deeper into. Hopefully more communities are taking notice and considering the moves that Spur, TX and Walsenburg, CO have taken… to allow tiny houses to be placed within their communities.

    BTW- I think you may have missed one link in the above where you state “click here for an infographic…” since there is no link to click on. Please remove this line if I am missing something or… I think I know what link you wanted there. 🙂

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Always great to hear from you bob! Thanks for the heads up about the broken link for the infographic!

      • Kelli December 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

        I am very y curious to how much the tiny houses cost?
        exp: 500sq ft

  4. bob November 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Oh, Love that last photo here…
    Your tiny house in Your landscape!

  5. Jonni November 11, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    I keep reading these articles about how great it would be if we move to tiny houses, and I agree, in principal. But when I research the local codes, I can’t find any way to do it legally. Why is this issue glossed over so often?

    In my county, a tiny house licensed as an RV can only be lived in for 180 days a year, and there are regulations about where they can be parked. A shed under 200 square feet can be built without a permit, but you can’t legally live in it. If you build a tiny house on a trailer and have it licensed as a manufactured house, you can only replace an existing single-wide that was put on the property before they required all mobile homes to come in two sections. Guest houses need permanent foundations and a septic tank, with minimum square feet for various rooms. And so on…

    So tiny house living is great for nomads, but not for people who want to stay attached to a particular piece of land. Since you may always need to move, there’s no point in planting a garden, or for planting trees. This might have appealed to me about 40 years ago, but there’s got to be more to a sense of security than having a bed to sleep in.

    Are there any good ways around this? Other than hiding one’s house, of course? The only thing I can see is to find an existing small house, built before the codes were written outlawing them, and buy that house. But to build a new one? I just can’t see how it can work.

    • mick November 11, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      I agree Jonni. The problem of where to legally put the tiny house is glossed over in most articles. I hear “find agricultural land without zoning”….but I don’t want to live in the boonies. Parking in an RV park means monthly rent which defeats the tiny house no mortgage purpose. Buy a small house just to park your tiny house behind means too much investment for most. I don’t want to be a landlord. So where does this leave the tiny house?

    • Don Hyatt November 11, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Here is what I think, if you are afraid that your neighbors will turn you in for living in a tiny house.
      Build it! Live in it! When you are confronted start the building process by getting a land survey, a septic plan, engineered plans for a minimum required sized kit house (usually 25×25) or steel building that you will say that you want to make into a home.
      Pay all the permit fees and now you are “living in your RV while building your home.”
      Keep applying for extensions and yes you will need to make progress. Build your septic system which you will eventually connect your tiny house to. Pour a driveway to park on, put in the slab or foundation, eventually build the kit in 5-10 years. Rent it out to pay for it or move into it and invite your friends and family to stay in your tiny house.
      The bottom line is that you don’t need to live in fear. It has wheels so you can pull it into the street to have them inspect the property if they require it.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Thank you for your comment Jonni! This is a complex issue and question. One thing we always need to remind ourselves of is that the tiny house movement in its current rendition is extremely new. Just like any new concept/movement, it takes a while for everything to line up to support it. I think the straw bale construction movement is a fantastic example. Not that long ago, building officials would literally laugh at us when we approached them with straw bale plans. Starting in 2015 though, the IRC (national organization that establishes construction codes), there will actually be a straw bale specific code! The same will happen for the tiny house movement. Already a lot is starting to change (tiny house communities are popping up, people are getting variances to live in their tinys, some towns are doing away with their minimum square footage codes, and the IRC has even taken out a significant section of the national code mandating how small a room needs to be). On an individual level, one of the best approaches is to ask for a variance from your zoning department (if your building department won’t allow for tiny houses). Call them and tell them what you want to do and ask them in detail for any concerns they have about what you are suggesting. Come up with viable and sincere solutions for each of their concerns and set up a meeting to speak with them in person. This can be incredibly effective! I even know of someone that made an appointment with the mayor of her city and personally asked for a variance (which was granted)! Change is coming and quickly though so if you want something more concrete, it won’t be long before solutions start popping up all over the place.

      • Jonni November 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

        Gabriella, I like your mention of straw bale houses, because that brings up another good point to consider. Back 50 years ago, when people first started talking about straw bale houses, the idea was to use the material to make cheap well-insulated houses. About 10 years ago a lady in our town decided to build a straw bale house, got all the permits, did everything according to the rules–and her very well-insulated house cost considerably more per square foot than a comparable stick built house.

        I once got a permit to build a 12×20 shed, had it all inspected, and then moved in. No problems. I wouldn’t mind doing it again, if I could afford the gamble, but it is a gamble. If you buy the land with that intention, and then find you can’t get away with it, you’re now stuck with payments on the land plus rent somewhere else.

        For those who think that being nice to your neighbors is all that matters, because the authorities won’t hassle you unless they get a complaint, do a Google search using the terms “shed living london.” The city hires a whole squad of people to find, and evict, people living in tiny houses in other people’s back yards. Can’t happen here? I’m too old to count on that, (and getting more paranoid by the day) so I guess I’ll leave the tiny house movement to younger, bolder folks. When it’s time for my daughter to retire, maybe tiny houses will be legal again.

        • Don Hyatt November 12, 2014 at 7:10 am #

          Hi Jonni,
          This is not for everyone and I’m sorry you are getting paranoid as you get older. I wrote of a strategy to buy a special piece of land for a good price that could be easily sold later if an eviction happened. I also shared my plan of getting a permit to live on the property legally where I have my property. The idea is to not just be nice but to NOT become a nuisance to your neighbors.
          Unfortunately, some people don’t respect others and dump trash, waste, etc. irresponsibly. I can’t tell you how many rules, closures and regulations have been created because of just a few ignorant people.
          This lifestyle probably wouldn’t work in a big city like London or presently where I live in San Diego. I pay $2155 a month for rent of a 1100 sq. ft apartment to live in the best school district for my daughter who just started high school. When I add Calif. and self employment taxes to that number, it becomes $3190+ $45 water, $50 gas and elec., etc. $2 a sq. ft rent is the cost living here for rent. I could do the tiny house and put it at my moms 2 acre property but that is in the suburbs and not in the best school for my daughter.
          So, finding the right place to do this is key and if you are retired then you could live away from the population center where you would not become a nuisance and nobody will be searching for you.

  6. signalfire November 11, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Here’s what *I* think… the codes, rules, regulations and Code Nazis (as I so politely call them) are subject to the Constitution, which is the high law of the land. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION to prevent someone from doing something that ‘doesn’t harm anyone else’; in other words, the whole idea of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is pretty much embodied in ‘not paying out for a lifetime to a group of bankers and their minions’ in order to have a dwelling.

    SUE THEIR ASSES OFF if they come around telling you you ‘gotta this and gotta that’; we now know, oddly, that 100 SF is plenty of living space for some people; that 200 SF is ample for a book lover or most craftspeople with tools or things to store… we now know that a composting toilet is perfectly safe and sanitary, and that holding sewage at 140 degrees for a few hours produces perfectly safe fertilizer for flower beds (the Puritans threw their chamber pots onto their vegetable gardens, and then harvested dinner, not the greatest idea in the world, but they didn’t know about germs, either…). We now have the knowledge and technology to harvest rainwater, filter it and use it for all purposes, produce our own electricity (there’s another bill in the mail we don’t have to pay obeisance to), and literally live within our means, rather than sending money off to a banking conglomerate thousands of miles away who uses the money to buy our politicians, usurping the whole idea of a government ‘by the people’.

    If I sound angry, I am. Madison Avenue and a herd of tax and fee-grubbing local peabrains have conspired to both convince people that they are ‘consumers’, and that they are unfree in the most literal sense of the word; we have become slaves to petty tyrants and untouchable billionaires.

    Here’s something else to consider (and worthy of a massive class action lawsuit): the water and sewer systems they ‘require’ you to hook up to are providing you with water contaminated with hundreds of pharmaceuticals; you have no way of knowing what peed-out drugs are still in your water supply because although ‘they’ know it’s there, they won’t tell you for fear you might object. You are required to be hooked up to the grid lest you be evicted (!) but if you can’t pay a utility bill (and would prefer not to subsidize fracking) your power and water will be turned off; probably faster than the eviction process but I’m sure that would follow… try to build an off grid house and the wrath of local code will descend upon you; look at the tribulations of Michael Reynolds when he tried to build an Earthship out in the middle of nowhere (but was welcomed with open arms in less ‘sophisticated’ places.)

    I was once told, years ago, that I ‘couldn’t build a small house’ because the neighbors (who never came forth and were never named) would object; that in an area of 250K overpriced, oversized, lawyer foyer houses, my little house would ‘reduce property values’; this would be code for ‘we can’t charge you enough for property taxes…’ Forget that I owned the land, forget that we’ve been sold a line about ‘freedom’ complete with soaring rhetoric and waving flags our whole lives, buy a piece of land and want to build something on it that isn’t ‘code’, isn’t the ‘norm’ and all of a sudden you’re a hippy rebel whacko.

    It’s way past time to house everyone in adequate housing, not what in most places of the world would be considered ridiculous luxury; time to spend more time on living, not working to pay the bankers (ever notice how almost ALL the money in a mortgage goes to interest at first, and its only in the last few years that the principal is paid down…?) Why is none of this taught in school? Because they don’t want you to know.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      It’s definitely an interesting way of seeing this situation signalfire. We have been conditioned to take these regulations at face value but when we really stop to look at them, so many things stop making sense.

    • Don Hyatt November 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Hey Firestarter 🙂 I feel your frustration too but…
      My plans in No. California include a water catchment system and solar/wind power. It’s about $18k to hook up to each system which $36K is the cost of their tiny house build. I learned once you hook up the water, you can never shut it off like power; so indefinitely subject to that monthly fee. I am hoping to do everything under the radar so being nice is a better way to go for me. The rules are there and if we sue someone then we are leaving ourselves open to attorney fees; not only ours but theres too. A peaceful life sounds so good instead of fighting traffic, neighbors, ex-wives… In Oregon, they don’t allow water catchment “legally”which the thought just irritates me so much.
      Yes, we have been programmed to be consumers and public schools still teach the ways of debt; starting with student loans. It’s great we think outside the box which is how this country got started but we need to pick and choose our battles and strategies wisely. My idea was a way around the system which would legally allow someone to live in a tiny house, if the neighbors where to contact the county code enforcement. I believe septic is the main concern and once that is in you may be able to live on the property trouble free and be forgotten, if you were nice and cooperative.
      God bless America!

    • Cat November 16, 2014 at 3:25 am #

      Always the hippie rebel whacko…and proud of it.

      Signal, I see things pretty much as you do. It’s all about getting a cut of the money, in the name of public safety and uniformity but often enough the big builders get a pass, pay their fees and then get away with all kinds of shenanigans costing cities and ultimately taxpayers billions.

      http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2010/04/12/25-story-apartment-tower-built-in-2001-now-a-teardown/

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Tower

      The rules were written with good intentions to correct examples of ignorance and to solve conflict before it happens but they are enforced in blunt instrument fashion without judgement (most especially upon the individual that has the gall to actually want to build something) as a result of the Barney Fife mentality of local yokels who may have no idea why the rule was written in the first place. Now the public is stuck in a mainstream paradigm that many (and that number is growing) can’t afford. Nor can the environment support.

      It’s a maddening situation. As for parking tiny houses in RV parks? No so fast. Most of those have regulations that prohibit conversions and home built models to add insult to injury.

  7. Nan November 11, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    I have begun work on an existing workshop in my yard to convert it into a tiny house. It is currently 210sq ft and will be twice that size once completed. I plan to let my step daughter move into it since she’s single and has a hard time paying monthly rent of $700 for a dumpy apartment. Although I have a nice sized wooded lot, I still live in an older subdivision. I don’t plan on getting a permit and I also don’t plan on sharing my project plans with my neighbors. I have friends on the HOA board. They advised me to go ahead but say NOTHING. If I brought it before the board, it would be rejected. Most people are aware of the fact that I am a painter….. So as far as I’m concerned…. It’s my art studio. I feel that since my TH will look really pretty ( much nicer than it does now ) it is my business what I do with my land. If and when my step daughter remarries and leaves, I know I won’t have problems renting it for extra income. I live in a university town that LIVES for football, so gameday and weekend rentals are also an option.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Nan, thanks for sharing your experience! I’m really glad that you have inside connections to your HOA and that they gave you that advice. Please keep us posted…would love to see photos!! 🙂

  8. Don Hyatt November 11, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Remember to always be nice to your neighbors, plant a garden and give them some produce, always talk about the beautiful small home you eventually want to build and ask them for their ideas. You may be surprised about the good in people and won’t have to get a permit. All the money you invest will be secure, if you buy a special piece of property. If you want to move on, then contact a realtor to sell your property with a tiny house, a garden, plans and permits to build, which will justify a higher asking price.
    IT’S ALL GOOD!

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      This is SO true Don!! We know so many people living in their tiny houses technically illegally and in plain sight and because they are good neighbors, no one complains. Many have been doing this for years under the noses of zoning departments who say that as long as they don’t receive a complaint, that they can stay.

  9. Adrienne November 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    This is a great article. We recently moved to Fort Collins and have been so depressed by the price of homes and the lack of land for sale. We’d like nothing more than to build a small home for our family of 4.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 12, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      Hope you find what you are looking for Adrienne! 🙂

    • Katie January 29, 2015 at 10:18 am #

      Hey Adrianne!
      We also live in Fort Collins and are throwing around the idea of a tiny house. We are a family of 4 as well. We should trade info and ideas. Maybe we can meet up and discuss. We are considering purchasing a piece of land up near Horsetooth and figuring out if we can live in the Tiny House while we plan a bit of larger home down the road. By large maybe 800q ft at the most.

      • Ashe February 8, 2016 at 10:57 am #

        I know that this article is over a year old, but I’d love to chat with you two! I live in Fort Collins as well. We are a family of 5 (myself and my 4 children.) I am currently debating a tiny house or a yurt. The tiny house is more appealing simply because I can find a way to put it closer to amenities. I’d love to chat!

  10. Robert November 14, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    Awesome helpful information as always!

    🙂

  11. farmergranny November 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Hi all,
    While I don’t live in a “tiny house”, it has been my practice to be frugal in my lifestyle. Currently, my granddaughter, her infant son, and I live in an 800 square foot house which has certainly been more than adequate for our needs. We heat with wood cut from 13 acres and have a large garden, plus fruit trees, asparagus, rhubarb and berry bushes. I worked two jobs to pay it all off so now we have no mortgage. With no mortgage to worry about, it is easier to plan for other ways to be more self-sufficient and live more simply. Yes, I live in the “boonies” but have managed to bundle errands together to save on gas, and I never have to go to the gym for exercise!! When my sons and I built, the goal was to build small houses and become self-sufficient. They later opted to “add on” – one house is 6000 square feet with an indoor inground pool; the other 3000 SF. I’m the only one who still has ownership and is living on the land. Bigger is not always better.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 17, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Thank you for sharing farmergranny! Sounds like you have a very wise perspective on life and what you need. We can all learn from you!

  12. ucity88 January 2, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    I’d like to see some Tiny Houses that are ADA accessible, please. Not everyone can ambulate up stairs/ladders, or stand to cook and wash.

    • Eloise Potratz January 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      I’ve been searching all night to find a TH that is ADA accessible. Are there any that you know of?

      Your TH is beautiful! One where I wouldn’t feel claustraphobic. It gives an impression of spaciousness.

      • Bob January 23, 2015 at 5:23 am #

        Eloise – you can do a google search for “ada accessible tiny house” and find a lot of info about ADA accessible tiny houses. Also look up Dan Louche for example who builds tiny houses out of GA and has built for his mother who wanted the bed on the main level (no ladder or stairs). There are others that are designed with the bed at one end and bath at the other all on one level with a side entrance door that is wider than most tiny house doors and with larger bathrooms and spaces to get around easier.

  13. Tabea January 23, 2015 at 12:49 am #

    My husband and I, as well as our two young children – boy and girl – are very interested in the Tiny House minimalist movement. I had a few questions for the Tiny House community and am eager to receive feedback.
    We are interested to know of other families that have adjusted over the years as their children grew, especially in meeting the needs of personal space for their children. My daughter is currently 4, and my son is 2. I have concerns that though we may live comfortably in a well designed ~500 sq f space at this age, it may be increasingly difficult when they are teenagers and their needs change – especially as a boy-girl sibling combination. I am interested to know of the experiences other families have had in this situation – positive and negative!

  14. Scott February 5, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” ~ George Carlin

    • bob February 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      I normally don’t care much for George Carlin. Way too much… offensive language in most if not all he does. But as long as I can ignore the language, his spot on too much stuff is really very good and hits the mark! If you haven’t watched it, it’s about time you do. Search on his name and “stuff” to find it. Even better, also watch “The Story of Stuff” videos (story of stuff project) while you’re at it. The author claims to have seen first hand where the toxic waste goes… I later found proof for me that she’s right, she did. These really inspired me to renew my efforts to downsize my pile of stuff.

  15. Beth Livingston February 10, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Good afternoon,
    We wanted to let everyone in the tiny home community know that we have just launched The Great American Tiny Home Building Contest, a design and construction competition to build (or have built) a Park Model tiny home that can compete in cuteness and innovation with the more popular 8.5′ tiny homes on wheels. Our minimum width is 10 feet with no minimum length.

    My name is Beth Livingston, one of the developers of Coral Sands Point Recreational Village, a tiny home community offering deeded waterfront tiny home lots for PMRVs on High Rock Lake in North Carolina. First prize in the contest is a waterfront tiny home lot at Coral Sands Point (value = $55K).

    This contest is open to BOTH professionals and amateurs with a maximum of 25 entrants (minimum is 10 entrants – pretty good odds). We have already been contacted by a major home-focused TV network and they have asked us to distribute their casting application to our contestants.

    We are currently seeking contestants and tiny home resources for our contestants. If you have a book or other product or a service you’d like us to include in our resource list, please let us know. And we will also be happy to promote your blog on our website in exchange for the same.

    Please take just a few moments to look over the contest details at http://www.coralsandspoint.com and if interested, please email us or use the “Register to be a Resource” form on our website to indicate how you’d like to be involved.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this message and review our site and we look forward to any feedback you’d like to provide. The registration period is Feb 2 – 28 while entry applications will be submitted in early March. Competition in late August in NC.

    Beth Livingston
    Coral Sands Point Recreational Village
    We were tiny when tiny wasn’t cool!
    336-416-4232

  16. Edward J Shannon, ArCH March 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    “There are lots of places without zoning codes or building codes, where these houses can go”

    As an architect, I am always intrigued with more efficient models for housing, but I would like to challenge the writer who wrote this.

    Can they go in a typical (safe) suburban neighborhood? One that has good schools, parks, and convenient to shopping? Can they go in an urban neighborhood? one that has public transportation available? – a necessity for affordability?

    Most urban (and suburban) neighborhoods have pretty sophisticated zoning in place. This prevents someone from building a factory next to a school or in your back yard. It prevents a next door neighbor from erecting a 50 foot tall billboard on their own front yard. It typically stipulates minimum dwelling and lot size, so your next door neighbor doesn’t subdivide up his property into 16 small, narrow lots to accommodate a community of tiny Houses.

    The tiny houses I have seen in the media are usually on sparse, remote lots – something that typically works against the affordability the author is striving for.

    As an architect, I feel neighborhoods are very important – sometimes more so that the architecture itself. While I commend the efforts of those who want to downsize and minimalism, it is unlikely these will ever be built in most neighborhoods, unless the neighborhood allows for dwellings on accessory structures. Instead of going to the extremes of trying to build Tiny Houses, i feel the “Pocket Neighborhood” concept should be considered by those wishing to live more simply in less. Here is a link to one site promoting this innovative way of living in more dense context without resorting to multi-family solutions.

    http://www.pocket-neighborhoods.net/designpatterns.html

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella March 31, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

      HI Edward! There are more and more tiny house communities popping up around the country and not just in barren remote locations. It’s impossible to know what the future holds but there are enough supportive administrators in locales around the country that are working hard to make this work. I honestly believe that it will happen.

  17. Edward J Shannon, ArCH/NCARB/LEED GA April 1, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks Gabriella – I would be interested in finding out more of the communities you are referring to. Could you please share with us examples of communities adapting their zoning to accommodate tiny homes and some of the tiny homes that have been built in established neighborhoods.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella April 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      I don’t have a list compiled but I would start with a search online for Jay Shafer’s tiny house community coming up in California. Also, there are two new tiny house communities in California and Minnesota. Also, check on Bill 1123 in the state of Washington that would take away minimum square footage restrictions for residences in communities with less than 125k people (https://tinyhousebuild.com/wa-state-house-bill-1123/). It just passed by landslide in the Senate I believe. These are just the ones coming to mind right now but I know there are several others as well.

      • bob April 1, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

        And lets not forget about Spur, TX and Walsenburg, CO with posts about those right here on this blog (may have to page back one or two pages to get to them). Spur is selling lots and allowing tiny houses be placed alone on them same as a mobile home or on foundation same as any big house. If only I was in a position to do this I would seriously consider building in Spur. I’ve looked at that area and like it.

  18. Mike May 15, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    Two very important things I say is definitely needed in a tiny house is a lock for your ball hitch cause I once heard about a couple that had a tiny home for a week and it was stolen cause it was not locked. Second is insurance and make sure the tiny home is RV registered, cause if it is, you are more likely to get better coverage.

  19. Kelly August 10, 2015 at 5:23 am #

    I had a question on your shed style roof. How much drop did you have to use ? 4 inches per foot wide or less ?

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      Hi Kelly! It’s a 2/12 🙂

  20. Kelly August 10, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    Also I believe you are off the grid in one of your videos I saw. how do you get internet and cell phone ? are you still with a provider for those ?

  21. Laurie August 11, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    Can you tell me if a tiny house can be built on a camping trailer. We have an old camper that has been damaged and want to tear it off and build a tiny home on it. Love the one you have.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella August 11, 2015 at 9:05 am #

      Hi Laurie! Honestly we have no experience with this so all I can do is pass on what I heard from others. Pretty much everyone I have connected with on this topic does not advise it. Camper trailers are generally not adequate to be able to handle a tiny house load on it. That said, I do know of one person that too an old box trailer and converted it for a tiny house. Sorry I’m not of so much help with this!

  22. Laurie August 11, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Thank you for the advise. Do you know of any place in Indiana that could build a trailer that I would need? I want to build a tiny house no matter what I have to do

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