|Crystal River Treehouse, by Stephen A. Novy, AIA, and David Rasmussen, near Carbondale, Co., photo by Brent Moss|
Have you heard of the book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter? It's filled with photos and information about tiny homes and the people who love them.
"There's a grassroots movement in tiny homes these days. The real estate collapse, the economic downturn, burning out on 12-hour workdays – many people are rethinking their ideas about shelter – seeking an alternative to high rents, or a lifelong mortgage debt to a bank on an overpriced home.
In this book are some 150 builders who have taken things into their own hands, creating tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). Homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, even homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses.
Many people have decided to scale back, to get by with less stuff, to live in smaller homes. You can buy a ready-made tiny home, build your own, get a kit or pre-fab, or live in a bus, houseboat, or other movable shelter. Some cities have special ordinances for building "inlaw" or "granny flats" in the back yard. There are innovative solutions in cities, such as the "capsules" in Tokyo. There are numerous blogs and websites with news, photos, and/or plans for tiny homes, documented here.
If you're thinking of scaling back, you'll find plenty of inspiration here. Here's a different approach, a 180º turn from increasing consumption. Here are builders, designers, architects (no less), dreamers, artists, road gypsies, and water dwellers who've achieved a measure of freedom and independence by taking shelter into their own hands."
|Linda Smiley built her own house of corn cobs and bales of straw in Oregon, photo by Anne Sabbota|
|Mike Basich's stone and wood cabin in the Sierra mountain wilderness, photo by Evan Kahn|
Buy the book to see them all, or preview pages on his website.
Personally, it's not just the quaint size of these homes that I find appealing, it's the way that each one looks decidedly different. The creativity with which each home was built makes it clear that they were made with love. It is such a nice contrast from the sameness of McMansions in Suburbia. When you scale back a home, space must be well thought out so that every part serves a function, and you have more opportunity to give it a personal touch. Even so, I am not certain I could live in a tiny home. I don't think I'm organized enough, or enough of a minimalist. Maybe I'll build a tiny studio instead.
What about you? Could you live in a tiny home?
Images © 2012 Shelter Publications, Inc.