The tiny house movement fascinates me. A resident of New York City my entire life, I’ve always lived, out of necessity, in modestly sized homes and apartments. A 1,400-square-foot apartment is considered the lap of luxury in New York, except of course to the hedge fund billionaire who recently paid $238 million for a 24,000-square-foot penthouse overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park, reportedly the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. So I marvel at people around the country who choose to downsize and live in spaces as tiny as 90 square feet. Even families of four are relocating to tiny homes and living “off the grid.”
A former home furnishings editor and writer, I marvel at the ingenious storage, seating, dining and sleeping solutions designers have created to make tiny homes functional and ultra comfortable. Drawers are incorporated into stairs; modules can transform from sofas to beds in minutes, pop up tables convert from coffee to dining tables. And the cost to build and equip a tiny home can be a fraction of the price of most small houses anywhere in the country, but you’ll need to find the location to put it!
One of the most intriguing and exquisite tiny houses I’ve seen is in Melbourne, Australia, and constructed of three 20-foot shipping containers. Hard to image a trio of cold metal shipping containers becoming a warm and welcoming home, but a young couple about to have their first child made it happen! I love the Scandinavian-looking light woods and simple, clean lines throughout the house. Notice how much storage is built in under the bed and living room seating, and look at the perfectly designed work space and laundry room. As their child grows, the couple can add a container to their home for her or him. At around 500 square feet, this wouldn’t be considered a tiny house by many tiny house dwellers, but it sure is when you learn that 2,555 square feet was the average size of new single-family houses built in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2018, according to the Census Bureau.
Most of us live with too much clutter, and clutterbusters such as popular storage consultant Marie Kondo are teaching us how to straighten up and fly right. Tiny house living definitely isn’t for those of us who can’t part with possessions we’ve amassed over decades. When you meet the Australian couple you might be tempted to clean up your act, and maybe even to put your house on the market and go tiny.