Along the way, I have developed a few quirks and obsessions, aka passions. Some of these are deeply rooted and can be traced to my childhood.
I have always had an interest in architecture, design and different materials. As a child this manifested itself in fort building, and the observation of regionally changing architecture while on family road trips. My parents were very lovely and let me keep my forts erected for much longer than most would allow and even let me sleep in them. They have also reported to me that one of my first sentences, while en-route from Florida to the Midwest was an inquiry, “where did all of the condominiums go?” I noticed! Where did they go???
I have a very distinct memory of being toddler aged and driving through Indiana, just before you get to Chicago and seeing these old town houses built in rows and some of them even built into the side of the hills and being amazed by it. It is so simple and so “heart of America” yet it blew my mind. Growing up on an island in Florida, I had never seen anything like that. At that point, I remember my mom telling me that yes, indeed architecture and the way things are built, varies widely from place to place. I remember making a mental note of that so that I could keep my eye out and observe what might come next. I have been making these observations for about 30 years now with the same inquisitiveness.
While investigating RV’s and the RV lifestyle, something new popped up on my radar that piqued my interest in design and architecture again, in a new way: The Tiny House Movement. My interest has been piqued somewhat intensely and obsessively.
Design that turns me on:
*Maximum efficiency and good uses of space.
*Items and spaces that can multitask, like stairs that are also drawers etc.
*Conservation of money, environment and resources through the use of things like solar panels and rainwater collection.
*Nice outdoor spaces.
*Creative use of materials, especially recycled and natural materials like reclaimed wood, shipping containers and cob.
*Ability to be off the grid if necessary or desired.
What is the “Tiny House Movement” you say??? Or maybe you have already heard about it, it is quickly gaining popularity in this country and well, globally.
My personal definition: The Tiny House Movement is a reaction to the social, economic and environmental climate of modern society. It is a movement that favors design, economy and environment over square footage, wasteful spending and excess building. It is is about being thoughtful, as well as socially and environmentally conscious. It is about examining ones needs and wants and realizing that we really only “want” a lot of non necessities because we are marketed to heavily - we are living in a hyper capitalist society that thrives on a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. Such an intense rat race has been imposed upon us that people are willing to risk their health, happiness and quality of life to acquire bigger THINGS and greater quantities of THINGS and consequently bigger houses to store all of their THINGS. To quote my late grandfather, J. Kenneth Baird, “they sure can think of a lot of shit for you to buy.” Life as we know it has become very complicated and The Tiny House Movement is answering back with a call for some simplicty. It is about personal choice and figuring out what ones true values are.
Here’s what I value in life:
*Outdoor activities and nature
*Minimal environmental footprint
Here is what I value in people:
*Compassion and Empathy
*A desire to help others
*A desire to continue learning
As you can see the Tiny House Movement speaks to me because it is directly in-line with my values. And I am not the only one. See for yourself….
One of my favorite blogs to follow is, The Tiny House Blog. Kent Griswold is one of the pioneers in this movement. His blog is always offering new tiny houses to moon over. Also, I have learned a lot on this site about the different types of tiny dwellings people are building, where they are building them and why. For instance, I didn’t know what a Vardo was before reading this blog. Also I learned about straw and hay bale construction, cob homes, container homes, and pallet houses. Additionally I learned a bit about buying tiny house plans as well as building codes and laws. One of my favorite sections on this particular blog is “Tiny House in a Landscape.” The Tiny House Blog is really just the best virtual window into almost every aspect of tiny house culture.
Another really fabulous resource is The Tiny Life blog. On this site you will find inspiration as well as great ideas about how to build multi-purposed furniture and space saving solutions to fit perfectly into your tiny house. A couple of other informative and inspiring sites are Tiny House Talk and Tiny House Design.
Some of the pioneers and famous names in this movement who are currently offering tiny houses, building plans, workshops and books are Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings, Derek Diedricsen of Relax Shacks, LLoyd Kahn of Shelter Publications and Jim Wilkins of Tiny Green Cabins. I find them all fascinating and massively inspirational!
One of my most favorite sites is Tiny Texas Houses! I absolutely love what they are doing with reclaimed and recycled materials. The tiny homes that they are building are undeniably beautiful. When I see their homes, construction, and philosophy, I truly see my heart and soul reflected. Also, they are in Texas! It is a fantasy and yearning of mine to intern in some way with Tiny Texas Homes to get some hands on building and materials salvaging experience.
A few of other fun sites for browsing are, Cabin Porn, Tiny House Swoon, and Tiny House Listings. I am sure there are others out there that I am missing, let me know if you know of any cool “tiny sites.”
If you still are not convinced that Tiny Houses are the coolest thing ever, the wave of the future and becoming super dooper popular, check this out: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Yahoo News, PBS, NPR, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX even Oprah and Ellen are reporting on the movement!
If you can’t tell, I am ready to join this movement. I have Massive Tiny Dreams! I want to get my hands dirty and use power tools. Don’t worry, Rob is on board. I have been talking about this for about three years now, he is excited too. We want to buy some land and build our own Tiny House! For the first time in our lives, the “responsible” thing to do also seems like fun.
In my next blog, I will try to address when, how and what some options are as best I can. All the details are not exactly ironed out. Right now this project is just one important piece my multitude of Massive Tiny Dreams! For now we shall practice the Tiny Lifestyle in the Apex.
Not all tiny houses are the same. They are actually really diverse. Here is some inspiration. Where and what materials would you use to build your tiny house?
Also check out Pinterest for some inspiration!