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The Tiny House Invasion

They’re cute and they’re cool. They are showing up in movies, on TV, and at home & garden shows. Pinterest loves them and design websites showcase them. Some are nomads on wheels and others bloom where they are planted. Always a man ahead of his time, Joseph Eichler even got in on the act. One Walnut Creek Eichler homeowner has a mini-Eichler, built by Eichler himself, in the backyard. Once considered as backyard studios or guesthouses, tiny houses have become a way of life for some and are redefining the meaning of home.

A tiny house is, as the name suggests, small; generally less than 400 square feet – basically a tricked-out, luxury tree house on the ground. Sometimes they have wheels but many tiny houses are built using the same building techniques and materials as their larger brothers and sisters. The economic and ecological benefits of owning a tiny house have helped the Tiny House Movement gain traction in the U.S. as people seek options for affordable, sustainable living – or simply a streamlined lifestyle.

Living in a tiny home has its pros and cons. On the plus side is affordability. Building costs, taxes, utilities, and maintenance is a fraction of the cost of a more traditionally sized home. A lot of people also appreciate a simple, uncluttered lifestyle or like the portability of a tiny house on wheels.

Next to paring down your possessions to a precious few items, one of the biggest challenges to living the tiny life is finding a place that allows tiny houses. Most building codes and city ordinances set a minimum size for dwellings and, for homes on wheels, most areas ban out-and-out living in an RV. Eventually, that concern may be a thing of the past as tiny homes become more accepted. In many locations, city planners are willing to work with tiny homeowners to find a solution, and communities dedicated to compact living are cropping up all over from Wee Houses in the U.K. to Tiny House Village in California.

If you want to find out more about tiny houses there are a number of websites, depending on your part of the world that you can check in with. Some companies even offer workshops. You can also tune into Tiny House Hunters or Tiny House Nation to take a peek at living large in a small space.

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