True to my cave-dwelling, probably-from-Jupiter nature, I used to day dream about living in some tiny home in the middle of nowhere. Okay scratch that – sometimes I still daydream about living in a tiny home in the middle of nowhere. Someplace in the mountains, or some fog-drenched beach, or in a meadow dappled with tiny wildflowers, in a cottage no bigger than those adorable IKEA showcase rooms (See how you could actually live in 350 sq. feet).
Let’s see…a charming little galley kitchen, a cozy chair or two, and a teensy staircase leading to the sleeping loft, where I could snuggle in blankets and listen to the rain tap against the roof above me. Who needs more?
However, there are many other Americans, with or without children, who share the same dream of life in a tiny home, and a number who have made it a reality. During the past several decades, the average size of the American home has grown to well over 2,000 square feet, but recently, the Tiny Home Movement has been begun to grow, too. People from all walks of life have decided to down-down-downsize and live in houses no bigger than many living rooms.
Tiny homes have sprung up for various reasons. Some communities have designed small home villages as a solution to homelessness. Some people choose to live in tiny homes to save money, or to live simpler or more sustainable lifestyles. Some do it for the sense of community, like those who live in tiny co-housing clusters, like Tiny House Village in Sonoma County, California, which includes shared amenities such as a community garden and common house. Others choose a tiny house as a way to escape the crowds and live off-the-grid.
I don’t suppose that the tiny home lifestyle is right for everyone. Some people highly value the ability to collect and display a lot of stuff. And, well, there just isn’t much room for stuff when you’re living in less than 400 square feet. I imagine that it forces you to realize what you actually do treasure most. The bookshelf or a closet full of clothes? The computer or the television? The life of a social butterfly or life in the bat cave? Well, luckily, for those of us who just aren’t quite ready to make such a dramatic lifestyle change, there are places like Caravan – A Tiny House Hotel in Portland Oregon, where guests can live out their tiny house dreams one night at a time. And for those who prefer to just live the dream vicariously, you can try watching the new reality show, Tiny House Nation, or the documentary, TINY, and immerse yourself in a culture that may look small, but is making a huge impact on the way Americans think about our living spaces.