June 24, 2010

Tiny houses.

You know I'm fascinated by them — check out the video at this link. But, as tiny houses go, isn't this one a tad twee?

Is the "shabby chic" trend coming back? Because I lived through that in the 1970s — and stayed clear of it myself — and it goes to a terrible place where you do not want to go.

ADDED: Ironically, in the the old post of mine (at the first link), I raised the question of the difference between living in a tiny house and living in a trailer, and in the new material (at the third link), the owner of the twee tiny house also lives in a trailer. The twee tiny house is kind of the woman's playhouse, and the main house really is a trailer. There's also a man who lives with her and he's got his own playhouse, so — don't worry — he's not de-balled by that little dollhouse. He retreats to his mancave, "a truck-size shed covered by an enormous tarp...  furnished with a big-screen TV, lots of videotapes, cooking equipment and two lamp-warmed cages for the chicks and pheasants." The husband is "a great bear of man." The woman "is 42, a size zero and wears pink wellies, black tights and a paint-spattered Irish knit sweater over a brown jersey." Oh, lord! The couples that get themselves written up in the New York Times!

56 comments:

Beth said...

The story that goes along with that twee house makes me loathe to deride it. She seems to have invested a whole lot into a very small place, and if it makes her happy, I think it's quite nice. I'm not living in a trailer, and I'm grateful for that. Tossing snobby comments her way seems a bit, well, snobby.

MadisonMan said...

Shabby chic = whatever junk you find by the side of the road.

Unless I'm finding Stickley, it's staying there.

Lynne said...

I agree with Beth.
Also- what a dream playhouse this would be for a lucky little girl! Imagine her having her friends over for a sleepover- complete with creaking floors and scary ghost stories!

And as our house is at least partially decorated and furnished with salvage and used stuff, I can't honestly turn up my nose.

Pogo said...

Little house are OK in my book, especially when they're not made of ticky-tacky, and they don't all look just the same.

c3 said...

Watched the video/photo presentation.

Key word = footprint

ET1492 said...

If you want a Victorian cottage and you have to do the maintenance yourself, tiny is the way to go. Imagine having to paint all that fancy trim every 5 years or so.

Go small or go vinyl.

江婷 said...

好熱鬧喔 大家踴躍的留言 讓部落格更有活力.....................................................................

former law student said...

Who looked at the slideshow? Talk about mismatched couples -- my goodness!

Her house is relentlessly girly, and so what? I think she must have called herself Ophelia back in high school. Or perhaps the Lady of Shalott.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_of_Shalott_(painting)

k*thy said...

I'm fascinated with these, as well. I think it's the simplicity of it all. Put it on a great piece of land with a great view and they seem perfect for a bit solitude.

Meade said...

Beth is right. It's all about the freedom... to live in a trailer and eat $11 ice cream in a dollhouse if one so chooses. Live and let live. What a beautiful country, America!

Meade said...

"Oh, lord! The couples that get themselves written up in the New York Times!"

HA! Someone ought to make a movie.

Kurt said...

I like the idea in theory, but unless I was able to spend most of my time outdoors, I'd probably go a little crazy before too long. It would be nice as a getaway. I can imagine having one to go to on weekends when I could go on long hikes or something like that during the days and needed a place to stay nearby so I didn't have to drive back afterward. But you'll notice that that all goes with the simplicity by choice ethos, and not the living in a tiny house because I have no other option.

ricpic said...

My whole house, including a front and back porch, is 1000 sq. ft. Luckily I've got 2 1/2 acres of land around it. My own little kingdom. Without that land I would've flipped out years ago.

lemondog said...

No on shabby chic...it's too suffocating, but yes on the house itself, as long as one has books, music, art and a great outdoors.

Our society buries itself in stuff.

re: junk, every so often I catch the Canadian series Junk Raiders who do fantastic conversions.

former law student said...

My grandparents raised two kids in 750 square feet (three bedrooms, one bath). Luckily, my grandfather built a two car garage/shop to retreat to.

Paddy O said...

"Wheaton College in 1990 with a B.A."

Which Wheaton, I wonder.

They don't specify.

Probably playing it safe.

I really like this idea of a tiny house, truth be told. Not as a house, but as a private space. Seems like this would be an ideal place to write. Indeed, having such a place to write is a dream of mine.

Though I'd probably go a different decorating decoration than either Victorian or tarp covered, poultry strewn man-cave.

Kurt said...

I just looked at the slideshow. Egads. That shabby chic is awful. I also find the frilly white aesthetic quite at odds with the woodsy setting.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Next step: she decides a planet is too much room and goes to live on an asteroid.

Beth said...

If she eats enough of the $11 ice cream, she won't fit into that little house, Meade. She might balloon all the way up to a size 1.

Kurt said...

With regard to Paul Zrimsek's comment, it may be time to bring out "The Little Prince" tag again!

Balfegor said...

It's twee, sure, and not for me, but there's something awfully sweet about it, painstaking handmade labour of love that it is. I suppose that's what makes it twee.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Cute!! It would be fun to have one of those on my property as a guest cottage. (Gonna think about this idea seriously)

Speaking of living in a trailer: here is our family home for about 8 years. Unlike these pretentious twits, our home was pulled behind a station wagon and we didn't live in one place until I was in 4th grade. Yes, original trailer trash. /bow

Small homes make you be very careful and selective about the 'stuff' you accumulate and about having a place for everything. One thing out of place and your space is a mess.

t-man/wurly/henry buck said...

"Oh, lord! The couples that get themselves written up in the New York Times!"

Commoner Captures Princess, Blog Version

Synova said...

It's sort of like separate bedrooms, isn't it? I mean, why not? If you don't live in Minnesota it doesn't matter so much if you have to go outside to get to "your" room. You've got a place you don't have to compromise over and maybe that makes it easier not to try so hard to get your own way.

Yeah, sometimes guys get the garage or the barn or a workshop and women get the whole house, but you don't really. The workshop might still feel like exile and the house isn't really all yours if you're a halfway decent person who cares about the other people who live there.

Also, I suspect there may be some square footage and utility limits on what requires a permit and inspections to build. There might be good reasons to build separate instead of build *on*.

ricpic said...

Just because a picture is being taken DBQ makes a big show of love for her kid brother who isn't buying it, not for one second. ;^)

rocketeer67 said...

Oh, lord! The couples that get themselves written up in the New York Times!

Hah!

I picture Meade splattering a pair of shorts with paint, and Althouse sitting in an Audi-size shed under a tarp watching "My Dinner with Andre" as we speak.

MadisonMan said...

I like the idea in theory, but unless I was able to spend most of my time outdoors, I'd probably go a little crazy before too long.

Yes. Imagine a 4-day rainy spell, and nothing to do but pace on one floorboard.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Just because a picture is being taken DBQ makes a big show of love for her kid brother who isn't buying it, not for one second. ;^)

LOL

Yah. You nailed it.

Parents: "Hug your brother and smile for the camera before we all go to the Alamo. You guys are so cute in your Davy Crockett outfits"

Brother: "Aaaack..Don't touch me!!! Can we go now??? I wanna see Davy Crockett (born on a mountain top in Tennessee..lalala)"

Me: "Stand still and let me hug you so we can go" /smile for camera

Michael said...

I happen to like tiny houses but this one is spoiled by the people who inhabit it. I hate them and I hate that they are in Delaware County with their prissy little house which was once an honest hunting cabin and is now a precious folly in a landscape that was until recently pretty authentic. Used to be a lot of grouse in Delaware county until people like this came around with their NO HUNTING signs which appeared to mean anywhere, not just on their cleaned up little suburban "country house" plot.

Kirstin said...

I don't think that the shabby chic trend ever fully went away. Rachel Ashwell's business went bankrupt, but she is back with several stores. Her style is less feminine and more pared down now.

Pogo said...

DBQ, those are the bestest shorts in the world.

Synova said...

I'm sort of confused as to how "no hunting" equals fewer grouse.

More loose dogs and cats, maybe, equals fewer grouse, but that's not silly houses or no hunting signs.

Michael said...

Fewer grouse because the people who believe in NO HUNTING also believe in cleaning up the old apple orchards and ripping out the underbrush and otherwise reducing the habitat to that suitable for deer and city people. Grouse prefer a more Appalachian lifestyle, loving to hug the falling down stone fences and collapsed out-buildings. The people who are moving out there do not have the slightest understanding of the land. they love nature too much. And themselves.

Samrobb said...

You may like the "Tiny House Blog" (http://tinyhouseblog.com/) if you haven't come across it already. Building a tiny guest house is on my long term to-do list, and tiny houses are almost as enticing as tiny electronic devices...

MadisonMan said...

The people who are moving out there do not have the slightest understanding of the land. they love nature too much. And themselves.

Perhaps you should do more to support the Grouse Protection Act that is now moving through Congress, which act would prohibit rehabilitation of abandoned properties for exactly the reasons you state.

former law student said...

Used to be a lot of grouse in Delaware county until people like this came around with their NO HUNTING signs

People like the Fosters? Where did you get that idea? The husband raises pheasants. He owns a hunting dog. (I have hunted pheasants and quail behind a Lab before.)

howzerdo said...

I've known a lot of people like this couple. I grew up in Ulster County, in Kerhonkson's neighboring town. My school district was very large, and went almost all the way to Delaware County. Then I went to college in Oneonta, which is in Otsego County, on the Delaware County border. When I was a kid, NYC weekenders were already common in my town (and had been for a long time). In more recent years, the weekenders range has crept north, to Delaware, Greene, and Columbia Counties. The Times is fascinated by NYC folks who weekend upstate, with dreams of living here full-time, if only they could manage it (they usually can't). As far as the NYT is concerned, the more eccentric, the better. They also like to paint both the locals and the local environment as if they were the model for Deliverance. BTW, we are not transplants, I do not have a Victorian shabby chic shed (but I think if it makes her happy, that's sweet), and everyone in my family has posted signs on our property. ATV riders, hunters, hikers, weekenders, day trippers, locals, no matter. Stay off.

Michael said...

He raises pheasants in Delaware county. That, my dear FLS, says it all. Pheasants are not native to Delaware county, grouse are. Pheasants are raised to be "put out" on cultivated land to be shot by paying day "hunters." Grouse cannot be raised by man. You cannot breed grouse .

If you "hunted" quail and pheasants behind a lab your lab was poorly trained. He should have been beside or behind you.

Michael said...

howzerdo: You have it exactly right. In the 1970s the NY city people began to migrate to Delaware county. Initially it was retired city workers and ex cops, guys that wanted a few acres to shoot deer. And they bought up some land and cut out the underbrush so they could have easier shooting lanes for the deer. And then the arty crowd came round with the no hunting signs and they too cleared the brush and pulled up the apple orchards. The locals were still susceptible to a knock on the door and a grouse left on the stoop after a hunt. Now not so much. I have moved on after twenty or more seasons cruising the hills between Andes and Delhi and Meredith. Beautiful part of America. One of the best.

c3 said...

My grandparents raised two kids in 750 square feet

My folks raised 5 boys in 1100 square feet. One bathroom upstairs; one downstairs.

My mother's repeated plea:

better aim please!

Sixty Grit said...

Does "twee" mean badly built? If so, then yes, it is twee. And walks on stilts. Watch out it don't fall on you. Sorry, got on a roll there. But the carpentry on that place is terrible. No inspector would pass that and give it a CoO.

WV: minse - one can't make these things up.

howzerdo said...

Michael, my mother would agree. If someone says, "I went to the Grand Canyon and it was incredible" she will say "we have some very nice gorges here also" or "the soil in the Midwest is so rich" she says "it has nothing over Schoharie County and the Hurley Flats."

Seriously, it is a beautiful area and the people are the best. Even some of those artsy transplants (and their predecessors, the redneck wannabes) can be nice. The general good feeling of the area rubs off on everyone eventually.

former law student said...

He should have been beside or behind you.

How's a dog going to point a bird if he's beside or behind you?

If you know zip-squat about hunting, why post about it?

dbp said...

"The sleeping loft is accessible only by ladder — which has kept Ms. Foster's husband, Todd, who has back troubles, from joining her there."

Sandra Foster's retreat in more ways than one, possibly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Michael: "If you "hunted" quail and pheasants behind a lab your lab was poorly trained. He should have been beside or behind you."

FLS:"How's a dog going to point a bird if he's beside or behind you?

If you know zip-squat about hunting, why post about it?
"

DBQ: (ME) Labs are not pointers. Their job (usually) is to sit and stay until told to retrieve the dead quail or pheasant. A labrador who bolts out in front of you after the game is a very poorly trained dog.

We did once have a very good Chesapeake Retriever that would flush game as well on command only of course. He won several awards at field trials for blind retrieving. Meaning he didn't get to see where the bird (or dummy in the case of the trial) was hidden and was able to retrieve based on silent hand signals only. Very smart dog! BUT no pointing.

Pointers such as the English Pointer or my favorite the German Wire Haired pointer will roam in front of you and instinctivly point the game or flush it out on command.

Some dogs will naturally point. Others may with some difficulty be trained to do so. Labrador RETRIEVERS are not generally that breed.

If you don't know about hunting and dog breeds, perhaps you also shouldn't post.

dbp said...

" Oh, lord! The couples that get themselves written up in the New York Times! "

Well, the guy has to be a landscaper or professional gardener and the lady should be small, blond, intellectual and a bit of a hippy.

Oh yes, and they meet later in life.

Michael said...

FLS: You stupid fuck you took the bait on the labrador. Labs are not pointers, they cannot be trained to point. They are, as their name implies, labrador RETREIVERS. They retreive the fallen birds. They often hunt with pointers who do find and point the birds. The labs are useless. So you made up a story about hunting behind labs then you compound the story by indicating that you know absolutely nothing about gun dogs or hunting. I have hunted quail and grouse for forty years and shot pheasants in England and Scotland. I have shot thousands of doves in Mexico and Columbia. I have owned labradors, clumber spaniels, brittany spaniels and English pointers. Please don't be such an asshole to yourself, please try and quell your instinct to know about every fucking thing when you patently do not.

smacklin said...

If Shabby Chic is coming back I'm going to save a fortune not buying paint and not replacing old furniture.

My house is going to be the showcase of the neighborhood!

I could make architectural digest.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

LoL. Michael and I post the same thing except I'm nicer this time.

They are, as their name implies, labrador RETREIVERS. They retreive the fallen birds. They often hunt with pointers who do find and point the birds. The labs are useless

Labs are not upland game birds but I wouldn't call them useless. I'd like to see your Brtittany or Pointer retrieve a Canadian Honker, Snow Goose or Ross Goose out of the middle of an icy river or pond.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Of course the labs aren't birds.

I meant used for upland game.


Doh /facepalm

Michael said...

DBQ: I owned a labrador named Jacob once and he was outstanding. Huge, American style with a square head and a love for ducks. I left him with a friend in Dewitt Arkansas who hunted him every day I didn't and he was one fantastic dog. Useless for pointing, of course, but splendid otherwise. He would not bring the ducks back to the shooter, however, and insisted on finding a place where he could sit (this was in the flooded timber) and watch the ducks work into the hole. He would shiver there on a stump or a piece of high ground and would bring all the ducks shot back to his perch, put them in a pile, shake off and start watching again.

That FLS is some gun dog man.

Kurt said...

Knowing very little about the topic of hunting, I can't resist throwing in one little complicating piece of information. There are such thing as retriever-pointer mixes. One of my dogs is most likely such a mix, and although she is recognizable as a retriever, she does point from time to time when I walk her. She seems to be a natural hunter, but unfortunately for her, I am not any sort of hunter at all. I almost wish that I had trained her as a hunting dog and learned to hunt because I think she would enjoy it and be very good at it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Useless for pointing, of course, but splendid otherwise. He would not bring the ducks back to the shooter, however, and insisted on finding a place where he could sit

Bad training then. Unless the dog is totally retarded the trainer should be able to handle that.

** I deleted and reposted because I reconsidered. Smart dog: making efficent use of his energy and time. Sometimes you want your dog to have independent thought.....sometimes.

Best retriever we ever had was that Chessy. 120 pounds of pure muscle. We taught him to 'low crawl' along side us when we were sneaking up on a rice check. Command: "low down" with palm down gesture. We didn't even have to say it outloud after a while

He was a champ on retrieving and blind retrieves. Smartest hunting dog I ever owned. But don't dare let him be alone the the back of the truck or you come into the house unexpected...he WILL bite you. The most territorial and protective dog ever. Better than my Mossberg Persuader for protection.....although....I must say the Mossberg doesn't fart.

jamboree said...

Are you getting more obnoxious, vain, and obsessed with yourself than you were pre-Meade, or is it just my imagination?

Michael said...

DBQ: Chessies are very protective and will bite. Excellent dogs for the ducks and especially for open water.

Jacob was poorly trained by me so I was willing to suffer his idiosyncrasies. I used James Lamb Free's book "Training Your Retriever" and it was useful. To a point.