July 9, 2014

"It's a mistake to imagine that the gathering popularity of the 'tiny house movement' over the past several years is some sort of sign of an actual mass trend."

"That would be akin to imagining that the gathering popularity of tiny hedgehog videos is a sign that hedgehogs are set to overtake cats and dogs as popular pets. The tiny house craze is best understood as a reaction against what is the actual trend in American housing: bigger houses, as big as possible...."

25 comments:

Alexander said...

There is a growing popularity for other people to live in smaller houses.

My guess is that as the economy continues to contract and it becomes increasingly difficult to send out expensive social signals that one is in the 'right group', it will become even more popular that people in the wrong groups should voluntarily live a cheaper and more cramped lifestyle so that (heaven forbid!) they don't get confused with the right type of people to the outside observer.

No doubt, this will be a voluntary thing for a while, things that the lessors should do because of the environment, or because it's trendy and cool (but trendy and cool for thee, sadly not for me) and so on and so forth... until - surpise! - it turns out that Americans as a whole don't want want to live in micro units the size of bathrooms and the need for compulsory action kicks in.

madAsHell said...

Video killed the radio star.

She sings through her nose, and can't carry a tune.
Who'da thunk it?

PB Reader said...

Clearly some relish the challenge of living in 100 square feet (or less) and you do spend a lot of time outside that space, but it points out the gap in the market for reasonably priced homes.

Mike said...

So it is akin to imagining that the trend of judges forcing gay marriage on states where the people have explicitly voted for "traditional" marriage are actually a sign that these states have a latent appreciation for the homo-politics of the left?

Got it.

lgv said...

This is true. The nature of property valuation and construction costs reduce the incentive to go small. It is more cost effective to build larger houses, especially two story squares (and put upstairs bathrooms directly above downstairs bathrooms :)).

I went through the process building our latest house. It would have cost about $20k to add square footage that would have added $80k to the appraisal. Going small only works on a multi-unit structures where you are cutting the same pie into smaller pieces.

Michael said...

Like Althouse, I am fascinated with these small dwellings and have a small library on the topic. There were rows of such houses in San Francisco in the old days with a few of them remaining on or at the foot of Telegraph Hill.

I believe the popularity is small indeed and that owning one of these dwellings is less charming than looking at pictures of them. Hard sided camping.

I have a couple of pieces of land that I could put one on but I flair from doing so.

Anonymous said...

Don't you want to live in a tiny house? I would want to live in a tiny house.

STYLE WATCH: Some urban trendsetters live in dumpsters. Would you want to live in a dumpster? Ewwwww said the little rich kids, but this dumpster's clean.

It's good for families, the environment, and it's modern.

Everyone can live in dumpsters!

Progress is next. Don't you like (S)cience and (A)rt? Don't you want to be 'modern?'

Don't you want to live in a tiny house? I would want to live in a tiny house.

Julie C said...

One of the commenters over there pointed out that the first "tiny houses" in America were slave quarters.

Crack, is that you?

madAsHell said...

Ooops! My comment was intended for the Britney thread.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

In other fad news, the designer cupcake vendor Crumbs Bake Shop closes its stores and faces bankruptcy. Who'd'a thunk it!

Carol said...

I love a small house. I had a small house, but had to sell it because the step was coming to live with us. But it was maybe 400 sq ft, with a full yard and garage. NOw he's gone and we're stuck with 2400.

I think more than 500 sq ft per person feels kinda empty and creepy.

mishu said...

In Oklahoma, they're called trailers.

Lonetown said...

I always wanted a tiny house. Then I grew up.

Peter said...

'Tiny house' implies that even though it's small, it's well built and stylish.

But the future for most Americans may look more like a unit in a double-wide mobile home (one that's been divided into a four unit condominium) sitting somewhere out on the Texas prairie.

Hagar said...

But where do they put the books?

Eric said...

The only real trend here is that it has become fashionable to write stories about tiny houses. I could be nasty and point out that tiny houses are the best that most young journalists can ever hope to own.

jimbino said...

I spent more than a year living and traveling throughout Europe and South America in a VW van outfitted with bed and camping gear. That was a step up from the 450 Honda motorcycle.

Now I have homes in two states and two continents, but I have to admit that I was happier in the smaller spaces, sleeping in downtown Munich, Paris, Bucharest, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and other places where hotels normally charge $250 just to spend the night.

You can rent a room on a boat in downtown Amsterdam. They charge a fortune. I think it would be cool to advertise my VW van parked downtown in a tourist city on AirBnB or HomeAway. Hell, people pay good money to sleep in rock and ice caves!

Anonymous said...

As Obama's economy is humming along, more and more Americans will live in the biggest house: sky is the roof, pavement is the floor, no artificial walls constraining views and movements. Rightwing haters will denigrate those carefree Americans as homeless. But don't be fooled they will never acknowledge the President's success in radically transforming America because he is black.

JimB said...

I don't even like the new smaller cars that have been mandated by our government. That is why I drive a ten year old Town Car and will keep driving it until our government mandates 20% alcohol or more in the gasoline, which my car cannot tolerate.

Crowding is not fun.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that part of it is a push by the progressive elites (living in their mansions) to push more and more of us into high density urban environments, where we can be better controlled. The same people telling us not to fly as they fly in their private jets, and not to drive, but if we have to, only drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, while they cruise around in their chauffeured Suburbans.

I can see the allure of downsizing at some point in life, given the amount of time that it takes to take care of a larger place. But, my father, north of 90 now, still happily lives in the large house that he and my mother bought almost 30 years ago.

If you live outside a dense urban environment, there is little real need for such dinky houses. Land can be quite cheap, if you look for it, and/or are living outside of progressive Utopias, where zoning laws and the like drastically drive up prices.

Michael K said...

Tiny houses work best with no toilet. Otherwise, it is all toilet.

John Lynch said...

Is a yurt a tiny house? I want one.

Kirk Parker said...

Just buy a medium-sized sailboat (28-35 ft) and try to live aboard.

Larry J said...

I lived in a 23 foot long camper (counting the hitch and rear bumper) for 9 months back in '82-83. The interior area was perhaps 150 square feet, perhaps a bit less. As a single guy, it had just about everything I needed. When I got engaged, I sold the camper. There is such a thing as too much togetherness.

paul a'barge said...

In New York City they call these "apartments"