Tiny homes (400 square feet or so) seem to be a current fad. Last night I watched a program on PBS that featured a lady who had personally constructed a small home on a trailer as part of a plan to downsize her life. She unfortunately made no provisions for running water (she has a composting toilet and showers in a nearby relative’s home). She sleeps in a loft that she can only sit up in, she can’t stand up straight.
Another small home was constructed in a small metallic silo. A fairly large porch has been added to the front. The home is a one-bedroom loft apartment built into a 1940’s grain silo. This home does have water and power, but seems claustrophobic with its small windows. It is well equipped with high-end fixtures.
Tiny homes can frequently be expensive. But people have found cheaper ways to build their tiny houses, simply by finding a house plan that fits their needs and doing the work themselves. Lamar, in Utah, built his own tiny cabin which is 14’x14′ for less than $2,000 (not including windows and doors), and latter added a porch.
According to the owner, “My electricity comes from the solar panels you see on the the roof and a small backup generator. This power runs all my lights, water pump, TV, computer, etc. My heat is primarily from direct solar gain through the south facing windowns and I use propane for a backup furnace, fridge, stove, and on-demand waterheater.”
On the other end of the spectrum is a tiny demonstration home constructed in Wisconsin (architect: Bill Yudchitz). This modular home was built to challenge the notion that “bigger is always better.” It has 320 square feet of well-appointed space on the first floor, plus 2 80-square-foot baconies for sleeping. It has huge, louvered doors that are designed to help insulate the house. According to the architecture critic for the Journal Sentinel, “It is more akin to a lovingly crafted cabinet or piece of furniture than a house.”
For more information see: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com.