dayslipping – long to find out …

Unusually warm February weather has brought the smells of spring, a mirage taunting the studious with visions of flowered hikes and sun-veiled naps. It’s tenacious. Days are slipping by as if filled with chin up forest gazing, not head down ‘novel’ reading.

Which brings me to my point:

In a few months, I will be talking tiny houses (as well as rhetoric surrounding the movement, “philosophical” or otherwise) and wanted to get some thoughts, complications, and/or feedback from the experts – which means ANYONE who has an interest in Tiny Houses as a proper noun… or even thoughts about THAT idea itself. Sooooo…

What do you find particularly inspiring about the Tiny House movement? Particularly problematic?

Where have you had trouble negotiating the claims about its benefits? Where have you been moved by the same?

What do you think are important topics for the NOW of Tiny Houses, meaning: what is relevant for this particular Tiny House moment? Given the media attention on, increased interest in, and diversity of tiny houses, motivations are headed … where????  Where does the movement need to go? Where is it held up?

And, how may the movement engage in service of the SOCIAL, not just the individual?  In what ways is the movement uniquely situated to be of use or irrelevance?

I would LOVE to hear feedback from ANYONE. literally. Feel free to email me at aergoddess@gmail.com or comment here.

Thank you, and I hope your blessings are scattered as widely as the upcoming Spring would have them. :)

Love in many plurals, April

ps. excuse the bad Beatles off pun? It was all I had. :)

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About aatinyhouse

April Anson is a native oregonian, a lover of all things wild, and a student of the dialectical spaces surrounding that term. Currently, she is an English PhD student in Literature and the Environment at the University of Oregon.
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22 Responses to dayslipping – long to find out …

  1. anotherkindofdrew says:

    What do you find particularly inspiring about the Tiny House movement?

    The inspiration has changed numerous times for us since going from sketch to blueprint to build to home. What began as a way to minimize our lifestyle and own a home of our own has turned to a way to reclaim our freedom but do so in the midst of community; less “fringe of society” and more “the neighbors down the street.”

    Particularly problematic?

    Until zoning ordinances and building codes recognize tiny houses, tiny house trailers, and small homes as real dwelling places the problems will vary from city to city. But I think overall the legality of tiny homes is particularly problematic.

    Where have you had trouble negotiating the claims about its benefits?

    The first night we told our folks we were going to build and live in a tiny house. Family will always be the most trouble (in the beginning). HAHAHAHA.

    Where have you been moved by the same?

    Any negotiation has made us more resolute in our desire to create and thrive in our own home.

    What do you think are important topics for the NOW of Tiny Houses, meaning: what is relevant for this particular Tiny House moment?

    Honestly? The relevancy is not as universal as we would like to think it is. What we have come to find out is that each home has a family and each family has its own reason for living in a tiny home. So everything – in effect – is relevant.

    Given the media attention on, increased interest in, and diversity of tiny houses, motivations are headed … where????

    Motivations to build? Motivations to accept?

    What motivations? The motivation is within the dreamer/the builder/the dweller.

    Where does the movement need to go?

    The movement needs to be more organic. Problems need to be faced as they come. I think for too long there has been this thought that we should organize and mount a standoff scenario. I think we need to start in our own neighborhoods and change the mentalities of our own families and friends first. Bigger is not always better.

    And, how may the movement engage in social activism that is in service of the SOCIAL, not just the individual?

    We truly are the only nation that doesn’t see a social aspect or benefit to smaller living. We are the only nation to still be under the spell of material possession and its ability to determine our happiness and safety. I don’t like the word activism because I don’t think tiny house living can be forced on anyone; it shouldn’t be. It should be a recognized and accepted form of living for those interested.

    • Pam says:

      Love your house, April. As to why I’m interested, I think it has more to do with wanting a change from the manic pace of society and the over-regulated lives and careers many of us have. My goal is to devote more time to writing, and whether a tiny house becomes a writer’s studio/get-away, or a full-time abode, the chief desire is peace, quiet, and time to LIVE and BREATHE.

      • aatinyhouse says:

        Go FOR IT :) and let me know if you have any questions, etc. I think the tiny is a good way into that kind of life, provided you have it parked in a healthy space and don’t like to hold superbowl parties :)

    • Francesca M. Kuhn says:

      I love your tiny house and would like one of my own, however, there are very real reasons why this may not work for people like me. I have joint issues – specifically my patellas are not in the correct location, because of this they are wearing out. I am in pretty good shape for my 53 years, but every year, ladder climbing becomes more of an issue. If I get a tiny home, then I need it a little bigger to accomodate my need for a staircase and a soaking tub. Yes, that is right, I need to soak in epsom salts with some frequency. So Maybe not 120 square feet, but 300-500 square feet with a basement for laundry and hobbies. So my question is – is the tiny house movement only for the young and able bodied?

      • aatinyhouse says:

        Francesca,
        What an incredibly important point you raise. I have trouble myself navigating the ladder (especially in the middle of the night). I wonder if the “typical” tiny house could be re-thought to take these needs into consideration. Thank you for your thoughts and many blessings to you,
        April

      • Beth says:

        I have to agree with Francesca; I am fortunate in that I don’t have any joint problems yet, but as I have been noticing in the years post 50, something seems to go wrong almost as much as things go right….ok ok….exagerating, but I am not at all enamored with the ladder to the loft, but don’t want my sleeping area in the living room. I tend to go a bit further to the 300-400 “non tiny” but not huge style house…..bedroom within a loft area, but with stairs and storage underneath as opposed to a ladder.

      • Diane says:

        I know what you mean. Every time I start thinking about climbing to a loft, I end up having a bad knee day. Although not as prevalent, and not as tiny, some people are building pretty small homes with beds on the ground floor: http://tinyhouseblog.com/timber-frame/les-roulottes-de-campagne/

  2. What do I find inspiring? People are rethinking their lives and saying hey I don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing just because it’s considered normal. I will follow the beat of my own drum. I don’t have to live in a huge house to be happy. I value experiences over stuff. I want to spend time with my family, travel, and live life instead of being overworked in order to pay for my house and car that I don’t even own. Happiness comes from relationships and experiences, not inanimate objects.

    What is problematic? Society. Everyone has been conditioned to think that the size of your house or what kind of car you drive is directly related to how successful you are. So therefore you must be poor if you decide to live in a tiny house. But really that’s not the case. It’s a choice. There will be people that will think you are crazy. It’s fine though, to each their own. Then there are laws that may prohibit us from living so small. It really is ridiculous considering this is how America used to live. They used to live in tiny houses they built themselves. Really it is the McMansions that are the fad.

    There are clearly a lot of benefits to living in a tiny house such as no mortgage, lower utility bills, and less impact on the environment. But do I think everyone will leave their traditional houses for a tiny house? No. I don’t see it ever being a mainstream movement. But I think it may get big enough to where there will be laws made about them. Whether it will be good or bad for us will depend on how involved we get in the process of making those laws. I would love to see tiny houses become a viable housing option that is legal.

  3. MG says:

    I have many ideas and thoughts on these issues. However, I think first and foremost is the importance of making lifestyle changes to adapt to our ever-changing planet. In order for positive changes to come, the way we live and how we use resources has to change…as a society. People in general seem so lost, confused and overwhelmed. I think simplifying is a good first step. :D

  4. Kim says:

    Hi,

    Sorry this is off topic but I wanted to get in touch with you for how you made your tiny house for so little money? Me and my partner Dan are seriously thinking of making one and yours is one of the few that I’ve come across that was less than $10k.

    It’s been helpful looking through your posts about wishing you had thought through more of how doors opened, etc. but I was hoping to get more of the nitty gritty from you.

    Would you be willing to email me?

    Kim in Minneapolis

  5. I, too, have many ideas and opinions on the tiny house movement. What I see is a common misconception of people feeling they have to sacrifice comfort and security to live in a smaller way. I don’t see those as mutually exclusive. I think that a well thought out plan is the key to the tiny house movement being successful. Unfortunately I read a lot of blogs by folks living in tiny houses and they only do so for a year or two. So my response and advice to the tiny house movement is have a plan. Whimsy is fine, but lasting change only comes when one puts thought, time, and effort into the bigger picture. I hear people talk about the challenges of building a tiny house, but few confront the tougher challenge of living the lifestyle for the long term. I intend to show that you can do it for extensive periods of time, comfortably, and without great sacrifice to the creature comforts. I am documenting the process as well on my blog. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you!

    • aatinyhouse says:

      I could not agree more. I will check out your blog also :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Diane says:

      I think it’s probably quite tough to figure out what it will be like to live in such a small space. I unfortunately cannot remember the name of the blog where a person considering a tiny home downsized to one room in their house, except for the bathroom, just to see what she would really need and if she could really do it. A sensible plan.

  6. Sally Binard says:

    Just discovered your site and must say that the combination of your writing style and the smooth use of photos has made this cold, snowy Monday a joy. You have taken a beautiful Jay Schafer design and created a warm wood home. The use of reclaimed woods is just the starting point. Desk placement, pitch of roof line, huge rounded front window, extensive book shelf, multiple storage spots and creative ladder design all sing out “this is April’s home”! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Arnaud Simon says:

    First thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts about your tiny house adventure – it is most inspiring and useful for people like me who are just getting started on this path. Also, your place looks absolutely wonderful!!
    One thing that has been on my mind lately is the whole realization that there are plenty of people who have been living in small – quite mobile – homes for decades… and I’m thinking about the Roma communities in Europe, also the thousands of people who are living in trailer parcs in North America. I’ve yet to see their lives, expertise, experiences, lessons learned to be taken much into account by the tiny house movement. So I’m wondering whether there is some sort of ugly social distanciation going on there… on one side mostly white middle-class people (like me!) who realize that we must change our ways… on the other side, quite stigmatized poorer folks who live in mobile home either because it’s their way of life or due to “lack of other options.”
    I trust there would be a lot to be gained from people who live in the old trailer parks – and beyond that, I hope there are way to transcend that cultural canyon.

    • aatinyhouse says:

      I really could not have said it better myself. I wrestle with this a lot, and I think the only way to help break that distance down is by talking openly about it. I believe that most people who are interested in tiny living are also interested in not contributing to cultural or consumer/branding domination. Yet, it is easy to fetishize what is a CHOICE, but not what is survival. And those fetishes make people money. But the more we talk about it, the more we recognize the value in folk knowledge and the beautiful adaptability that certain lifestyles have historically offered, the more we resist, I hope. I really do hope.

  8. Kristine says:

    I have long entertained the thoughts of a tiny house – first as an instinctive attraction from childhood and then through learning about earth-sheltered homes and reading books such as Little House on a Small Planet. When my husband and I set out to purchase a homestead, we were prepared to build a smaller, self-sustaining house, but our final property choice already had an old home on it. Not huge by today’s standards, but about 1500 sf for our three-generation family of four. Our adult daughter would like to build a tiny house and we intend to assist her but here is one of the shortcomings we have experienced. We consider ourselves to be more producers than consumers. Our homesteading lifestyle means we can, freeze and dry almost all our own fruit, vegetables and meats. This requires food storage as well as room for the dryers and canning supplies. We spin, weave, sew, and knit much of our own textiles. We raise animals for eggs and milk (both of which require some additional tools). My husband fits many of our needs through his machine and fabrication shop. Our daughter could build a tiny house on the homestead and continue her lifestyle but that would be because we already house so much of the tools and necessaries and the fruits of our labor in our larger home, which she would be able to access to supplement her tiny home. I have yet to read an article or see a video about tiny home dwellers to homestead. I know that our messy, cold-weather outerwear from animal chores alone take up as much space as some tiny homes have for their entire closet allotment. We also enjoy gathering as a family, including four generations with varying physical abilities.
    However, this is where I see that tiny homes could actually help develop social ties. While it would take folks with a willingness to adopt a completely different mindset than our society encourages, if we could learn to jointly hold and share tools for trade and living, then tiny homes could become the family’s private space within a greater community where we would not all need to personally own canners, milk buckets, tillers, welders, looms, saws, sewing machines, and the list goes on and on. This may sound like a commune, but I don’t believe that’s necessary. I have several siblings and we had once dreamed of all retiring onto one large piece of land where our homes could be small and encircle gardens and one larger structure with sufficient space to cook large meals and can garden produce, host gatherings and movie nights, house our sewing/weaving/knitting/crafts and include a guest room(s). Small groups of like-minded individuals could find that this would free them to enjoy the benefits of a tiny home without abandoning their interests in productive pursuits that require larger or special equipment. I don’t know if I’ve conveyed the thoughts I’ve entertained in a coherent way or not in these two paragraphs, but for what it’s worth, I think that a melding of tiny homes and other options could make it a functional reality for a larger number of people.
    Of course there are local governments and zoning to contend with, which will make it difficult even for us to put a tiny home on our large acreage where I don’t think it should be anyone’s business but our own. Those issues would have to be addressed in tandem. However, they are well-worth pursuing.

    • aatinyhouse says:

      Thank you for your thoughts- I have often wondered how homesteading works in such small spaces as well. It’s almost a catch-22… I envision a few out buildings and lots of community ties to make it happen.

    • Francesca M. Kuhn says:

      I agree Kristine, I also have a garden and do some canning and have been wondering – where to store my produce in a tiny home. Today, I freeze most of it and store it in my basement in a rather large chest freezer. I am thinking that the tiny house of my dreams is going to need a basement as a sort of root cellar/ hobby storage type place. I have no doubt that Multiply dwellings are going to be required for various types of activity. My other quandry Is music. No where in any place have I read how people are dealing with music? I have a piano, a spinet, relatively small by piano standards, but does tiny home living mean I have to give up my instrument?

      • Beth Wade says:

        I think that’s a case of having a Tiny Home that is not 300 sf, but slightly larger- so you can have a music room for the instruments. My understanding of the tiny house movement is that the focus is on being more sustainable, personally and globally, by reducing your footprint and being more conscious in your choices. And efficient in your space. NOT giving up creature comforts that you really want/need (otherwise, it wouldn’t be a lasting change, but a lark that you soon grow frustrated with). I have yet to find a definition of what makes a Tiny house, as opposed to just a small home or a cottage, but it should be built to YOUR specifications….root cellar, music room, and all. :)

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