10 Big Questions About Tiny Houses


Are Tiny Homes Just a Fad?

This tiny house, called Fantasia, takes up just one space of a car park in England. Martin Cooper Used Under Creative Commons CC By 2.0 License
This tiny house, called Fantasia, takes up just one space of a car park in England. Martin Cooper Used Under Creative Commons CC By 2.0 License

It's anyone's guess as to whether the current boom in living small is here to stay. But here are a few reasons why teeny quarters might remain popular in America.

City planners are big into the concept of urban infill these days, which is how to cram more people into already-occupied spaces. Newly created micro apartments, or micro units — essentially studios — are being snapped up all over cities like New York and Washington, D.C. It's not a stretch to imagine incorporating tiny homes into unused spaces in urban areas, like those vacant patches of land that pop up in cityscapes — it's already happening in D.C. [source: Cater].

And small homes have special appeal to cash-starved young people starting out and retirees looking to stretch their savings. With both these groups growing in size, the tiny-house market might grow along with them. A bonus: Both kids and retirees could park their tiny homes in their parents' or kids' backyards, as it's legal to place a "backyard cottage" on your lot [source: McCrea].

Those who think tiny houses are just a passing fad will point to the fact that houses have been getting larger in general, as we said at the beginning of this article and that just 1 percent of all home buyers purchased homes 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) or less in 2014 [source: National Association of Realtors]. We'll just have to wait and see whether tiny houses stay around.

Author's Note: 10 Big Questions About Tiny Houses

I cannot tell a lie. I live in what some would describe as a McMansion. I can't remember exactly how big our home is, but it's somewhere around 3,400 square feet. We built such a large home because we wanted each of our three children to have their own bedroom, for one thing. In our previous home, our two girls shared a room and it didn't go so well, since they have opposite personalities and living styles (early-to-bed, night owl; neat freak, slob; loud, quiet). Since I was working out of our home, I also needed workspace that wasn't a laptop on my bed. We also wanted a guest room for my aging parents, who regularly traveled a fair distance to visit.

But today our kids are grown and my parents live nearby. Our house has far more room than we need, and we're constantly giving items away in an effort to downsize. At some point, we will look for smaller quarters. During my research, I combed through photos of many extremely attractive tiny homes. It's tempting to think of the freedom I'd feel with few belongings to worry about. There's just one problem: I can't figure out where I'd put the piano.

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More Great Links


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