brand new video:
       
get all 177 hours of
presentations here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Psychology and Tiny Houses  RSS feed

 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Likes 1 Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did a search of this forum, and found that no one has raised the issue of the psychological need for space. Granted, this is variable somewhat by culture. I grew up in American suburbia, having my own room-- just a bedroom-- of around 120 sq.ft.

To cram into that same kind of space: bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bath... it seems inconceivable to me.

I did some Googling on this, and found that tiny houses seem to be popular among the under 30 crowd, but that those over 40ish tend to not appreciate having to reconfigure their space several times per day.

I just simply could not imagine it would be psychologically healthy to live in a 100 sq.ft. tiny house through the Midwest winter.

How much space is really enough? How much is too much?

My wife and I are planning an ecovillage. We utterly reject the need for single-family housing, where a housing unit is designed around a kitchen. Private space only needs to include sleeping and study space, and need not be larger than a typical room at a hotel. It need not even include a private bathroom.

We're looking at 230-300 sq.ft. per 2 person occupancy units.

Public areas include toileting areas shared by 2-3 occupancy units, and kitchen, laundry, showers, and living areas shared by 4-6 occupancy units. These 4-6 occupancy units would be built efficiently, sharing common walls, rather than individual free-standing units, also allowing for comfortable movement between private and public areas without having to dress for outside weather.
 
Jay Grace
Posts: 238
Location: Nauvoo, AL
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think every individual has their own magic number for square footage and still fell comfortable.

In theory all you need is enough space to lay down to sleep. 4'x8' ? 2.5'x6.5' ? Basically the size of a tent.

I myself have a 12'x18' (216sqft footprint) with a loft currently in the works. Really only three rooms. The loft, the ground floor, and composting toilet / shower stall. With the toilet and shower stall under the stairwell.

While not asleep I spend nearly 100% of my time in the kitchen. So nearly my entire living area will be set up around the kitchen and the heater.

I believe once a house gets large enough you have a room you don't go into at least everyday that square footage could easily be eliminated.

But it comes down to single person/ a couple/ a couple with kids.

Words like privacy, and humane stocking density come to mind when I hear people talking about going super small.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4027
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On our place in Wyoming we have a camper trailer. 42 X8 feet. Two small bedrooms, bath (used for storage ), kitchen/dining/living room.
We tend to spend all of our time outside , other than sleeping or in bad weather.
We love it. I guess we "think" we have more space as we have outdoor living space too.
We have not lived in it year round so there might be a little cabin fever in the winter.
But there are lots of folks who live or have lived in smallish homes for years. I think they just have to spend time outside of the home.
spartancamp.JPG
[Thumbnail for spartancamp.JPG]
Our 1955 Spartan camper, 42X8 feet
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have single digits here today in Nebraska. Not a time to be outside for any length of time. I think I would get serious cabin-fever in a tiny house in a Nebraska winter.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6779
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
263
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2569
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
498
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

When I measure the space that I actually use in a large suburban house, it amounts to approximately 160 square feet. The rest consists of hallways, and extra bathrooms I never use, and rooms that haven't been entered since the kids left, and closets, full of junk, that haven't been opened in decades, and common areas that are not used to entertain the guests that never visit.
 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 208
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
21
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it depends a lot on your life, if you have kids, etc. I have three kids and I can't imagine living in a smaller place. We have a 2 bedroom 720 sq foot cabin. I have their bedroom divided into three distinct areas via curtains and freestanding closets but it is still a frustration, especially for the oldest, because she doesn't even have room for a desk in her area and because her "room" is so close to the 3 yr old's "room" there is a lack of privacy for them.

And yes, I realize that privacy is a more modern thing, along with personal space, but it's a big deal to us. As my girls get older, they want private space that belongs to them, even a little bit. I need space away from them. I don't want to try to cook, can and preserve in a teeny weeny kitchen. We lived in a 30ft camper while building this place and it was a huge relief to move out of there.

The other thing that isn't addressed by the tiny home movement is that a lot of space, for people who live a homesteading lifestyle, is necessary for the tools and implements to live this life.

It always seemed to me that people living in a tiny house needed to grocery shop frequently due to lack of space (or eat out frequently), were most often single or just a married couple (in other words, no kids), and in a lot of ways, were moreso minimalistic rather than trying to be sustainable. Obviously there's exceptions to that (like the Jeffries family at Sugar Mountain)... I realize there's some overlap, but to really be self sustainable you NEED tools and someplace to put them.

If I lived in a tiny 200sq ft house, where would I put my giant pressure canner, my stockpile of canned food, all my bakeware, 2 weeks worth of food at a time, food preservation supplies, dehydrator, wheat grinder, big buckets of dry foods (like beans, etc.), and extra canning jars? And yes I suppose some of it could be stored in an outbuilding, but doesn't that defy the purpose of building tiny? And would certainly make my life less efficient for some of those things - and that's just talking about my kitchen stuff.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9926
Location: Portugal
908
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My partner and I live in a 17ft x 17ft house. We love it. Might add a bathroom one day to make it easier on wet winter day, but basically it's just one big room, using a table to separate off the kitchen area, and a some cupboards to separate off the bedroom area. Wherever we are at time, we can still see the whole room, so it always looks spacious. Neither of us are remotely near thirty!
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
27
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, for one: 100SF is smallish even for a tinyhome; I would venture a WAG most are 20'ish, so 170sf plus loft. I think 24' is a nice size, myself.

To me, much of the appeal of a tinyhome is precisely the lack of an aspect of your communal housing: no shared walls.

I lived for 4+ years with a former partner in a small apartment, along with our 2 cats. ~380sf. Things I hated: The incredibly terrible kitchen design. The neighbours above us who would RUN up/down the outside stairs every time they arrived/left, shaking the entire building... even at 3AM. The neighbour below us who would fill our apartment with smoke through the shared ventilation system. A long list, but almost entirely about the people and design, rather than square footage.

The amount of space was pretty workable. Enough room for a couple beds, a couch, 2 desks, and extra counterspace to make the kitchen bearable. Room to work out on the floor.

With full control of the floorplan, I could see a 24ft tinyhome working better for 2 than that apartment. This would be more like 200sf plus loft. For long term use, the addition of shed/workshop structures would be key. Sure not gonna be a lot of room to store the shovels and tablesaw in a house that size.


One advantage of the tinyhome is that it can move around with you while you sort out where you want to root.

Another one would be the flexibility once you have your own land, or are settled in a community.

Find it's just WAY TOO SMALL? Prioritize building your new house, via earthbag/timberframed strawbale/wofati/geodesic dome/WHY, then use the tinyhome as a B&B suite, or WOOFer lair, or sell it, or...
Find it's just a bit too small? Build another one, park them side by side. Or build some other sort of structure.
Have other things you'd rather focus on first, like building up farm infrastructure, planting a food forest, chasing girls? Good thing you brought a house with you, and don't need to build one while you live in cold, moldy camper!

Of course, the usual gotcha may apply to any/all of the above: IF you can avoid the bylaws/busybodies. In the meantime you also have to find somewhere to park it...


'The midwest winter'. I live in BC; it's often wet and cold in the winter, but it's still pretty easy to be outdoors very frequently throughout the year. That's a pretty big difference.


There's absolutely no doubt that a common building is more efficient at a given size. Massive savings from many different sources. However, it's just not a compromise everyone is willing to make. Some folks have tinyhomes with no bathroom; some also lack cooking facilities. A communal grouping of these dependent-tinyhomes around a communal kitchen and bathroom facilities maintains some of the efficiencies of communal living while giving everyone a bit more elbow room... by giving up some elbow room.
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Burra Maluca wrote:My partner and I live in a 17ft x 17ft house. We love it. Might add a bathroom one day to make it easier on wet winter day, but basically it's just one big room, using a table to separate off the kitchen area, and a some cupboards to separate off the bedroom area. Wherever we are at time, we can still see the whole room, so it always looks spacious. Neither of us are remotely near thirty!


17x17 seems doable to me, so long as it's mostly bedroom and sitting area/office, and not taken up by a lot of kitchen and bath space. I dream of creating communal housing where kitchens and baths are shared spaces, but private space for sleeping, studying, etc... is 230-300 sq.ft. (double-occupancy).
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dillon Nichols wrote:Well, for one: 100SF is smallish even for a tinyhome; I would venture a WAG most are 20'ish, so 170sf plus loft. I think 24' is a nice size, myself.

To me, much of the appeal of a tinyhome is precisely the lack of an aspect of your communal housing: no shared walls.


Whoah... shared walls are NOT a problem when they are 20 inch thick earthen walls (cob or earthbag). These serve also as thermal mass inside the insulation envelope, but are also great for privacy.

Dillon Nichols wrote: I lived for 4+ years with a former partner in a small apartment, along with our 2 cats. ~380sf. Things I hated: The incredibly terrible kitchen design. The neighbours above us who would RUN up/down the outside stairs every time they arrived/left, shaking the entire building... even at 3AM. The neighbour below us who would fill our apartment with smoke through the shared ventilation system. A long list, but almost entirely about the people and design, rather than square footage.


380 sq.ft. is plenty for 2 (even with cats). Sounds like you were in a cheap, standard lumber-frame building. The housing I have in mind is earthen construction throughout, with maybe some straw bale as insulating external walls. People can run down hallways and not bother a soul.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
The amount of space was pretty workable. Enough room for a couple beds, a couch, 2 desks, and extra counterspace to make the kitchen bearable. Room to work out on the floor.


I'm sure it was workable. I could even pare it down to 280 sq.ft, if we lose the kitchen area and the bathroom I'm sure your unit had. Take out the cooking and bath facilities, and moisture control gets better, too.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
With full control of the floorplan, I could see a 24ft tinyhome working better for 2 than that apartment. This would be more like 200sf plus loft. For long term use, the addition of shed/workshop structures would be key. Sure not gonna be a lot of room to store the shovels and tablesaw in a house that size.


I'm not so keen on loft-designs I've seen. Most of them put the bed in the loft space. Looks nifty, until you think about engaging in-- um-- intimate activities with your partner. My wife and I aren't skinny yoga-practitioners. We don't do it in the back seats of cars, and those loft beds don't look that much more roomy.

I totally agree about a shed/workshop, but the building requirements are MUCH lower for that kind of space, and can easily be added on as a lean-to on the side of the main structure, saving some construction by using an existing wall.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
One advantage of the tinyhome is that it can move around with you while you sort out where you want to root.

Another one would be the flexibility once you have your own land, or are settled in a community.


While many tiny homes are built on wheeled trailers, not all are. If we're going to live in a small "home on wheels", I may as well find a decent, used 4-season, travel-trailer.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
Find it's just WAY TOO SMALL? Prioritize building your new house, via earthbag/timberframed strawbale/wofati/geodesic dome/WHY, then use the tinyhome as a B&B suite, or WOOFer lair, or sell it, or...
Find it's just a bit too small? Build another one, park them side by side. Or build some other sort of structure.


As a temporary, transitional home while building a permanent structure, it makes more sense, but many are promoting them as permanent housing solutions. Maybe, if you're a 25 year old... it seems romantic. But I'm 41, and I'm not going to spend 4 months of the year cooped up in 150 sq.ft.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
Have other things you'd rather focus on first, like building up farm infrastructure, planting a food forest, chasing girls? Good thing you brought a house with you, and don't need to build one while you live in cold, moldy camper!


I'd rather build a full size barn first, and live in that while doing the rest, if I have the land to do that kind of work on.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
Of course, the usual gotcha may apply to any/all of the above: IF you can avoid the bylaws/busybodies. In the meantime you also have to find somewhere to park it...

'The midwest winter'. I live in BC; it's often wet and cold in the winter, but it's still pretty easy to be outdoors very frequently throughout the year. That's a pretty big difference.


"Cold" is relative. It's often dry here in winter, but we frequently get days with highs below 10 F, and lows below 0 F-- and 30 mph winds dropping the wind-chills down to -20 F or lower.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
There's absolutely no doubt that a common building is more efficient at a given size. Massive savings from many different sources. However, it's just not a compromise everyone is willing to make. Some folks have tinyhomes with no bathroom; some also lack cooking facilities. A communal grouping of these dependent-tinyhomes around a communal kitchen and bathroom facilities maintains some of the efficiencies of communal living while giving everyone a bit more elbow room... by giving up some elbow room.


I'm not sure what you mean by that last statement. A bunch of tiny homes, up on their wheeled trailer undercarriages (if indeed that's the type imagined), with much more square-footage of external walls exposed to the outside environment (than an equivalent amount of space in a single building with shared walls), is terribly inefficient. And what kind of compromises are you imagining? If everyone gets 250 sq.ft of private living space, close proximity to a shared bath, which they don't even have to put on shoes to visit, a communal kitchen with a rotation on cooking duties. I don't see where compromise comes in.
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bethany Dutch wrote:I think it depends a lot on your life, if you have kids, etc. I have three kids and I can't imagine living in a smaller place. We have a 2 bedroom 720 sq foot cabin. I have their bedroom divided into three distinct areas via curtains and freestanding closets but it is still a frustration, especially for the oldest, because she doesn't even have room for a desk in her area and because her "room" is so close to the 3 yr old's "room" there is a lack of privacy for them.

And yes, I realize that privacy is a more modern thing, along with personal space, but it's a big deal to us. As my girls get older, they want private space that belongs to them, even a little bit. I need space away from them. I don't want to try to cook, can and preserve in a teeny weeny kitchen. We lived in a 30ft camper while building this place and it was a huge relief to move out of there.

The other thing that isn't addressed by the tiny home movement is that a lot of space, for people who live a homesteading lifestyle, is necessary for the tools and implements to live this life.

It always seemed to me that people living in a tiny house needed to grocery shop frequently due to lack of space (or eat out frequently), were most often single or just a married couple (in other words, no kids), and in a lot of ways, were moreso minimalistic rather than trying to be sustainable. Obviously there's exceptions to that (like the Jeffries family at Sugar Mountain)... I realize there's some overlap, but to really be self sustainable you NEED tools and someplace to put them.

If I lived in a tiny 200sq ft house, where would I put my giant pressure canner, my stockpile of canned food, all my bakeware, 2 weeks worth of food at a time, food preservation supplies, dehydrator, wheat grinder, big buckets of dry foods (like beans, etc.), and extra canning jars? And yes I suppose some of it could be stored in an outbuilding, but doesn't that defy the purpose of building tiny? And would certainly make my life less efficient for some of those things - and that's just talking about my kitchen stuff.


Bethany, I appreciate your comments.

I think that an outbuilding doesn't defeat the purpose of building tiny. Tiny building is largely around efficiency-- a small space to heat (and cool) is more efficient. If you're storing equipment in an outbuilding, there's no need for that equipment to be a nice 70 degrees for you.

I agree that the biggest adopters of the tiny house movement seem to be young singles and just-marrieds with no children. It's one reason why I favor building communal housing instead. Private bedroom/office space can be "tiny", but people don't feel so cooped up when they can walk out their door into a warm hallway (perhaps a solar passageway with green plants) and go down the hall, barefoot, to the bath, shower, laundry, kitchen, library, and any number of other communal facilities. A 250 sq.ft "private space" can be a standardized construction, and can serve as double-occupancy room for adults or older teens, quad-occupancy for young children, a communal kitchen. Take the same basic 4 walls, tack them on end to end, build them out internally as needed, connected by a solar passageway. That's what I have in mind.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
27
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bethany: Completely agree about the tools and *stuff* issue; sometimes that *stuff* is needed to enable a chosen lifestyle. I do suspect most people who start with a mobile tinyhome and transition to a homestead would end up with, at a minimum, substantial outbuildings, unless minimalism was *really* important to them.

Ditto on the kids issue. But hey, when they turn X years old they could start helping build their own separate tinyhomes and get some real privacy! Pretty sure I've seen someone do this, but can't find the link...

In a situation like yours, I would be looking at the tinyhome as the equivalent of that travel trailer, except it would have had the potential for long-term use as a secondary building, or as a part of a larger building or cluster of buildings. However, if it would have cost 10x as much as the travel trailer, those advantages don't sound very compelling... And if you didn't have it before moving to vacant land, or land with a house, then it doesn't make much sense...

I think expandability is something most tinyhomes don't accommodate very well, but this could be addressed with fairly simply changes to design criteria...



Kevin:

Whoah... shared walls are NOT a problem when they are 20 inch thick earthen walls (cob or earthbag). These serve also as thermal mass inside the insulation envelope, but are also great for privacy.


Agreed that the noise issue could be addressed with mass, and very good doors; the cheap stick-built building was near one end of the spectrum for livability; something like you describe is pretty near the other end. Would make an enormous difference. One would certainly hope that an improvement in neighbour compatibility would also be present; a later building wasn't much better built, but the majority of the issues vanished because it was a bunch of long-term occupants, most of whom made some effort to get along.


I'm not so keen on loft-designs I've seen. Most of them put the bed in the loft space. Looks nifty, until you think about engaging in-- um-- intimate activities with your partner. My wife and I aren't skinny yoga-practitioners. We don't do it in the back seats of cars, and those loft beds don't look that much more roomy.


I like loft designs, but I think most of the ones I see in tiny-homes are pretty goofy. Using a flat roof and lowering the downstairs ceiling a bit, in only that specific area, can really make a difference.

I consider adequate room to play to be a high priority design consideration that's sadly neglected... I think a tall loft above the living space with the bed able to lower down into a space that would normally be open between couches would be pretty flexible. I wouldn't want to try living in a tinyhome with more than 1 person, which means the couch, desk, etc are all fair game.


I totally agree about a shed/workshop, but the building requirements are MUCH lower for that kind of space, and can easily be added on as a lean-to on the side of the main structure, saving some construction by using an existing wall.


Lots of options for shed space; I see a fair number of otherwise vacant acreages with a restorable workshop or barn, or a derelict home that could be converted to workshop/storage space. Then you've got stuff like shipping containers, schoolbusses, cube vans... And other course it's a great sort of building to experiment with a new-to-you construction method, since standards can more flexible.

While many tiny homes are built on wheeled trailers, not all are. If we're going to live in a small "home on wheels", I may as well find a decent, used 4-season, travel-trailer.


Decent, used, 4-season travel trailers are... if not quite an oxymoron, not all that common in my opinion. Even a relatively well insulated one is not really that well insulated, and very likely to still rely on a thirsty, condensation-creating propane furnace. I think the livability and longevity differences between a well built, customized tinyhome, and a used travel trailer would be pretty major.

While it seems I'm mostly advocating in favor of tinyhomes... I really don't think they make economic sense for very many people, UNLESS you can build it yourself, or find a great deal. If you're buying one new, prebuilt... I can't see that as very good value.

I'm not sure what you mean by that last statement. A bunch of tiny homes, up on their wheeled trailer undercarriages (if indeed that's the type imagined), with much more square-footage of external walls exposed to the outside environment (than an equivalent amount of space in a single building with shared walls), is terribly inefficient. And what kind of compromises are you imagining? If everyone gets 250 sq.ft of private living space, close proximity to a shared bath, which they don't even have to put on shoes to visit, a communal kitchen with a rotation on cooking duties. I don't see where compromise comes in.


If in a permanent-ish location, folks building there could skip the trailer aspect. If mobile before arrival, skirting or other considerations for long term anchoring would be advisable.

Certainly tinyhomes built to be stationary have advantages here, mostly that you can afford much thicker walls and heavier construction methods for better efficiency. Regardless, it won't touch the efficiency of the communal setup you're describing.

One of the 'compromise' aspects is building design/maintenance/ownership. Would your setup be effectively a strata setup? Or a fiefdom like Paul is building up? Or something else? With separate buildings, the option for some more autonomy is there. Ditto for building placement, and the immediate surroundings; if you have some separation between dwellings, folks have the space to put up that shed they need and customize at least their own zone 0/1, and depending on the design perhaps zone 2/3 as well. Want a bright purple house with tentacles painted on it? Knock yourself out, it's your house...

This is NOT more efficient than a shared barn/workshop, a shared kitchen garden, etc. But it puts the control over some of those very 'close to home' things in the hands of each household, vs the Powers That Be, whatever form they take.

So, the compromise that's left, really, is stepping into that nice heated hallway instead of into the outdoors, and bumping into your neighbours in the kitchen/hallway/bathroom areas rather than walking through a bit of woods to see them at... well, possibly the communal kitchen. It's also going to *your* shed, for *your* tools, instead of *the* workshop for *a* tool... is it there? Is it broken? Is it a piece of junk because the PTB set the tool budget too low? Is the workshop three times as far away as efficiency would dictate, because the PTB didn't like the noise?

On the other hand, it's also slugging through the snow to the big kitchen, and burning a bit more fuel to heat *your* house. It's certainly working harder, to pay for the greater cost of freestanding dwellings, and individually owned stuff.

I would expect that there's a line somewhere that represents each person's individual sweet spot, where there is a major efficiency improvement from the communal aspect, but still enough autonomy and personal space... This really seems to tie back to the experiments Paul is doing with gappers, ant village challenge and the like!

I would also expect this line would be a moving target; finding just the right group of people could easily change some things from downsides to upsides... while time spent coping with badly matched groups could push the line the other way.
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, Dillon,

I really appreciate your extended reply. It sounds like you have a good grasp of the positives and negatives, as far as I perceive them, as well.

I think the only real concern I see is the ability for people to build their home as a piece of art, particularly if we go with cob construction. Separate cottages connected by some sort of passages would be really neat, I think, but it would add a LOT of work.

One other thing I contemplated was doming over a garden area and having all cottages open up into that dome. It could be a nice warm area with passive solar, and maybe using compost to help heat it. It would be a zone 0 garden space, but also a communal space-- replacing the need for a kitchen and living room.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6779
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
263
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Burra Maluca wrote:My partner and I live in a 17ft x 17ft house. We love it. Might add a bathroom one day to make it easier on wet winter day, but basically it's just one big room, using a table to separate off the kitchen area, and a some cupboards to separate off the bedroom area. Wherever we are at time, we can still see the whole room, so it always looks spacious. Neither of us are remotely near thirty!


Burra, 41 counts as young.

Is this the house that received the new roof ? Wasn't your son living there as well ?
.........
My cabin is that big on the main floor. Same thing on the upstairs, but with knee walls. The only partition, is a tall masonry stove. There are 8 windows and 2 doors on the main floor. The upper floor has a view down my road from the he west gable end. Looking east, the sight lines go across the valley to small mountains several miles away. Great views make a smaller space seem larger.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9926
Location: Portugal
908
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:Is this the house that received the new roof ? Wasn't your son living there as well ?


That's the one!

My son stayed in the old place in the village, though he's here in the mornings to help on the farm, and he has his meals here with us. And crashes out on the sofa if we overwork him. I think he'd find it too awkward to live in the same room as his parents at his age, especially after having his own private room for so long. But by his age, he's quite capable of building himself something if he wants to. I keep hoping he'll build me, er, himself a little wofati down in the olive grove.

I think the layout of the house is one of the most important things, and getting the spacing and sizing of stuff exactly right. The kitchen is just a strip along one wall with a sink at one end, a work surface with shelves underneath , then a cooker and a woodburner. And behind that is a table which separates the kitchen from the living area. There is just enough space so that one person can pass another between the table and the worksurface, so it's possible to have two people in the kitchen at the same time. And the table is just the right size so it doesn't impede people walking in through the door, though if they tried to walk in while someone was sitting on 'my' chair at the table, they'd have to go round me.

I find it suits me. I get forgetful, especially where washing up is concerned, but I can always see what I've forgotten to do as with just one room it's right in front of me if I care to look. And there's only one floor to sweep. We made a little walk-in pantry thing for storing food, and this acts as a partial room separator so that the bed at least feels like it's in a separate room, but if I'm ill and stuck in bed for days then I can also see what's going on and feel part of everything, without getting in the way.

The other useful thing is that while the bedroom is only just big enough, it could be adjusted by moving the cupboards more into the living area to allow the double bed to be switched to a single and a hospital bed if necessary. Plus with no surplus doors wheelchair access would be fairly simple.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3562
Location: Anjou ,France
169
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So how do folks who traditionally live in small structures cope ?
I was thinking Igloos , gers , horse drawn caravans etc etc it's only in modern times that folks have become used to so much space

David
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6779
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
263
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think a large part of it for nomadic people, is to have less stuff. A lot less stuff.

The entire tool kit of traditional Inuit hunters could be packed onto a sled. People of the Kalahari owned even less stuff.
......
My grandparents had a farmhouse with the usual tools and furnishings of their era. No extra rooms or unused space.

I have relatives whose home includes a large foyer, living room, dining room, den, TV room, extra bedrooms... These rooms are home to furniture.
.......
You know that a home is too large, if an orientation tour is necessary for first time visitors. It gets really weird when the "house proud" owners conduct a tour through a run of the mill suburban house that is nearly identical to a million others. Sometimes, typical modern conveniences are described. "This is the shower, this is the ceiling fan, this is the lazy Susan.... If you didn't build it, don't insist on conducting tours. It demeans us both.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3562
Location: Anjou ,France
169
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was thinking could not two problems become one solution
Build a house where every wall both inturnal and exturnal is also storage space you have the added advantage of better insulation . every wall would be six foot wide but so what ?

David
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 567
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
66
bike dog forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry I did not read the reactions. First I like to give my own comment.
I happened to overhear a conversation today about 'needed space', by two ladies I know. They both live in large houses with a wide open space around. I heard one of them say, the situation 'grew' like that. When she was young she had a small rented studio. But then throughout the years everytime she (and her husband) moved, they moved to a larger house. So I think, it has to do with 'status'. When you live in a larger house (with a larger garden), you have a higher status ...

My view on 'status' is probably different. Maybe I measure my 'status' by other things.

I do not like having so much 'house' around me. I don't like having to clean and tidy up so much. I don't like having to heat such a large space. Because I do not like to 'store stuff', I do not need space for that.

I do like having the space needed to grow edible plants, both indoors & outdoors (garden). I like having 'green' (living plants) around me. I like having the space for doing what I like (f.e. painting, drawing, knitting). I most cases the amount of space needed for a chair and a table is sufficient. The most important for me is: to have a room where I can be on my own and do my own things. If I were alone, a 'tiny house' would be OK for me. But we are two, my husband and I. We each need to have one room to be alone sometimes. So a 'one room tiny house' is not enough for us both together. The rented apartment we live in now is just right for us: a ground floor apartment with gardens back and front, a small living room, kitchen and two bedrooms.

You tell about a situation with a kitchen together with others. If that implies having meals together, OK. If it's on a permaculture plot and the meals are prepared of what's grown there, OK. In that case you and all the others living there have chosen for this way of living and eating In other situations I prefer having a kitchen of our own, to prepare our own food. I also like having a bathroom of our own. Sharing bathrooms always leads to trouble about the cleaning (is my experience).


 
Dan Louche
author
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Everybody is different, and people adapt to the amount of space they are given. There is an interesting documentary called "The Queen of Versailles". In it the person whom the movie is centered is asked why they are moving out of their 20,000 sq ft house and into the largest house in the US, and she replies that they are "bursting at the seems", and that they simply don't have enough room for all their stuff.
 
Korie Veidel
Posts: 5
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My husband and I live in a 8x18 tiny house on wheels. We do have a need for space. I think something that's overlooked is that we don't spent all day in our houses. Part of (my) minimalistic philosophy is to resist recreating the outside world inside my house. I can go outside comfortably (as long as I'm dressed for it) for about 3/4 of the year in Northern Illinois. But I often spend time away from home- at work, at the library, at coffee shops... I do need space. I just don't need to own it. This is why I wanted a tiny house that wasn't far from town. I live 5 miles outside of town, close enough to drive or bike.

I think people who live in tiny houses DO expand into the areas around them to fulfill that need for space. That space may be outdoors or indoors. It may be intentionally designed to be a community space (like in a communal village) or it may be provided outside.

Also, I've heard tiny living defined as "less than 200sqft per person". I think this is a very fair definition. In the future, when we have 2, 3, or 4 children (Lord willing), I can see us fitting comfortably in 800-1000 square feet... and that's tiny.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Korie Veidel wrote: I do need space. I just don't need to own it.


Love that.
 
John Black
Posts: 8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kevin EarthSoul wrote:I did a search of this forum, and found that no one has raised the issue of the psychological need for space. Granted, this is variable somewhat by culture. I grew up in American suburbia, having my own room-- just a bedroom-- of around 120 sq.ft.

To cram into that same kind of space: bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bath... it seems inconceivable to me.

I did some Googling on this, and found that tiny houses seem to be popular among the under 30 crowd, but that those over 40ish tend to not appreciate having to reconfigure their space several times per day.

I just simply could not imagine it would be psychologically healthy to live in a 100 sq.ft. tiny house through the Midwest winter.

How much space is really enough? How much is too much?

My wife and I are planning an ecovillage. We utterly reject the need for single-family housing, where a housing unit is designed around a kitchen. Private space only needs to include sleeping and study space, and need not be larger than a typical room at a hotel. It need not even include a private bathroom.

We're looking at 230-300 sq.ft. per 2 person occupancy units.

Public areas include toileting areas shared by 2-3 occupancy units, and kitchen, laundry, showers, and living areas shared by 4-6 occupancy units. These 4-6 occupancy units would be built efficiently, sharing common walls, rather than individual free-standing units, also allowing for comfortable movement between private and public areas without having to dress for outside weather.


As a few people have pointed out the great thing about having land and a tiny home is the ability to erect other structures on your property. Having an extremely large workshop is incredibly cheap to build in comparison to a house. Putting a couch in it is also cheap. The only thing a tiny house provides is a place to easily heat and cool. Outdoor showers, outdoor barbecue pit, outdoor seating, outdoor patio, and lots of open space. This is all very cheap to construct. However, things like property tax inside a city and renting/purchasing property is expensive. Therefore having a tiny dwelling gives you more financial freedom. Not to mention what I've wanted to construct is a very large outdoor building with gutters attached to it for rain collection. Depending on the size of your roof you could easily collect 200-500 gallons of water per inch of rain at 60% efficiency.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 781
Location: Longbranch, WA
44
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Having an extremely large workshop is incredibly cheap to build in comparison to a house. Putting a couch in it is also cheap. The only thing a tiny house provides is a place to easily heat and cool.

One of the considerations of the group that was going to use my property was to build such a pole structure and then build tiny homes on wheels inside. Having a large space that is dry and out of the wintertime is conducive to accomplishing most homestead projects. Tools, workbench, food storage, vehicles and activity space all just a step outside your living space. This same structure also providing water collection and solar electric.
 
Tom Turner
Posts: 54
Location: high desert and mountains of Idaho and coastal Atlantic Canada (migratory)
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Kevin's OP formula for housing is right on target for the human psyche. The 4-6 family eco-village was at one time the extended multi-generational family farmhouse with a few hired hands/friends. Times have changed and families are severely fragmented because of social pressures that are another, but related to all of permies, topic. We now need to accumulate our "families" through like-minded friendship bonds and commitments.

To the psychology of space, I think we live in two modes: the outgoing, social and active mode, and the regenerating, private, resting mode. We exist in continual phases of work and recovery. The active mode fits into the central area of Kevin's eco-village, or the architectural "great room" or the old-time kitchen of the family farm ... but mostly outside of the house.

I think that the recovery mode is actually enhanced in a small space. Perhaps I spend too-much time with dogs and their psychological adaptions rubbed off on me, but like dogs, I like to den-up in a small warm space. When I leave the dog(s) in the car they gravitate to going into the dark trunk to hunker-down to wait for me to return. I think people are the same way. I did some work for a couple who bought a 6,000 sq ft house. The common rooms obviously made an ideal setting for throwing huge parties, if that's what you like. The master bedroom was huge. It was probably 1,000 sq ft plus another 500 sq ft of closet and bath space. It had 10 ft ceilings and several sliding glass doors out onto a patio. I installed a flat-screen TV on the wall opposite the bed knowing that I could never see that far with my old eyes. It struck me as unquestionable that there was no way that I could truly relax in that bedroom. If I lived there I would have moved my bed into one of the walk-in closets.

.
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The need for privacy is definitely culturally shaped.
Americans and Europeans around the time of Ben Franklin would still have been unsurprised to share a hotel bed with a stranger. Shared beds are warmer, and what else are you going to do, sleep in the barn? But writers of the period complain of the lice, bedbugs, etc. from strangers. Makes stomping around upstairs seem positively civilized.

One thing which has changed is that we have a much larger population now, and much more of it is in the cities. Very few of the population go home to help with the harvest (though this site is probably the exception).
In Japanese cities, where quarters are extremely small and privacy rare, there is a lot of formal politeness, and they have also developed elaborate toilets (I heard of one having 17 buttons for pampering.... not just wash, but scents, air-dry, maybe it plays music, I don't know). Because the bathroom is the one room where you are alone, and you can lock the door. They also have the infamous "coffin locker hotels" at airports, where you can rent a bed and a few cubic feet of air space for a rest. Some people stay there several nights in a row if they have too long a commute home... now that is a noisy space to sleep! but I bet they have white-noise generators, or headphones.

The art of the modern age has become how to ignore each other enough to re-create the illusion of privacy.

Ernie has a lot of experience on boats. He says they allocate 80 cubic feet of space per crew mate - that's not 80 square feet, but includes the space above your head. If it's 8 feet tall, then you get 10 square feet; which is not enough room for a bed. Usually, you split the space at least in half, so you get a bunk with 3 feet of head room, and storage underneath. It is maybe 30 inches wide (2.5 feet) by 6 feet long. 15 x 3 = 45, so you have only used half your allocated volume: you and your three bunk mates can split a bunk-shaped, full-height space for hallway, seating, closet, or whatever.

Ernie, at 6'6" tall, would either sleep curled up, or find a spare shelf or end-of-the-row bunk if possible.

Again, if you are going to stay sane on boats, manners come into play.
1) People are fairly blunt spoken, because it's a working environment where clear communication is essential for safety. That doesn't mean you over-share about personal problems back home - but if somebody's crap is cluttering up the passageways, you speak up promptly; if you are inconsiderate in a way that endangers others, there's a good chance of something (or someone) getting tossed overboard.
2) People who are inconsiderate, unsafe, or incompetent generally get booted off the boat at the first port. Every so often, they don't wait for the boat to hit the dock.
The working group becomes 4 to 6 people who are good enough at their jobs that they can be trusted not to endanger each other. You don't have to like each other, but it helps.
3) There are conventions for creating the illusion of privacy.
If you're on duty (active fishing, or on watch), you are fair game.
If you are off duty, and you want company, you go to the galley (food, TV) or on smaller boats, the cabin (where the person who is on watch will be, usually with the coffee maker).
If you are off duty, and you are not in the galley, people assume you want some time to yourself, and they mostly don't mess with you. You can read in your bunk, or go on deck for some fresh air, or climb something if you really want to get away from the smell of old socks and bait for a while.

There are still annoying things, like the number of sailors who try to teach themselves to play guitar using "Stairway to Heaven" as their practice piece.
It's important to note that this is what I call a "hunting band" in terms of our old human tribes. The members are handpicked, have a job to do, and get to separate again after the job is done.
The group does not include dependents, disabled people (or anyone) who can't pull their weight, or obligatory relationships of any kind.
(Disabled people who can pull their weight do show up - Ernie knew one captain who was mauled by bears, survived, and ran a boat for many years despite a severe limp. He had the boat set up so he could reach the ballast pumps from his bed, and would tilt the boat sideways each morning to make it easier for himself to roll out of bed.)

When Ernie gets mystified by incompetence and inconsiderate behavior on land, I remind him that land is where they send back all the people who don't cut it on boats.

Of course, now that he has a permanent injury, we are trying to make space for possible future wheelchair access, and for him to sleep full-length. I think of him as a 1.25 scale person.
We live and work in about 850 square feet, and I feel it could be smaller if it were better organized - and if we had a bigger shop space for the random tools and things-that-came-out-of-the-car. There is currently a drill press by my front door, for example. It was a lovely gift. I would love to get locking doors on our new shop soon, and be able to set things up properly in a less-premium space.

I think that having experienced genuinely tough times makes people a lot more tolerant of what they have to put up with in housemates - and a lot more sanguine about what personalities are tolerable, and what early warning signs indicate that someone will not be a healthy fit for the group.

My grandmother lived in a 4-generation homestead house for a while. She said what made it work was having 2 kitchens: one for her mom, and one for her paternal grandmother. When her sister moved in with toddlers during the war, my young grandmother moved out. She spoke with a great deal of love about having her grandmother around - but at the same time, she saw how much extra work it made for her mother when nursing a sick mother-in-law. She never wanted to move into any of her kids' homes, or be a burden on their families; she got her wish to die in her own home.

Various sisters, cousins, and nieces and nephews have been housemates with other family members. If you have a bigger family, there are more people to choose from, and the family is still functional if one or two kids decide to live elsewhere for a while. It can be OK to live with a favorite niece/aunt, where your own child or parent might drive you nuts. In smaller, isolated, nuclear families, you are stuck with whoever you 'drew' in the biological lottery, and you may not be able to get along that well in a tiny space.

I do think tiny spaces are inefficient for heating and cooling - they have a lot more exposed wall space. Apartments or 'cells' are more efficient from that standpoint. However, outbuildings (including tiny sleepout spaces) are both more private, and easier to protect from fire. Scandinavian farms often had separate structures for cooking, baking, and sauna, distinct from sleeping, distinct from food-storage and tool-storage buildings. If your kitchen burned, it would not take your crop and seed stock with it. People who live outdoors more are also more tolerant of colder temperatures; if well fed, you can stay warm with just insulation in a very small space, like a sleeping bag.

The most heat-efficient version would be something like Viking/Welsh cupboard-beds, or canopy beds, tiny barn apartments, where your private space is inside the larger, less-heated shelter.

One shared house in my head is a big barn-like space, with a long loft balcony with individual rooms/cells, looking over a big common space below. It's not necessarily practical - except maybe as a vacation rental, where the occupants pay the caretaker to make sure the kitchen is in good working order or just serve up good meals. But it seems like fun in my head. You could leave your door open and hear the party in the space below, or shut the door and be private. Soundproofing, and general sensory controls (lights, vibration) seem important for really being able to relax in a private room if you are feeling overstimulated by crowds.

However, we did survive for many millenia in shared spaces. Longhouses with campfires for each family. Pit-houses with 10 to 30 families overwintering together. Children who shared beds from infancy right through the time they were married off - and young couples who were expected to consummate the marriage while their bed was being carried around by a crowd banging pots and pans. Presumably, people either were a lot more frank and open about marital relations (in earshot of God and everybody), or the arrangement served as a sort of de-facto birth control, where young couples had to wait for spring to sneak off in the woods for some privacy.
...
There is also the big question: Is this a gathering of family, of unrelated 'equals,' or is there a clear hierarchy where someone is the property owner/host, and others are dependents or guests?
A lot of permies like egalitarian structures; a lot of permies have experienced very badly-working consensus and 'democratic' governance where communities became hostage to dysfunctional members.
I personally like to know who's in charge, and I prefer that they don't pretend it's "as long as everyone agrees" when in fact they mean "only if I approve."
I like to see a healthy respect for age, authority, and the legal responsibilities of property owners and long-term residents (local knowledge of the climate or hazards, for instance).
And I like to see individuals have their own spheres of authority.

Communal kitchens and bathrooms do seem to get grungy unless there's a clear authority and/or cleanup person.

This problem doesn't seem to apply to outhouses - there will usually be a seat, some cleaning supplies, and a door or curtain - but indoor bathrooms accumulate toothpaste-covered personal items like crazy. I think a rack of bins, with room numbers or name plates, might help - but if you are used to leaving your toothbrush in a rack by the sink to dry, it may be inevitable that there will be 3 or 4 racks with 8 or 10 toothbrushes, and nobody will know which one belongs to that guy who's never coming back.

Kitchens are also an almost-sacred space for health and safety; it's not really safe to have someone "cooking" who does not know basic things like how to clean up after raw meat or spoiled greens. I favor having a "kitchen commander" like Paul does, or a sort of shift supervisor anyway. One person in charge of how the kitchen is organized and who is allowed to use the equipment.

I've also noticed that mess in a shared kitchen is a lot more annoying to others than in a private kitchen. We shared a kitchen with 24 housemates in a Fisher House in Texas for a few weeks, and while we had some great pot-luck feasts and mutual support, there was also a LOT of stressed-out kitchen cleaning, dishwasher re-running, and grumbling about mess by the housekeeping staff (one gal in particular spent a lot more time grumbling, and high-grading the donated food to take home, than she actually spent housekeeping). I felt it showed a lack of compassion, when you're being paid to clean up after people who are having major medical crises, to grumble about them leaving you anything to clean up.
But I digress.

In a shared space, cleanup becomes critical to function.
You can either find people with compatible standards, and hope you don't outgrow your tolerances. Or you can hold yourself to the highest standard in the communal space, much more carefully than you do in private. Given that almost everyone knows someone who is uncomfortable in a grungy, unsantary mess, holding yourself to a better-than-my-own standard is probably the way to go. Like someone said about marriage: 50-50 is how you split the divorce; for a marriage to work, each partner has to give 100%. The same goes for housemates - if you expect to split things 25% each way between 4 housemates, there will always be things that get missed. (Maybe you both vacuum without realizing it, then sit there passive-aggressively resenting the fact that the other person hasn't emptied the dishwasher.) Each person washing their own dish leaves the cook with a pile of pots and pans, and the inevitable forgotten spoon or tumbler that nobody rescues.

But if you come into the situation expecting that it's normal to clean up after yourself and everybody else, 80% of the work is yours - if you can find a household with 3 or 4 housemates who each clean up 80% of the mess, you can have a nicer house than any of you could manage alone.

The need for privacy is also probably more intense as people are getting used to each other in a new situation, or as kids are growing and trying to define themselves. Long-established groups of family or friendly housemates, if they are functional, end up resolving their pecking order, identities, and so on, and can relax and get on with life in each other's company. Groups with high turnover are constantly having to introduce new members to "the rules," adjust the rules to what's actually happening, and the instability in itself creates stress.

In those situations, having a tiny house can be a stress outlet.
You may need to add tiny bunkhouses for the kids, or if they sleep in the main house for warmth, then a tiny playhouse where they can go be loud while you are busy with the whole main room.
A writer or professional who needs quiet to work may need a studio or van-office.

Lester Walker's original Tiny Tiny Houses remains one of my most influential examples - he includes semi-portable buildings like sharecropper homes, where the house was owned by the tenant but the land owner could require them to move at any time. So these were stout, well-built homes, often beautifully decorated, usually oriented wide-ways with two rooms off a central doorway/short hallway. If you did well, you added another onto it (4 rooms), or another (6 rooms), and you could still skid them off to another place if needed. But tiny homes are usually a response to something - in that case, insecurity of land tenure - that makes them more appealing than a more conventional permanent structure.
 
Travis Schulert
pollinator
Posts: 306
Location: South Central Michigan Zone 6
29
dog fish food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife and I have lived in a 200 sq ft tiny home going on a year and a half. although its not ideal, its also all in your head if you cannot do it. We live in the frigid north in Michigan, and do not get cabin fever during the winter, single digits just mean I put on another layer under my Carhartt before going outside to play.

Sure we can fight and argue at times, like any couple, but that usually means I go outside and either shovel snow to burn steam or I work in the garden. If you take away the whole sitting together in front of the TV aspect of home life, theres not a whole lot of time spent inside.

We do a lot of cooking and eating outside in summer, I cook a lot over a fire during summer months, and we cook inside mostly during the winter.

I believe its all mental, if I am having a hard time with it, I just remind myself how people all over the world live very happily with a lot less.

I like my privacy, but thats what the garden or greenhouse is for.

For me this only works with my wife, I would not dare live like this with other people who have their own habits and their own ideas of what cleanliness and tidiness mean. Especially without my own private bathroom... Again if you can handle that its all mental and all power to you, I personally wouldn't even attempt to live tiny with anyone other than my wife.

If someone gets psychological problems from living tiny than maybe they have been too industrialized and brainwashed by our modern system to make them think that every kid in the house deserves to have his own private room that they get to decorate and trash however they want. Too many 3+ bedroom single family homes in the first world if you ask me. Living tiny could do wonders for some of this worlds youth.
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 125
Location: Elgin, IL
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know, our 4-month old seems pretty happy in our 8'x18'

 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 125
Location: Elgin, IL
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Something that I think is important to keep in mind is that square footage is a just a number.. I've been in non-"tiny" houses that feel cramped and crowded (narrow hallways, fractured room layout, plus a lot of junk laying around) and "tiny" houses that feel twice as large as their sq. footage would lead to you think they would feel. It's all in the design.

By the way, there's a magical tiny house design that allows you to maximize your space while still getting some privacy...it's called earplugs
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My husband's family has lived in boats (the original tiny house) for so long that they have evolved "earplugs" as an unconscious response to personal privacy. I have to say his name and ask him a direct question if I want his attention; he will never eavesdrop on a phone conversation, he just doesn't hear it.

-Erica
 
Kaye Harris
Posts: 32
Location: The Ozarks
3
books forest garden hunting
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I know this thread has been dormant for awhile, but I just wanted to comment.

Someone said that you really only need a space to lie down, about the size of a tent.

I have done that.  I recently "roughed it" for several months in a very small tent, just barely enough for two 5'8" framed people to lay flat in, side-by-side. It really isn't enough. We humans have stuff. That stuff needs to go somewhere, and it needs to be secure. That means it needs to be accessible to you while not accessible to others.

We humans need to stretch and move and flex our bodies. It slowly gets uncomfortable to not be able to stand up in your private space. After awhile of living in a teensy weensy space, you'll long to have enough private, secure space to do some silly physical thing (ninja moves?) without gaping onlookers.

I was lucky in that my tiny tent situation was on a rural hill top with a view of the valley. My neighbors were the coyotes and owls, whose laughter at my outdoor ninja moves doesn't offend me.

Also, it is really nice to have enough space...to SHARE. I'm not a people-y person, but I felt a bit sad when some friends came to visit and I had nothing to offer them but a few cold stumps and some conversation about what a whack-job I am.

My theory is that the human need for space is a summary of physical comfort + social security.

Attached is a photo this year's autumn thru mid-winter dwelling.
Cheap-Tent.jpg
[Thumbnail for Cheap-Tent.jpg]
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1265
138
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I first got married I lived in a tiny house. It was okay, and I look fondly upon those years now because it was a start.

Psychology wise, I don't know...it was the early 1990's, well before farming was accepted as a "real career" and well before tiny houses were the trend. I was made fun of a lot that is for sure, but my house was paid for, sawn from lumber off my farm, which was a bit better then the people I graduated with and their houses with attached 20 car garages and 30 year mortgages. Me...I just kept adding on. Now my house is substantial in size and theirs, the same size but with a home equity loan to pay for those credit cards they got in over their heads with. I am not better than them, I just made choices at an early age that paid off.

But I think we have reached the tipping point. Our house is big enough that my wife has a tough time keeping it cleaned between farm work and 4 young daughters. Our overall plan is to eventually give the house to one of our girls and build an off grid cabin deep in the heart of our farm.
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1642
Location: Zone 6b
176
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Late to the party. As a child, a family friend moved onto his dad's farm to help farm. With a wife and a baby on the way with winters that exceeded -40f. In a 6' wide by 35' long trailer house/mobile home. That's 210 square feet. They had a microscopic front room area that allowed them a couch, the next section back was the kitchen with a folding down table for eating, then bathroom, a tiny bit behind that with W/D and the ubiquitous back door, and a microscopic back bedroom that they had to cram baby crib into. They put a ring of bales three high (or up to the windows) all the way around to have a chance of living in there that winter. Next year they bought another used SPACIOUS 8' x 42' with almost the same layout. 336 square feet. That two feet of width made a HUGE difference in how the space felt. They promptly built a fully insulated 10'x10' space off the utility room door and that became the boy's room and playroom. Which really helped them out. They lived there for several more years and moved into a double wide....

She said the big thing was having enough room to move around everything without brushing against anything, from front to back. And keeping it warm in winter. A stack of bales was their best friend....
 
We begin by testing your absorbancy by exposing you to this tiny ad:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!