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Friday, September 28, 2012

A Smaller Home Proves Size Does Matter

I had the pleasure of working for one of the most ground-breaking organizations in terms of green building back in the day.  There was never a moment that went by that I wasn't amazed by the people I worked with and the passion they had for a more sustainable built environment.  Because of that amazing influence, I've always been driven to the "tiny house movement" and the idea that great design is the key and you don't need a large home to live comfortably or happily.

In a time when the U.S. home size averages to roughly 2,000 square feet - which is 4 times the international average - I love seeing the development of these tiny homes which are sustainably built.  They are absolutely beautiful, well designed and are proof that the right design and efficient living makes all the difference.  We try to live under that philosophy - keeping our ownership of "stuff" to a minimum when we can and using our vertical space to take advantage of every inch of space our home has to offer - but for a couple of book lovers, sentimentalists and my fascination with furniture we aren't always successful.

These homes by Tumblweed Tiny House Company range in size from 65 square feet to 874 square feet.  The B-53 and the Whidbey are two of my favorites for the larger sized options.

B-53 - 3 bedroom home with 874 sq. ft.  Estimated cost to build:  $58,000

Whidbey - 2 bedroom home 557 sq. ft. Estimated Cost to build:  $41,500
One of the smallest options, the Anderjack Box Bungalow is a perfectly sized cabin and Tumbleweed's mid-size range would be great for one to two people or those looking for guest cottages or mother-in-law homes.

Anderjack Box Bungalow - 99 sq. ft.
Learn more about small homes by hitting the books (or internet.)  Read the Small House Book by Jay Shafer who lived in an 80 square foot home in California and lived to tell about it, the Huff Post article, 11 Small Eco Homes That Live Large, which showcases 11 drool-worthy homes and this CNN article, "Tiny Homes Hit the Big City"

This interview with Jay by Tiny Yellow House discusses tips on downsizing your life, living smartly and a glimpse at the interior of one of the Tumbleweed Tiny Houses.

Has your small home appetite still not be sated?  Learn even more about building smaller-scale homes at the Build Small:  Live Large Housing Summit being held on Friday, October 26 in Portland, Oregon hosted by that ol' employer I was raving about, Cascadia Region Green Building Council.

The 2012 Build Small | Live Large Housing Summit will gather leaders in the development, real estate, building and design sector from across the bioregion for an intensive day of inspiration, project case studies and peer-to-peer learning. Industry professionals will see innovative designs and learn about the financial success stories emerging across our area. 

Could I live in a small home?  Well, our condo in Seattle is a 667 square foot 2 bedroom 1 bathroom home and while it was a bit cramped for the hubs and I, after some good ol' downsizing and some creative decor options I think it would be more than enough for our family of three.

So what about you guys?  Could you ditch your junk and live on a small footprint or does that thought terrify you?



  1. I love small homes! We've downsized from roughly 1400 sq ft down to 840 sq ft. It was a rough transition due to all the "stuff" my husband and I accumulated when we were single just packed away in boxes in the garage. The process was terrifying at first, but it just made sense. Who needs 3 sets of Rock Band drums anyway?

    We've still got a long way to go in making our space more efficient and functional, but I don't regret purchasing a smaller home. It just forces you to be more creative! ;)

  2. Cute houses. We're not in the market, but if we ever move I'd definitely go smaller!

  3. My partner and I moved from a spacious (in English terms!) one bedroom flat to a pretty small houseboat 6 months ago. I think it is around 270-300 square feet, and some of that is taken up by the engine. I was a little anxious about the space issue, but we have adjusted really well. There are so many advantages to livin in a smaller space: less time spent on cleaning (!), the sense of freedom that comes with having less "stuff", lower living costs and being able to own our own home instead of renting a bigger place, etc...


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