A Simple Home | On Tiny Houses

small living / corner with eames style rocking chair, sheepskin and rustic bench

Last night, I sat down to begin a new series on the blog called Small Living. I wanted to share thoughts and ideas about living smaller, simpler and more minimally as they occur to me. As many of you know, this blog originated as a home decor/interior design blog, as that was my main interest for a long time. I hesitate to stray too far from those roots, as I still love those same ideas about home and design. Through the process, and exploring many blogs, I discovered that my interest was less in decorating a home, than it was in making a home. Maybe it’s because I’ve done a lot of maturing since I graduated college and have lived in four different homes with B, each of which has posed its own challenges and made me think beyond decor.

So, last night when I opened my laptop to edit these photos, I decided to turn on Netflix for something to watch in the background. I nearly defaulted to Friends or rewatching Notting Hill, but I happened to come across the HGTV series Tiny Houses. I started watching it, but just wasn’t feeling it at the moment (anyone else taken aback by reality TV hosts yelling everything?), and decided to see what else might be on that was similar. I came across a documentary called Tiny and withing the first 5 minutes fell madly in love with it.

small living, simple entry

Tiny is a documentary about a man and his girlfriend who decide to build a “tiny house” in Colorado. The home is a less than 200 square foot house on wheels – it has to be on wheels as local building codes require permanent structures to be at least 600 square feet. Throughout the film they interview scholars at universities and people who have built and live in tiny homes across America.

On a surface level, I was fascinated to see how people lived in these tiny homes – how they were set up, how many people/pets lived in them, and where they were located (in fact, one looked as if its on my bus route! Will be keeping an eye out for it!) Beyond that, the film dives deep into the ideas behind living in a tiny home, and how much space we really need. Many people write off living in a small home because they feel that they need the extra space. Others believe that a small or tiny home has to be 100-200 square feet, but many of the individuals in the film refute that sentiment. A favorite quote from the film speaks to this perfectly: “I’d say a small house is just a house in which all the space is used well.” Isn’t this what we should be aiming for?

small living

I can almost guarantee that I’ll never want to live in a typical “tiny house”. I like a little room to breathe, and after living in a tiny apartment and feeling like we were living on top of each other, I just can’t see us ever choosing that lifestyle, though I do recognize the difference between a tiny apartment in a cramped building on a busy street versus a tiny house on a plot of land. However, I look around my 800-ish square foot home, and I feel perfectly content. Sure, I wish one of the bedrooms was a few inches larger, but mostly, I’m content with what we have, and don’t feel like I need anything more.

Even if you’re not into the idea of living in a tiny house, I highly recommend this film. The filmmakers did such a great job of diving into the ideas that the tiny home movement is built from. It explores figuring out what matters most in life to each of us individually, rejecting the idea that property ownership is how we prove our success in life, and how to make a home work for you, so you can focus on more important things in life.

Watching this film was such a perfect way for me to kick of this series. I feel inspired to really dive into what it means to live small, and explore what matters most to me in life. I hope you find value in this series. I’ll leave you with one more quote from the film, because I just can’t help myself.

“If we in the 21st century choose to be guided by that pattern and to have that same assumption, that our dignity, our standing, our stature, our independence, our freedom rests on property owning – If we believe that, then we submit to that and we’re ruled by that. But it’s not a universal rule of human nature, that that is the only, only, only route to dignity.” 

 

  • Ooo yeah! I look forward to your new series!! I live in a studio condo with my husband so I don’t live in a typical tiny home but it’s a small space. I’ve begun to purge a lot – I was motivated by your post about taking pictures of your mementos and then finally throwing them out. But I still am trying to build a home for my marriage. I do love that show Tiny Home but for some reason I find it so unrealistic sometimes. I don’t get the yelling or understand why?!? I look forward to checking out that documentary! =P

    • Definitely check out the documentary – it’s so good and will make your little studio feel huge! It’s so important to go into everything with an intention in mind, and I love your comment on building a home for your marriage.

  • My six year old son and I watched that documentary! So good! I did a post not too long ago echoing what you talk about here. I’ve been obsessed with the tiny house movement for a while and one day I examined my thoughts on it and realized it wasn’t the TINY house I wanted but a lovingly put together and intentional home I was after. Now the itch to go tiny went away but the itch to be minimal and intentional, surrounded by things we love and use is big! Great post!

    • I love this! Tiny homes are definitely not for everyone, or even a majority of people. I’d go crazy! But the concepts are important and there’s a lot to learn from it all. It definitely inspired me, but I’m keeping all 800 sq ft that I have ;)

  • My bf just moved into a tiny studio apartment and we have a lot of fun joking about his new tiny house lifestyle. I’m living abroad now, but plan to join him soon. I’ve fantasized a lot about tiny homes in the past, but now that I’ll actually be living in one the idea isn’t quite so appealing. I’ll have to check out that documentary and see how people are making it work!

    • Small spaces can be tough! Although my place isn’t super small, it’s small enough, and I don’t want it full of stuff just for the sake of it. If you haven’t already, check out the blog Reading My Tea Leaves. It’s one of my absolute favorites, and Erin lives in a teeny tiny apartment with her husband and daughter. She has a great outlook and great tips.