Dee Williams Tiny House

Dee Williams tiny house photo

Dee Williams tiny house

Here’s a New York Times article about Dee Williams’ tiny house. With just 84 square feet, this one is really tiny. It’s well designed and beautifully crafted, and a couple photovoltaic panels provide her electricity. She has it parked on a friend’s lot, which seems to be the major issue with tiny houses—where do you put it?

More about tiny homes:

Tiny Homes Can Serve Diverse Housing Needs

Is This the Best Tiny House Design?

Tiny Homes with Great Design

A Tiny House in the Back Yard

A Tiny House Village

Tiny Homes and Green Neighborhoods

Tiny Homes Can Serve Diverse Housing Needs

tiny homes can serve diverse housing needs

Here’s a link to a story I wrote about tiny homes and tiny home communities for Sourceable.net.

Tiny homes have been gaining popularity among people who want to downsize their lives, live in an environmentally responsible way, have a home that’s portable, build their own small home for a remote property, or have little money for housing.

Now a few people are working to create tiny home communities, as tiny homes can serve diverse housing needs. Jay Shafer of Four Lights Tiny Houses is actively working on “The Napolean Complex,” a tiny house community in Northern California.

Tiny homes are hot right now!

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Is This the Best Tiny House Design?

Wow, this is a well-conceived and constructed tiny house! No surprise that yacht construction was an inspiration for design and materials. This home crams more useable features into the space than any other tiny home I’ve seen. So is this the best tiny house design?

Minim House, tiny house interior, kitchen

The Minim House, a superior tiny house design.

 

the Minim House exterior

The Minim House lives at Boneyard Studios.

 

Minim House sofa, bathroom, bedroom.

Another view of the interior.

 

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Tiny Homes With Great Design

Tiny homes are all the rage these days (in some circles), and run the gamut from simple, rough-hewn shacks to highly designed and finished homes. You’ll find a huge variety of layouts, but these three strike me as tiny homes with great design.

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tiny modern house, Portland

This tiny house offers an exceptional design and layout.

Steely Cottage tiny home

The Steely Cottage floorplan is a great design.

 

Lloyd Kahn wrote and published a great book on the subject:

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Lloyd included a huge variety of tiny homes, from those home-built on a trailer to homes professionally built on land. It’s captivating.

A Tiny House In the Back Yard

 

Here’s a great staccessory dwelling unitory illustrating how different housing arrangements, such as a tiny house in the back yard, can meet a variety of needs and wants. For aging parents; young adults juggling college, traveling, and volunteering; or friends who need little space, it’s a great way to stay connected to friends and family, while ensuring that everyone has some space.

Adding a tiny home is a sort of infill development, and helps to enliven older neighborhoods. Large suburban lots, of course, will have plenty of room for tiny homes, which can help to enhance the feel of community.

One of the main issues is prohibitive regulations, as adding another housing unit of any size is often prohibited. And many people are concerned about their property values and seeing junky shacks constructed as rental units. Valid concerns, but no reason to prohibit tiny homes outright. You’ll see the term “accessory dwelling unit” applied to buildings like tiny homes, and it’s an acknowledgement that building codes and zoning regulations can adapt.

Lloyd Kahn’s latest book, Tiny Homes, offers hundreds of creative examples of small dwellings, from cheap and funky to surprisingly expensive. Deek over at Relax Shacks will show you inventive ideas as well. And Kent Griswold of The Tiny House Blog covers the topic extensively.

 

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Tiny Homes and Green Neighborhoods

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I’ve been thinking of a few distinct models of tiny homes and green neighborhoods. First, consider a new development on raw land. You’d have the ability to cluster all the homes on the most appropriate part of the property. That probably means close to the nearest street, but might also mean the worst land for gardens, the area with the fewest trees that would need to be cut for home construction, and so on. This first video shows a good example of a small, new home. It’s actually a laneway home stuck into an existing neighborhood, but you could build a new neighborhood on this idea.

Is it time for “the commons?”

I think it would be ideal to have a variety of home plans of 250-500 square feet on small lots. The rest would be common land for recreation, wildlife, and gardens. I’d go so far, in relatively warm climates, to forget about streets with curb and gutter, and create simple gravel paths. For residents with cars, have a parking lot at the edge of the development. Most people in this neighborhood would bike for transportation, but there would be room for small vehicles to reach each home for delivery of big items.

Here’s architect Ross Chapin talking about a “pocket neighborhood” and homes he’s designed. Very nice homes built in a similar way to my idea.

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Chapin and developer Jim Soules have built a few “cottage home” developments, such as Conover Commons. With 12 homes of 1,000 square feet on 1.5 acres, this project is a good example of how it works. I like the small lots and fine craftsmanship of the homes.

I’d love to see a real neighborhood of several hundred homes built this way, replacing the large-lot suburban model we see all over the country. Including town homes in the mix would probably add some diversity, too. Maybe grandma and grandpa would like to sell the big family home and join the kids and grandkids in a funky, walkable neighborhood like this. You could house just as many, if not more people, yet use less land.

It would be interesting to build all this as owner-occupied homes, with common land owned by all. I can also imagine a variation created from existing neighborhoods, too. Detroit, of course, comes to mind, with its thousands of abandoned homes and empty lots, and it’s already happening. Any place with more homes than people would be a candidate. It sounds a lot like an intentional community, actually.

An updated trailer park

Another idea is a rental community for moveable tiny homes. They simply rent out a lot, much like a trailer park for tiny homes. Codes and zoning are probably the greatest challenge for this idea. Here’s a long discussion about the subject. If all that can be sorted out, this seems like a feasible version of tiny homes and green neighborhoods.

 

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture