The Tiny House movement

Japanese-Small-House-Design-in-Tokyo

Could you live in a small house? What about a really, really, really small house? A tiny house in fact - about 100 square feet, or just under 10 sq metres. The average UK house is more than 7 times that size.

Tiny houses are a growing trend in the USA, although perhaps trend is the wrong word. It's more of a movement. Reasons for building a tiny house are myriad, but anti-consumerism and a love of DIY seem to be guiding motivations for many. Of course, it's also a great way to cut costs, and a rather dramatic method of downsizing.

The images above are of the Protohaus, a 125 feet house built for sustainable living. You can find out more about it here.

The whole thing kicked off in America with the 'Not So Big House' book by Susan Susanka in 1997, but it's become increasingly popular over the past few years. There are endless blogs devoted to these miniature structures. Interestingly, in America the movement has really taken off in rural areas, rather than big cities. In many places no planning permission is needed for a building under 150 sq ft, and people are using these structures in many different ways - as a summer cabin, an artist's retreat, a temporary home, a guest house. Really small houses are often within the size limit for travelling on American roads, which means you can imitate the snail and take your dwelling with you wherever you go!

In other countries, the small house movement has been more of an urban phenomenon. The BBC had an interesting news piece about this yesterday all about a house in Japan built in the same footprint as a parking space. You can watch it here.

I love looking at these tiny houses, and there's a huge number of images of them on design blogs, so I'm obviously not alone! There's something beguiling about seeing the ingenious solutions people come up with for living in a small space. If you've caught the bug too, the best place to start is The Tiny House Blog.