Mr. Jay Shafer is the responsible genius that came up with the idea of Tiny Houses! His company, known as Tumbleweed, is part of the small house movement. In 2002, He co-founded the Small House Society in Iowa City, Iowa. In 2003 he was commissioned by Gregory Paul Johnson to build The Mobile Hermitage, which became one of Tumbleweed's first commercially sold homes.
When did Tiny Houses begin blooming?
Turns out to be that during the Katrina Hurricane disaster in 2005, Marianne Cusato developed 308 sq. ft. cottage constructions for the homeless victims and the small house movements bloomed.
You Want One? What to do next?
Identify the square footage you will need. Visit local pre-fab buildings to get the feel of what's your minimum requirement or rent out a Tiny House for a week-end to make an assessment and experience your hands-on living inside a Tiny House. Then start brainstorming and planning the set-up and your storage needs. Slowly, but surely you will start forming your image of the inside of your Tiny House.
A pre-fab building of 320 sq. ft. is quite enough to make it comfortable and the transition from big to small very easy. Some even include all appliances and HVAC systems. All you need to do is pay for the building (approximately $35K), plus taxes and transportation. Another alternative is to contact a builder of your choice.
You also need to research the state laws and requirements for these Tiny Houses. A good resource of information is through The American Tiny House Association.
There are several different resources and websites that sell plans, workshops, existing real estate for sale or even rentals. So these small homes are here to stay for a long time and a definite solution for not paying a mortgage for 30 or 40 years.
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Getting Creative Inside Tiny Houses
Picture yourself inside a Tiny House and exactly what you expect in order to feel and be comfortable. Let's entertain our thoughts right now… think of having enough kitchen cabinets, maybe a slide-out pantry, a small range with oven, enough counter space for preparing foods, a small sink, closets for your bedroom, and where would you squeeze in your washer/dryer combo, oh… and don't forget of your bathroom commodities. Do you want a loft or same floor bedroom? If you have a loft, how will you want your stairway? Will you have storage underneath or within your stairway? As for your living room area, get into creative gear for saving space with a small sofa with drawers or underneath storage, maybe a drop-leaf table for dining or working with a laptop and continue to work on all your ideas by jotting them down. Then with all your ideas prepare a layout drawing and include measurements.
There are many ideas out there for small scale furniture that save floor area. Sofas with storage drawers, corner desks, floating desks, drop leaf folding tables, storage trunks, Murphy beds, a bed that slides out or up and down from the ceiling any many many more. The truth is that, whether it be inside a Tiny House or not, these are also great space saving ideas for small apartments, small rooms, sunrooms, dorms, guest houses, dens, and even studios. Many innovating and creative ideas come to life every day from different sources and all because of the need for them. Very well said by Plato “necessity is the mother of invention”.
Last, but not least – A Reality Check
I recently read an article “Dear People Who Live in Tiny Houses – Medium” by Lauren Modery where she wrote this article on Tiny Houses and brought up some crude realities of living inside a Tiny House that wasn't so great, but the truth is that depending on how much square footage you buy your Tiny House, these could be custom made to be very comfortable and efficient. You will enjoy many good experiences like being able to take off whenever you please for traveling, enjoy mortgage freedom, pay very low utilities and get billed for fewer property taxes. Without a doubt, one big blessing!
But, in the end, it all comes down to planning ahead wisely by staying within your budget and making sure your expectations are met.