My name is Kent Griswold and I have developed this blog because of my love of small spaces.Tiny houses have also become an interest to me in the last few years and I have combined my interest in both of these to publish this blog. The Tiny House Blog was established in May of 2007. The goal of the tiny house blog is to discover the different options available for a person looking to down size.
One week ago Clarkston became the first city in Georgia to approve a tiny house neighborhood. The Cottages on Vaughan is the brainchild of the MicroLife Institute nonprofit. Their mission is centered around enabling developments of walkable, sustainable “micro-hood” communities. And that will come to life is this one-of-a-kind tiny home pocket neighborhood, within walking distance to downtown Clarkston and many nearby amenities.
“This project will be a proof of concept for us. There is a lot of interest and movement towards tiny homes and cottage homes, but many developers are hesitant to enter the market. Our hope is that this project will encourage other municipalities and private developers to experiment with new, innovate development paradigms and learn from this great case study”
– Kim Bucciero, MicroLife Institute Co-Founder
Though the city passed a tiny home ordinance over a year ago, the development is just now moving forward due to an involved approvals process. In that time, the support for the community only grew. Importantly, an underlying goal of this demonstration project is transparency. MicroLife Institute wants the development process to serve as a case study for other cities. For example, they plan to share details of the design, budget, and total cost of construction.
Market-driven affordability is also a key goal. Above all, the developers do not want to create a luxury-priced community. Though, high-quality design and landscaping are of the utmost importance.
“The approval of this project represents a move towards achieving one of the top prioritized in our 2040 comprehensive plan –– increasing stability in our housing market by providing more homeownership opportunities. I hope that other cities will look at our tiny home ordinance and this development and see that it is possible to create a housing landscape that allows for home ownership to come in all shapes and sizes.”
– Jamie Carroll, Clarkston City Councilmember
The Cottages on Vaughan is being developed on a half-acre lot with permaculture principles. As a result, the layout features a common green space surrounded by eight tiny homes on permanent foundations, ranging from 250-492 square feet. A primary design inspiration behind the tiny house community is Ross Chapin’s vibrant pocket neighborhoods.
Similarly to his developments, MicroLife Institute seeks to create a cohesive and close-knit feel. Though, they will carefully utilize “layers of personal space” to artfully balance privacy and community spaces.
Further, the developers are working closing with Shades of Green Permaculture, a sustainable landscape design/build firm. Together they plan to craft a practical and beautiful edible landscape with organic food and herbal medicine.
“We are proud to partner with the MicroLife Institute on this innovative new approach to housing. We recognize that the past 50 years of urban sprawl has segregated communities, contributed to global warming, and exacerbated housing inequality. By experimenting and innovating with new development ordinances, we are able to allow a greater range of housing options.”
My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we’ve been on the road three and a half years for our documentary and community education project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life and our true passion. We are very grateful to be able to experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.
Today’s episode is all about how tiny house living can spark a life of entrepreneurship… whether you were planning to or not.
After designing, building, and living with her husband in their off-grid tiny house from 2013 to 2017, Jess Sullivan has become a seasoned tiny house dweller, blogger, and inspirational speaker best known throughout New England. She continues to write their blog – Another Tiny House Story – and participate in workshops, presentations, and conferences related to green and tiny living. She has a chapter published in the book Turning Tiny, in which she focuses on the incredible and unanticipated changes in mindset and self-confidence that occurred during this great little adventure. She began the tiny house endeavor looking to shed the unnecessary, but could never have dreamt of what she was to gain.
As I browse through this month’s issue of the Tiny House Magazine, I see a recurring theme that I wish to point out in my short letter.
Let’s start with our cover, which shows beautiful homes being constructed from old shipping containers. Not just one home but a community of homes. I’ve always been inspired by homes built from used containers and the creativity that can go into them.
As we look forward in the magazine we feature a young woman who built a treehouse from reclaimed materials while saving herself a minimum $600 which would have otherwise gone for rent.
In another story Meredith Heller, a poet and singer/songwriter, lives in a unique cottage built from an old train car. Her home is cozy and comfortable and inspires creativity.
Pat McMahon, owner of McMaker Studios, not only caters to the tiny house community but also builds and remodels using primarily salvaged and reclaimed materials.
So you have options other than purchasing a brand new tiny home. Look outside of the box and explore the creativity of re-use for your tiny home.
My good friend Michael at Tiny House Designs recently retired his original tiny house plans and just now started releasing his new plans. This first one is huge by tiny house standards but may just be what some of you are looking for.
At 10 feet by 42 feet, you won’t be able to pull this down the road yourself as most places require a permit for a house larger than 8.5 wide. However, if you are wanting to stay in a place long term but still have the ability to move it at some point this size will be very livable and be a welcome to larger families.
Michael is known for selling his plans at a low price point but delivering everything you need to build a DIY home. He is offering a 25% discount to the first 100 customers with this first release. Use the code EARLY25 at checkout and get 25% off of his low $39 price.
Here are a few details about the Carrack and a video of the plans.
If you are in the market for a park model home, but want to see a ton of options at once, visit the Recreational Resort Cottages in Athens, Texas. This company not only offers over 45 models on display in their location south of Dallas, but they also have their own tiny house on wheels named the Dream Seeker.
Recreational Resort Cottages have over 45 park models at their Texas location.
RRC specializes in custom designed park models with a variety of exterior and interior styles that range from 400 to around 1,200 square feet. They offer three different styles. The cabin styles showcase a range of woods such as pine, red cedar and log styles. The porch style cabins come in a range of single and second story porches and decks. The contemporary styles include shed style homes with painted accents, trey ceilings, and crown moulding. The company also offers a range of skirting styles to hide away park model axles and wheels.
The styles and models range from classic to contemporary.
Recreational Resort Cottages also offers several series of homes from prominent builders. One of the most well-known is the Platinum Cottage design. Based in Malakoff, TX, this company builds handcrafted contemporary park models with rustic designs. Higher end materials such as quartz countertops and cement panel siding is used in these homes. They also range into the larger size of around 1,800 square feet.
All park model interiors and exteriors can be customized.
Other RRC series homes include the Farmhouse Series by Buccaneer Homes, the Classic and Rustic Ranch series, and the American HomeStar homes, also by Platinum Homes. Recreational Resort Cottages primarily deliver to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana but can discuss other delivery options as well.
The Dream Seeker is RRC’s towable tiny house on wheels.
The newest design by RRC is the Dream Seeker tiny towable house. This home comes with a variety of options and interior and exterior details. The 192 square foot home can be towed by a one ton truck and it features a loft, galley kitchen and tiny bathroom. It costs only $49, 906 with standard options.
Are you interested in a mobile lifestyle? Traveling while you work? Living tiny? The #vanlife might be the life for you. My guest Kathleen Morton is the cofounder of Vanlife Diaries and is here to share stories and wisdom from her own vanlife, and from others she’s met along the way.
Kathleen Morton travels and lives part time out of her 1987 Toyota van with her dog Peaches. Kathleen is the founder of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint, a community she created to share stories about those choosing alternative lifestyles, living more environmentally consciously, and spending more time in nature. She is also the co-founder of Vanlife Diaries, a social media and online platform that tells stories and connects vanlifers around the world. You might often find her backpacking in national forest, working on organic farms or climbing canyon walls in the desert. Her book, “Vanlife Diaries: Finding Freedom on the Open Road,” came out April 9 in bookstores. The book celebrates the nomadic lifestyle and community of vanlife through interviews, essential advice for living on the road, and more than 200 photos of tiny rolling homes.
The tiny house phenomenon is transforming the lives of people seeking a minimalist lifestyle. People are building their own miniature living spaces and moving out of the city to the woods, suburbs, or even their friends’ backyards. This choice is often in opposition to the excessive “more is better” mentality handed down to millennials by the baby boomer generation.
This cultural shift that tiny house living represents does not stop there, however. Tiny houses bring significant social benefits. For instance, they could be part of the solution to public health concerns stemming from overcrowded urban areas. And in addition to an alternative, they notably can contribute to the creative processes of highly innovative people.
You might be asking, “How does living away from everything and having fewer possessions fuel someone’s creative juices?” As it turns out, there are many answers to that question. Tiny homes may not be everyone’s ideal, but their lack of excess certainly does propel creativity.
Tiny houses often stand against excess by simply being located away from city life. City life is full of distractions and stresses. Traffic, big buildings, expensive living costs — these can all weigh on an artist’s brain, leaving us too exhausted to create. The pressure is too much for some people, which limits their capability.
Living in a tiny home may reduce this kind of pressure and clean up one’s mental space. It’s easier to do things like organize a mind map when there are not a million other distractions calling for one’s attention. In other words, it is easier for an artist to stay focused on the overall creative task at hand because they have less to attend to.
Now you may be aware that switching tasks while working on a creative project boosts creativity, but try to not get too bogged down in each individual duty. Living in the city doesn’t always afford someone that luxury, however. Some people have the tendency to get distracted by other responsibilities while task switching, and city living brings a lot of responsibility. In a tiny home, an artist is afforded a less busy life, partially due to minimalism. They don’t have to get distracted by other projects and responsibilities, so they can focus on the project at hand and therefore the many different parts involved.
Paying Attention to the World Outside
With all that is going on in a big city, it may be easy to miss the most inspiring parts of one’s environment. The stresses that move someone along in a metropolitan area can cloud their vision, making it hard to appreciate the world around them. In a place like New York or Los Angeles, there is always something flashy or urgent to act as a distraction, but in a tiny home environment there may be less to do so.
One reason for this is that tiny homes are often placed in nature-oriented areas. Guest poster Matt Hoffman wrote about his own experience in this way,
Creativity comes from inspiration, and nothing inspires me more than the great outdoors. I don’t know how some firms expect to get imaginative work from their designers working in fluorescent-lit cubicles on the 34th floor.
You probably know other people who feel this way. Of course, not all tiny homes are in the middle of the woods. But they are often outside of the hustle and bustle of a big city, since they are mobile and cannot be placed in downtown areas easily. Fewer distractions (in and out of one’s living space) may allow artists to take greater notice of the world outside their front door and to be creatively influenced by it.
That said, it’s still important to think of things in new contexts. Little everyday adventures, such as re-organizing a workspace, can help one to think in different ways. An artist may notice themselves looking at something in a way they previously would not have due to a new kind of organization. This can be said of how one organizes their tools, space, influential works of art, or home aesthetics (i.e. furniture or pictures on a wall).
Minimalism is often overlooked for creativity because people can struggle looking at the same things within a new context. They think they need more — an excess — to inspire them. But sometimes, it is better to figure out what new things can be done with what someone already has. That’s where a tiny home environment can come in handy!
Tiny Homes, Fruitful Outcomes
If you are an artist who lives in a tiny house already, you probably know its creative potential. But if you’re not an artist or you live in the city, then maybe this can give you more to think about. Without the distractions of city life and with fewer options to choose from, artists can easily reorganize and reevaluate their resources. This can help them compile them into something that hasn’t been done before.
Minimalism is an overlooked asset when it comes to making something truly beautiful. When all of the flashy, extra things in a work of art fade or go out of fashion, the minimalist core of a piece is what will help it stand the test of time.
If you live in a tiny home, what are some of the projects you’ve completed that were influenced by your lifestyle and environment? Tell us about them or link to a picture in the comments below!
If you have summer plans to visit the beautiful Yosemite area, you might want to look into living for part of your time in a tiny village. Sierra Meadows takes a unique spin on the typical resort or camping area near this popular national park.
Sierra Meadows is located near Yosemite National Park.
Photos by Sierra Meadows
Built on a former country club location, Sierra Meadows is now a destination for not only tiny house lovers, but for music lovers as well. The resort features live music events throughout the summer. The resort also offers free bicycles and allows dogs. The adjacent former golf course holds unique artwork (including several from past Burning Man events) and is now a forested getaway. In all the resort has about 1,300 acres to roam around on plus a private pool.
The resort has several tiny cabins for rent.
Including these arched 120 sq. ft. cabins.
The arched cabins have their own decks, electricity and air conditioning.
The resort has several different types of tiny cabins to choose from. There are two-bedroom, park model style homes with queen beds or bunks and some shed-style tiny homes. What is most unusual are the cabins with curved roofs and their own private decks that dot the land like little mushrooms. These tiny cabins are 120 square feet and include electricity and air conditioning. There is a shared bathhouse and each cabin comes with shower tote, towels and bathrobes.
The resort is built on a former country club and golf course.
Sierra Meadows is located about 20 miles from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park near the town of Oakhurst. You can book a cabin on their website,Booking.com or Airbnb.
The resort also has a private pool for hot summer days in the foothills.
Tiny house pioneer, Jay Shafer is widely credited with jumpstarting the modern movement. His last two tiny houses showcase an evolution of simplicity. As he puts it, simple pared-down living reflects nature—thriving through efficiency— the original “green” term. Moreover, meaningful living is key to Jay’s design approach. Everything in his tiny homes has to be beautiful and functional—he is a self-described “addict of meaning”. Beautifully represented in his use of sacred geometry in all his designs.
Jay Shafer’s Tiny Houses, A Simple Living Evolution - YouTube
When we first visited Jay in 2016, he was living in his beautiful American Craftsman Style 119 sq. ft. tiny house. It cost less than $25,000. The design is featured in his 2013 book, Jay Shafer’s DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses. Fast forward to present day, he’s now living in a tiny home less than half the size. From stylistic fortress feel to a light and airy, Japanese-style micro adobe.
In his latest creation, Jay poses the question, how can you pair down materials and still achieve a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing home?
Though only 51 sq. ft. and under $4,000, fire-resistant and is “telescoping”, as Jay put it. The core design can easily be expanded with a detachable bathroom and kitchen, which would raise the cost to approximately $6,000. It is equal parts personal solution, tiny house design experiment and an opportunity to help others. For example, Jay envisions a kind of tiny house village with homes clustered around a common house with shared amenities.
While his tiny houses are intended for anyone who wants to live more efficiently, his latest design works well for those who can’t afford housing. Most importantly, Jay’s enduring legacy is that simple, high-quality living is accessible by all.
Ella is a Harpist, artist and singer/songwriter in the Bay Area who lived in 120 sq feet with 2 people and a big floppy dog for over 5 years. Ella was an early blogger in the tiny house movement, and was an early inspiration for me while I was building my own house.
“The tiny house was the only way I was going to be able to do anything with my music. So really, the tiny house is responsible for my greater happiness and career now, which is pretty much full time music”. – Ella Dawn Jenkins
One of the things I loved about Ella’s blog and online presence was that she was so honest about documenting and owning up to the mistakes she made along the way. Her site was a huge benefit to early tiny house builders.
Ella lived in her tiny house first alone, and then with a boyfriend, during which time she started aquiring and then designing harps. Ella also makes clothes. Both hobbies that are not all that compatible with tiny house living.
Last year, Ella announced that she had bought a small home and would no longer be living full time in her tiny house.