Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Just what is this "Tiny House" Movement We Keep Hearing About?

Prior to the housing recession of 2008-9 people that wanted to downsize and/or simplify their lives moved into gated communities of small multifamily homes or they bought or built smaller homes. Homes in the 800 to 1,200 sq ft just 5 years ago were thought of as “cramped.”


So what brought Tiny Houses to the forefront so quickly? Was it the search for affordable housing? Or maybe the tiny house movement was started by Millennials wanting to have their own type of housing.

And what is a tiny house? Generally it’s considered any small livable structure under 500 sq ft. That would imply that travel trailers, park model homes, 8’ wide houses built on utility trailers, converted garden and storage sheds, auxiliary dwelling units, tree houses, small mobile homes (HUD) and even yurts, straw bale and 3D Printed homes would all qualify.

84 Lumber started marketing and selling modified storage sheds as livable. TV shows that feature tiny house living have begun and thrived because of their popularity. Tiny House expos are popping up all over the US showcasing these homes, some of these homes costing over $100,000. You can even buy Tiny Houses on Amazon!


Tiny House communities are starting to be developed in many areas.

Two things have come to light recently about the Tiny House movement I found interesting. First, some of the earliest tiny house inhabitants are having a hard time living within the small space and are opting out. Secondly, when people talk about tiny houses, they tend to defend one type over others and the whole thing is becoming political but without the riots and name calling.

Tiny houses represent a fringe movement that can teach us about the value of lifestyle and its relationship to home but it is unlikely to have much impact the housing industry at large.

Here are some of the most common types of Tiny and Small Houses:

Less than 200 sq ft on wheels:

under 200 1.jpg

under 200 2.jpg

More than 200 sq ft on wheels:

over 200 1.jpg

2over 200 1.jpg

Sheds and kits:

shed 1.jpg

shed 2.jpg

Park Models:

park model 1.jpg

Park fp.gif

Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU):

aux d u 1.jpg

aux d u 2.jpg

Tree Houses:

tree 1.jpg

HUD single wide homes:
HUD 1.png

HUD 2.jpg

Yurts, Straw Bale and 3D printed tiny houses:

yurt 1.jpg

yurt 2.jpg

Converted Shipping Containers:



  1. Gary! Where's mention of our small Modular homes that we build? Conventional modular but just happen to be small...

  2. Sorry about that Derek. How could I forget you. I just updated the article with a big link to your previous article. Talk soon