"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Extreme Downsizing

The Small (aka Tiny) House Movement is getting huge!

A word of warning: this is going to be a big post... thankfully now that I'm down to posting only once a week, you have the luxury of returning again throughout the week if you don't have the time to look at everything the first time.

I have been fascinated by people who live in smaller spaces, either by necessity or choice, for quite some time now. Last April (almost to the day) I profiled a woman who lived in a very tiny Manhattan apartment. I was totally transfixed by the cuteness - and challenges - of her lifestyle. Last Thursday I happened to stumble across this interesting article in the Huffington Post, and then when a good friend forwarded me a very cool page she'd found in Bing Images, I figured it must be time for another look!



The past number of years have seen houses get progressively larger and larger, with the average new home somewhere in the mid-2,000 square foot range. Tiny homes are generally anywhere from 90 to 400 square feet! There are a multitude of reasons why people are choosing smaller homes; some are attracted to the mobile lifestyle, since many are built on trailer beds, while others like the idea of owning a home, but without the mortgage payments and upkeep of a traditional house. Some are drawn to the physical and philosophical freedom fewer possessions afford; these are the people who most intrigue me. Below are three videos that I hope you can find the time to watch over the next week. I think the tiny house movement has the makings for a great reality tv-series (even though I generally despise this genre).


When you have the time, this ten-minute profile is worth watching.
Fascinating to say the least.


The Japanese are renowned for maximizing space, while still retaining beauty.
Given it's size constraints, this house is astounding.


You will be amazed by what is packed into the wall to his left!

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Also, it's time to announce our latest contest winners! Along my side-bar is this month's recipient of the Whoo Loves Ya Baby! award. Congratulations to Diane from Always Crave Cute "A Blog About Crafting, Cute Things and More..."!! Cute doesn't begin the describe Diane's blog - adorable, darling and precious are a few of the words I'd use to describe the things Diane shares with us. If you haven't already, I encourage you to stop by and perhaps become a new follower - you'll probably need to visit the dentist after a few visits, she's so darn sweet, but it'll have been worth it :)

As well, the winner of the March caption contest is Martha from Plowing Through Life! She has earned the coveted (lol!) spot along my sidebar for April and a little surprise winging her way via Canada Post. Thanks for your rocking line Martha and thanks to everyone who participated - all your submissions were great, but alas there can only be one winner. Check out the April Caption Contest page (under my header) for this month's quip-provoking pic :)


Have a great day and try to find some time to visit your local thrift store this week.
Who knows, you might find an original Picasso print for $14, like this guy! 

47 comments:

  1. Jane,
    Your blog is one of my favorites! Not because you just gave me the coveted April "Whoo Loves Ya Baby!" award,(Thank YOU) but because of your wonderful and interesting posts! You always find such a wide variety of subjects and I love coming here to see what is new! Thanks again Jane and keep up the great posts! ~~ Diane aka Crave Cute

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    1. You're most welcome Diane! Thanks for your kind words are well - my whole vision for starting this blog was that it would afford me an opportunity to share the weird and wonderful :)

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  2. At first, I am thinking no way I could do that. But when my wife and I were first married we lived in half a trailer. There was a bedroom, kitchen/living room, and a bathroom. That was it. So we probably could do it again but man... I like my space.

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    1. We lived in a very tiny house when we were first married as well - in the 800 sq ft range - not sure how we did it either.

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  3. These houses do look cute but there is no way I could live like that! The more space the better for me lol

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    1. You'd have to trim down your closets for sure Sarah :)

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  4. Hi Jane, I saw a program on t.v. about small homes. It was interesting. I think it's great, but I have to much junk, I mean treasures. lol! I didn't have time to watch the videos so I will be back.
    Hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Lol, Yes "treasures" is the right word, Jann!

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  5. It's true that the more space you have the more things you acquire. I have a recurring dream where we are moving back into our first home, a tiny one bedroom flat, but we have to take all the things we have in this house now, lol.
    The second and third properties, for one person, would be manageable, but a family in that first tiny house must drive each other nuts occasionally, especially as the son gets older.

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    1. Tracey, Your dream is a fascinating one - especially in light of the fact that it's a recurring one. I wonder what it means.

      I agree - these homes are perfectly adaptable if you are single, but I know my family couldn't have handled such close quarters very well! I love that Japanese home - goes to show you what a good design can accomplish.

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  6. Oh, what a surprise! I actually won the caption contest! I am thrilled. And congratulations to Diane from 'Always Crave Cute'. I am a follower of her blog and my visit to the dentist next week should help deter the cavities that might come my way from hanging around there...LOL. Yes, it's a terrific blog and she deserves the award.

    I don't think I can live in a space that small, but I do like small homes. I find them cozy and easy to care for. But this is where my hubby and I differ. He likes a lot of space, I prefer smaller places. I discuss downsizing with him in the future when we're older, and I swear it makes him nervous...LOL... So a small home is fine, but only if there's a nice garden attached to it. I don't care so much about the house, but I do care about the garden! And a place to park the car!!

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    1. Congratulations Martha!! Your persistence finally paid off ;)

      I agree with you - smaller homes are so cozy - they're the ones you often see profiled in gardening books and magazines - the lovely cottage garden home. I'd like one of these tiny homes in my backyard as a summer home/office/gardening shed.

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  7. I've been aware of small houses as an alternative way to live for a long time, as I'm interested in them, tree houses, earth ships, all those interesting alternate homes.

    I'm very drawn to these small ones actually. Precisely because of the 'physical and philosophical freedom' that living smaller affords. I will say I think it's difficult to do with 2 people. Each person truly needs their own space. I will also say that I need a working bathroom with everything that entails.

    When I move, I'm looking at studio apartments, small ones. Probably 400 to 600 square feet.

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    1. Em, This is one fascination you and I share. I love alternative homes as well - and you may have inspired another post...

      I agree that these are basically one-person dwellings - and bathroom facilities would be my deciding factor.

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  8. I think each of us have our on space needs and if you can live in a house as small as these you must be very organized.

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    1. Streamlining would be the key. No real 'collections' - that would be a toughie!

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  9. Trzeba być bardzo pomysłowym i zorganizowanym, żeby potrafić względnie wygodnie żyć w takim malutkich domkach.*** Gratulacje dla zwycięzcy. Pozdrawiam.*** You have to be very resourceful and organized to be able to live relatively comfortably in this tiny cottages. *** Congratulations to the winner. Yours.

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    1. You summed it up perfectly Giga - organization and self-control, hehe :)

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  10. Congrats to both Diane (lovely blog!) and Martha ( great line!). I too am fascinated by tiny dwellings. It really is amazing what these people have managed to do in such small spaces. There can't be much privacy for the family of 3 though, so I think they are best suited to singles or VERY easy-going couples. Where I live, a small (1,200 feet) 3 bed house costs around $700k, so it could be something that catches on! All you Canadian women have really fab, entertaining blogs - thank you!

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    1. In the words of Elaine Benes: No, thank yooouuu Sulky for visiting :)

      Wow - that is a pretty steep price! I think that's exactly why it's catching on the US - the housing crisis has left a lot of people with no other option, but to downsize.

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  11. I love the idea of a tiny place. Unfortunately I think my wife and kids would go berzerk. I got to 2nd hand shops a lot, buy stuff, fix it up, and re-sell for a little profit. I'm always keeping my eye open for gem...haven't found a Picasso yet though. :-)

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    1. TB, I hear you. That's a great sideline and you definitely need room to store your finds and then the room to work on them. I haunt my local second-hand stores on a very regular basis and I'm certainly going to give the picture section a good once over every time now :)

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  12. Another thought provoking post Jane :)

    Ingenious ideas in these videos:) I love the philosophy of the lady in the first one - most of us do have too much stuff, why do we need it? Having said that, my husband and I live in our family home that was designed for 5 adults...so plenty of space when we need to get away from each other lol :)

    Congrats Diane and Martha on your awards :)

    Jane, thanks for the lovely gift and kind words which I received yesterday, made my day :)

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    1. Thanks Annie, I liked this woman's attitude as well. Smaller homes are sometimes more work to keep clean - it only takes a couple of things out of place to make it feel messy.

      I'm so relieved to hear you've received your package - it actually made it there in pretty good time, as I never (it's confession time!) got around to mailing it till mid-way through the month. Some weeks are like that ;)

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  13. DEar Jane,
    My house is small, perhaps I will give tours for the right amount of money! HA!
    Congrats to Martha (who I love) and Diane (who I just found, and love already!).
    And Jane, you have such a great blog, I love you too!
    Kay

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    1. Hi Kay, I'm not sure what you mean by small - but a tour would be fun!! And thanks Kay, I appreciate your saying so and for visiting, and right back at you :)

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  14. I could swear that little victorian house that's the second one from the top is in my town, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I'll have to go look at it soon and see if its the same one. I couldn't live in a tiny house, I have five dogs!

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    1. Laurie, You'll have to check it out and let me know. It's very possible it is. When you have a chance, check out the page my friend forwarded me from Bing images (the link is above) - you may recognize one of these.

      With five dogs, you definitely need a good-sized home - wow :) I bet they are a riot!

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  15. Hi Jane, on the Mississippi coast they sell tiny "Katrina" cottages that are cute pre-fab houses. I always thought I could live in one, if I lived by myself!! (maybe with Wilma) and I WISH I would find that Picasso! :=D
    Have a Happy Easter my friend.

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    1. Dorothy, I will have to check these out online. Katrina certainly changed life for a lot of people. Thankfully, Wilma doesn't take up much space :) Happy Easter to you as well.

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  16. Those houses are amazing. I REALLY wish i didn't have so many THINGS! I would be most happy in the Japanese house, think I would feel too confined in the other two, although i admire those people immensely. (I did wonder where the lady in the first house kept her kitty litter though).

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    1. Haha, Yes our 'things' get in our way sometimes! The Japanese house is beautiful and soothing. I wondered that too... maybe it's strictly an outside cat.

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  17. Super cool post Jane..thanks for all the fab vids too! yay..always fun !Totally enchanting abodes..everyone creates the space that brings them harmony!Wishing you a gorgeous day and thankyou for this fantastical post! Congrats to the winner!
    PS; love your new icon/pic of you..dazzling!!

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    1. Thanks Victoria! I You are right - everyone does create a space that brings them harmony - so well put :)

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  18. These small homes are sure cute, almost elf like. I liked the penguin house very much but in reality I would not care for the stairs. I think I would feel like I was living in a glorified hotel room all the time if I had to actually live in a house the size of these.

    Very interesting post Jane.

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    1. Thanks Lorene! All of these homes definitely come with their own set of challenges. I really liked the openness and windows in the penguin house (cute name :) but I can see what you mean about the stairs.

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  19. Amazing and fascinating how some people desire to live.

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    1. I agree whiteangel - most of these are by necessity, rather than choice I suspect, but they've managed to make each abode a home.

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  20. Hi Jane-Such an interesting post about downsizing with homes...downsizing your blog. I got so involved watching the video about that woman living in a 98sq ft apartment in Manhattan...then I watched the other videos that were on it, that I totally forgot to comment last night. So, very interesting.

    It's good to downsize, less worries, less things to haul around. Getting back to your blog, you are so right about blogging. People will come back to view what you've posted...as for me, I still have to watch the rest of the interesting tiny spaces people call HOME! I enjoy so much everything you post, Jane...it will be a pleasure to keep coming back for more great posts!
    Happy East to you and your family
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Elisabeth, I hadn't thought of that connection, but you're right - I am also downsizing - my blogging!! I want to enjoy the nicer weather (I thought it had arrived... it will eventually) and I need a breather. Posting 3-4x's per week gets overwhelming and I start to feel like it's a job, rather than a pleasure. I'm not a 'quick' blogger, I'm a frustrated perfectionist and as a consequence, it takes me time to get it 'perfect' lol!

      Happy Easter to you and your family and Thanks for your encouraging words :)

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  21. Zmieniłaś swoją ikonkę :-).
    Życzę radosnych Świąt Wielkanocnych.
    You changed your icon :-).
    Have a happy Easter.

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    1. Thanks Giga, a happy Easter to you as well :)

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  22. Love these little baby houses!!!

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  23. Not a fan of the first home, but the second two - wow!! I love cleverness on steroids!

    On a different note, I roasted brussel sprouts for Easter. Sorry, but roasting them didn't improve them.

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  24. I'm shocked that you didn't enjoy them... did you roast the tiniest ones - not the big honkers?! I've done the cauliflower three times now and broccoli once - Yummy!!

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  25. I LOVE teeny spaces too. One day..one day:)

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