Since I came to London back in 2015, finding the right place to live has been quite a challenge, especially for a young professional with only a minor working experience. Even now 6 years later, with the idea of building my ideal home always in the back of my mind, I still often find myself brainstorming and looking for alternative solutions that could radically change the usual process we all go through when buying a house.
A while back I found an interesting answer to the problem. I’m talking about the Tiny House trend which is one that immediately fascinated me and that I care about the most. Unsurprisingly, I am not alone here. Originated in the USA, this movement has since expanded quickly in many countries and in the UK too.
I thought this was the right time then to start discussing it, and gradually go into details with ideas and projects in this field.
First of all…
Why Tiny Houses?
As the name suggests, a tiny house is a small residence with a maximum surface area of around 30 square metres, or slightly above. The average size is significantly lower anyway, considering many people opt for a space varying from 10 to 15 sq m.
However, the real difference here is that a tiny house stands on four wheels. One of its main characteristics is in fact the possibility of being moved to different locations as it is. For this reason, in the UK law (and not only) it is considered a ‘caravan’, so only an additional living space complementing a primary one. This means that no planning permission is required (most of the time at least, depending on location and type according to your country’s regulation) to park a Tiny House in your garden but it has to be next to a ‘regular’ housing structure.
While this categorisation might seem a limiting factor, it actually leaves many options and represents, in fact, a proper life choice. The whole movement is in fact about downsizing, as a more approachable and affordable way of living, especially in big, crowded capitals where housing is a big issue for many people. It is also about a more minimalistic way of life, getting rid of all the unnecessary clutter and spaces. In the UK, more and more people cannot afford to buy or rent a house, so they turn to alternative solutions, some going for the same price or even way less than those required for just the deposit of a normal house, starting around £20,000 up to £70,000.
Naturally, all of this results also in a much more affordable way of life once the choice is made.
If that wasn’t enough already and some of you are thinking that giving up a big, spacious home just for affordability is not worth it, or that if one wants to travel they can simply rent some place in the destination of choice, then stop for a moment. I’m here to say that, even if this is certainly not the solution for everyone, there’s more to it. So, let’s get into it.
The title of the article says it already. The choice of a tiny house over a regular one, in fact, reduces the energy consumption of a household and as a consequence also its carbon footprint. Everything from the building materials to heating, cooling and power consumption is significantly reduced in a tiny house, even with modern construction techniques and energy-saving solutions in normal buildings.
This basic assumption can even be strengthened using alternative energy sources or staying off-grid. Many tiny house owners, for instance, opt for solar panels to power their place. A few of these, which would not be enough in a full-size building, are usually sufficient in tiny houses thanks to the reduced size.
The entire movement is based around principles of sustainability and the people involved are generally very aware of environmental issues. This is why it is common to see tiny houses built almost exclusively from reclaimed materials and the lifestyle built and developed around them is one that tends to avoid wastes or excessive consumerism.
Built exactly for your needs
A tiny house is much easier to build, and many owners and potential first-time buyers actually decide to do it on their own.
Naturally, despite being easier, it’s still not a task everyone can complete, but there are increasing middle-ground solutions too. Several companies involved in this new lifestyle now offer bespoke packages including all the materials necessary to build the tiny house on your own. This means saving more money compared to commissioning the entire project to a third party, while still getting a professional product that is thought around your very needs.
Finally, if you really think you don’t have what it takes to put the pieces together on your own, there are also those who offer bespoke projects and can deliver a turnkey completed tiny house in a window of time as short as 1 month.
Less is more and a lot of freedom
Choosing a tiny house allows people to get creative and travel.
First of all, let’s not forget that tiny houses are built on a chassis that can be towed. If you are someone that from time to time likes to escape the monotony of life and discover new places, just think how good would be to do it bringing your home with you. At least you could stop worrying about the view outside of your windows.
Secondly, something that regards the flexibility of the interiors. Instead of buying tools or pieces of furniture for a single purpose, the need for improved flexibility leads to several interesting solutions. This is especially interesting and challenging for an interior designer or an architect, but it is also extremely rewarding.
Creating a clean space that caters to all the needs of its residents is always possible and contributes to some amazing expedient. Some tiny house owners claim that since going tiny, their home is now more functional than their old “regular” one was. This is because the need to downside forces people to focus on what they truly need and to make it a reality.
So, welcome are the storage below or around a bedroom, cupboards, and drawers hidden behind every surface, and foldable chairs or tables.
I am convinced that tiny houses have an amazing potential for innovation and can significantly contribute to giving a decisive change to our lifestyle, making it more efficient and sustainable. The advantages they bring are simply too many to ignore.
People think that small spaces are easy to design but it’s actually quite the opposite and this is one of the reasons why I love tiny homes: every one of them represents a challenge. If done well, a tiny space can truly show what interior design is capable of and how much impact it has on people’s lives. Can’t wait to show you more soon!