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Real Homes: the Tiny House Movement

I was fascinated to read about the Tiny House Movement last week on the US website, Salon

Next week, Ryan Mitchell, one of the community's biggest enthusiasts and a blogger on the topic at, is publishing a book sharing his tips on how to live small. Here are some of the weeny living spaces featured in it...

And even if you're not familiar with the Movement, if you've watched George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, or enjoyed Vinny Lee's lovely book on miniature abodes, you'll be familiar with the appeal.

But Tiny House goes much farther than the aesthetic and nuts and bolts: it is a social movement about downsizing living space. As Ryan Mitchell puts it on The Tiny Life: "The typical American home is around 2600 square feet, while the typical small or tiny house is around 100-400 square feet...with a focus on simplified living."

He outlines some of the reasons people are joining the movement as "environmental concerns, financial concerns and seeking more time and freedom", stating that most Americans spend between one third and a half of their income on their homes and, as a result, 70 per cent are "trapped in a cycle of debt".

It got me thinking about my own home, which is is disgustingly large in comparison to these dainty domiciles. I like the Tiny House philosophy: but could I live it? There are some promising signs in my obsession with maximising space at every opportunity...

A decent sized bedroom, but with no storage apart from the giant wardrobe we installed last summer with great difficulty. The answer? High up shelving – what else are you going to do with all that dead wall space?

Never let a high, sloping ceiling go to waste. This room was, for many years, my bedroom when I was living with a succession of lodgers (they got the decent sized rooms). But the room had previously been a one-storey box room: without the mezzanine bed I had built (it's behind the glass above the 'dancing' sign, from Rockett St George by the way), I'd have been sleeping on a single mattress, looking at a wall of wardrobe and a few centimetres of floor-space... I'd like to improve the under-stairs storage though (and I am quite inspired by my second blogger down in this round-up).

This area under the stairs is still a work in progress, but it is no longer the dead space it was when I moved in. Long chunky shelves, one of which doubles as a desk, gave it a purpose. And a little perpendicular shelf at the back – sturdy enough to sit on – is now a bed for the cat, who tucks himself under the shelf next to the cushion to get away from the dog, as well as a telephone seat for old-school landline calls. Up the other end, there's also space for this sewing nook. I reckon I'm a natural!

Read more about The Tiny House Movement over at, at Ryan's own blog, Tiny Life, and in this piece in the Guardian.

Post by Kate

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for the mention of my book and putting some of it into practice in your own life.

    - Ryan Mitchell, author of Tiny House Living