Imagine opening the door of your new house to find a bendable dining room hiding next to the bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom exist in the same space while a solar power system is used to light up the house. The house has simple – modern lines with no complicated architectural structure. It also happens to be no more than 150-square feet.

As more people move from villages and rural areas to urban cities across the world, less and less houses are available to accommodate them. As the real estate crisis continues to aggravate, a new housing model has been gaining popularity, especially among the youth; the tiny house or the micro home.

The idea takes maximum advantage of small living space, converting it from a space that traditionally accommodates say, one bedroom, to a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and maybe even a front yard. The trend also has another defining feature; mobility. Tiny or micro houses normally have wheels, which facilitate relocating.

Some companies have already started developed several models such as Kasita, Baluchon, Mint Tiny Homes, Zen Cottages, Toy Box and Tiny Heirloom, to name a few.

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Central Coast recently approved the construction of four 149-square-meters tiny houses, 20 times smaller than the average Australian home, each for AU $ 30,000.  The City Council of Green Field, Massachusetts has also given its seal of approval to the new trend.

Different Models

But just because the house is tiny, its price tag isn’t necessarily low. Although the average cost of building a tiny home is cheaper than the traditional house, the price ranges of these houses vary from a month’s paycheck to US $80,000.  This variation is based on the level of luxuriousness the house provides for its owner.

The mission of tiny houses is to fit more in less space with innovative interior and exterior designs. A Kasita house offers a 319 square feet with 10-foot ceilings space with a king sized bed, a laundry machine, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a porch. The house was designed to be easily moved and modular – several Kasitas can be stacked to create a tiny apartment building.

Customized luxurious tiny houses offered by Tiny Heirloom are made to make people feel they are not compromising quality just because they chose to live in smaller space.

The Heirloom house contains: “brakes, lights and wiring, timber framing, standing seam metal roofing, cedar lap siding, T&G knotting pine cladding and solid bamboo flooring.” The house also contains plumbing, electrical, lighting and fixtures and 3 built-in speakers. The house has eight windows and a sleeping loft with a fancy skylight.

According to the company, other items you can find include: “apartment-sized refrigerator, 24″ propane range, washer/dryer combo, shower stall with pan and fan, bathroom sink, sliding bathroom door 38-gallon fresh water tank, electric mini spit for heat and AC, Nest smoke detectors.”

Appeal and Legality

Tiny house

Tiny houses are being challenged by city makers- Mint Tiny Homes

Several bloggers reported that the tiny house movement is not moving smoothly with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeking to make the law governing tiny houses more complicated. Others denied such claims, arguing that micro-houses are still safe.

Even without confirming the HUD news, obtaining a tiny house in most cities still needs legal approval. City councils in Springfield, Massachusetts, Flint, Michigan Los Angeles and many other cities and states have inked their rejection of the concept, even when pitched as a solution to homelessness.

Despite administrative refusal to accept the new trend, and the difficulties of placing tiny homes legally, companies are still making them, believing them to be well-positioned to solve the house crisis. The main target market for these houses are college students and seniors who are looking for a small place to retire.

Whether the houses are successful with other community members remains to be seen. Eduard Cousin, 30-year-old researcher from the Netherlands currently residing in Egypt, said that back in his country, his friends live in smaller spaces that usual but not necessarily a tiny house.

“They are still mostly earning for big companies and earn top-end salaries,” Cousin says, highlighting that living in a small apartments does not need to because of financial reasons. “They don’t consider themselves living small. This is normal for people in their late twenties and early thirties.

Cousin says that if someone wants to live in Amsterdam, a small house is the only way to do it.

“[In Amsterdam] there is no way to buy/rent an apartment bigger than one/two bedrooms as the prices are very high,” he adds.

“I am not the type to spend money on it and pioneer this kind of movement,” 30-year-old Anthony Paget says. Paget, an American currently residing in Madrid, stated that he would be hesitant to live in a tiny house. “I am more of a, I got to read hundreds of reviews before I love on something like that.”

“It all comes down to the design,” Paget says, adding that he is “not totally against it” either.

He added that if the house is “polished and everything runs super well”, and if it is cheap, he would entertain the idea.

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