I’ve been intrigued by the introduction of the mini-house, the micro-house, or even the little house for a while now. Of course, these have been around in their essence for a long time. Since the sixties, it seems, there has been an element of humanity that strive to live in as little a footprint as possible. The Japanese have done this with their hotel-pod idea for a couple of decades now. Theirs may have spawned because of the need to live in as tight an area as possible for as many people as possible. In the future, I’d like to explore the notion of Japanese society that is confined by their physical geography, but that is another post.
What has fascinated me about the small house idea is that, as Americans, we’ve made this notion solely a mobile solution. Why is that? At first, the small house was thought of as an answer to housing affordability, especially after the housing crash. They were very small and were built on a single axle trailer. Young couples could purchase a “home” for twenty thousand dollars and live out their twenties. Great idea!
More and more people started cashing in on the notion that these were popular and they grew an axle. Today, I saw a triple axle “small house.” Doesn’t that begin to defeat the purpose? How big is a small house before it’s a big house? I think three axles (approximately 30,000 pounds of materials) deserves a “big house” designation, don’t you? When was the last time you saw a fifth-wheel trailer with three axels? And when you did, how big was it? Giant! That’s how big it was. Giant.
And, that brings me to my next point. Why do they need to be mobile? Why aren’t folks designing these for a campus-style housing development? I mean, if I want a granite countertop kitchen on wheels, I’d just buy an expensive fifth-wheel, wouldn’t I? I mean really! The fifth-wheel industry does a much better job of working with materials that are light and luxurious so the American travel dollar stretches even further than ever before.
Okay, here’s my final point, and the rallying cry of this post. You carpenters that started the tiny house trend, work with developers and Architects to show the world how tiny houses could be a viable option for community-builiding! Thanks.