North America has a fever, and it’s not for more cowbell.
It’s for more room! We want arching entranceways, home theatres, bedrooms, bedrooms, bedrooms and a plethora of bathrooms.
The size of a single-family home has skyrocketed in the past few decades. In 1978, the average home was 1,789 square feet. In 2007, it was over 2,100. That's a lot of house to heat, light, furnish, clean and build.
In the last few years, people have observed a need to change the way we think about space. Now, instead of how much more can you get, designers are thinking, how low can we go? In reaction to population increases, sustainability concerns and a need for affordable housing, the tiny house movement has emerged.
Tiny houses are a combination of livability, affordability and sustainability. They range in size from less than 90 square feet to over 500, but average to around 200. They vary between ultra-basic and extremely posh, with a definite lean towards the latter as the movement continues to evolve. Tiny houses have gone from fairly rustic, with lots of exposed wood and hand-made components, to sleeker and more modern designs that efficiently utilize all their available space.
The creators of tiny homes cite various reasons for designing, building and moving into their tiny homes. Some designers are hoping for a minimalism that they have not been able to find anywhere else. Cutting back on the size of your home can force you to really think about the essentials, which can be a great way to limit your collection of superfluous belongings.
Some designers are interested in making home ownership affordable. Many people feel driven off the edge as they look to escape loans, mortgages, rent increases, repairs, utilities and other unexpected costs. Some have found the solution in a tiny house. For these pioneers, risk has paid off—55% of tiny house owners have more savings than the average Canadian homeowner and over 78% own their homes.
There are even some tiny home designers who build their houses on trailers which can be towed across the country, so they always have their home with them. There are a myriad of reasons to own a tiny home, and each tiny house owner is likely to give a different answer to why they made their decision to move.
Even with all the perks, tiny houses are not for everyone! There are other ways people can create lasting sustainable change in their own homes, whatever the size. Just by turning down the heat a few degrees at night, one can begin to make a difference.
Additionally, there is a super-fresh trend popping up in Tsawwassen—a group of mid-sized cottages are under construction and looking for families to fill them up. Balanced between tiny and huge, these 1,190 square foot cottages are part of a new community that is looking to promote sustainable design, along with integrating local food and agriculture as a central focus of community life.
So whether you are interested in small, medium or large, there is an option out there!