Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tumbleweed Houses

A few months ago, before I discovered minimalism, I was searching for ways to decorate my sort-of tiny house. You know, back when I thought new curtains would make me feel better about my rooms full of junk?

I found Tumbleweed Houses instead. These houses are absolutely amazing. They're truly tiny (ranging from 65(!) to 874 square feet) and, depending on the model, can be mobile.

I was so excited about the idea that I ran to my work-friend's cubicle and said "Look! You could live in a house that's only 200 square feet!" And he said "But why would you want to?"

Um, hello...why wouldn't you want to? Perhaps it's just my personality but a cozy little cottage feels much nicer than a huge McMansion. Perhaps it's my passion for challenges but designing an efficient house sounds more exciting than designing a house with unlimited space. And perhaps it's just my love of extremes but owning fewer posessions sounds more peaceful than owning the newest and best of everything.

I'll feature lots of other cool tiny houses in the coming weeks but I think these Tumbleweed houses are a great place to start. They're very "traditional" in style which, to me, is quite appealing. I enjoy modern style but if I had to choose, I'd prefer an old-fashioned cozy cottage.

My challenge for you today is to imagine living in one of the tumbleweed houses. Which house would you choose and why? Do you think you could actually pare down your belongings to fit in a tiny house? Would you want to? If you have hobbies, would you have the space to continue doing the things you love? Do you think this whole idea is crazy, awesome or something in between?

I'll go first: if I wanted a portable house, I'd choose The Fencl. It comes in at 130 sqft and has the cutest built-in bookshelves. If I removed all the furniture, the main room would be large enough to baste quilts on the floor. Since I spend most of my time eating, sleeping and sewing, this is all the space I'd really need.

If I went the stationary route, I'd definitely choose The Loring. It's 261 square feet and I'd put my bed in the little gable in the loft. The rest of the loft would be my studio, perhaps? Maybe the studio would go downstairs in the main room. I can't decide.

While I love the idea of a super small house, Ian does not. I think the 461 sqft Whidbey would make for a nice compromise. The front room would be perfect for a sewing studio because of all the windows and large closet. The loft could be the bedroom and Ian's office. The "great room" is big enough for his CD and book collection as well as a couch and tv.

Now it's your turn...I want to hear all about your dream tiny house.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's all Relative

I'm currently living in a house in the suburbs, 12 miles from the city and my work. I don't own it and I'm not sure how much longer I'll stay. Two years ago I though it was what I wanted but the Crystal of today has changed significantly. Now I dream of a tiny apartment in the city, close to my work, the soon-to-be-built light-rail line and my favorite pizza place. With a Murphy Bed. And this guy's entire setup, actually.

But that's not really what I want to talk about today.

The house Ian and I live in is 1,250 square feet. It has three bedrooms (two of which are only 100 sqft) and 1.5 baths (both super tiny). The house is too big for us but we've managed to fill it up to the max. Not cool.

Our neighbors live in exactly the same house (they're all the same on our block) but they have...wait for it...8 people living there. Two adults, 6 kids, all in 1,250 square feet.

Ian and I each live comfortably in 625 square feet. The neighbors do it in 156.

I'm actually ashamed to have my neighbors over. It feels wrong to waste so much space on only two people. And when I go on to think about the sizes of houses people are buying (or bought but now can't afford), I feel a little sick.

Houses themselves are wasteful compared to apartment buildings but that's not all. Most new (and new-ish) houses are designed to include wasted space, on purpose! I went to school for architectural design and I can't understand why crap like that gets built. Vaulted ceilings, spaces "open to below", master bathrooms, huge bedrooms. And what about houses with living rooms and family rooms and sitting rooms and tv rooms...that's four rooms that do the same thing and you can only be in one at a time.

I understand the need for a pleasing design...but to me, efficient designs are not incompatible with pleasant. People have been talked into buying houses that are mostly filler, mostly space they'll never use. Because that's what people are "supposed" to do, that's what they're "supposed" to want. And that makes me sad and a little angry.

In the coming weeks, I'd like to take some time to focus on smaller, more efficient places to live. I hope you're as excited about this as I am. To start things off, seriously check out the link above. That guy is a genius!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


You have got to be kidding me. I've never seen such fantastic furniture for a small home. Check out this transforming furniture and be amazed!

-(found via Unclutterer)

I'm in serious love with those wall beds. I want a small apartment just so I can get one. Probably the one with the desk...because you don't even have to clean off the desk. Brilliant!