The Tiny House Movement: Dream Big with Small Homes
One thing that’s been getting a lot of attention lately is the small or even “tiny” house movement, and justifiably so! Contemporary housing trends are all moving towards a less-is-more approach, whether that means clean, minimalist design, or maximizing your use of all existing space. A good architect and builder will be able to design you a comfortable home at any size, and we want you to know that the UBuildIt team can go as big or as small as you want!
According to Census data, the average size for a home built in 2014 was a 2,453 square feet, but the “tiny house movement” has been steadily gaining steam, thanks in part to the Netflix original series TINY that examines the lives and designs behind these little houses. A host of other factors, including rising real estate prices, student debt, and environmental concerns, have encouraged many families to downsize.
There are some tiny house extremists, like parents of two teenagers sharing a 201 square foot home on wheels, but you might be surprised how big 1,000 feet can feel! For example, take a look at this post on Curbed from Tuesday, October 6, that features a converted Victorian carriage house that’s only 5,520 square feet—not bad! And this house was built a hundred years ago, so just imagine what a present-day construction plan might be able to do with that amount of space!
So what are the advantages to a smaller home? Plenty! Here are a few for you to consider when you’re weighing your decision of whether you should fork over tens of thousands of dollars in rent every year or build something you can call your own!
- Smaller houses are, as you might imagine, a lot less expensive to build, in terms of labor, supplies, and even property size. Tiny homes can start at as low as $50,000, and you’ll be amazed what you can get for $100,000! When Seattle condos are retailing for $350,000, building a stand-alone house of equal size sounds like a pretty good plan! Furthermore, you’ll be able to splurge on things like hardwood floors or granite countertops that you might not have been able to afford if you were building a larger space, making your small home seem more expensive than it is!
- You’ll love the effect a small home has on your heating, cooling, and electric bills, all while reducing your environmental footprint! Furthermore, building itself takes a toll on the environment—it’s estimated that 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from human building projects and buildings, not to mention the sheer material cost of building supplies. Small homes are also easy to outfit with green building measures like solar panels and high-quality insulation.
- Building a smaller home means maximizing your outdoor space. A spacious deck is a big sacrifice of valuable lawn area for a sprawling 3,000 foot home on a normal lot, but fits with plenty of room to spare when your home is 1,000 square feet or less. If you want to install a tennis court, swimming pool, or large garden, we especially encourage you to consider a smaller home—not only will be more able to afford these kids of amenities with the savings from your build, but you’ll have the space! When your home is small, you’ll naturally want to spend more time outdoors, and probably wind up with more acreage to spend it in!
- This is probably the biggest drawback and benefit of a small home. Though you might think that being near your husband, wife, or child at all times is an overwhelming prospect, you’ll probably find that you love the community it brings to your home and domestic experience. Standard American homes isolate family members too easily, and that’s not how humans were even meant to live with one another. It’s also very easy to design small nooks for privacy and alone time into a small home—just ask!
If you’re interested in building a small home, call us at UBuildIt! We love projects of any size or scope, and are excited about the possibilities of constructing functional small spaces for individuals or families looking to get back to basics. And by using UBuildIt, you’ll not only be saving by minimizing your real estate, but also by saving 20-25 percent on average by acting as your own building consultant! We have a number of green building options and resources that would be perfectly suited to a small home plan, and we hope that you’ll give us a call!