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Tiny Houses Create More Freedom

Jay Shafer is a designer of tiny houses, so small some might laugh when they first see the 89 square-foot house on a trailer, but there is something undeniably practical and sane about what he is doing. The term McMansion was created from the trend of building larger and larger homes that waste both land and materials. Jay’s homes take an opposite stance on the “bigger is better” mentality.

A recent study indicated that 1.2 million households were lost during the current economic recession, in part due to mortgage size. If those homes had been much smaller, with proportional mortgages, perhaps some of the economic downfall could have been avoided. One of Jay’s small houses costs only about $48,000. If you build it yourself, the cost is only $21,000. You can see an online journal about building one here.

Of course, smaller homes require less energy to heat and cool. The interview with Jay below provides some insights in how a person might start to change his or her mindset about home ownership in America.

What do you like best about having a smaller home?

The best part is the freedom. I’m no longer burdened by a mortgage and extra stuff.

Are there any permitting issues potential buyers should be aware of when considering your homes?

I put my house on wheels to bypass laws that prohibit houses from being this small. So long as a trailer can be parked on a lot, my house is permitted there too. The larger houses, I design on foundations that meet minimum size standards.

Which ones are people buying most now?

Most folks buy the biggest of my tiny designs. Not everyone’s meant for 89 square-feet.

What kind of materials do you use in your designs?

Most of the materials I use are standard, but I usually get certified lumber and recycled stuff when I can.

What sparked you to start making very small houses?

I built my first house for myself, and it seemed that a lot of my friends liked the idea, so I just kept building.

Is there any connection between your experiences in childhood or youth, and what you do now?

I was raised in a 4000 square foot house and did quite a bit of the cleaning.

Have you met any resistance along the way to your different ideas?

People seem to understand the environmental and practical advantages of living small. It’s the building codes and zoning that need to catch up.

Where do you see your future going?

I imagine tiny house communities popping up everywhere. Maybe a new and improved trailer park will be viewed as a part of the future American dream.

You can find out more at his Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website .

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, Materials & Architecture, , , ,

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8:46PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Thank you!

12:12PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

You can always build a bigger house later-- if you can afford one. This way a person has no mortgage and does not have to be a slave to the a bank. "Its a Wnderful Life," by George Bailey(Sp?) is a wonderful movie -- and will help people realize that some bankers are in it all to get the person at the top rich and all the rest so poor that there is no clean drinking water.

Tiny houses allow people freedom to move from place to place so if I like to be ina warm place for the winter and a cool place for the summer -- than I can move my tiny house.
Thank God -- the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit -- for the movement.

12:05PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012


12:04PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

I like to ride my bicycle, I like to build my tiny house. I like to live so nicely.
My new song by R.A.R.

12:02PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Like. This is a good start for building a house and may be the answer for many people.
Then people that like building may have a tiny house to live in while they build a bigger house, or barn or greenhouse to grow their food in.

10:21PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

we love tiny house.......

8:41AM PDT on May 5, 2012


3:20PM PDT on May 1, 2012

Love this idea, we need more green places, less buildings.
Love It, love it, love it

12:31AM PDT on May 1, 2012

Thanks for sharing

6:12PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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