Living Large in a Tiny Home

Going green — By Stephanie on January 29, 2010 at 6:34 am
don vardo tiny home 300x200 Living Large in a Tiny Home

Tiny Home from Portland Alternative Dwellings

How small can you go?

Tiny homes are big news these days!  Living in less than 500 square feet may sound like a reality show challenge, but more and more people are choosing to minimize their carbon footprint by shrinking their living space.

The reward?  Sustainable living that is as light on the planet as it is on your pocketbook.  Its the ultimate in living large!

While many people choose to build their own pocket-sized paradise, you can also special-order a tiny dwelling.  Based right here in my home state of Oregon, Portland Alternative Dwellings (“PAD”) specializes in tiny houses like the “Don Vardo,” shown to the right.

PAD extols the virtues of living in a tiny house on its web site:

“Our structures are designed on wheels, giving you the flexibility of placing them in just the right spot for today, and into the future.  A PAD offers a perfect extension to any home, as an office space, writing studio, retreat space or guest studio.  It can also be built as fully equipped, self-contained tiny dwellings.”

Could you do it?  What would it take for you to slash your living space by 70-80%, or more?

dee williams 244x300 Living Large in a Tiny Home

Maximize limited space inside a tiny home

I’ll be honest.  I have a large family – 4 kids, 2 dogs and a cat (and a husband, to boot!)  So, a tiny house of less than 500 square feet could result in unintended criminal activity, if we’re not careful!

But… in all seriousness, we could certainly get along as my mom’s family did when she was growing up.  A family of 6 with a single bathroom (no “master suite”), a small front room, kitchen and 3 bedrooms (including one added on): 1 for the girls, 1 for the boys, and 1 for the parents.  All of this in about 1000 square feet, which is practically microscopic these days, even for a bachelor pad!

Diminutive size aside, today’s tiny homes are eco-friendly in many ways.  Reclaimed wood is used for flooring and doors, LED lights illuminate the interior, and energy-efficient windows can keep drafts out.  Of course, with a space that small, it doesn’t take much energy for heating or cooling.

While you are going green in a tiny house, you’ll also save significant green in your housing costs.  The Don Vardo is a mere $22,000, which works out to less than $2,000 per month and you’ve paid off your entire mortgage in 1 year.

Ghandi had the right idea:

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Isn’t time that we start living large in tiny homes?

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  1. Tara says:

    Pretty cool! I used to have a 675 sq ft studio apartment, which all my friends considered as my “shoebox”. But it worked great for me. It was more than enough room for me and it was laid out more like a 1 bedroom.

    I do think people are getting used to going smaller – even if out of necessity. Besides, doing so will help them get rid of unneeded stuff they have lying around as well.

    If you don’t have space to store things, you’ll find you may not actually even need them!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Isn’t that the truth, Tara! A smaller space can actually fill bigger when you don’t fill it with unnecessary stuff. Homes are so much larger than they used to be 40-50 years ago, even though families are smaller now….

  3. Amanda says:

    Cut by 70% to 80%, to 500 ft. sq? Blimey, you must have biiiiiiig houses in the USA!

    We (me, OH, our 4 year old son) live in a 3 bed flat in central London. By central London standards, it’s a big flat – 950-odd sq. feet…..

  4. admin says:

    Its embarrassing Amanda! Here on the West Coast, a “small” family home is one that is under 2,000 sq. feet. New subdivisions generally range in size from 2,500 to 4,000 square feet…or bigger.

  5. Amanda says:

    that is huge. Here, 950 sq. feet for a family of three (central London) is both over £500,000 and not small.

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