Design Book Review Tiny House LIving on Capella Kincheloe Interior Design Phoenix

I've lived in a tiny apartment.  It was about 350 square feet and was my own little piece of Los Angeles.  I lived there for several years and was very good at maximizing space and only keeping what I needed.  Then I moved to a house over twice that size and then I moved again into a house twice the previous house's size.  Each time acquiring more stuff to make my home feel comfortable, lived in and cozy.

As a designer, the thing people want most in their homes is comfort - they want their houses to feel cozy so they fill them with stuff.  But perhaps the answer isn't to get more stuff, it is to get less.  If you missed my post Tiny Houses: Living Large on Monday, I suggest you start there.

In my tiny house frenzy, I picked up  Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building & Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell was released last month and has several solid reviews on Amazon.  I buy so many design books that I thought I would start sharing one with you a month.

This book is interesting if you're into tiny houses or living small, but probably a little fantastical for others. I can imagine many people reading this book that is supposed to promote tiny house living and simply think, not realistic or I could never do that.  In other words, you have to be a bit of a believer or, at minimum, be open to the possibility of tiny house living to enjoy the book.

In my opinion the details and examples that could help turn non-enthusiasts are missing from this book.  A glaring omission was not noting how many square feet each tiny house featured contained.  It would make sense if you're talking tiny, you tell readers how tiny each home was.  With a notation on square footage, the reader could see what 84 square feet looks like versus 400 square feet.

There were also mentions of storage solutions and ideas without showing a photo or going into further explanation.  The closest the author came was Chapter 7, which probably won't surprise you was my favorite, Designing a Tiny House.  Not only were there practical tips like put money into the roof and mechanical systems, but also psychological ones.  For example, putting the front door at the front of your home (rather than the garage door) is a statement of priorities - telling visitors they are more important than your car.

This is a very basic book, too basic for design enthusiasts or those that want specifics about building a tiny house.  It's basic in the writing and in (sometimes blurry) photographs.  The bottom line?  Entertaining if you're into tiny houses, skip it otherwise.

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the best of tiny houses

Truth time.  I am completely bewitched with tiny houses.  Not the same way I am obsessed with tiny horses, in the way it's so cute and adorable and I want one, but really where would I put a tiny horse?  But in the way that I really want one.  I want one and I am scheming what I'll do with all my stuff and where it'll be.  I've looked up where to buy one, how to build one, building code issues, tiny house blogs, designing one, that by now I'm practically an expert (not really).

Llano Exit Strategy, Matt Garcia Design, 350 sq ft

I also bought a book, Tiny House Living, which I will be reviewing here on Wednesday after watching the movie Tiny- about a couple that builds a tiny house in Colorado.  What I found so compelling about this way of living is that it is about being and doing and not having.  Williams James wrote in the Varieties of Religious Experience that "Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or on being."  I don't know if there is a sentence that more accurately sums up the tiny house movement.  Your life is freed up when focus shifts from acquiring stuff to doing stuff.  Less stuff = more living.

Ohio Cottage of Ron & Sue Corl, 520 sq ft

Think about this, if you have a home that is of minimal square footage - 100, 500, 1000 sq feet  depending on perspective - you will have less stuff, less furniture, less clothes, fewer books, less kitchen gadgets, less everything because it simply won't fit.  Because you have less stuff and less space you will also have less maintenance on your home, less cleaning, fewer repairs, less chores, less upkeep.  Because you have less square footage there is a maximum amount to what you can purchase.  You'll make better buying choices, afford higher quality goods, and can avoid the sweet lure of consumerism easier.  If you can't buy more, you'll save money.  Your small house will cost less, saving you money and maybe even being mortgage-free.

Maringotka by Miramari Design, 258 sq ft

Your small house is now saving you money on home costs and saving you time on maintenance.  You have more time and money - you can focus more of your time and money on doing and being - spending time with family and friends, traveling, experiences instead of working to pay for the house and stuff to fill it.

What got me is when I realized how hard my husband and I work so that we can keep and maintain this gorgeous house we own.  Just this week we have this on our to-do list: fix irrigation, stake leaning tree, change compost bin, clean-up yard, hang misters, buy new dining table, call alarm company, and order kitchen upper cabinets.  That is exactly what we have on the list for this week only - next week it'll be another long list and a chunk of time and money.  The only thing not house related on our list was planning our 3rd anniversary getaway.

But, while we love our home, we love traveling and experiencing more.  Our values don't lie in having a house to impress as much as we'd like to see the world.  We would rather have money in the bank than a fancy car and be debt-free than a designer wardrobe.  It is said that to be happier you should invest in experiences rather than goods.  A wine-tasting trip is so much better than a custom-built wine cellar.  Visiting the local attraction (Grand Canyon anyone?) is more fulfilling than buying a photo of it for the wall.  A manicure with a friend for her birthday will be remembered more than that vase you bought her.  Building a house for someone else is more rewarding than sitting in your own.

But this is a post about tiny houses, tiny houses that have the possibility to free up your life from a prison of consumerism and allow you to expand what you do and what you are rather than what you have.  But honestly, my tiny house would have Heath Ceramics tableware, Rocky Mountain Hardware, a George Smith sofa, and Frette Linens - because it is a house, I'm not roughing-it.

2by4 architects Island House, 226 sq ft Beth's Sausalito Cottage, 365 sq ft Jessica Helgerson Design, 540 sq ft


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