Keeping it simple really, really simple
By Louise Bolger
PHOTO/TUMBLEWEED TINY HOUSE COMPANY
Tumbleweed builds houses ranging in size from 70 to
850 square feet.
sun staff writer
How many times have you thought about running away, living
in a one room cottage on the edge of a cliff overlooking the
ocean, on a remote island in the Pacific or in the Rocky Mountains,
selling or giving away all the superfluous things in your
life and getting down to basics? Come on, you know you have.
For Jay Shafer, an art professor in California, his dream
became a reality when he started designing super-downsized
homes. For the past seven years, Shafer has built and lived
in houses smaller than 100 square feet. Six years ago, he
started a company called Tumbleweed Tiny House Company (www.tumbleweedhouses.com).
Tumbleweed builds homes ranging in size from 70 to 850 square
feet with prices from $20,000 to $90,000.
The tiny houses pack a lot into their teeny square feet. They
come with cathedral ceilings, loft bedrooms, front porches,
fireplaces, gable roofs and can even be towed. The kitchens
are about 4 x 5 feet, smaller than a full size bed, with cook
tops and mini refrigerators. The dining table and vanity are
both retractable, and a 2 x 4 foot bathroom is almost all
shower. Built with astonishing attention to detail, the tiny
homes are also eco-friendly appealing to idealists who are
seeking to help the environment and live plainly.
I dont really know why the idea of tiny homes caught
my attention, but the designers theory that living space
should be taking care of your needs and not demand a lot in
return is something I can understand. Everyone, at some point,
feels like a slave to his/her home, even if its smaller
than the 2,400-square-foot, average American home. But how
do you manage living in minimal space? Apparently, your brain
accepts the small space if the structure is properly proportioned.
Im not sure my brain accepts that explanation.
Even if you dont see yourself watching TV on your Blackberry
for eternity, a Tumbleweed house would come in handy as a
backyard studio while youre undergoing a major renovation
or building a new home. Some Tumbleweed buyers have been Hurricane
Katrina victims who needed an inexpensive, practical place
If youre ready to drop out, a tiny environment-friendly
home could be your ticket to simplicity. Leave it to California,
once again, to set a trend, tiny though it may be.