Living Large in Small Houses

A photoessay on small houses and the people who love them.

Alyse Nelson on December 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

A tiny house with a picket fence.

A Jay Shafer tiny home. Flickr: nicolas.boullosa

My husband and I think we’ve found a way to pay off our mortgage early, without taking on an extra job or working nights. We’ve decided to construct a rental unit—a “mother-in-law suite”—within our home. If it pans out as we hope, the rental income will let us pay off our loan 10 years early. And who knows: it could give us a chance to live closer to family as we, or they, get on in years.

Jason and I are not alone; lots of folks across Cascadia and beyond are experimenting with adding a second (or third) dwelling to an existing single-family home. And in perhaps the most interesting development, more and more people are choosing to buck the “bigger is better” trend in North American housing. They’re taking small spaces—back yards, side lots, or freestanding garages—and using them to build tiny houses.

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Positioning a tiny house

So, you’ve built your tiny house (I’m so jealous…) and backed it close to where it’ going to live but there is a gate, or something in the way. How do you get your house into its final position? This is how.


It’s called a powermover. Here’s the site.

The Small House Movement: What’s the Big Deal?

Lakeside Cottage First Floor

Compared to the rest of the world, North America often seems to be the epitome of all things super-sized. We live in houses and apartments that would be considered gigantic in many parts of the world. We fill up our houses with stuff, then we fill up our garages (a true luxury for most in the world) with stuff, and often end up renting self-storage units to handle the overflow! A whole cottage industry has sprung up just around dealing with forgotten and abandoned storage units.

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Lorna’s 1930s Shepherd’s Wagon


From the tinyhouse blog:

Over the course of two summers starting in 1945, Lorna Benedict lived in a shepherd’s wagon on a large ranch in Wyoming. During her stint as a shepherd she watched over a herd of sheep, chopped her own firewood, shot and skinned local wildlife and fished the rivers for her food. Every few weeks, when the sheep moved on to feed, horses would be hooked up to the wagon so she and her home could continue the process. When asked what she liked about the lifestyle, she said “Nothing!”

“Well…at that age, it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Lorna added. “But now that I look back on it, it was really amazing to be out in nature with those mountains in Wyoming. I sure did read a lot.

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How Long Will You Need to Save to Buy a Home In Your City?

From The Atlantic:

How long do you have to work in order to afford a home? Ahead of the upcomHow Long Will You Need to Save to Buy a Home In Your City?ing Labor Day weekend, we calculated how many years it takes to save enough for a down payment in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, factoring in both local average wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and local housing prices based on the median asking price per square foot of homes listed on Trulia.

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