Talk about tiny houses and images of not so well equipped houses which cater just to the basic needs of individuals comes to your mind. Not an appealing sight to behold, right? Challenging the same idea, another “movement” has come around which goes by the name of “tiny house movement” and is basically a movement against the overuse of materials around the globe. We buy, we use (definitely not to the optimum in most cases) and we add to garbage.
Contributing to the environment in an acme way are tiny houses! Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Yes, the tiny house movement has creeped into places over the world and not only adhering to the aesthetics of a lot of people but helping declutter and reduce waste. After all, we all have stuff we do not need.
Think of the typical American house. A house which exceeds necessities have been idealized in more ways than one over the years. People have had their houses featured in luxury magazines and let’s face it, children are given those ideals from a very early age. Remember Barbie’s Malibu Dream House?
Speaking about tiny houses, they are typically 100 to 400 square feet and tiny houses come in a variety of designs, a handful even two-storeyed. Before you think that we are drifting to a hard-core communist approach, let’s help you pause. We all will have what we bargained with our lives and worked for, but in a cost and resource effective fashion. Tiny houses have been designed to house an effective kitchen, living room, gaming room, bar and even a library (beat that!).
There are enough proof to show how this tiny house movement helps the environment. One, it is cost efficient; two, it reduces energy consumption and resource consumption. Compare the basics of construction- the amount of building materials that are used to build a tiny house and those used to build a regular house, or compare the electrical consumption of the same. In most cases, it can be done with in a much lesser quantity. The “Life span” cost of the same is also far lower for the tiny house.
Apart from all the cost minimizing advantages, you can add the DIY factor and make it even more personalized. There are a number of designers online and with help from them, you just have to spend on the materials of the house. The fact that it is potentially mobile adds to the advantages.
Front runners to this movement include Lloyd Kahn (author of Shelter) and Lester Walker (author of Tiny Houses) and the movement gained momentum with the financial meltdown of 2007-08. Even after the devastating Katrina, several Katrina cottages which were meant to be hurricane shelters sparked the interest of people and developers alike. The most recent tiny house movement began in 1997 and has since then spread over Canada, Spain, Germany, Britain and Australia.
Though taking shape, this movement is plagued by various issues of societal pressure and how people have been perpetually brainwashed with the idea of bigger being synonymous to better. Opting for a huge lifestyle change can be scary as well. People also attribute claustrophobia as another reason to shy away from living tiny. Contrary to the popular notion, the concept of tiny houses doesn’t necessarily equate to a claustrophobia-inducing space but about clever storage and contributing to the environment and in a way, to yourself.
While many countries including India are yet to adopt to the tiny house movement, shifting towards this might be a possibility only if people pull up communities of tiny houses thus eliminating social pressures altogether. Here’s hoping that these little things emerge to be the next big thing in the block.
Written byAnwita Mukherjee
Anwita Mukherjee is a lawyer by education and has just finished her LLM from Jindal Global Law School. She has worked as a lawyer for a couple of corporate houses and is presently trying to metamorphose into a successful legal journalist.