I just finished reading THE BIG TINY, by Dee Williams, the story of a woman who built herself a house that's smaller than a typical parking space.
have been sloooowly downsizing (by reducing my possessions, not my
living space), but sometimes I fantasize about going even more
drastically into simplicity. Interestingly, Williams's chief joy in her
tiny-house experience would not be mine. She revels in the physical
experience of building the house herself. I admire that capability, but
to me the building part would be a chore, not fun.
For most of
the book, her tiny house is settled behind her friends' larger houses,
and she helps them with chores while they let her use their indoor
plumbing and internet connection. Therefore, the tiny house is not a
hermit's refuge. Instead, it facilitates community, a little
neighborhood where the inhabitants of the three houses are in and out of
one another's space all day long. It reminds me of stories from
mid-20th-Century urban environments, where a couple might live in one
apartment with their grown children downstairs, their siblings in the
next building, their parents across the street, etc.
is increasing, the job market has been shrinking, and wages are
stagnating. With the empty nest therefore growing less common, perhaps
the extended-family living situation will make a comeback, with "family"
sometimes including friends.
I'm hearing more and more about tiny houses lately--an interesting follow-up to the McMansion era. What's next?