Tiny Homes: The BIG Alternative Banishing the Ghost of McMansion
Interview by Nav. M. ~ Good Morning Canada
Credit to Nav. M. Good Morning Canada Over the last two decades, tiny homes have taken up a firm place in the collective consciousness and despite no single definition, they generally refer to small buildings (less than 400 sq ft) where space is maximized to create a long-term residence. The wider tiny house movement has gained immense popularity among various demographic groups, and is underscored by a minimalist ethos that “less is more” utilizing formal design and architectural concepts. However, the main assumption is that homeowners can increase affordability while reducing the impact of their environmental footprint. Proponents of the movement are keen to work alongside policy makers and planners to address a number of complimentary housing issues. For example, as a solution to a growing housing shortage and affordability crisis in large cities and conurbations on a global level. Also, as a temporary form of housing for frontline workers and to meet the demands of a rising digital workforce. Indeed the tiny house movement is not only gathering momentum but it’s also confronting these challenges head on. Tiny homes have a small footprint but they offer a great deal to those people with an open mind; In particular, to adventurous homeowners, to investment property owners and to individuals looking for a simpler lifestyle or vacation. In this episode we invite Jennifer McCarthy, President and Founder of Teacup Tiny Homes based in Lethbridge, Alberta to explain various aspects of the operational side of her business. She discusses the plan models which her company designs and builds; How conforming to the latest building and efficiency codes produces a more sustainable Tiny House; How smaller spaces can be maximized to make them look and feel bigger, and her leadership insights regarding the Tiny Home Industry. We trace the origins of the tiny house movement from early thinkers and adopters such as Sarah Susanka and Jay Shafer, who both influenced the broader conversation about creating a better, more thought-out space, emphasizing quality over quantity. We introduce fascinating research which confirms the growing trend of conventional houses getting bigger over the past five decades. New US homes today are 1,000 square feet larger than in 1973 and living space per person has nearly doubled. Interestingly, while houses are getting bigger, family size is getting smaller. We also cite a UCLA social science study reprinted in 2017 which highlights the effects of consumerism and material culture, explaining how empty space has been repurposed for storage use. But on a darker note, how consumer societies are drowning in a “culture of clutter.” In contrast, Tiny Homes offer homeowners the opportunity to value, quality of space over quantity of square footage. Clearly Tiny Homes are an alternative to traditional forms of housing by making us re-examine the underlying housing trends which have created undue societal pressure for decades but most importantly, how we view our quality of life. Click the link below to listen to the entire interview.