Tiny House. Live Small, Dream Big is a very stylish little book by Brent Heavener filled with beautiful photographs of tiny houses from all over the world. All have been thoughtfully crafted, make good use of recycled materials and are largely eco-friendly with low impact on the environment. Whether modern or rustic each is a unique architectural statement reflecting the tastes and needs of the occupants.
A tiny house has quite a few advantages such as a tiny heating bill, less housework and less ongoing maintenance. It can be an easy way of getting rid of your mortgage. It could free up some money to do the things you have always wanted to do like overseas travel or allow you to help your children into a home of their own.
And if you build your tiny house in a secluded space as many in this book have done you can wake up to nature every day and find solace and inner peace.
I leafed through the pages and started to dream of living in an incredible three-storey tree house like the one that stands in Camp Wandewega in Wisconsin made from reclaimed lumber with an elevated fireplace for those chilly Northern nights. A chance to relive a childhood dream but maybe it wouldn’t be so easy to climb up and down the stairs for elderly people with wonky knees.
The off-grid deodesic dome in Patagonia looks amazing. After a night of sleeping under the stars its owners wake up to a view of the nearby mountains, where wild alpacas graze on the slopes. But it looked a little flimsy. If you tried to replicate it in a South Island paddock with a view of the Southern Alps would it withstand a Southerly gale?
Then there is a repurposed elegant Shipping Container where one could take in the air from a rooftop deck. Nice in summer but this outdoor space would be wasted in colder weather leaving you with just a very small inside living area for much of the year.
From the deck of a tiny houseboat you could cast a line to catch a fish for dinner. Perfect for a rest and recharge for a few months but after a while would you start to miss the hustle and bustle of life in the suburbs and having neighbours?
A tiny house on wheels perhaps? In 2014 Candice, a free-spirited woman made the decision to leave her conventional life behind in exchange for freedom, happiness and simplicity in a custom designed 1988 Chevvy Sportvan. She continues to conquer the open road and make memories wherever her travels may take her. The idea of going on a never-ending holiday on wheels appeals but I suspect quite a few travellers would yearn after a more permanent home base eventually.
A tiny zero waste minimalist home which can be anything you want it to be and is an invitation to your creativity does sound inviting. If we did downsize to a tiny home we would choose one like that built by a couple in Texas who realising how much stuff they had acquired, which they didn’t really need, downsized to a beautiful tiny (29 square metre) house which sits in a private garden.
But in my heart, I know I am not ready for one just yet. Am I too attached to my possessions? Am I a stick -in-the-mud? Or am I just being realistic about the fact that my partner and I would get in each other’s hair in such a confined living space? And there wouldn’t be room to have our children and grandchildren over to stay.
So not for us, but maybe for you?
Tiny House: Live Small, Dream Big is by Brent Heavener. Publisher: Penguin Random House. RRP $40.