Until very recently I had no idea that the way we lived after leaving the UK in 2000, was actually part of a huge movement, a global one. Not until I got a copy of the latest title from the stable of Lloyd Kahn, entitled TINY HOMES. All the SHELTER books are brilliant, but this is a real treat, with literally thousands of photographs of wonderful and original small houses, plus links to their websites.
To qualify as tiny the house has to have a floor-space of less than 500 ft2 (46m2). Nothing more. And this is my only quibble with the book. It means that at least half the pictures are of homes made commercially, or used for holidays, which I think detracts from the usefulness of the work. So to redress this I’d like to feature photos here of real tiny homes, and invite the owners to send them in.
TINY HOMES = small shelter, which as far as I am concerned means (in no particular order):
- is a primary residence. Not a second home, or holiday cabin/ boat/ recreational vehicle/ whatever.
- it’s a place where the owner has put down roots.
- the design is totally theirs, made to fit exactly their needs.
- built using as much free labour & recycled materials as can be found locally, and without any additional finance (loan), including the power system/ water provision/ and all fittings & appliances.
- to live in, as sustainably as possible, which means no children and income as low as possible.
- keeps the inhabitants warm and dry with the minimum of heating.
- is a healthy place to live (see below).
- and acts as an example to others. A home for very little cash outlay, low to zero running costs, and the surrounding land is used to increase ecological diversity and fertility, as well as a place for foraging food and medicine.
TINY HOMES should also aim to have the following (though not necessarily all):
- no mains electricity, relying solely on alternative energy, generated from natural renewable sources (wind/ solar/ or water power).
- no internal wiring or mains power.
- no metal in the structure.
- no fixed phone line connection, or mobile signal.
- no mains sewage, no septic tank, no mains water (all waste being composted on-site).
- plenty of natural light, roof-lights especially.
- no toxic chemicals used in construction/ furniture/ or maintenance.
- and located as far as possible from public roads/ urbanisation/ industry.