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This design of Jay Shafer’s, the

Epu, has a floorplan of 6 square

Small houses
metres. Jay lives in an Epu himself

America’s Small House Movement dreams big, builds small

By Fiona Negrin

Jay Shafer’s Z-Glass

house fits a living room,
bedroom, kitchen and
bathroom into a mere
36 square metres

© Tumbleweed Tiny House Company 2008

© Tumbleweed Tiny House Company 2008

At three by two metres square, you can buy Shay Salomon is open about the fact that living
wardrobes bigger than Johnson’s house, dubbed in a tiny house presents challenges, including the
“the Mobile Hermitage”, but it’s an exemplar of need to tidy more often. But she says the financial,
creative solutions to space constraints, with all emotional, environmental and health benefits of
areas performing multiple functions. A queen-size living in a small house outweigh the obstacles.

T he Small House movement is to homes one of the movement’s defining books, Little has built 12 tiny houses, lived in three different loft bed is accessed by a fold-away ladder, the Coming back to the idea of slow food, Shay
what the Slow Food movement is to dinner: House on a Small Planet. “There’s an enormous ones, and become an ardent spokesperson for offers the last word on small living. “Sustainability
computer workstation converts to a two-seater
a celebration of sustainability, simplicity and amount of destruction required for construction,” the movement. He’s written The Small House is a question of sustenance. When you can get
dining area, and “tables and surfaces seem
nourishment. It’s a trend that’s gained momentum Salomon says, “both in clearing the land and then Book and started his own company, Tumbleweed in touch with the reality around you, you realise
to come out of the woodwork on demand as
in recent years thanks to the trifecta of increasing in all the materials that go into the building, and Tiny Houses, to provide plans and build small there’s plenty of sustenance for everyone, and
needed”. Indeed, space-saving innovations are a
climate change awareness, the global financial then all the long term costs that go into running houses for others. the sustainable way of doing things is to feed the
distinguishing feature of tiny houses.
crisis and rising real estate prices. The Small those buildings”. Gregory Paul Johnson, author of Put Your Life whole world just exactly what it needs, and not
It might sound like a competition to out-tiny
House movement is most active in the US, where Salomon co-founded the Small House Society on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 too much.”
people of all ages and incomes are foregoing with Jay Shafer, Nigel Valdez and Gregory Paul Square Feet, lives in a diminutive house designed your neighbour, but the Small House Movement
“trophy” houses for small, even tiny, abodes that Johnson in 2002. Jay Shafer’s guiding philosophy and built by Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. It’s a welcomes dwellings of all sizes and maintains

© Tumbleweed Tiny House Company 2008

free up their time and money. is “dream big, build small.” At 30 square metres, freestanding, movable, battery-powered house that small is relative. “A space that might be
After transport and agriculture, housing is the the first tiny house Shafer built is so modest that was conceived as being part of a community considered small for a family of four would be
most resource-intensive industry in the western it’s blushing, but he credits it with transforming of tiny houses where common resources like large if only a single person were living in it,”
world, according to Shay Salomon, author of and “uncluttering” his life. Ten years on, Shafer kitchen and laundry would be shared. says the Society.

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Despite their At 30 square metres, the first tiny house
Shafer built is so modest it’s blushing,
tiny size
Tiny Houses
have plenty
of storage
but he credits it with transforming and
‘uncluttering’ his life
© Tumbleweed Tiny House Company 2008

Small houses online
The online hub of the Small House Society is a
focal point for the movement and offers a wealth
of resources for smaller, more sustainable living.
Architect Susan Susanka’s The Not So Big House,

Give the
published in 1998, is considered a seminal text of the
Small House movement. Her website includes a book
shop, home plans for sale, presentations and more.
Jay Shafer’s website includes home plans,
a book shop, his blog and FAQ.
Based in the USA, this website has a good online
book shop with many Small House related titles.
Perfect Gift!
This four-minute film about Dee Williams,
who built and lives in her own tiny house
on wheels, was considered so inspiring that A 1-year subscription to the Monthly magazine
Yahoo posted it on their home page.
is the perfect gift for friends and family. They will enjoy
Free-ranging discussion about tiny
houses and simple living. your thoughtful gift all year long. Plus, it’s so simple to arrange, just go online, call or email!

A bi-weekly webzine about small living,
including a useful blogroll.
© Tumbleweed Tiny House Company 2008

Justin Peer’s blog details the process of building

his tiny house in a London backyard. Justin’s
effort is notable also for the fact that he’s Phone 03 9654 2175 Freecall 1800 077 514
sourcing most of his materials second-hand from
eBay, dumpsters and other salvage spots.