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“Tiny House Nation” DIY TV Show – Wow! Really?

I can’t be silent about the new TV show that is representing the
“Small House Movement”.

You can see it for yourself here
I really love the production value of the show – looks very professional, but the content – not so much! They try to show what it’s like to go through the downsizing process. Like so many reality shows though, it’s forced and unreal – nearly brutal for the families! No family sheds all they own in a couple days and then is expected to go live in a home where there is nowhere to store the little basket of clothes they are allowed! Unless they have literally become homeless. – WOW!

The show goes back and visits the families 3 weeks later, which is hardly enough time to know what they really think or if they might actually continue living this way. Both had some “issues” already though. In the first episode, the poor father needs to put a belt on, but has to wait for his wife to get out of the way in order to do that. They have no living space, just a kitchen, bedroom, child’s cubby (that she will quickly grow out of), & a bath – barely large enough to enter. When 2 guests stop by, the wife has to eat on the bed because there is no place else for her to sit! – REALLY!

In the second episode, the son wants a desk in his loft, but he’s over 6′ tall and can’t stand up straight in his bedroom. Later in the show they film him sitting at his desk, and he has to keep his head tilted or it hits the ceiling ~ Nice! They did a great deck for them and using that space will really help a lot – unless it’s raining or cold, which here in the north is about 6 months out of the year.

Both homes featured a tiny bar sink as the main sink in the kitchen for all food prep & washing dishes. They often use unfinished wood counter tops (this one is pre-fab laminate) which will never hold up and turn black quickly with the moisture. For some reason in the first show, instead of going to a laundromat,  the lady of the house was using what appeared to be a 2 gallon hand tumbler and was doing  washing every day. I don’t think more than a pair of jeans would fit. We don’t need to go back to the dark ages to live small.

The second show mentioned a $30,000 budget, but I assume that didn’t include the lot or hooking up the utilities. I am assuming there was a great deal of donated work, too because around here just the timber frame, utility hook-up, and the large deck would have eaten up most of that budget.  Just the lot on the river would cost nearly that as well! We never see what the true final cost would be, but I promise, it’s not what they claim the budget is!

And speaking of cost, there is a 420SF NYC apartment they show in the first episode that has tons of ever changing features that pull out and drop down – it’s pretty cool and smartly designed ~ if you want to move everything, every time you want to do anything! The bed needs brought down and put up, the kitchen is OK but if you’re cooking you need to pull hotplates out of the drawer . . .you can feed 12 at a pull out table, but only when everything else is stored away. Not sure how it goes over when you have to ask your guests to stand up and hold their plates while you close the table so you can get back into the kitchen, LOL! And as one commenter suggested, “How are you going to cook for 12 in that kitchen!” Oh yeah, they never mentioned the price. That apartment has hit the market recently for a cool Million ~ Yikes! That comes out to $2381 per SF 😉
(Sue interjects~Almost everything was white.  I didn’t see much of the owner’s personality in the space.)

And this, my friends, is why we started our blog. We don’t want to climb ladders to a loft that we can’t stand up in – we don’t want to pull a bed down and lift it back up 365 times a year – we don’t want to pull out kitchens for a quick snack or set up tables every time we want to eat. We can live very nicely in less than 900SF and not sacrifice the luxury elements of a civilized and cultured lifestyle. We can have a small table (actually we can’t at our place but that’s just poor planning ;), we can have a nice bath, and a place large enough to sit and stretch out a little without doing an aerobic workout when headed to bed. . .

See the actual listing!

You know what? Maybe I just changed my own mind. Getting a free workout everyday doesn’t sound bad. If I need to spend 5 minutes opening up the kitchen, maybe I just wouldn’t bother with that snack and lose some weight in the offing. Maybe it’s great to do aerobics the second you get out of bed – to close it up and before you go to bed to bring it down every night. Hey, I’m starting to like this. And I know my furniture business will do better in NYC. Half my clients are from there. Anyone got a fast million to lend us? 😉 In all honesty, although this is still overpriced for this Tiny, it is pretty cool for NYC.

The crazy thing about all of this living in a 200SF space is that you can live in a 500SF space or 900SF space for not that much more – and you don’t have to sacrifice what most of us consider normal, everyday joys like standing upright in your bedroom or having a double sink in the kitchen or a nice shower. It boils down to living smart. A 200 or 85 SF home will never truly impact how we live here in the US. at least on a large scale, but a 500-900SF home can. And if you have an extra 15K, you can get this mini kitchen from GE – at least the big companies are starting to see the value and need here for small living.

If you think about what you can truly sacrifice and what makes your life just a little easier every day, you can still have that in a small space – no formal dining room or 2 story foyer or extra sitting room, but do those make your life easier? Large impressive spaces should be reserved for public spaces so we can all enjoy them. Put that money you are saving into killer showers and comfy bedding. Now that WILL make life better!~
Don’t forget to share the Hell out of this!!! Thanks!!!

Cheers,Ron Thumb Sig
Ron (;>)~

4 Comment

  1. I’ve never seen the show since I don’t have TV. But, I agree with the author that most of us could live smaller, but there is a point when the sacrifice truly begins to impact our standard of living. I love my 672 square foot home. I could even live in a smaller home if the floorplan was better, but I like to have some room. I once lived in a rental where it was hard to dress in the bedroom, even though the house was larger than my current one. I’m in the smallest kitchen I’ve ever had, but it is also the best designed which makes a huge difference.

    And, adapting to this house has been a slow process. I made a few painful sacrifices upon my move, but the majority came as I began to live in the house and discover what fit and what didn’t, as well as what I used and what I didn’t. I have more to shed, but the house is now comfortable, and I know that I couldn’t have shed all of this when I first moved in.

    By the way: I’m glad I discovered your blog. I’m fixing up an existing small house in town, but I loved the looks of your house on the “Small House Bliss” website, even if I don’t plan for mine to turn out like yours.

    1. Hey Jason,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write! Small living is all about the floor plan and ours could be way better too. It’s all a process though and we will continue to refine forever. Once you’ve worked in a small kitchen with a killer layout, you wonder why anyone would want to walk 20′ across the “Great Hall of Cabinetry” to grab an onion? 😉 Sue would love something a little beyond our foyer/kitchen though.
      I would love to see some pics of your place and happy to answer any Tiny re-hab questions you may have as you go through your process. Shoot me an email at ron@shinytinymansion.com . We are always looking for other Tinies who want to share the process with us and our followers!
      Cheers, Ron

  2. Couldn’t agree more about the show, very disappointing so far. I expected to see some real design ideas, not design don’ts! Those tiny sinks and that poor couple with the toddler, no way they’ll make it long in that place. All its doing is convincing people tiny houses are not a good idea, I don’t know anyone that would want to live in either of the first 2 houses. And if its not going to be a mobile house, then yes, add a hundred feet or 2 especially if 4 adults are going to be living there! No bedroom for the soon to be married parents? Really???

    1. Yeah! I know I sound harsh about the Tiny Trailer thing, but it’s just not sustainable. We did it for 6 years and if it’s the only thing you have to live in, it’s wonderful compared to the streets, but I just don’t understand where all these campers are being parked. I know one friend with a great blog (I need to post it!) is in the city, but she doesn’t know how sustainable that is. You can’t just pull it into a city lot and expect all to be well with codes everywhere. We still may get some pics of our home on the show and it’s fun to watch, but Sue is constantly running it back because I won’t shut up and she can’t hear what’s going on, hahaha! Thanks

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