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Photo Credit: Tammy Strobel on Flickr

Tiny Houses Stress Me Out | BEDA Day 13

I saw this video from the New York Post (ugh) this morning about a studio apartment with a full kitchen, guest bedroom, and living area…all in 309 square feet. This trend of small but hyper-functional living spaces has become incredibly pervasive in the last few years with rents rising in cities around the world and the advent of the tiny house movement. I appreciate these spaces from a design standpoint. Having all that functionality in one small space is quite a feat.

Despite this, I just can’t see myself living in one of these spaces. As Amy Poehler says, “Good for you! Not for me.”

The Tiny House Movement started around the early 2000s and gained steam after the financial crisis of 2007-08. Tiny homes offer a more affordable and eco-friendly option for homebuyers, and the houses are often used as housing solutions for the homeless and victims of natural disasters. A typical tiny house costs around $25,000, significantly less than a more traditional home. In cities, microapartments create more housing options for singles looking to live alone, freeing up larger apartments for families. With both housing styles, residents are forced to live simply, essentially KonMari-ing their lives to fit in a space under 500 square feet.

I currently live in a studio apartment, and a sizable one at that (at least by New York standards). It’s nice, I try to keep it as open and tidy as possible, and I’m incredibly grateful for it. I can’t really complain about having an apartment to myself in New York City. That said, my place still a box. It’s a railroad apartment, so it doesn’t get a ton of light. Cooking is possible, but difficult, and you can’t really fit more than one person in my kitchen. It’s basically the length of my (relatively small) wingspan. I keep my bags and shoes under my bed because I don’t have enough closet space. On dark days it feels even smaller.

This is all fine by me, since I don’t spend a ton of time at home. I work long hours and when I get home, all I want to do is sleep. Reassembling my bed every night when I’m too exhausted to move would get really old after a while. I’d probably end up sleeping on the couch every night. I’d probably also end up cooking less if I had to build myself a kitchen every time I wanted to make spaghetti. Half of this comes down to me being lazy, but it just doesn’t seem like a way to live.

I’d love to stay in one of these spaces for a few nights, maybe in a hotel or something. But I don’t see myself living in what is essentially a Barbie Dream Apartment long term. I may be a small person, but I need some room to spread out and breathe a little. I still dream of having a terrace and, if I wish on a shooting star or Boeing 747, an actual bedroom.

It also seems to me like these kind of apartments just give property managers more reasons to keep rents sky high. The more functional the space, the more they can charge. Space is already at a premium in most cities, and I feel like if we accept life in smaller spaces, the apartments on the market will just get smaller. I could be totally wrong here, but this whole trend can’t be healthy.

If you want to live tiny, good for you. I actually do enjoy watching shows like Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters just to see what people can do with their space. People can do pretty amazing things with a trailer, some wood, and their imagination (and a nice budget from HGTV).

The Tiny Life is just not for me. I may be tiny, but I still want to take up space.