In this latest issue of The Memphis Flyer, reporter Candace Baxter visited Tennessee Tiny Homes in Eads ,Tennessee to see their work in building tiny homes all across the country and most recently for FYI's Tiny House Nation.
For the past 15 years, this concept of pared-down living has spread across the Western U.S., as more and more people decided to live more simply. Many tiny house models are designed to go completely off-grid, equipped with solar panels, wood-burning stoves, and composting toilets. Unplug and head for the hills. Others have built them as second homes for vacation getaways, boomerang kid quarters, or mother-in-law suites.
But the tiny house movement, as it is called, isn't just about the house. It is about changing the focus of life. Having less and doing more. Lower cost of living allows for more available cash, but less space to store possessions. Tiny homes aren't just for the "crunchy" sector anymore. In the wake of the housing market crash, with student loan debt at all-time highs, more people are choosing not to spend a third of their income on mortgage. They say they have money to get out and do things. Many downsize as a means to pursue more fulfilling careers for less pay.
I think what was so attractive about the tiny house movement to me was the ideal of having more time and money to spend time exploring and less time cleaning a 3,000 square foot house.
When I chose this beat for Professor Crawford's class, I wasn't sure I would be able to carry it out the entire semester because it was such a specific movement but thankfully the live events and local coverage has begun to take amp up.
The comments in this article were more positive than I thought they would be... I guess I just expect the same sorts of conservative babble you see on The Commercial Appeal website.
RE: Oak Tree's comment: "Pfft! This is Memphis. If you're looking for adventures in small living, buy an old houseboat, and put it in a local marina. My favorite is Riverside Park Marina, down on McKellar Lake. Ask for Pop or Rita. Man, kids these days."
One of the misconceptions of tiny homes are that they must be 125 sq. feet wood shacks on wheels but people have been a part of the "tiny house movement" for years like those who choose to live in condos, house boats, or RVs.
As long as we continue to conform to living bigger by investing in smaller properties, our economy will continue to grow; especially in the entertainment and tourism industries.
On September 26, Tennessee Tiny Homes hosted their seasonal Open House which drew hundreds of curious small home dwellers to their tiny home farm 12 miles past Wolfchase Galleria in Eads, Tennessee.
I brought along my friend Lauren, a tiny home naysayer who is happy in her parent's 3,200 sq ft. home in Nesbit, Mississippi. I thought if I'd bring her along she would convert but that wasn't the case. This was the first time I had been in a tiny home as well and boy did my perspective of them change...
The first tiny home we visited was what I entitled, "the glam wagon"... its hot pink exterior mixed with shiny silver and metal accents brought a playful feminine side; unlikely for the average tiny home.
The interior, at first, felt spacious, but Lauren and I quickly realized the space we were in had to accompany living room furniture.
Where Lauren is sitting (above) was great because they utilized the back wall as a library shelving unit which maximized the storage capabilities.
Our guess was that this custom gem was built for a woman (I know, that's sexist but look at the photos...) there was a chandelier sconce in the hallway leading to the micro kitchen and bathroom.
The bathroom (below) was shocking to us. It was gaudy with its black marble surround and bright metal accents. Again, not for everyone but the customization of tiny homes is what makes this industry so unique.
By far one of the most interesting choices of this unit was the washer and dryer in the kitchen.
Many tiny homes either do not come with a washer and dryer unit and use that space for a walk-in closet and frequent the laundromat or they have 2-in-1 washer / dryer combos.
I feel like the square footage they sacrificed for the stacked units is not worth the added unit (see below).
Another model we checked out was the incomplete 7x12 micro vacation home by Tiny Happy Homes.
I felt claustrophobic in this model because of the boxy layout and tight quarters. No more than two people could ever be in this unit at a time so for someone who loves camping or having a shack by the beach, this may be your option. It comes in at $25,000.
Overall, I have to admit I am a bit reluctant of the tiny home lifestyle after touring five of them at the open house.
While the micro-lifestyle appeals to me, I think having a foundation home in a historic neighborhood would ease the liability and still bring me the options I am looking for.
The next Tennessee Tiny Homes Open House information is below:
DATE: Sunday, October 25, 2015
LOCATION: Eads, TN – Just East of Memphis (RSVP for exact address)
Please RSVP at email@example.com for more details.
$5 Fee per person. Please no one under the age of 12 allowed (this is a construction area)
I'm a tiny home swooner looking to maximize my life without drowning in debt. Over the next semester, I'll be writing about those who live tiny and its benefits as part of the University of Memphis' Advanced Social Media class.