Tiny House Temptation: Six Homes With Minimalist Appeal

Posted on: 26 August 2014

It's a minimalist's dream--a tiny house that contains little decoration and no clutter. If you're someone who doesn't need much space, or who longs for a simpler home that's easier to maintain--a tiny house could be the answer. According to The Tiny Life, homes like these generally offer anywhere from 100 to 400 feet of living space--much less than the average American home. How do you build a tiny house? You might be surprised at the many materials that people passionate about minimalism have turned to.

1.  Cargo Containers

If you're a fan of Pinterest or Facebook, you've probably already seen a home constructed entirely of cargo containers, as they tend to trend from time to time. Though they can come in various sizes, the larger cargo containers for sale are roughly 40 feet long and about 8 feet wide--or about 320 square feet--more than enough space to live in if you're an advocate of the tiny home. Some architects use more than one container in their tiny home constructions though. It's all a matter of personal choice.

2.  School Buses

School buses have been a popular form of living quarters ever since The Partridge Family motored into town back in the 1970s. Today tiny homes built from school buses are gaining popularity. The Huffington Post featured a school-bus-gone-dream-house as early as 2012--complete with solar panels and a full bath. If you feel the need for speed beneath your tiny home, a converted school bus might be the answer.

3.  Garden Sheds

The common garden shed has found new purpose among tiny house lovers who've shucked the extra square feet in lieu of simplicity. Some enterprising architects even add wheels and a hitch so they can take their little living space on the road. Often they set up housekeeping in campgrounds across the nation. It's a new take on the old theme of crossing the country in an RV--just with less counter space.

4.  Boats

Some tiny house dwellers bring new meaning to the term "houseboat." Boats situated on land, with the express purpose of serving as a home, appeal to many tiny house fans. MSN Real Estate featured just such a dwelling made from the the Benson Ford:  A boat that served it's regular purpose for years throughout the Great Lakes, before becoming a landlocked home to an Ohio couple who valued simplicity over square feet.

5.  Grain Bins

No longer have a use for that circular grain bin? Try turning it into a tiny house. Some people have--a duplex, no less. The enterprising folks at Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage did just this--turning a simple, existing grain bin into two single-room apartments, one up and one down. Spacious? No. Trendy and economical? Certainly. One-room living definitely qualifies as tiny house living.

6.  Tree Houses

Tree houses make great tiny homes. They're not mobile like some, but who doesn't long to live high up in the trees? There's an inherent thrill built into tree houses, and if you can reside happily in under 300 square feet of living space--it just might be yours. After all, the view and the opportunity to imagine you're a wild creature more than makes up for any lack of space.

Whether your tiny dream home features wheels, a stunning treetop vista, or was once used to ship freight across the ocean, there's no limit to how charming it can be. Using a little architectural knowledge and a lot of vision and innovation, you can create a small, simple dwelling that takes all the complication out of traditional home ownership--no more clutter or wandering aimlessly from room to room in a house that's much too big. Make your life simpler today by downsizing to a tiny house.