The tiny house movement started several years ago, so it was a just a matter of time before there was a TV show featuring tiny houses. It's actually kind of a welcome change from episodes of House Hunters and Property Brothers, where the people couldn't possibly live in a house that doesn't have double sinks in the master bathroom, space for a 70-inch TV, and enough cabinets to store an entire aisle of oversized packages of food and paper products from BJs.
The other night, I watched the first two Tiny House Nation episodes sitting in the living room at our fairly tiny house. Our beach cottage is about 340 square feet, 450 if you count the screened porch.
And that's actually not as tiny as some of the houses featured on the show. One, built for a couple and their two-year-old daughter, was less than 200 square feet. I'm pretty sure I couldn't live in a house that small, especially with a toddler, but the people who design these houses have some really great ideas for maximizing space, including telescoping tables, Murphy beds that turn into couches, sleeping lofts, and even a smugglers cabinet built into a deck.
We don't have anything quite that creative at our beach cottage, but watching the show got me to thinking about all the ways we've worked to fit in everything we need. We do have built-in storage cabinets over the bed, where we store extra sheets and pillows:
A military trunk, purchased for $50 on Craigslist, serves as a coffee table in our living room while also storing a food processor, a waffle iron, and a crockpot:
The living room also features a vintage Coleman cooler that hides our supply of Mutt Mitts as well as some magazines, while a picnic basket and another cooler hold binoculars, board games, and puzzles:
In the kitchen, we have mostly open shelving that Doug built from repurposed doors. Vintage wooden crates, bread boxes, and picnic tins are our pantry:
We also use lots of cup hooks and a magnetic knife holder, taking advantage of valuable vertical space:
Doug also fashioned a mini pot rack out of a turkey roaster and some hooks he bought at a kitchen store:
On the porch, a yard sale dresser holds placemats, dog towels, candles and barbeque tools:
In the dining room, a bar Doug made from a free crate holds all of our glasses, while a vintage cracker tin stores happy hour snacks.
And a vintage hamper hides a mattress cover for the futon:
The best thing about all of this is that we can justify our ever-growing collection of vintage containers because we use all of them.
I plan to keep on watching Tiny House Nation because it's fascinating to watch the host show people how much space they actually have for storage--and then watching the homeowners sort through their stuff. It makes you think about what you really need and what you have just because....
It's kind of funny though that the pendulum has swung so far from the McMansion direction. I don't think most of us are ready for Tiny House Living, but we could probably get by pretty well in a lot less than 3,000 square feet.
And one nice side effect of little houses? At least in the two episodes aired so far, they brought the family members closer together.