Tiny houses on the hillside/Tiny houses full of throw pillows

Okay, so Claire linked to yet another adoring article about perfectly-groomed tiny houses this morning. Their precious interiors, architecturally-fashionable boxiness and clearly professional construction did not make me in any way hostile. No – I’m far above that. Bastards.

But it did remind me of a loverly little piece that – by total coincidence – I read yesterday…

Dear People Who Live in Fancy Tiny Houses

I f’ing love the idea of downsizing and living a “simple life,” but seriously, where do you put your shit? You still have some clothing and shoes and towels and all that jazz, right? Or do you just wear overalls now? Overalls and Birkenstocks and one towel that you share with your entire family. Where do you wash that towel, hmm? Do you have a tiny river that runs behind your tiny house? I bet you do. I bet your whole Goddamn property is whimsical.

And I know your house isn’t that clean all of the time. In your pictures, it looks like you only own a tiny sofa, several throw blankets & pillow, one cooking pan, one antique book and one framed photo of you laughing in front of your tiny house.

The writer does go off on some flights of sarcastic fancy here and there, but also asks questions people really thinking of building one of these artist-studios-posing-as-houses might want to seriously consider before pulling the trigger.

And no, I don’t mean the one about how it’s all fun and games until somebody farts. Though possibly that, too. My main problem with all these tiny house articles involves the same question I have about every house or apartment ever featured in any fashion magazine anywhere: What’s with all the throw pillows? Do people really live in that? Because it looks more like it was built to be looked at.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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21 Responses to Tiny houses on the hillside/Tiny houses full of throw pillows

  1. Paul Bonneau says:

    “…it looks more like it was built to be looked at.”

    You cynic! 🙂

    Seems like there ought to be a happy medium somewhere. It’s either tiny houses or mcmansions; what’s wrong with something in the middle? And why do women insist on so many bathrooms? Do they like scrubbing toilets?

    I used to think a tiny house would be wonderful, with a shop 5 times as large for overflow. But now that I know squirrels trash everything they can get their little paws on in a shop, that won’t work either.

  2. Robert says:

    And a given chunk of land costs the same regardless of the size of house you’re gonna plunk on it. The tiny house movement is big (sorry) around here. The city and the tiny houses trailers are a contentious issue what with no one wanting a squatter parking at the curb in front of their non-mobile house. Then there’s the alderman being cited for having homeless people living on his front porch…

  3. MamaLiberty says:

    No “throw pillows.” Never had one and never wanted one. What IS the point? But the biggest gripe I have with most housing construction is the fact that it can’t actually be kept clean. Oh sure, you can dust, sweep/mop constantly. and eventually paint to hide the dirt, but there are millions of places you simply can’t get to.

    My dream home would be about 1,200 sq ft or so, dug into the side of a hill. The walls and interior would be made of dense cement and coated with a waterproof sealer. All electric outlets and fixtures would be sealed, storage bins built into the walls in each room, and built in “furniture” of cement or plastic with substantial cushions or mattresses in appropriate places. Large deck, solar energy sufficient (panels on the hill above the house), and a private well, septic, etc.

    The bottom line would be that the place could be cleaned (after removing a few items one didn’t want to damage ) using a garden hose to clean all the other surfaces once or twice a year – dirty water going down a drain in the floor of each room. No little cracks and crannies to attract and collect varmints and insects. No rugs, drapes or other such things to collect dust, mold and spider webs.

    My sister the architect drew some plans for me for this house… said it might cost as much as a million dollars to build.

    Oh well… sigh. I really love my log home, honest. If only I could actually clean it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Some good thoughts here – thank you for addressing them.

    Our home is ‘middle ground’, about 1,400 sq. ft. interior space. Two adults, two teenagers – its too small for storing ‘preps’ without looking sort of strange. Furnishings are pretty spare too – living room is standard couch – loveseat – and rocker. Bedrooms are beds and desks with a couple of dressers – nothing else.

    Mamaliberty – think over having no soft materials on floors – walls. Those materials absorb sound and without them, echo is an issue. (Its why they texture the ceiling surface) for example. Some pluses – our indoor cats (2) ‘yak’ pretty often, and the tile floor we have in the house is great for easy clean up. We have carpet only in 3 bedrooms and living room – works okay. 20 years and its beginning to look like it needs replacing. Sealing those uitilities are fine, but use wide sweep eels (conduit turns) or it will be impossible to replace the wiring when / if it needs it. Consolidating your utilities in a common wall to me makes the most sense.

    I like the idea of water hose cleaning.

    Just my 2 cents, meaning no offense towards anyone.

  5. Emily Summer says:

    Women scrub toilets? Not this woman. If the second bathroom is the one you use, you scrub the toilet. Those tiny houses is what we used to call a garden house where you could go and read a book in the afternoon. Let’s face it…..a tiny house is just a little room. Go live in a laundry room for awhile and see how you like it.

  6. Joel says:

    XD Please recall that I wasn’t actually ridiculing tiny houses. In their place, properly thought through and for the right sort of person I’m extremely sure they’re a very good choice. You’re going to sprout a lot of outbuildings, though. These little trailers-with-pretensions, I really don’t get as long-term dwellings unless they’ve got a lot of cunningly-hidden storage that never makes it into the pictures.

  7. MamaLiberty says:

    LOL! I think the million dollar price tag will solve all those problems. 🙂 In fact, addressing most of them is where the big bux would go according to the architect. As for the floors, I have no problem with removable rugs, but I would never spend another dime for carpet. It is basically uncleanable.

    No, I’ll never have that kind of money, so I’m stuck with a log cabin full of dirt. It’s my dirt anyway… I can live with that. 🙂

  8. MamaLiberty says:

    Emily Summer – I actually do scrub two toilets, at least once a week. I have two 700 sq. foot floors here, each with a bathroom. This is wonderful because I don’t have to negotiate the stairs to pee… Being somewhat incontinent at times in my old age, that could get to be a real disaster. LOL

  9. Nosmo says:

    @ML – had a friend who – with his wife – built a custom house in south FL. About 3.5K sq ft it was sized for the family. Every room was tile, no carpet anywhere (that works very well in a climate that’s always 80F or higher), a very open floor plan (the only rooms with walls and doors were bedrooms and bathrooms). Built around a very large Great Room with kitchen, dining, living, etc. just spaces within that room. In the middle of the great room was a polished brass floor drain, and all the bathrooms had “accessible” showers with strip drains between the shower and the rest of the bathroom, with curtains that stopped a foot above the floor.

    To clean: dump a bucket of water, squeegee it to the drains. They had 6 kids, each knew a million other kids, all of whom were in/through the house constantly. FL is all sand, it gets tracked in constantly, the sharp edges of the sand granules destroy carpet in a couple years because you can never vacuum it all out (BTDT, got the T-shirt). His plan is after the last kid moves out he’ll pour concrete in the great room drain, put down carpet and change the locks.

    I thought the only thing the house was missing was waterproof walls and furniture so the bucket and squeegee could be replaced with a fire hose.

  10. MamaLiberty says:

    Sounds great, but I’d skip the cement and carpet phase. Yes, I lived most of my life in the desert, so know about sand and carpet… kids and sand and carpet… animals and sand and carpet.

    I’d want granite or ceramic tile throughout the house. I have it in the upstairs bathroom and just love it.

    Sounds like a great house otherwise. My main floor has an open room, with just a bathroom and the office separate. I wouldn’t mind taking out the wall between the main room and the office to open it up more, but suspect it is a bearing wall. The office is cut off from the wood stove heat all winter.

    The basement is another “main room,” with a bathroom, sm. utility and storage room along one side. Anyway, it works for me.

  11. coloradohermit says:

    I can’t help but imagine that Joel will start receiving care packages of throw pillows so he can come to learn the usefulness and versatility of them. If nothing else, fun for LB to de-stuff them. ;-}

  12. Zelda says:

    Joel, the throw pillows are where all the towels, laundry, pots, clothes, shoes, canned goods, dog bed, wine and chocolates are stored. The pillows are just for decoration, so it doesn’t matter if they are hard and lumpy. Occasionally they house a hamster or a cat. No space is wasted in a tiny house.

  13. Tennessee Budd says:

    I have a friend who’s consumed by the idea of the “tiny house”. To her credit, she used to live in a slide-in camper (on jack stands), so she knows what it’s like. More power to her.
    Not for me. I’ve lived in small trailers, in a camper (trailer type), & don’t want any more. I just bought this place last year. Counting the basement, it’s ~2400 sq. ft. (not counting the garages). More than I really want to take care of, or can easily, but it’s nice to look out over the (to me) vast expanse of my living room. YMMV.

  14. Paul Bonneau says:

    ML, one advantage of getting old is that you eventually can’t see the dirt any more…

    Actually I discovered that a throw pillow is good back support for sitting in most chairs. But how many do you need?

    I don’t have much use for granite countertops, which are never as clean as seen in the magazines. The height of function in countertops was formica. Since then it’s been all downhill…

  15. MamaLiberty says:

    This is true, Paul. I keep my kitchen and bathroom counters much cleaner than the floors… they’re closer to the eyes. LOL But I do try.

    As for granite countertops, I never had any. My sister does, and she has been very happy with them. Of course, she has a “cleaning lady” come in once a week. I have formica counters here. I keep a cutting board over the boo boo where I set a hot cast iron pan on it for a split second… 🙂

  16. Buck says:

    Throw pillows….. yes. Some women are fucking obsessed with them. My wife being one. My mother being the other I can name. I see them as largely, and by that I mean utterly, useless except to assure that whatever furnishings they rest upon are completely unserviceable.

  17. jabrwok says:

    I have a few throw pillows and find them fairly convenient. When I’m lying on the loveseat reading a book, one goes under my head (the armrest isn’t comfortable enough) and another on my stomach to prop up the book.

  18. Paul Bonneau says:

    Throw pillows are for throwing… those you aren’t using at the time, anyway.

    My wife also goes overboard with them. But hey, there are a lot worse obsessions than that, so I humor her.

  19. dddddancetotheradio says:

    This couldn’t work in Canada on the Prairies.
    We go stir crazy as it is in a regular sized house in the winter.

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