a tiny home used to be a trailer

modmechanix_trailer_resized

I love creative building.

I love the tiny home movement.  It frees up a way of affording a home that wasn’t really available before.

But most (or many) of these tiny homes used to be trailers.

They’re built on trailer frames, stripped of the old so the nice, new and…kind of trendy “tiny home” can be built on its remainder.

I don’t know if a trailer was ever really all that cool.  It was something you lived in out of necessity, not choice, and it was the cheap option for most of the folks needing affordable housing.

Now, like most new situations, there are a broad range of tiny homes being built.

There’s the really creative ones with lots of used materials built and lived in by their owners. Like most owner built houses, they are individual works of art.  They can be cheap depending on the skill and desire of the builder.

Then there’s the ones that appear to be just scaled down versions of the luxury homes found in any upscale area.  They are often built for the purchaser…and like any custom home can be expensive.

I guess that expensive is a relative term.  It still is a lot cheaper to build a 50,000 dollar tiny home than a million dollar California mansion…but it still seems kind of expensive.

(I looked up our old house in San Jose on Zillow the other day just for kicks…the house that my father bought in 1963 for 27,000 dollars last sold for 800,000…so maybe there’s a necessity to this small homes movement that someone living in the NC mountains doesn’t understand completely.)

Folks around here live in a lot of different kinds of houses.  Big mansions and tiny shacks.  The ones who live in the tiny shacks don’t do it because they’re trying to be trendy…they’d love a new house or even a nice new trailer.  It’s not a matter of what the latest trend is…it’s just living.

I remember when I lived in Atlanta that there was a group of renegade builders who were building housing for the homeless in many of the vacant areas downtown.  I think that they called themselves “madhousers” and were building small shelters for the homeless guys…I think they were 6×8 buildings… really small shelters.  I think the thought was to build something that was really fast to put up that would give the people a sense of personal space…ownership…that would protect them from the elements and provide a home.  They’d put them up in the middle of the night, under overpasses and in places that weren’t being used by the city for anything.

From what I remember, the city made them tear them all down.

(I just googled “madhousers”….they’re still around…check them out at www.madhousers.org )

Like I said before…I love creative building.  The tiny homes movement has some tremendous creativity…beautiful, funky homes built by some really great people.

But I’m seeing some of the other side of any movement that doesn’t seem to fit.  Maybe it’s kind of like the folks who went to Penney’s to buy their “hippy costume”…it doesn’t make a lot of sense when I see people buying the “boutique” tiny homes that builders have started to pump out.

You can shop at WholeFoods, ride a carbon fiber mountain bike, and live in a custom-made tiny home in your parent’s backyard…wear hemp clothing and drive a hybrid SUV…any of the other things that money can buy that makes you feel like you’re doing more to save the world than the Average Joe who lives in a travel trailer behind the SafeWay.

I guess that like I said before, there’s a broad range of situations out in the world.

You’re always going to have your Jackson Pollocks…..you’re always going to have the folks who are happy following along with Bob Ross.

It’s a good and cool movement…I just get tired of the politically correct, holier than thou folks acting like they’re the saviors of the planet because they build a “low impact”, expensive little house with new materials.

When something becomes a movement, I guess I just have to learn to take the good with the bad.


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