Tiny houses have enjoyed a surge in popularity lately, in part from media coverage and in part from a social movement towards simpler living in smaller homes. Author and architect Sarah Susanka is credited with starting the current trend in moving towards tiny and sustainable home design. Jay Shafer brought the idea of tiny homes on wheels when he founded the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, offering house plans for these tiny homes.
Tiny homes are not just a lifestyle choice they have been used to combat homelessness in cities like Austin, Madison, San Jose and Seattle. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, the Katrina Cottages designed by Marianne Cusato were built as a more livable alternative to the trailers brought in by FEMA. The housing crisis and financial collapse in 2008 made tiny houses more attractive, they were cheaper and more sustainable. Cost is certainly one reason people are turning away from conventional housing towards tiny homes, along with the appeal of building your own home. Gregory Kloehn builds tiny homes in Oakland, California using recycled materials and often for a cost of less than $100.
Defining a Tiny House
A ‘tiny house’ is a home built by conventional means but on a very small scale, they are usually the size of an RV trailer. The tiny homes are usually less than 300 square feet in size and are often owner built. Often tiny homes are built on the back of flat bed trailers and are used when people travel, much like an RV.
Tiny Houses and the Craftsman Philosophy
Tiny homes work well within the Craftsman philosophy, both are from a social movement with a yearning to return to a simpler lifestyle. Just as Craftsman homes were a radical change from the ornate and ostentatious Victorian architecture, tiny homes are a move away from the excesses of the present time to more sustainable living.
Since tiny homes are simply regular home construction on a much smaller scale many of them are built much like a Craftsman Bungalow. The Cypress from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company incorporates many Craftsman features into its style, hipped roofs and wood accent to name a few. Here is a virtual tour so you can see the mini Craftsman.
Building or Buying a Tiny Craftsman Home
You have the option of buying a ready made tiny Craftsman home, or buying the plans online and building yourself. If you choose to do your own building materials are readily available through any home building supply store. Many who build their own choose to use recycled material because of sustainability. Buying a ready made mini Craftsman is also available online, it is much the same as when the original Craftsman homes were available through mail order.
If you opt to build your own you can bring the cost down by the materials you choose, and of course doing much of the labour yourself. On average builders spend between $15,000 to $25,000 on construction. Professional built tiny Craftsman homes are typically prices between $30,000 to $50,000 again this will depend on features and materials. Cost is also dependent on whether your tiny home will be mobile or stationary.
Where to Buy Tiny House Plans
Many tiny house builders will sell the plans separately but here’s a list to get you started, you can look through the different plans available to find your tiny Craftsman home.
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
- Tiny House Design
- Yes Wee Cabins
- Tiny Green Cabins
- The Small House Catalogue
If you want to learn more about the tiny house movement or just connect with people who have shifted to the tiny house lifestyle here are a list of resources to check out.