Maybe Not a Tiny House

We just finished watching the new FYI channel’s “Tiny House” show. The first show featured a couple moving from a traditional home of 1300 square feet to a movable home of 172. The mobile part really limited the design of the home, since no part of the home could be wider than ten feet. Watching the couple sell just about everything they owned and the give up just as much, especially when it came down to how little storage their new home would have, was eye-opening. Both My daughter and I had started the show by chanting “Tiny house! Tiny house!”Halfway through, our chorus had transformed into furrowed brows.

“What about our books?” My wife asked.

It was a good question. Our recent two week road trip confirmed for me that I am fairly happy living out of a suitcase, so long as I also have a bag with a computer in it and some sort of tablet for reading. But I also like the occasional book, and that has to go somewhere after your done with it–this might be less the case if we weren’t a household of re-readers.

Sure, I need fewer codices, especially now that I’m doing more work in the digital humanities, which has been better about adopting information technologies that make it possible to carry texts of all kinds on a variety of devices. Still, there are … things … things I like to have with me.

So paring down would be more difficult than I first imagined: though nothing stops one from not making so radical a step. One need not go from 1300 to 172, which would be something like us going from 2500 to 333 square feet. Nothing wrong with simply going down to 1250.

Much of it really hinges on the quality of the space. The house they built in the show had cathedral ceilings and lots of really nice surfaces as well as a wall of windows in the living room that ran from the floor to the bottom edge to the ceiling that rose twelve feet up, because the roof over the living room maintained the upward slope of the gable. As I have noted to my wife on more than one occasion, our current home is perfectly sized for us. A cathedral idling in the living room would make it perfect. (Well, that and a workspace for me that gave me a place to do the occasional wood work project or build an RC quad copter — okay, a bit more money in my paycheck would help with the latter as well.)

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