Is the tiny house movement the key to a happier life?

When we talk about downsizing we generally refer to empty nesters, keen for a smaller home with less cleaning and more time for enjoying their new-found freedom. Now, the trend towards younger people downsizing has taken off in cities such as New York, London and Vancouver.

A family on the roof garden of their house in Brighton, UK. Image: BBC UK


The concept makes sense when you consider the alarming rate of rising property prices, particularly in cities like Sydney where house prices are up by 12.2 per cent with the average home hovering at $760,000.

Could these pint-sized pads, also known as apodments, micro-digs, nano-suites and micro-lofts be the answer to urban affordability for people? People who find themselves priced out of the areas they’d prefer to call home could set up a tiny house in their dream location.

However, the developers sure aren’t marketing tiny homes in terms of affordability, preferring to use aspirational terms like luxury rentals.

David Wex, a partner at Urban Capital, the first developers of Toronto’s micro-condos, Smart House, said students and those who are tired of long commutes have shown great interest.

“Torontonians know what it means to have great stores, cafés and bars outside their door,” he said. “For those looking for a central location, [flats of] this type, design and price point is a great option.

The smaller living spaces are touted as making people happier as they provide the opportunity to live in great locations, be more energy efficient, deal with less cleaning and open people up to their neighbourhoods.

But this kind of micro-living doesn’t make everyone excited. The TV show Portlandia recently poked fun at tiny homes, with Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen showing off their “very, very efficient” home, followed by Brownstein complaining “I can feel your hot breath on me all the time.”

Fred Armison’s hybrid toilet-work-desk area from Portlandia’s tiny home skit. Image:Portlandia



Australian Cliff House takes home design to new heights

WARNING: If you have a fear of heights you may not want to scroll down or read on.


Created by Australian architectural firm Modscape Concept, the aptly named ‘Cliff House’ is a five story vacation-style home designed for use off the southwest coast of Victoria.

The cliff-clinging design is only accessible from the carport on the top floor, unless you’re into abseiling off a sheer cliff face.

Inspired by barnacles that are often seen hanging off a ship’s hull, the three bedroom home is anchored to a cliff face with engineered steel pins.

Pre-fabricated modules provide the five-storey home with three bedrooms, a sunken living area, dining room and kitchen, all accessible by a lift. There also an open-air spa and barbecue area that’s not for the faint hearted.

According to the company’s website the plans were drawn up after a couple asked the firm to explore options for building a holiday home along ‘extreme parcels’ of Victoria’s coast.

“A concept was developed for a modular home to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it,” the design brief read.

“The home is visualised as a natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating an absolute connection with the ocean.”

“Internally, the living spaces feature minimalistic furnishings to ensure that the transcendent views of the ocean and the unique spatial experience of the location remain the integral focal point of the design,”

Would you like a holiday home like this? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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