Tiny Houses: what is the miniature house movement all about?
Living well is a maxim to which almost everyone aspires. On many occasions, this aspiration is directly related to having a spacious, comfortable and welcoming home. It seems that these premises lead us to imagine houses of many square metres, with several floors and abundant spaces.
Undoubtedly, having a home with these characteristics is commonplace. However, more and more people are opting for tiny houses or mini houses. These are small buildings that include everything necessary to live comfortably in a small space. Moreover, many of these miniature houses are transportable. In this way, they can be located in different places throughout the year.
At Molins Design we are convinced that tiny houses can have a personalised layout and decoration. It is clear that our “traditional” house must have the inhabitants’ own stamp. Well, tiny houses can also have the personality traits of the inhabitants.
In this article we would like to talk to you about tiny houses and their advantages. We will analyse the origin of these constructions and what is behind this way of life.
What is a tiny house or mini house?
The definition of a miniature house is simple. It is a prefabricated house of reduced dimensions that includes everything necessary for living. It is built with different materials ranging from wood to recycled cardboard.
The size of the house is small and can range from 20 to 60 square metres. In addition, and this is a determining factor, many of them are transportable.
Thus, they can be moved on a trailer or truck to the desired location.
Lastly, tiny houses are a self-sufficient and totally sustainable way of life that promotes the connection with nature and respect for the environment.
Origin of tiny houses
Today’s miniature houses have a certain connection to the rustic cabins in the forests of northern Europe. In countries such as Sweden, Norway or Finland, it is not uncommon for families to have such small dwellings in the middle of nature. They go there to practice snow sports or to enjoy the forest and mountain environment.
Now, the popularity of tiny houses grew from the 1990s onwards. In 1997, the designer Jay Shafer created a very small house on wheels. In it he introduced the basics of living. At the same time, he wrote a book explaining the reasons for the construction of the tiny house.
On the other hand, the British architect Sarah Susanka turned the concept of housing upside down by opting for smaller and more practical buildings. The aim was for the space to adapt to the life of its inhabitants and not the other way round. She became involved in the design of sustainable houses and all her ideas were put into a series of best-selling books that began with The not so big house.
Finally, the third “cornerstone” of tiny houses is to be found in Japan. In this country, housing prices are very high and there is very little space available for building. The oriental philosophy, which had already given birth to the wabi-sabi trend, favoured the construction of mini houses, which were cheaper and had all the comforts.
Thus, the combination of Jay Shefer’s design, Sarah Susanka’s books and the need for housing in Japan led to the trend of tiny houses or miniature houses.
Philosophy of life in tiny houses
Living in mini-houses is not just a passing fad. Many of the owners of these constructions put forward a series of strong arguments. Those who choose to live in these miniature houses are practitioners and activists of a simple life.
The philosophy of tiny houses encompasses a need to feel a sense of seclusion and intimacy. Undoubtedly, the Owners advocate an untethered way of life with minimal resources.
The reduced space imposes the need to have only the basic necessities of life. In addition, the inhabitants affirm that, over time, they free themselves of superfluous or useless objects that, in a large house, end up taking up space without being useful.
On the other hand, tiny houses are built with a self-sufficient and sustainable philosophy. Thus, the models usually include solar panels, rainwater collection tanks or septic tanks. The aim is to minimise resources and leave a minimal carbon footprint.
It is clear that the feeling of freedom is another of the pillars of the philosophy of life in tiny houses. The fact that many models are transportable makes it possible to travel with the house on your back and enjoy different landscapes. The inhabitants of the mini houses always value the close contact with nature.
Materials and equipment of the tiny houses
This type of prefabricated houses can be built with different materials. However, it is true that wood is one of the most common. Despite this, there is an essential phase when it comes to design and construction: insulation.
Protecting and insulating the house from the cold and heat is essential for the quality of life of the inhabitants. The materials used vary depending on the design and size. Polyurethane foam, thermal reflective material, honeycomb board or neoprene can be used. It is important to insulate the walls, floor and ceiling of the house.
After the insulation material has been installed, OSB boards can be installed on the inside walls. This is a very environmentally friendly option because the sheets are made from pieces of branches, which avoids cutting down the tree.
The floor can be made of treated wood or vinyl flooring, which is highly resistant.
Of course, the mini-houses have a kitchen, living area, bedroom and washbasin.. The layout will depend on the final size of the house. In addition, heating and air conditioning can be installed.
The decoration implies practicality and versatility. It is essential to make the most of all the available spaces for storage space.
Finally, from Molins Design we recommend to go for a simple and minimalist decoration. This way, you will achieve a sensation of spaciousness that will disappear if you opt for an overloaded style.
Tiny houses in Spain
The legislation on tiny houses in Spain considers them to be movable property. This is stated in the civil code, which indicates that they can be transported from one point to another without detriment to the real estate to which they are attached.
Similarly, they can be installed on any plot of land or rural land. And another interesting factor is that the mini houses are not subject to IBI (Real Estate Tax).
In any case, it is always interesting to consult the regional legislation of the area to check that there is no specific regulation on this type of housing.