This 150 square foot student’s apartment was built in the attic. I don’t have too much information on this one because the architect, Sylvie Cahen doesn’t have too much on her website, plus I am terrible at French. The apartment was commissioned by a student and the house fits her quite well. Though the apartment wouldn’t be good for anyone over 6 feet, it looks quite open for being so small.
A recent book released by British photographer Iain McKell looks at the life of what some in society call the new age gypsies. McKell has followed a small group of these travelers for over 10 years and has recently released a new photo book on the evolution of their lifestyle. He represents the progression of this group through beautiful images of people who have chosen to live a tiny life on wheels. He tracks the movement from petrol based, motorized vehicle travel to the now more common horse-drawn wagons that this particular group uses.
Although they’ve turned to a more traditional mode of travel still found throughout Europe in the lifestyle of the Romani, McKell reflects that this does not mean complete isolation from society. He makes note in an interview he did with anothermag.com that these folks are using modern technology, including solar panels, laptops and social media, to stay connected to the world while they live travelers lives in wagons. His pictures are stunning and this foray into a subculture having nothing to do with the Romani culture is fascinating to me but I feel divided on the matter.
It begs me to questions how the Romani might feel about westerners appropriating their lifestyle and how this impacts the view society has of their culture. As a ethnic group that has been, and continues to be, persecuted how does a community of western “new agers” impact the ideas and stigmas people have around this type of lifestyle. This western group of travelers is made up of the young, old, families, individuals, poor and rich alike so it’s not just one section of society being represented and while I love this tiny lifestyle and their anti-petrol approach, I have to wonder at the cultural appropriation that may be occurring in their choice of lifestyle.
Does this hold a negative connotation or not? Is it assimilation or appropriation? I’ll put away my contemplative hat for a minute but I think it’s worthwhile to ponder and if you are looking for more vardo inspiration check out Ryan’s post on this awesome wagon built by an archeologist!
- Do you itch for a gypsy lifestyle?
- Would you pull your vardo by horse or by vehicle?
One of my biggest hobbies is board gaming, there are times that I game a few nights a week. I came to really love board gaming because of the personal interaction. I haven’t used my xbox in about 4 years because with the advent of online gaming, you never have to gather as a group anymore, it wasn’t as fun anymore because it really lacked social interaction. With boardgames you get to sit across the table from friends, joke, laugh, and maybe even have some lighthearted smack talk.
So here is my top ten boardgames for a tiny house that also happen to be really small so you can fit them in any little nook in your tiny house.
The scene is set, you are stuck on a lifeboat after having to abandon ship, but supplies are running low and tensions are high! Each person is dealt the identity of a person they hate and another of a person they love. The name of the game is to stay alive, while you save your true love, but ensure your enemy finds their way out of the boat and into the treacherous waters. Buy it here
It’s the French Revolution and the nobles are having a hard time of it. They are lined up for their turn at the guillotine, the noble at the front of the line is next. Each noble is worth a certain number of points, so its up to you to get the most points possible. Sway the order of the line in your favor with bribes, tricks and other tom foolery. Buy it here
Think of deadliest catch in a card game, that’s what Fleet is. You are a fishing entrepreneur pitted against your rival fishermen and fisherwomen. Bid for fishing licenses at auction, launch boats and hire captains as you build your fishing empire on the northern sea. Buy it here
This is a great quick dice game that brings a lot of drama and a fun theme of zombies. Who doesn’t like zombies? The dice have three symbols: Brains if the zombies get you, a shotgun shot if you take one out, and feet if you end up fleeing. The trick is to get as many zombies as possible before they get you. If the zombies get you three times, you loose you points, if you play it too safe, you’ll be left behind. Super simple, small, inexpensive and fun. Buy it here
You are in an old western town and it’s about to go down. The sheriff in town tries to keep the peace, but there are people gunning for him. In this game you are either the sheriff, deputies, outlaws or the renegade. The problem is, no one knows who is who. So in this game of six shooters, you battle it out with others, play hot potato with a lit powder keg and to restore health?… Why you drink beer of course to shore up your hit points. Buy it here
You and your Dwarven brethren are digging for gold deep in the mines. All a sudden things start to happen that are beyond chance, its become aparent that there is someone in your group that is trying to foil the group’s plans and make off with the gold themselves. Broken pick axes, extinguished lanterns and much more befall each other as you try to figure out who is the Saboteur, all while racing to the gold before time runs out. Buy it here
7. For Sale
The real estate market is a tough one and you as the new guy in town need to make a name for yourself as you buy and flip properties. In this game you’ll learn how to bluff your way to victory as you climb the real estate ladder. This is a great simple, but really fun game for kids because they can learn to count, but this is fun enough for adults too. Buy it here
This is a really great party game that has a ton of interaction and will leave you laughing for sure. Your guide is the story teller of Miller’s Hollow. He shares the tale of a werewolf that comes in the night to choose it’s next victim. Everyone has a secret identity and you have to find the werewolf before he gets you, but stave of accusations as less scrupulous characters try to divert attention away from themselves and on to you! Buy it here
This is a very popular game among gamers where you choose a role to play in the city and you build your empire. Each game round players secretly take the roles of either the King, Magician, Architect, Assassin, Thief, Bishop, General, or Merchant and seek to use the powers of such offices in their efforts to win the game. Buy it here
After safely returning from a treacherous quest you and your compatriots settle down in a pub to tell the stories of your perilous journey. At the pub you play Three Dragon Ante, where you bid on dragons to dominate your opponents. From the people of D&D, but you’d never know if you hadn’t been told. A fun quick card game. Buy it here
What are your favorite board games that don’t take up a lot of room?
Recently I have been interviewing a lot of tiny house folks about their lives in their tiny house. While I knew the story of many of these tiny house folks, I had never had a discussion to the depth as these interviews. It was helpful that I knew a lot about these folks, their houses, and tiny houses in general because it meant we could skip the basics and get into nitty gritty.
Over the course of the interviews I realized that there were some things that were so similar it was uncanny; to the point where people started saying the exact same words. Now in some cases these people didn’t even know each other, so I realized weather it was tiny houses or the type of person that is attracted to them, they have a lot in common. It’s kinda eerie.
1. DIY Tiny House Builders Unusually Have The Worst Car For Hauling Materials
Almost without fail tiny house people couldn’t be less equipped to haul building materials than the car they have. Almost every single person I talked to didn’t have a truck, they often had smaller cars. This is the case with me. I drive a Smart Car, which if you didn’t know, it is the smallest road legal car in mass production today. I quickly realized when I needed to figure something out when my boards were the standard 8 feet long, but my car only was 6.5 feet long tip to tail.
Despite having the least suited cars, we make it work.
2. We Are Over Saying We Live In A Tiny House
After building and living in a tiny house, most people are tired of having to explain what a tiny house is, then having to explain why, then having to defend the choice. As Ella from Little Yellow Door puts it “its just a house, it just happens to be very small”. Luckily for me I have gotten through that process with most of my friends and family. I now just say I am building a house, never mentioning that its tiny or I’m building it with my own two hands. The only time I feel it really necessary to explain is when it comes up that my houses is tiny or on dates (I figure they should get the heads up).
3. Everything Has a Place And It Needs To Go Back There.
We don’t have a lot of stuff, but the stuff we do have has its rightful place in our homes. Every tiny house person I’ve talked to has said this to me, that they have a place for everything and they have to put it right back when they are done. They don’t have room for clutter and if something is out of place, you can tell because its such a small space.
4. Buy A New Trailer
I have now talked to about 40 people about this particular topic and almost every time, almost without fail, they say that if they bought a used trailer, they had wished they had took the leap for a new trailer. I already know there will be some people that disagree with this, I can see the comments now, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one.
Most of the people who bought a used trailer ended up spending days cleaning up their trailer. They also spent money on fixing and replacing most of the trailer. About 80% of the people I spoke to ended up replacing tires and axles on their trailer, which meant a lot of those people spent the same or more than what they would have if they just bought new.
Macy Miller of Mini Motives also pointed out that in your first few months you have a lot of energy, excitement and drive, buying a used trailer sapped most of that energy as she toiled on getting her trailer to a point where she could then start building. I think this is a really good point, its better to use this energy getting building done, not days with an angle grinder trying to root out rust. The other aspect to this is that when you buy new, you know exactly what you are getting.
5. Tiny House People Are Grateful
Without exception tiny house people are very grateful for the lives that they live. They know the value of everything they have, whether it is a possession, a relationship or an opportunity. I recently was reading a study that one of the biggest factors in people who were happy was gratitude and expressing that gratitude. I think this comes into play in a major way with tiny houses, because they understand the value of what they have.
For those of you who have been following, the Solar Decathlon is going on right now. The Decathlon features innovative homes that are solar powered built by universities around the US. Its a pretty big production as a dozen houses are constructed on site to compete and showcase to thousands of visitors.
Well my home city of Charlotte NC has a team going to the Decathlon from UNCC. Here is their house called Urban Eden. Some of the neat features of this house is the rolling solar panel array that allows you to control the solar exposure in the summer months. They also have an interesting polymer cement that reduces the buildings impact. Check out the video below to see it all!