Minimalist living gaining traction in US

Minimalist living gaining traction in US
A Tumbleweed brand Tiny House.

Residents in the US state of Colorado are increasingly thinking tiny when it comes to their homes.

Mr Kyle Schmidt and his wife Danae are building their dream home, which is a tiny house all of 200 sq ft.

That is smaller than a typical one-room HDB flat in Singapore.

"You design for what you need," Mr Schmidt told the Hillsboro Free Press.

To make the most out of the limited space, pieces of the kitchen are placed under the stairs. There are also storage compartments under the stairs.

They estimate they will have to pay US$20,000 (S$25,000) to build the house, which is adapted from a trailer.

The Schmidts are part of a growing "tiny-house movement" in the US and there are now construction and home design companies that specialise in building such homes, which cost between US$20,000 and US$50,000.

Those who believe in the movement's ideas opt for small homes for four main reasons: economics, minimalism, mobility and the environment.

Others, however, are living in small homes because they are forced to by circumstances.

Madam Kristen Moeller and her husband lost their 1,200 sq ft home when it was burned down in 2012.

They have rebuilt the house, but it is now just 500 sq ft, The Denver Post reported.

ECONOMIES OF DOWNSIZING

They had to downsize after almost two years of arguing with insurance companies on loopholes in their home insurance policy. The couple, who have a dog, are still adjusting to life in a space that is less than half of what they had been used to.

Mr Zach Giffin, who co-hosts TV programme Tiny House Nation, which profiles people living in such small homes, said: "I feel there are very few people who can live in a tiny house - I couldn't -and have it feel really comfortable like a home is supposed to." The Schmidts agreed that living in a tiny house is not for everyone.

"We personally want to just pare down and live simply, but we want to encourage other people to evaluate what they value," said Mr Schmidt.

His wife added: "It's the best adventure ever."


This article was first published on August 7, 2014.
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