Now, many people might consider my 1,500-square-foot IHOP wannabe a tiny house, but compared to these new homes, my cabin is a hulking airplane hangar.
There are more and more articles appearing about people, particularly those labeled Generation X (born around 1980), who, realizing the necessity of opening a vein to pay for a ludicrous mortgage and all things material, are building (and cleverly, atop flatbed trailers so as not to comply with minimum square footage requirements in some areas) hand-crafted, tiny houses that are about the size of a travel trailer, but very much looking like a traditional home with hardwood floors, crown molding, wee galley kitchens appointed with stainless appliances, serviceable bathrooms and a loft bedroom.
What’s particularly charming about this is that these cottages can be hauled to a different location and, because they are usually constructed for around $30,000, tops, one can afford to buy a pretty lot somewhere, or maybe even five or 10 acres in a rural setting and enjoy a lifestyle free of a mortgage and high utility fees. A life with an enormous amount of time for leisure activities, volunteering and travel.
It’s my job, as a baby boomer, to shake my finger at the generations coming behind me as spoiled, with a sense of entitlement and no work ethic. How utterly delightful to witness, instead, a real movement of people who are dedicated to embracing “less is more,” who don’t feel the need for a 4,000-square--foot McMansion in a cookie-cutter subdivision with the obligatory German cars filling the garage, who are lovers of nature and all things outside.
However, to be fair, there are other generations that have given the nod to this sort of lifestyle as well.
When I was a teen, I used to think it crazy that two friends of my mother’s – a middle aged married couple that were passionate painters – used to live in a dingy, one-bedroom apartment outside of Atlanta, with broken down furniture and, gasp, no television. They drove a battered car and worked six months of the year either waiting tables (at their age!) or other menial jobs.
“Why do they live like that?” I used to ask, in that snide tone of youth, “Aren’t they embarrassed to be seen in that old wreck of a car?”
“I think they’re quite brave,” replied my mother, “They’ve decided nothing is more important than their art, so they work these jobs for half the year, pay very little rent, then the other half of the year, they take the money they’ve saved and go paint on location in Italy, or France, or wherever they decide to go. They’re children are grown, they have no responsibilities, so why not?”
Why not indeed.
Who knows? One day, when this farm becomes too much for me, when I simply no longer can care for a barnful of horses, unload hay, mow the fields ... maybe I will let it go, buy a lovely plot of land somewhere, or in several places, and construct myself a tiny house. I can already see it: cedar shingle siding, gay little shutters, and most importantly, several windows...
Because I’m going to need a place to stick my feet when I lie down!