Two Tiny Houses Better Than One?


More tiny homes by Charles Finn here.

Do you think two tiny homes are better than one for your needs?

Would you be happier with a second small structure?

I would. I’d use the second one as my office to run my business from, write, etc.

This way work is separated from living. Currently I work out of my 500-square-foot apartment.

But how about you? What would you use the second structure/shed for? Would it be an office, art space, or guest house?

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  1. I would need a house from me, the cat and dog….then a second house for the yarn and spinning wheels! Always thought of it that way.

  2. There are pro’s and con’s for it as usual. When looking on costs I’d opt for a bigger one rather than having expenses for duplicated walls, roofs, floor.
    With a well thought layout and fold away furniture like murphy bed, tables and desks it could be done. I love this stuff anyway and wondering why its not used more often instead of a sleeping loft with crawling headroom which is hot especially in summer.
    However, the main problem in a tiny house is storage for your outdoor stuff like chairs, table,grill, sun shades, bicycles to name some of the goodies only. An extended towing bar would be a good place for the light stuff.
    I am wondering why fold up terraces and awnings aren’t used more often to expand the living area when weather allows.

  3. Alex, I think there is small and then there is too small. And many factors come into play; climate, number of residents and their ages of course; compatible schedules/working at home just to name a few. It is more challenging to design tiny spaces and I enjoy that. I’m not claustrophobic but I need space that is not always within my view. For the past 16 years I’ve lived in an 800 (gr) SF flat (100 years old) and come to appreciate its efficient/effective linear plan. Earlier I designed 3-600 SF 1 bedroom apartments for elder relatives with universal accessibility and ample storage. They were built as “row” houses and were quite economical to construct. It is admirable that folks are sizing down, shedding their “stuff” and leading more meaningful sustainable lives. Having one 600 SF residence is less wasteful to build and operate than two 300 SF spaces.

    I recently heard that banks are now buying up some of the enormous houses they foreclosed on and were reimbursed for with taxpayer money, have subdivided them and and are now renting them out at top dollar to the people who couldn’t afford to own them them in the first place. How obscene is that?


  4. The average family of two live in just under 600 hundred square feet no matter how large of a home they have. Given this, many tiny homes require us to adapt to less space, however a six hundred square foot house is still tiny. I recently toured a passive house that was 565 square feet and it felt spacious with tall windows allowing one to view the tree tops. However it is too small to be built inside the nearby city according to ordinances. I plan to have a set of tiny homes on wheels; one on the bed of the truck and the second on a small trailer. For me this is a temporary solution for a few years for a family of 3 during part of the year and five at other times. When deciding what size structure we build we need to really look at our needs and then how to accomplish that, not more, nor less, but what we need, and can sustain. The tiny house movement is as much about sustainability as it is about cost, or simplicity.

    1. KZM – can you explain a bit morein depth? In what part of the world does this statistic about *average family of two / 600 sq ft* come from? Is this including things like a laundry area but excluding a garage or workshop? And what does the comment of ‘no matter how large a home they have’ refer to?

      1. The 600 sq ft came from a study conducted at an IL college, by students from a diverse background of their own families. The process was mapping out over a course of a month the places family members walked to in their homes. They then calculated the actual used space of the home. Unfortunately my info is second hand as I am attending a nearby college and was told this from a student who was part of the project who has gone on to design the home I mentioned earlier during a tour. It did include laundry. The passive house offered full laundry room, bathroom, kitchen with a bar for dining, one bedroom with an office nook, and living area with built ins. The home had 10 ft ceilings and tall narrow windows giving it a spacious feel. It also had old fashioned tilt out windows above the bedroom door to allow air flow but privacy and the walk in closet did not have a door instead a large window was across from the door way with small walls hiding the two side areas for storage. This was her first building of her design and other than offering our school a tour she has not made it public. She suggested we mark out the spaces we actually walk in in our existing homes to analyze how much space we actually use. Use this to create a design. Then using masking tape mark out our design ideas on a floor and try to act out daily activities maybe going as far as using boxes to represent stoves and other such appliances before committing to any design. I hope this helps.

        1. I was hoping it was actual usage patterns – thank you! I was afraid it was something like married student housing ;-). I’d be curious about how much expansion of usage space happens when there is work-from-home, or major craft work going on.

          1. The marking out the spaces we actually walk in in our existing homes to analyze how much space we actually use should be able to give you that information if you already do such activities in your home or garage. I imagine you could map out the two separate spaces, then add them together.

  5. Sorry but I don’t buy the 600sq’ idea as they come from existing houses. One can easily do the same things in a smaller one, you just don’t have to walk as far.

    Had they all been in 400sq’ units the answer likely would be 350sq’ used. It depends too much on the size of the house and how well it’s set up.

    I do like smaller multiple units as rather than heating them all as one unit, you can just heat/cool the one you are using so done well could cost less to run. That’s how I keep an electric bill under 20% of others in the neighborhood.

    Also my other building are my business use for building things and storing materials. the option is paying $700/month to rent space plus having to waste time driving to and from work. no thanks. I’m far more green my way..

  6. I have a tiny little cabin on wheels…128 sq. feet plus a 64 sq. foot loft. I use it as a summer cabin. I would go completely stir crazy if I lived in it full time. Maybe it would be for some to try and live in, but not for me. I like spending my weekends there, but like my larger home. The best seating I can get is 4 people, and that is tight. If I built again it would be 20-24 ft long..but then you are getting into a travel trailer scenario. Also that would let me install a Murphy bed on the main floor. Much better idea than a sleeping loft.

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