Anyone interested in home design, or new design trends, has heard about the Tiny Home Movement.
Originated in the US, classifications of tiny homes change across countries and even states. In Australia, the movement has just begun to take root, with an estimated 200 ‘tiny homes’ living across the country. The urge to live ‘small’ comes from many angles; financial, travel, simplicity and sustainability. While we could talk for hours about Tiny Homes. this article will summarise some of the larger points.
WHAT IS A TINY HOME VS A GRANNY FLAT?
There is a big difference between a Tiny Home and a Granny Flat. However, in Australia, individual councils have different definitions of all of the above. If you’re looking to build or buy a tiny home, it Is important to check what is counted as what.
In the Tiny Home Community, it is a pretty common agreement that Tiny Homes are anywhere from about 5m, in length up to 12.5m with a maximum width of 2.5m. Now don’t be scared by those numbers! It feels tiny – and it is – but it’s actually a surprisingly comfortable size when you come to terms with a simplified life. To compare, a granny flat is a whopping 60sqm.
Typically, a tiny home is built on a trailer base, whereas a granny flat is a permanent addition to land. The concepts of downsizing, simplifying, finding sustainability and freedom are commonalities between the two scales of the movement. Any of the ideas talked about below can be drawn out into thoughts and ideas for granny flats as well! In fact, thinking as small as possible opens up ideas about what downsizing can look like on a larger scale!
The financial benefits of a tiny home are often the biggest calling cards of taking the leap for a tiny home. No mortgage, far lower maintenance costs, low building costs, low energy consumption. Imagine saving up a standard low to mid-size home deposit but having that be the entire cost, with zero 30-year contract. With the inflation of living costs and the job market not meeting these numbers in salaries, more and more people are feeling the pinch. This at best means less quality time with family or travelling, at worst creating an endless cycle of bill chasing and stress. Downsizing is often the obvious choice for finding true financial freedom for Australians in 2019.
Home owners can find this freedom in Tiny Homes, but it is a better decision to move towards a Granny Flat option on their property and renting out the main house, not only generating a 2nd income, but also minimising their daily living costs in their new smaller home.
EASE OF TRAVEL
Australians love to travel. It’s a known fact. Almost every retiree age Aussie dreams of the caravan on the back of the car and chasing sunsets. Why restrict that to your golden years? The freedom that Tiny Homes offer mean that taking your home around your state/country for weekends/holiday seasons or long-haul trips is possible!
In a world filled to the brim with consumerism, Australians are more and more feeling swamped by stuff. By shrinking the living quarters of our life, you shrink the possibilities of needless things. A streamlined wardrobe, items of real meaning and sincerity, practical and modern utilities. Making these changes, while initially daunting, creates room emotionally and physically for finding your authentic happiness and prioritise the real necessities of your life. People and experiences.
Granny Flats and Tiny homes are obviously different in scale, but the core feelings and opportunities of scaling down like this are universal between the two.
Sustainability and Tiny Homes are a match made in downsize heaven. When it takes so much less to climate control a living space, light a room, less tech to power – a huge chunk of your electricity needs is cut away. This isn’t just great for your bills, this often means that a small-scale solar panel system with the right battery means your electricity needs could be completely self-sustainable. On top of this, many tiny homes, and some granny flats, have independent water solutions. Composting toilets, rain-water catchment tanks and water-saving shower/tap heads.
Another opportunity for sustainability is in the building process itself. In 2019, the sustainable and eco-friendly options in building materials is endless. Creating dwellings that have small impacts on the planet for the long term, not just the short.
THE FUTURE OF TINY HOMES IN AUSTRALIA
Tiny homes in Australia are only just starting to take off, but Granny Flats are here and giving Australians freedoms and opportunities that their larger counterparts could never do. The concept of living small is daunting to a lot of people, but it’s important to realise that living small makes room for dreaming big.