12 reasons I prefer small houses to tiny houses (on wheels)

small house tiny house together

Tiny House or Small House?

Looking back on a decade of designing, building, living-in, renting-out & selling a variety of houses, I'm convinced a small house is a better option than a tiny one for just about everybody. Here are a few reasons why...

  1. Small houses are bigger without being big.

  2. Small houses can be extremely energy efficient without being tiny. 

  3. Small houses are not much more difficult to build than tiny ones.

  4. Small houses are not all that much more expensive to build than their tiny counterparts. (This is especially true if one is comparing a small house to a prefabricated tiny one).

  5. Small houses handle weather better.

  6. Small houses can be (confidently) insured.

  7. Small houses have longer potential lifespans, meaning they should last for generations.

  8. Small houses have better resale value than tiny houses. In fact, small houses typically have better profit margins and sell faster than both tinier and larger houses.

  9. Small houses appreciate in value while tiny ones depreciate like cars and RVs. This makes tiny houses poor long-term investments.

  10. Small houses are more practical and utilitarian with broader appeal.

  11. Small houses encourage people to stay in places - build communities - as opposed to just pass thru them (taking their houses with them).

  12. Small houses have room for [insert your hobby here].

If you think I'm alone in these sentiments - or that I'm just being cranky - I invite you to take a look at many of the "founding members" of the tiny house movement. These pioneers, while actively promoting tiny houses, giving profitable lectures and TED Talks about them, even selling products, books and how-to courses on how and why to build and live in them, no longer live - and often never lived at all - in tiny houses! According to a recent survey, those who actually have chosen to live in them are overwhelmingly unhappy with their decisions (original source here).

Serious food for thought.

I'm not saying tiny houses have zero value, they have their uses. But I think they have limited applications and few are worth the costs, and that small houses are what will be most satisfying for most people.

However, if there's one thing tiny houses have done for the planet - and it's not create better housing -  it's that they have helped renew an interest in living in smaller spaces. Today more people than ever are building more viable, more intelligent, smaller scale housing - and that is a real, sustainable trend.

From my perspective, well designed, well built, super energy-efficient and affordable single and multi-family small houses are the future. 

What do you think? Join the conversation below!