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Tiny Living

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An exterior view of a local tiny house. Photo by Wendy Mercier

By Lisa Steuer

You’ve most likely heard of this movement. After all, there are HGTV shows dedicated to this idea, and tiny house neighborhoods and associations are popping up around the country. More and more people are becoming attracted to the idea of downsizing and living more simply.

An interior view of a local tiny house. Photo by Wendy Mercier
An interior view of a local tiny house. Photo by Wendy Mercier

To be considered “tiny,” these houses are typically between 100 and 400 square feet. And while some people can’t imagine living in such a small space, others are attracted to tiny houses for many reasons. For instance, tiny houses cost much less to purchase — typically between $30,000 and $60,000, on average — and with such a small space, it’s much cheaper to cool and heat.

“So there’s a significant money savings that allows people to live a lifestyle that they want to live,” said Tim Tedesco of Stony Brook, who built a tiny house that he is selling. “So this allows them to live a lifestyle that they want to live while having their own place. They’re sacrificing space, but at the same time, they’re living a more minimalistic lifestyle.”

Tedesco, who does custom furniture and interior work with his company Tedesco Home Renovations, built the house entirely by himself in about four months. The outside of the house has solid cedar siding, giving it a colonial look, and there is natural cedar trim around all the windows. The house is 18 feet by 8 and a half feet wide and is on wheels. The house, once sold, will need to be moved to a location, since only the building is for sale and not the land.

“With such a small house, you can spend more on the items that you’re purchasing, like the siding,” Tedesco said. “If you’re building a tiny house, you don’t need as much and you can buy high-quality stuff. That’s what I did mostly on the house — buy better stuff, but less of it.”

The tiny house trend
is getting bigger.

In fact, the only used item on the entire house is the front door, Tedesco said. It’s an antique door with a full brass handle, adding even more to the unique, older look to the house.

Once you walk in the front door of Tedesco’s tiny house, you are in the living area with the couch on one wall. There is a staircase that goes up to the loft on the other wall. Under the staircase, there’s storage space. The living room contains a built-in desk underneath two windows, giving a view of the outside when you’re sitting at the desk.

An exterior view of a local tiny house. Photo by Wendy Mercier
An exterior view of a local tiny house. Photo by Wendy Mercier

In the back of the house is the kitchen and the bathroom. The kitchen has small-sized stainless steel appliances. There is a decent-sized utility closet in the back that could be used for additional storage or could be used to fit a stacked washer and dryer if the owner wishes. The house has hardwood floors, LED recessed lighting and a high ceiling that makes it feel even bigger when inside.

While there is ample storage space, according to Tedesco, the owner would most likely have to own fewer things, downsize or maybe rent a storage unit. “It forces you to be selective with what you choose to have in your daily life,” Tedesco said.

The sleeping loft is above the kitchen and the bathroom, and has solid windows for walls. “So if you’re lying up there and open the blinds, you can see the trees and it’s really beautiful. You feel like you’re almost outside,” said Tedesco, who added that a couple could live in the house comfortably.

“As far as having another person in there, space is not really an issue as long as you have enough storage for clothing and personal items. You just have to work a little bit harder to downsize on your personal items. Some people have an easier time than others,” Tedesco said.

In fact, many people who are attracted to the tiny house movement like the idea of owning less.

“People just want to have less and be able to enjoy their life more,” Tedesco said. “I’d rather spend my money on experiences rather than stuff.”

At the time of this interview, the house hadn’t yet sold, but there were interested potential buyers.

“I’ve gotten over a dozen calls in the past two weeks about it, since I listed it for sale. I didn’t list it for any website; it’s Facebook and word of mouth, and I’ve been getting calls about it.”

So, if considering a “tiny” lifestyle, there are decisions to be made, but many advantages to gain.