There is a reason the tiny house movement has increased in popularity in recent years, and it goes beyond an appreciation for some great kitchen hacks. Tiny houses have been around for a long time but their recent popularity is a reflection of changes in social attitudes towards how we use our living spaces, and how our living spaces can have such a significant impact on our mental health and lifestyles in general.
It would take too long and possibly a dissertation to list every single factor that has impacted on the popularity of tiny houses. For instance, there is the effect of social media on the ability for new movements and philosophies to grow incredibly quickly (Tiny Houses Australia has over 50,000 Facebook followers), while there are economic impacts, such as increasing rates of underemployment in the West, that are pushing people towards novel ways of living. Enter the tiny houses movement.
Professor Heather Shearer from Griffith University has been studying the rise in popularity of tiny houses and in her surveys of both tiny house owners and potential owners, she has found an equal interest in tiny houses between urban and rural residential areas. These results push back against the idea that the tiny house movement is a response to the stresses of urban living.
Tiny house owners are not the expected Gen Y social revolutionaries either.
“Demographically, interest in tiny houses is biased towards older women,” says Shearer. “The majority of respondents were women over 50.”
If the tiny house movement isn’t necessarily about bucking social materialism as a young revolutionary, or escaping the smog of city life for a transportable home, what is it about?
Tiny houses allow people in a variety of situations to practice a degree of control over their living situation that is similar to the sort of control a person feels in setting up a tent when camping, only much more involved and complicated. The design of tiny houses points to this idea.
The fundamental design principles of a home, such as the triangular-based flow of a kitchen where the main stations are always in sight of one another (sink, stove, fridge), are not sacrificed. Instead, they are given such attention in the design of a tiny house that every moving part, draw, void and cushion is made to maximise efficiency. Flow dominates design and without flow, you just have a cramped shipping container.
The role of kitchens and bathrooms in tiny houses
The design of both the kitchen and bathroom is pivotal to the success of a tiny house. They demand the most from the design in terms of both function and form.
Check out some of the following solutions to kitchen and bathroom designs in these tiny homes, all demonstrating an appreciation for this idea of flow, form and innovation.
Finding space where there wasn’t any before
After using this kitchen it is easily covered to provide a living space on which cushions are placed. The idea of creating bench space easily with hinged panels is a fantastic idea to bring to any home. Sink space and stove space are wasted spaces when not in use.
A very common feature for tiny houses is for living spaces to be incorporated above a utility space, such as a kitchen. Notice in the above house that core principles to a great kitchen (bench space, a large trough-style sink, 4-burner stove and fridge) are not sacrificed.
Storage space is front of mind during the design of a tiny house. A core idea that drives innovative use of storage is to never let the potential for a draw pass you by. This idea is not utilised enough in typical home kitchen design, so keep your eyes peeled for any wasted space!
Tiny house kitchens translate so well to apartment living and kitchen design as they are forced to adopt what is a growing design tendency to incorporate living areas (dining, living rooms) into the kitchen - blurring previously delineated areas of the home.
Bathrooms built for efficient living
Elements of design used in tiny houses continue to be adaptable for any size bathroom, such as the above vanity, which ensures clean lines in the bathroom.
Small spaces do not have to mean ugly solutions. A simple and easily-sourced wine barrell above turns a problem into a highlight of a tiny house bathroom. These sorts of solutions can be easily transported to your home’s bathroom designs, especially for outdoor bathrooms/showers.
If you are short on storage, simply look up. The above solution to shelf space is rarely utilised in traditional homes.
Bathrooms in tiny houses can be one of the most obvious sections of the house that suffer from a sense of cramped space. A bathroom should always be a place for relaxation, which is why prioritising enough room to enjoy using the space is paramount when designing bathrooms in such small areas.
Regardless of the size of your house, making the most of your storage space is always recommended, as it helps increase functionality and convenience. To find our own personal solution, view Cook & Bathe's extensive range online or visit our showrooms in Flemington and Fawkner.