Gawking at HGTV’s Show “Tiny Houses”

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An example of a tiny house from Tiny Houses on HGTV. Photo credit: HGTV
So, the other night after tiring of watching primary election coverage, I flipped over to HGTV. I’m not sure why I’m back on my HGTV kick—maybe because our home renovation project is coming to a close and I have to live vicariously through other people, or perhaps because I have a genuine interest in renovation and design, or maybe both. Nevertheless, it’s back, and I clicked over and watched an episode of Tiny Houses. Then, I watched another episode. Somehow, this show becomes addicting, and I think it’s all because we cannot imagine living in something quite that minute.

Throughout the entirety of the show, I pretty much do two things: shake my head in disbelief and gawk.

I’m a tiny person, standing barely 5’1”, and I can promise you, these houses are too small for me. Never mind that some of them are lacking a stove or a proper refrigerator. Never mind that there’s barely storage (maybe just a small cubbie) for your clothes. Never mind that a small person like me wouldn’t be able to stand in the lofts in these structures, but would have to crawl on hands and knees to get around. Never mind that you would have to suck in your gut to fit into the shower. Never mind that when you want to get dressed in the morning, you would have to do it horizontally rather than vertically.

I sit and I wonder and I cannot imagine wanting to do this…actually opting to do this. My amazement grows as I listen to these homebuyers talk about the reasons they have chosen to “go smaller,” but in the back of my head my practical side is screaming — Will these tiny house purchasers actually not kill each other while confined to these petite dwellings? I don’t know about you, but if my family and I were confined to that small a space, I’m pretty sure we’d all want to strangle each other within a day of living within those walls. We are fortunate enough to live in a home where we can escape each other by going into different rooms (this is not a statement about love, of course, but a statement that we all need to have our own sanctuary—a place to go to be alone with our thoughts, hobbies, or books or magazines.) Having your own hideaway is certainly not the case in these tiny houses. Quite simply, there ain’t nowhere to hide in these tiny houses. The best you can do if you need some freedom or begin to suffer from a severe case of claustrophobia is to go outside, and you better pray your tiny house is located in a place where there is decent weather. (As someone who tries not to get caught up in the hype of the weather, but who sometimes gets sucked into The Weather Channel, these tiny homes worry me should there be a flood, severe thunderstorm, or tornado. If damaging weather rolls into town, you can pretty much expect to rotate in the twister along with Dorothy and The Wicked Witch.)

When the camera paned to the kitchen area, my sensibilities went on high alert. Seriously, where in the name of God do you put your groceries in these tiny houses? These people can’t possibly go to the supermarket every day and buy things for dinner each night. One Tiny Houses episode featured a family who relocated from Virginia to California. They owned a nice colonial style home in Virginia, rode in an RV to get to California, and now the husband, who is military, and the wife, who is a doula, want a house on wheels. Amazing. I kind of got their sense of spirit until I realized they had four kids—three boys and a teenage girl. When they picked Tiny House #2, I nearly screamed at the television, demanding to know why…why…why the hell did they pick that house??? Couldn’t they see that House #1 was perfect for them if they wanted this tiny lifestyle? They claimed that #1 was too big. The daughter would have had her own room in #1 and would not have ended up in a loft where she couldn’t sit up in her bed as was the case with #2. The boys—three of them—ended up sharing an area that had two bunks and they added another bed to it. This is all fine and dandy for now, but what the hell happens in a couple of years when these young boys grown into teenagers? Surely, as they grow, this tiny house will become positively miniature.

This one is SOOOOO tiny! Photo credit: HGTV
This one is SOOOOO tiny! Photo credit: HGTV
Please hear me clearly—I know the show is trendy and this idea of smaller homes with little to no mortgage is appealing. My family’s home is moderate size…we do not have a living room or a dining room, so we don’t live in a gargantuan McMansion. But these tiny houses…I just can’t fathom it.

Living in a Tiny House might be fun for a week, maybe, as a little “adventure,” but these people who live in these Tiny Houses…I have to applaud their mettle.

What they need to do is a follow-up show to see how many of them actually made it and lasted more than a year.

4 thoughts on “Gawking at HGTV’s Show “Tiny Houses”

  1. I’ve been living in my tiny house with my husband for about 8 months. To be frank, we’ve learned-by-doing and can conclude that yes, 131 square feet is too small for the two of us. (My husband was away for three weeks and being in it by myself was actually quite nice, though.)

    We went into it knowing it was an experiment, and the first step toward something else. Our ultimate goal is a house that’s a bit bigger — eg, 700-950 sq ft — and then hopefully parking the tiny house on the property for use as a guest space or rental.

    I recently wrote about how the house is the bastard child of two very different dreams, and over the past year haven’t sugar-coated the experience like I feel other people do (http://tinyhousetravelers.com/blog). It’s certainly not for everyone! 🙂

  2. My thought exactly. I had to laugh at your blog, it was funny. HGTV overhypes a lot of things, but the tiny house show is just the stupidest show I’ve seen. I grew up sharing a tiny bedroom with my brother, with no closets, probably not much smaller than a tiny house. I would never voluntarily live in a tiny shack, no matter how beautiful you make it. Affordable housing makes sense. Tiny houses are a waste of money, since no one is going to buy it from you at the price you paid.

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