Be it ever so humble

There’s no place like home… and our encounter with the “Tiny House” had the G.O. and I contemplating dwelling dimensions.

On a recent Sunday we spent a pleasant Sunday morning browsing Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets which shares its location at Addison Road Community Centre with a variety of community groups including The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre which in the lead up to the September 20 auction hosted the “Tiny House” a house made entirely from reclaimed materials.

The “Tiny House” more closely resembles the caravan the G.O. and I aim to hook up and realise our great Australian dream of travelling around Australia, than what we consider a regular residence.

It’s not that we don’t do small… While our rented-from-my-sister 50 sqm 1 bedroom city apartment is bigger than the “Tiny House” the G.O. has referred to both it and our previous similarly compact apartment as “the kennel” not in reference to the nature of the inhabitants but to the lack of spaciousness of our abode.

Moving back alone to Sydney from the Central Coast over a decade ago I opted for an inner city studio loft apartment and left behind a 4 bedroom, 2 living area, double garage, deck & largish native garden surrounded residence I had shared with 1 husband, 2 cats and dog. To be fair the household catered frequently for extended family and all the rooms were used on a regular basis.

Not alone in inner city living suiting our work-centric lifestyle, apparently micro-apartments are a growing trend but there are times the walls close in and no amount of proximate cafes, pubs, shops, markets and parks compensate the delights of our country village verandah, backyard and views across the hills.

Because we straddle city-country lifestyle, as well as the apartment plus storage cage we rent 2 car parking spaces. If we didn’t have plans to relocate we’d keep only the G.O.’s ute he needs for work and a motor scooter. But country-village-no-shops-living 30 km from town will require a 2 car existence. So I hang on to my 18-year-old BMW and when I occasionally drive it out of the apartment building’s dusty underground car park I whisper sweet words to it about the nice rural life it will have one day soon.

At Taylors Arm our home is typical 1930’s, with 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, inside bathroom, ample verandah and small workshop on a sufficiently sized 630 sqm block. The original owners Ollie & Vin closed in part of the verandah, and raised  8 children in the house. Later additions were a shower-laundry and toilet out the back.

Modest size by McMansion standards, much of its capacity simply houses our belongings and is multipurpose, such as the third bed-study-dining-storage-room. As far as living zones, during warmer weather – most of the year – utilised in order are: verandah, bedroom, kitchen, back bathroom – a similar floor space expanse we’re accustomed to in the city.

Bigger smartphones are apparently better… “Apple has released a big phone. A really big phone. Samsung has had one for a while.” When it comes to the spaces we inhabit, I think we are heading in the opposite direction.

25 thoughts on “Be it ever so humble

  1. Wow. That is tiny. We never bought into that whole McMansion caper, and are so glad now we didn’t. If we didn’t have such an idyllic location we’d probably be looking for something even smaller soon. I’m in ‘simplify mode’ now. Not being a gregarious person, nor an outdoors person, a ‘tiny house’ might be just a step too far. Thanks for sharing this EllaDee, it’s interesting food for thought.


    1. Place and also the fit of a home to the residents is important. “Simplify mode” can accomplish similar to downsizing. Attitude & style has much to do with it. I think the “Tiny House” was designed to inspire consideration of choices and how we utilise space and our lives.


  2. I’m not an outdoorsy type of person, camping is not my thing, but… I’ve had this secret yen to take off in a gypsy caravan, complete with Clydesdale. That Tiny House has all the quirks of a gypsy caravan. Now… where can I find a clydesdale?


  3. Have you seen Cheri Lucas (wordpress person) ‘s blog about tiny homes? Really interesting. Hellish expensive to my mind, buy tiny house and then pay rent? Better off buying cheap flat.

    I have no issue with living in small space, maybe comes from my university days when my room in hall was my very first personal space. Sure, I’d love loads of acres, and what use would I be right now?

    As I said to someone else. Space is in our head…


    1. Thank for that – I just had a look at CL’s Tiny House blog. I looked at the Tiny House from the POV of inspiring thought about how space works for us – and indeed head space is important. I like the idea of recycled materials but thought of the Tiny House as supplementary space, so it’s interesting to see other people’s applications.


  4. Zeitgeist? Or possibly an age thing (I don’t know how old you are and you don’t need to tell, it doesn’t matter.) We have become more and more conscious that possessions are not a goal in life – we too have downsized – given away loads of stuff, left a 5 bed 3 bath house which was way too big for us, after Anthro-man’s students and family slowed down on the visits, for a 2.5 bed 1 bathroom house – but the big difference is this one has views, trees and such wildlife as suburban England can muster. Small, to me, has always felt good (but notTiny small I must admit!). Have you seen Life with Tess? She just did a 6 week trip ‘grey nomad’ style to Ulurua and back and I enjoyed her posts en route so much it made me want to do it too. And I have never been at all interested (sorry) to come to Oz but now…And of course eomeone else would love to see the rock art. Anyway, sorry for the long reply but thanks for this. M


    1. Thank you – I’ve looked up and followed Life with Tess… We believe life is about a balance of necessary and nice. Necessary is work and a roof over your head. Nice is as you say views, trees and wildlife. Some possessions are nice but not when they rule your world. I haven’t been to Uluru but I have been to the parts of the Northern Territory & The Kimberley. As well as what you see, and it is possible to see too much rock art and too many gorges in a short space of time, it’s about what you feel. There’s an energy & light in the outback that is worth going for 🙂


  5. Tiny houses are quite a trend around Austin and other places in TX – even in the city of Houston. People are getting tired of “stuff”. It’s expensive and doesn’t hold up – and much doesn’t contribute to quality of life. All it does is keep the economy / importing / big corporations going / prevents fine crafted heritage items from being created.
    Mostly it’s young or young-ish going very small….but many when they do move move into relatively small homes next. ..we’ll see if the manage when the kids get into peer stuff – depends on where they are able to live and make a living probably. Hard to hold the line with kids and help them see what’s important.
    We’ve downsized already and consider going back to a sail boat or even bus-type motorhome and travel like turtles towards beautiful lands and views. That would be worth doing without much of the stuff that clings around your ankles and cries as you crate them up for new homes.


    1. It’s interesting to track. There are more and more big complexes of small apartments being built around th einner city and even in the burbs duplexes are becoming popular. I think it’s horses for courses, if you have 3 kids, a 4 bedroom house provides them & you space, although in the old days, space was outside rather than in… We plan to do that travelling too but after talking to people who gave up their patch of dirt for wheels, we plan to keep somewhere to come home to.


      1. What a change. Kids used to share bedrooms all the time – now that’s practically child abuse (giggles)
        We came to the same conclusion about losing home base – working on a secure affordable ideas at the present.
        For what ever reason of small dwellings (common sense, transportation costs, or high housing prices) – it will be more and more important to have big outdoor spaces and parks. We are happy more land is being secured here by conservation groups or donations by families. There’s got to be outdoor spaces for quality of life…and people do say the tiny walls get tiring if you can’t get outside on deck or in park.


  6. I spent three months this year in Germany living out of a suit case taking care of my mom and I liked it. I must say, that I need some private space for myself. Here in California I have a normal house that I love but can see the day where it becomes too much.


    1. The status of space and life and possessions, I think isn’t static. Different times = different needs. It’s good to be aware of what works for us, but be open to change… The Tiny House reminds us that we need to factor in life when we are weighing up our priorities.


  7. My 14 years in Canberra consisted of living in a small house. My furniture looked HUGE in it and now it looks tiny in the RUC. Unfortunately it’s the work that takes us to the big cities – wouldn’t it be nice if we could just live on fresh air! 😀


    1. Dianne, you would have got less than 14 years in the big house for bank robbery! Joking… there are some great things about Canberra 🙂 I think for working DINKS small residence has merit, at least then leisure time isn’t so much about necessary gardening and cleaning. Having seen the RUC’s floorplan & pics, it’s a nice balance of space, simplicity and functionality, and your furniture looks like it’s home 🙂


  8. I think you’ve got the best of both worlds at the moment – small, easily-kept and easily-left apartment in the city and more space with a verandah (joy) and garden in the country. I was never one for caravans, but as time passes, they do appeal more and more. :-0


    1. There is a certain folksy appeal to the gypsy life, but having lived for a time in a large caravan I’m sure would not be long-lived in a small version on a permanent basis. We make the best of our city-country life 🙂


  9. I’ve lived in apartments most of my adult life. There is something about a cozy one bedroom that I really enjoyed. But being back in my parents’ house, I enjoy having space to spill into. Separate rooms for separate things is also a nice option.


    1. I prefer open plan living of any size, but the G.O. prefers separate rooms. Our apartments have been open plan but our old house isn’t, so I make the rooms as multi-purpose as possible to we get the maximum benefit from them 🙂


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