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west virginia tiny home

A Tiny Home Fit for a Family in West Virginia

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Oct 18, 2017

A generation ago, there was an expectancy that new college graduates would begin searching for a large, suburban home in the six-digit price range. That purchase represented the investment of a lifetime. It almost always came with a thirty-year mortgage attached that intrinsically tied one to a job and a way of life for most adulthood.

Today, people of all ages have begun to find alternatives to the traditional path towards homeownership. The tiny house movement is much more than only a fad in home design. Instead, it is a social movement of mostly ecologically conscious people finding ways to limit the carbon footprint associated with their homes. They also want to reduce the amount of debt that homeownership entails.

According to a 2014 report, the average size of new homes in the United States was upwards of 2,600 feet, higher even than the previous maximum achieved during the mortgage bubble crisis of 2008. The average square footage of homes has increased from just over 1,700 square feet in the late 1970s while the size of families is dropping drastically.

Major financial institutions in the United States hold over 10 trillion dollars in mortgage debt over the homes that people live in across the country. At the same time, the average American citizen is dying, with over $60,000 in debt. When you put these statistics together, we find that families are shrinking in members while homes are growing in size and price. People seem to accept massive amounts of debt carried with them throughout their lifetimes (and into death). All this to live in a large home with excessive space and an ecologically worrisome carbon footprint. The United States Green Building Council states, buildings and homes especially account for close to 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

Advantages of the Tiny House Movement

The most tangible (and appreciated) benefit that comes with a tiny house is financial. Over two-thirds of people who own a tiny house (under 500 square feet) have no mortgage whatsoever. Tiny houses also lend themselves to do-it-yourself construction. Even if you aren't a licensed contractor, many building codes allow people to build their own tiny homes, uniquely if they are on wheels. Homes under 120 square feet don't need any building permits in most counties in the United States.

Another significant advantage of tiny homes is their limited ecological impact. Since these homes are so limited in size, the energy cost to power, heat, and cool them is significantly reduced. Most tiny homes can be sustainably heated and cooled by natural, fossil-fuel-free methods, including incorporating passive and active solar design, wood stoves, and other forms of renewable energy.

Tiny homes tend to be much more design-conscious than larger homes. Because of the limited space, tiny houses incorporate dual-purpose features and utilize furniture that serves several functions within the home. Along with vertical space optimization, tiny homes tend to have a highly creative and artistic feel while also inspiring a sense of resourcefulness.

west virginia tiny home

A Beautiful Tiny Home

There are thousands of tiny homes popping up all across the country, and all of them serve as a source of inspiration. This trend shows that it is indeed possible to live happily with less space. One family in West Virginia constructed their own beautiful tiny home that combines the feel of a rustic cabin in the woods with more modern design elements.

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This home is well under 500 square feet, but the lofted bedroom (and steep, space-saving staircase) leaves more than ample space for other activities on the first floor. The outdoor deck area serves as an external dining room during beautiful weather, even further increasing the feeling of "roominess" within the home.

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The home has a wood heater that provides much of the heat during the winter months while others are incorporating several elements of biophilic design. A small raised garden bed contiguous to the home allows for a feeling of closeness to the natural world. Large windows placed strategically throughout the house open the home up to the natural setting that embraces it.

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Tiny homes, like this one in West Virginia, will most likely continue to grow in popularity as they gain acceptance. People will begin to find more and more reasons for adopting a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.

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Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-09T10:42:07+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.