How About a Tiny Treehouse?

There’s not much we can say about the Treehouse, a.k.a. Tom’s Treehouse, that hasn’t already been said by Remodelista, DesignTripper, Travel & Leisure, Apartment Therapy, Design Bureau, The Lettered Cottage, StyleSeek, The Nate Berkus Show, The Today Show and so on. So we’ll just say thank you. Thank you to the many amazing designers, builders, fabricators and visionaries who toiled with us, weekend, after weekend, after weekend, on a volunteer basis, for the course of a year, to bring this from napkin sketch to mile-wide smile reality.

Square footage isn’t really as important as most of us make it out to be. What’s really most important is that we (that means you) get our needs met from our homes (and not much more). And yes, this also has to include the needs of our family members (if you still want to live with them, right?).

The real message behind the tiny house movement and simple living for me is being more conscious about how we live. This includes the purchasing and consumption decisions that we make but it also includes even deeper things like making goals for our lives and getting rid of the necessary ‘baggage’ to get what we want.

Angela Finney-Hoffman. Tyler Peterson. Shaun Owens-Agase. Steven Teichelman. Bladon Conner. Aaron Pahmier. All who trimmed trees, hauled gear, swung hammers, shingled roofs, donated furniture, hung swings and pictures, collected antler sheds, and so on. While we don’t offer Tom’s Treehouse for rent, we are happy to let our friends and guests use it as a venue for morning coffee consumption, rainy day book reading, any day bird watching, lazy day naps and late night singalongs.

According to the 2010 Census the average size home in the US was 2,392 square feet. Back in 2007 it was 2,521 square feet. When you go back to the year 1973 on the chart, the average American home was 1660 square feet. (source)

According to this CNN article from 2013 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Meaning if they lost their jobs, they’d pretty much be in financial ruin. So for many people the idea of a small home or even a tiny house is an incredibly smart decision.

If your tiny house will be on wheels, then in order to be able to live legally on your own land, zoning regulations must allow year round camping. This is rare. Most towns restrict camping on one's own land to 30 days; some towns prohibit it altogether. Even where it is possible to camp on your own land, it's rare to be able to get utilities.

If your tiny house will be on a slab or foundation, then to be a legal residence, it must conform to building codes and most likely, go through the permitting process. If you follow this path and build in accordance with zoning & building regulations, I recommend using a realtor to help find your land. It can be tempting to try to save money by searching for cheap land from eBay or another auction site, but buyer beware! Without a professional involved, you'll need to be extra diligent in researching for issues like back taxes, liens, hazardous waste, former meth labs (especially with burned out buildings), mineral rights, water rights, moratoriums on building due to water scarcity (mostly in CA), depth of well needed to get water (mostly in the desert), minimum lot size required to build, whether there are wetlands on the property, whether there are endangered species there that prevent building (scrub jays in Florida), whether the property is landlocked or otherwise inaccessible, whether the photos are of the actual property or just the area, zoning, what the HOA rules are, etc. This information is rarely disclosed on eBay or Craigslist.

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