Ever read The Boxcar Children series growing up? I did, and always had a fantasy about converting a boxcar into a cozy getaway. Modern designers have caught on to that attraction too, and a simple approach to living green is becoming more popular. Building and living in small houses—including a converted rail car—is the subject of the Tiny House Blog. It's just $150/month to lease the boxcar. Juneau-raised Tristan McAllister films this video tour, Life in a Rail Car, of the train-home. The rail car is listed at $225,000—probably more than the boxcar children—Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden—could afford.
Another small living story focuses on Jay Shafer, who lives in an 89-square foot home he built himself. In an interview, Jay discusses with Tiny House author/builder Deek Diedricksen that in the U.S. we operate on a much larger scale than elsewhere in the world. On average, Americans' homes are four times the size as our international equals’. Jay, a designer specializing in sustainable architecture and urban planning, says it makes sense to live more compactly. We pour tons of time and money improving the energy efficiency of our larger homes, but smaller designs decrease the space to heat from the start. Jay touts the sustainable habits that stem from living in a small home, such as double-using something. A saucepan, for example, can double as your tea kettle to save storage space and materials (then use it as an iron while it’s hot). Jay owns Tumbleweed Tiny Houses Company, where you can buy small house plans to build yourself, or have a ready-made home delivered to you (yep, they’re so small they fit on a trailer).
Check out these websites for innovative ideas starting from scratch, building plans, or for tips on how to maximize current space:
by Kent Griswold.
Dedicated to the promotion of smaller housing alternatives which can be more affordable and ecological.
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