Tiny Houses: Affordable Housing, Social Media Nightmare, Or Both?

Before you plan to move into one, be sure to look beyond the hype. Tiny Houses: Affordable Housing, Social Media Nightmare, Or Both? Giphy

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

There are countless social media posts, TV shows, and various other tributes to the “tiny house” trend that has blossomed around the world in recent years.

But while these cute, innovative, and often inexpensive housing options are clearly interesting to outsiders, what’s it like to actually live in one? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Skip houses

In Britain, dumpsters are often referred to as skips. And London-based artist Harrison Marshall took the tiny house movement to extremes when he designed and then moved into a “skip house.” It has a small refrigerator, a hot plate, a little bit of storage space … but no running water. He uses a portable toilet outside of the bin.

Marshall said his living arrangement is unfortunately a sign of the times in a city where the average studio apartment costs $2,000 or more per month.

“There are obviously benefits of minimal living, but that should be a choice rather than a necessity,” he said.

Social appeal

In addition to dealing with the obvious shortcomings of such a small abode, Marshall and other tiny house dwellers also have to contend with hordes of rubberneckers who are captivated by the lifestyle.

Some are looking for affordable housing, others just want to add more content to the countless images and videos of tiny houses already available on social media. But when the rubber meets the road, very few are willing to make the compromises necessary to move in.

According to Marshall, about four-fifths of the inquiries he receives about actually obtaining a skip house amount to “just buzz and chitchat.”

He said people have become “almost numb to it from social media,” which can glamorize tiny house living while glossing over the fact that most of the comforts of home are missing.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee September 16th, 2023
Share this story: