Back in February, the New York Times published "Think Small", a story all about small second homes:
"A wave of interest in such small dwellings — some to serve, like the Shepherds' home, as temporary housing, others to become space-saving dwellings of a more permanent nature — has prompted designers and manufacturers to offer building plans, kits and factory-built houses to the growing number of small-thinking second-home shoppers. Seldom measuring much more than 500 square feet, the buildings offer sharp contrasts to the rambling houses that are commonplace as second homes."
"For $90,000...Scott McGlasson...and his wife, Lisa...bought a 700-square-foot weeHouse....It has plumbing, tall glass doors, Andersen windows, laminate flooring, recessed lighting and Ikea cabinets. It is comfortable and attractive. 'But people confuse prefab with inexpensive,' Mr. McGlasson said. 'On a middle-class budget, this was doable, but not easy.' They bought the land — a small lot on Lake Pequaywan in northern Minnesota — in 2002 for $80,000. It already had a septic system, a well and access to utilities.There have been a number of blog posts about, or inspired by, the article since then. Trend Agitator added some commentary:
One rectangular module serves as the main floor; above it is an additional square module that serves as a second bedroom, which must be entered from outdoors via a ship's ladder. Guests love it because it's separate from the rest of the house. 'And because they can lock out our three kids,' Mr. McGlasson said."
"Luxurious small dwellings are the next wave. Defined as less than 700 sq ft, these dwellings are increasingly more aesthetic and available thru prefab manufacturers. As consumers rethink their priorities, these abbreviated structures motivate occupants to edit precisely and define themselves against the open space of the land rather than the footprint of the shelter."
Treehugger criticized the fact that most of the homes discussed in the article are used as second, or vacation, homes:
"Unfortunately, many of the homes profiled in the article are second or vacation homes, further stigmatizing the small footprint prefab as something that can only be used for a period of weeks, not the whole year."
Inhabitat shared similar thoughts:
"Some of those who have found themselves comfortable in these tiny houses have purchased them as second homes, which we find a bit ironic. The romantic notion of a large vacation plot of land, barely flecked with a 10' x 8' footprint is nice, but probably not exactly what Small House Society represents. Do you really get credit for adjusting your lifestyle for the sake of a small house — if you own two?"
Blogs were covering the article as late as last week. Alt^House, a blog covering "news and information on non-traditional home options", covered a guy who lives in a tiny house:
"Most of us think of a 500 square foot apartment as pretty darned small, but what would you say to living a house where the entire area measures only 96 square feet?"