"It's kind of like LEGO meets IKEA and they make a porn movie together."
That's how Jay Schafer, pioneer of the tiny house movement, describes his latest show home for Four Lights Tiny House Company. The idea behind it comes from a revelation Schafer had, based on his experiences creating the original Tumbleweed Tiny House designs, and that's the increasing importance of customizability when houses get really small:
"The downside of designing for everybody, is that you're designing for nobody in particular. [...] When you live in a small space, it has to be tailored to your personal needs. If you have a bathroom and you never use it, that's a huge waste of space. If you're peeing outside anyway, why not keep the bathroom outside as an outhouse, and that frees up a lot of space."
That, I suppose, is a lesson that is already pretty evident from the movement itself. From four very different tiny homes on a vacant lot in DC to the young man building a mortgage-free home, tiny house people seem to be passionate about creating spaces that are uniquely theirs.
Schafer's new designs, based on modular, customizable layouts, are designed to unleash that creativity. Also worthy of note is Schafer's insistence that tiny houses are not about some sort of minimalist puritanism—but rather a commitment to building right sized houses where all the space is being used effectively.
Ultimately though, says Schafer, he still believes that stuff gets in the way of creativity. His ideal design, he says laughing, would be a laptop with a roof over it.
More on Schafer's plans for a tiny house village/trailer park soon. (It will take a whole other post to just discuss the verbiage.)