Why Are So Many Tiny Houses So Cutesy and Ugly and Derivative?

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Yet another tiny houseis shown on KQED News, built by Sonoma County resident and law student Joel Fleck. There is a photo of Joel inside sitting in his loft and barely fitting under the roof. Last summer he took it to a Tiny House Fair where it was lined up with a gaggle of tiny houses on display. The majority of them looked pretty much like each other, little boxes on the hillside.

I blame Jay Shafer. He pretty much invented the tiny house thing, and most of them have looked like his ever since. But if you are going to build a sleeping loft, the traditional gable roof doesn't make a lot of sense.

Laird Herbert designed his tiny Leaf House with a shed roof that went front to back. This gave him a generous loft with consistent head height right across. He designed the inside of it like a yacht. On the same size platform as most tiny houses, he gets a whole lot more room.

Even Jay Shafer has moved on from the tiny house in the wilderness thing. He tells KQED about his proposed Napoleon Complex development:

“Ever since I started designing small houses, I realized that they would work best together as a cluster. Because then you can share amenities. ” Shafer has drawn a common house at the center of each design. There, neighbors can share storage, laundry facilities, maybe even a pool table. And he’s put the tiny homes on wheels so the complex can be zoned like an RV park.

If the tiny house movement is ever going to really be a movement, it has to build community and has to refine its designs so that you don't clonk your head every time you sit up in bed slightly off-center.