They epitomize simplicity, a life without debt or clutter. They taunt us with non-conformity. They suggest freedom. Alles In Ordnung. Zen.
Tiny homes and micro apartments have drawn cult-like fascination in recent years. They’ve inspired books, blogs, and builders.They’ve spawned TV shows, movies, conferences, and, next month in Colorado Springs, Colo., a Tiny House Jamboree.
Why these wee abodes have drawn huge attention almost defies logic, especially in the United States—home to the Big Mac, the Hummer, and the McMansion. To be sure, they’re practical. They cost less and use a fraction of the energy of the average new 2,690-square-foot single-family U.S. home.
Yet their lure seems bigger. Tiny homes, typically 100 to 400 square feet, can free people from 30-year mortgages, allowing them to live on their own terms and reject soul-sucking jobs. Besides, they’re cute—the all-in-one housing equivalent of the iPhone and Swiss Army knife.