Downsizing: New Community In DC Prides Itself On Building 200 Square Foot Homes [Photos]

 

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Could you leave all the ‘unnecessary’ things in life behind in exchange for just enough space and cheaper energy bills??

According to The Daily Mail, there are lots of folks in DC that are saying ‘Yes We Can’…

A neighborhood of miniaturized homes, that look like what some Americans build in their backyards as dollhouses, is propping up in northeast Washington, D.C.

The 150 to 200 square feet living spaces in a transformed vacant lot behind a line of row houses, sell for between $20,000 to $50,000 a piece and are part of a national backlash to the conspicuous consumption of the McMansion era.

The concept of the tiny residences came from Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., based in Santa Rosa, Calif., that launched in 2000. The plans faced a tepid reception but after the credit crisis of 2008, have exploded in popularity.

The lot was purchased in March by a group of four DC residents who became interested in creating a neighborhood of tiny houses as an example of affordable, scaled back living.

The group have transformed the concrete abandoned lot into a grassy area for the stall-like homes. They also have plans to construct a garden area and plant 10-15 trees to surround the lot. The group of homes will all circle an open, grassy area with a picnic table open to the community.

The homes, ideal for one or two inhabitants, are naturally limited in space and so the neighborhood will include a 8’x20’ garage/storage structure for those items that just can’t be squeezed into the miniature shelters.

Jay Shafer, who founded the The Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., has sold more than 1,500 sets of plans for the small living spaces.

He said after the recession of 2008, the tiny houses took off.

‘Americans still like our stuff big and cheap, so a 100-square-foot house is not for everyone or big families. But people in tiny homes save a ton of money on heating and AC,’ he told the Washington Post.

Though Shafer used to reside in a 90-square foot house, he has since upgraded to a 500-square-foot home after he and his wife welcomed their second child.

‘It’s no longer about impressing your friends with your huge 1980s castle, it’s more about your lifestyle: What restaurants and fitness centers and community life can you walk to? It’s not about driving everywhere and staying inside and spending hours watching TV,’ said Monty Hoffman, chief executive and founder of PN Hoffman, a Washington area condo builder.

‘They’re a statement that no one needs to be trapped in a mortgage they can’t afford in a house that’s too big for them anyway,’ Amy Lynch, a consultant with the Minneapolis-based BridgeWorks, told the Washington Post about the practicality of the miniaturized residences after the housing crisis of 2009.

‘The baby boomers raised their children. Now, they’re looking at all this stuff they have and thinking, ‘What has meaning for me now?’ Plus, these tiny houses are small enough that you can clean — actually clean them!’

The DC neighborhood that is beginning to take shape, called Stronghold, is the brainchild of Boneyard Studios, a group that has mobilized volunteers and residents to join the cause.

But the pint-sized homes make some area residents feel like the American Dream is no long attainable.

‘These tiny houses feels like we are going backwards,’ Patricia Harris, who owns a rowhouse in the District, said.

Hit the flip for more shots of the tiny lil’ homes…

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