In the United States, the average number of people occupying a home has dropped significantly, from 3.42 in 1947 to 2.53 in 2016.  But even though the average size of the household has been steadily declining, the average size of the home has been increasing. In 1971, an average newly built home was approximately 1,200 square feet. By the 2010s, the square footage of the average newly built home had increased to 2,600 square feet.  Square footage in Canada is not far behind at 2,200 square feet. The message here is clear: we love our personal space. But having such large homes comes at a financial and environmental cost. One family has decided to build a tiny home village to break out of this cycle.
The increasing size of new homes is one reason they’re steadily getting more and more expensive. This means that there is a financial barrier to entry to homeownership for today’s young people. Only about one in three adults under the age of 35 years old own a home, which is down almost 10% compared to previous generations. And if you are a young person fortunate enough to be able to buy a home, the news gets worse: the majority of homeowners under the age of 35 regrets buying a home. That regret is primarily financial: homes are bigger, they cost more, the interest paid is higher, and the larger the home, the more it needs to be maintained.
And then there’s the environmental cost of these massive homes. Our new, 2,600 square foot homes need to be lit at night, heated in the winter, and cooled in the summer. All that comes with a pretty enormous carbon price tag. And many new homes are built in neighborhoods that simply aren’t walkable, increasing our reliance on automobiles to get us from point a to point b.
But the increasing size of our homes is leading to a tiny home revolution – one where people look to smaller homes to simplify their lives, their finances, and their impact on the planet. Thousands of people around the world are moving into tiny homes and realizing that less truly is more. One Kentucky family has taken the unconventional tiny home style of living and has added a fun twist: tiny homes for their teenage children as well.
A tiny home village
A few years ago, Keli and Ryan Brinks lived with their two kids, Brodey and Lennox, in a 2,200 square foot home in Michigan. As time went by, the four of them became more concerned with the environment and living sustainably, so they took a leap into tiny home living.
The first step was picking a location. They eventually settled on a 21-acre parcel of land near London, Kentucky, which they bought for $57,000. “We chose London, Kentucky, because of the lack of restrictions for housing and because the land was much cheaper than in areas of Tennessee that were closer to the family but more expensive and with restrictions,” Keli Brinks said in an interview with Insider.  The location was the easy part. How would they go about fitting a family of four into a single tiny home? That presented a whole new challenge.