Posted in Architecture

A glorified tenement isn’t a house

With the obvious exception of mansions and luxury apartments, homes in prior generations were by and large much smaller than today. Even the “big” suburban houses so many people eagerly upgraded to after WWII were quite small by modern standards, often under 1,000 square feet.

It’s also true that people tended to have less stuff, and since smaller homes were the norm, they didn’t think to feel deprived and cramped. However, that didn’t mean the average person eagerly, deliberately sought out a tiny abode, let alone tried to dress it up as luxurious and “a little bit TOO big!”

It’s human nature to want a bigger space to live in, not something under 300 square feet. Even U.S. Old Law tenements weren’t that tiny! While there are some super-minimalists for whom a tiny house is the perfect abode, most people are only going tiny because it’s trendy, and won’t be happy there longterm. Many people have already ditched their tiny houses for normal-sized dwellings!

Single people and childless couples both committed to this lifestyle are one thing, but it really makes me angry to see families on these tiny house shows. Dollars to doughnuts those kids won’t be gushing all over the stateroom from A Night at the Opera as so cute, cool, and “a little bit TOO big!” for very long. It’s downright cruel for these parents to make their kids give up most of their toys so they can move to a 250-square foot “luxury house.”

How can you hold a birthday party or have all your friends over when you live in the Woke version of a trailer? What about privacy from your parents and siblings, particularly in the teenage years? Everything is everyone’s business by default, since you’re constantly in that cramped space with your family!

And how about hobbies? Say goodbye to a dedicated space to store your collections, work on flower-pressing, have a woodworking workshop, create a darkroom to develop photos, keep your scrapbooking supplies. Serious artists also will be cheated of studios, and forget about having most pets. There’s no space.

Bibliophiles and art collectors will be forced to give away almost everything in their precious inventories, carefully cultivated for so many years. Space-saving storage hacks can’t hold a thousand books or hundreds of paintings.

One of these smug tiny couples had a cat who looked downright pissed as s/he climbed down the ladder from the loft bedroom. Cats are very good BS detectors, and this one wasn’t having any of it. I hope that cat ran away and found owners with a normal-sized home.

Families need room to stretch out and have space from one another. There’s a lot of happy medium between McMansions in excess of 3,000 square feet and tiny houses.

One of the many reasons for the post-WWII suburban boom was that people just wanted more space to raise their growing families! They were overjoyed to leave cramped city apartments and rowhouses for detached houses all their own.

Yes, many people lived in smaller quarters in the past and made it work, but they didn’t live like that by choice. For every family who truly wanted to stay in an unslummed slum and invest beaucoup bucks into fixing up an old rowhouse or moving into a larger apartment, many more hightailed it out at the first opportunity.

And did I mention many of these tiny homes have toilets that need to be manually emptied? Not to mention mite-sized bathrooms and low-ceilinged loft bedrooms only accessible by ladders. A house should not require Houdini-like magic tricks to hide the furniture when it’s not in use, nor should stairs, chairs, and benches double as storage!

If these people truly want to experience super-minimalist living, they should move to a city with microapartments. But of course, then they wouldn’t get to have such smug attitudes about how awesome they are.

Many tiny houses look great on the outside, and do have ingenious uses of space, but they’re just not well-suited to longterm living by the majority of people.


Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

One thought on “A glorified tenement isn’t a house

  1. Those houses look cute, but they are smaller than what I’m used to now. With all our kids gone, our 2000 sq ft house still seems kind of small for my wife and I though it really is far more than adequate. But it’s nice to have an office space for each of us and plenty of room when family or friends do come to visit which is rarely.

    I’ve gone back to see houses that I grew up in and they seem so small now. In my memories they seemed so big for my family that included 4 siblings besides me. Sure, I was smaller then, but still those houses seemed like they had so much room. But they were nice for the times.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 2 people

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