Tiny Houses

7 May 2014

From finding a piece of land, to pounding in the last nail, this blog will help you each step of the way on your journey of building a tiny house right here in Garfield. But to kick things off, before we get to the “how-to” stuff, we here at cityLAB wanted to pass along why we think small houses are so cool. Maybe you’re new to the idea and houses like this (or this and this) pique your interest. Or, maybe you’ve considered building tiny in the past and just need a little more convincing on why you should do it, already. Whatever the reason, here are six great reasons to build your very own tiny house:

1. Simpler lifestyle

According to thetinylife.com, most tiny houses are 100-400 sq. feet, though some can be up to 1,000; it’s still pretty small when you consider that the average American home built today is about 2,600 sq. feet. That’s not a lot of room for those weird faceless angels your grandma keeps giving you for the holidays. Getting rid of unneeded or unwanted belongings that otherwise clutter your current living space can be extremely freeing. Living in a tiny house forces you to really consider what you choose to surround yourself with.

2. Environmentally friendly

Fewer resources to build + fewer resources to maintain = happy earth

You can easily go off the grid and earth friendly with solar panels, rain catchments and building with recycled materials.

3. Less upkeep

Kind of a no-brainer here, but if your house is small and you don’t have a lot of junk in it to clean up, the more time you have to be doing cool things…like going to the Garfield Night Market.

4. Cost savings

According to Tiny House Magazine, small houses can cost as little as $5,000 and go up from there, depending on the size and if you hire a contractor to build it. Price of land can vary greatly depending on location. Here’s what others say about the cost of building. Financing through a bank can be a little tricky, but we’ll share some ways around that in later posts. Regardless, building a small house will cost a fraction of building a conventional house. According to Sarah Menz, who just completed her graduate thesis/project on the subject at Chatham University, many tiny houses pay for themselves in about two years. Living a mortgage-free life will allow you to pursue your lifelong passion(s)…or eat out more. For more cool data on owning a tiny house, check out this infographic from The Tiny Life.

5. Personalization

Working with such a small amount of square footage calls for each foot of space to be utilized its fullest. Some items may serve two and three functions. For instance, a surface may fold flat against a wall when not in use and, when needed, be pulled out to serve as a desktop or dining table. Many tiny homeowners decide to design a space tailored to their needs and lifestyle and some even build the house on their own. This increased connection is something that you can’t buy or find anywhere else.

6. City Friendly

Because tiny houses have a small footprint, skinny, unused city parcels are a perfect fit. The infrastructure is already there and so are the amenities: coffee shops, art galleries, delis, etc. And you could use the rest of your plot to plant a garden, work on your art…whatever. Why rent at inflated prices to live in the city, when you could own a space that expresses a style all your own?

Have more ideas on why building a small house is a great idea? Let us know at info@citylabpgh.org



  1. Janet Gunter said on

    Where’s a response to plumbing and electrical outlet solutions?

  2. admin said on

    We’ll get there soon!

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