Tiny Houses

2 June 2014

As we announced in our last post, Minim was the run away crowd pleaser at our tiny house presentation and survey earlier this month. With clean lines, bold design and versatility packed into every square foot, we here at cityLAB kinda have a crush on Minim too. But the other tiny houses we considered have a lot going for them as well. While we’re moving forward and building Minim, we hope some of these will pop up in Garfield as well. Here’s what our crowd had to say about Minim’s competition.

1. Tumbleweed Loring’s porch was a big hit with a lot of people. About half our crowd loved the sleeping loft with ladder and half did not. Access to the rear yard (with the only entrance/exit being the front door) was another mark against Loring. Some people liked Loring’s Arts and Crafts style and others thought it looked liked a shrunken doll house.

2. Tumbleweed Whidbey was a pretty popular chap. It actually garnered more “yes” votes than any other house when respondents were asked if they would or wouldn’t live in this particular house. It has an open feel to it and an abundance of natural light thanks to the skylight. The second bedroom was a hit, but some thought that this house took up too much outdoor space, leaving very little yard. And again, the ladder thing.

3. A lot of people liked the layout of Tumbleweed Harbinger, but thought it felt small. Access to the sleeping loft via ladder was again a big sticking point. Lack of storage was another point of concern, but on a positive note, some liked the prospect of building a deck off the back of the house.

4. We’ll take an in depth look at the winner, Minim, in our next journal entry.

5. One of the larger houses of the group, Vermont, was also a bit more open than some of its counterparts, but again at the cost of yard space. Some saw its relatively simple design as a plus, “DIY-able,” as one person put, but others saw it as “plain Jane.” In its favor was Vermont’s ability to accommodate a washer and dryer, as well as stairs, rather than a ladder leading to the loft bedroom. Ultimately, it failed to inspire.

6. Modeled after the houses built to replace the wretched FEMA trailers provided for displaced New Orleans residents, the Katrina boasts a French Quarter kind of design aesthetic. While it had a lovely large front porch and first floor bedroom, the kitchen was considered way too small (although this is easily solvable by an architect). Katrina had one of the larger footprints and hardly left any space for a garden or yard.

7. The smallest of all the homes, the Minimotive was too small, really only large enough for one person. It is meant to sit atop a utility trailer, giving the owner the ability to pick up and go when and where s/he pleases. While the City of Pittsburgh building code won’t permit a trailer to be parked on the site, many of our respondents thought it could be converted into a permanent house. The original Minimotive was a DIY project designed and built by an architect for just $11,000. While many appreciated the creative, modern design, and creative use of materials such as the exterior sided in recycled pallet wood, at the end of the day, most found it came up just a bit short on square footage.


  1. I do agree the Minim is way more advanced than most tiny houses, and I’d build one in an instant. And being musician, I like the idea of having space for a full-size keyboard at home.

    In my search I’ve found two other tiny houses that make my “top-three” choices, both of which have modern & elegant looks, and decent stairs for the attic:

    The hOMe, a very advanced tiny home that’s VERY ellegant and versatile. And they offer free online tutorials among their plans, plus lots of friendly advice:

    The other one was made in New Zealand by an artist who didn’t like the old-school look of most tiny houses, so he did a very contemporary-looking one with lots of room inside:

    Check them out, we all can learn a lot from these guys.

    And congratulations for your project, I’ll be following your progress!

  2. admin said on

    Hi Alex: Thanks for these Tiny House leads. These are lovely, as are so many others!

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