Sometimes seeing is believing. This is definitely true in the case of a UK-based retired art teacher who managed to build an entire, fully-functioning cob house for the unbelievable price of $250 (£150). The home’s owner, 59-year-old Michael Buck, is changing our idea about form and function of living spaces. Perhaps gone are the days where saying, “I live in a really tiny place,” is a complaint.
The house, which resembles a mushroom at first glance, has a rustic style, and consists of a one-room space operating like a loft, the space separated into common/daytime living space, and an upper area for sleeping.
Buck was very strict about maintaining his vision of simplicity for the home, from the time he began planning the design and collecting natural items—from the straw, to the wood—to use for its construction, determined not to exceed the budget. Of course, without some of the modern amenities, such as appliances and electricity, Buck came up with some creative solutions to make sure his family lived simply, but still comfortably. He uses outdoor refrigeration, and even created a space for an indoor stove.
Buck explains the strong philosophy behind his decision to build the home: “A house doesn’t have to cost the earth[;] you only need the earth to build it. I wanted to show that houses don’t have to cost anything. We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.”
Are Mini-houses the Wave of the Future?
In the past decade, stories involving people of all walks of life who, determined to simplify their lives and downsize in their immediate environment—so many of us dream about giving up the hectic pace of city life—make the bold choice to create a smaller living space, with even bolder creative solutions for how to achieve this. Smaller living quarters are also being offered as a solution for tackling the problem of housing shortages, particularly in urban areas.
All the more impressive, we are seeing this trend in both urban and rural areas, and in the case of Buck, even in the forest. A case in point is the Tiny Homes Detroit initiative begun just last year in the United States . As the name suggests, the homes are modest in size, ranging from 250-400 square feet (roughly 23-37square meters). However, what they lack in size, they make up for in charm and efficiency. The homes give residents in economically depressed areas a second chance at financial independence.
Despite the variety of reasons, we are sure to see more and more of these small homes in the near future, with even more colorful and creative designs and concepts.