The Weehouse Movement
As New York City residents, we at ANY have long honed the art of living well in small apartments. As cities become more and more populated, and space becomes tighter, many of us have had to be creative with how to make beautiful small spaces house our necessities.
That's why we have become fascinated with a new movement in houses: Tiny Houses. While large homes aren't going anywhere any time soon- and the average American family home is at an all time high of 2,600 square feet- the tiny house movement provides an alternate type of home ownership. Tiny Houses are typically under 500 square feet, and while tiny house owners currently only make up 1% of the U.S., it's become a big enough trend for T.V. networks like HGTV and FYI to pick up, with shows like Tiny House Hunters, and Tiny House Nation.
There are many draws to the tiny house movement. With a tiny house one can buy less land in a more desirable area and design their home completely from scratch to unique specifications. For many buyers, there is great appeal to a home without a mortgage, and the downsizing that a smaller living space naturally entails.
While there are many motivations to build a tiny home, we're drawn to the design innovation that this movement has created. A company that is rethinking house construction to create visually stunning, smartly designed spaces that beautifully integrate into their natural environment is architecture firm Alchemy, which started designing their weeHouses in 2003.
Alchemy has set up their buildout in a clear and transparent way. They operate with a modular, prefabricated system, which creates a less wasteful, more financially and time efficient process for construction. A buyer chooses the amount of square footage they'd like, adding more weeHouse systems if they want to add more space and then works with Alchemy to customize their home. On their website, Alchemy clearly lays out the costs, including add ons, types of delivery, land, solar energy panels, etc. and has a comprehensive FAQ page which covers financing, land preparation, and the buildout. But the homes themselves say far more about what one can do with a small space than anything we could write. Below are some of our favorite WeeHouse tiny homes.
Though only 336 SF, this weeHouse has the expansive prairie for a backyard. Built in 2003 at the weeHouse factory for only $60,000, it was then placed at its location. The interior is douglas fir, and the exterior is cementitious siding painted with oxidizing paint. It's owned by a Minnesota Orchestra violinist and her family.
Built onsite, the 570 sq. foot Truro weeHouse has a cantilevered deck and panoramic views of Cape Cod. It serves as a "penthouse in the woods" for the author who owns it.
This weeHouse is designed to be one of three weeHouses on a site outside of an artist colony in Marfa Texas and is 440 square feet. It came with its interior and exterior fully finished, so all that needed to be added on site were utilities hookups, the sun deck, and canopies.
Though slightly over the 500 square foot tiny-house definition, at 784 square feet this is still a very small house. As a family vacation home, it's designed to focus on views of the lake, with an open porch, bug screen magnetic curtains, and a folding ipe deck.