By Amy Powers Saunders

DETROIT (WWJ) – In an age of excess, with a constant bombardment of advertising showing us having more means being happier, does the idea of scaling down sound appealing?

I mean, really downsizing your space.

We’re not talking about your empty nest syndrome and moving from the 6000 square foot McMansion to a 1500 square foot ranch. But a real honest to goodness downsizing.

The answer may be in sight, a new style of home has become in vogue.

A tiny house.

A type of home and architecture that is in keeping with scaling down and reducing excess in your life, with the bonus of reducing your carbon footprint on this earth.

Tiny homes, created by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, can accommodate one or more people and run in the range of 65 to 874 square feet.

How can you live in less than 100 sq. feet? Very nicely, as Jay Shafer owner of Tumbleweed, will tell you.

Within that space you’ll have a kitchen, living area, bath and bed area. Depending on the size, the house may be build on a utility trailer or long flatbed trailer or if allowed by local regulations on a foundation.

Jay Shafer has lived in a Tumbleweed (Tiny House) since 1997, he built his first Tiny House in Iowa.tumbleweed jay shafer photo by janine borgenson copyright tumbleweed tiny house company 2008 Scaling Back On Square Footage May Have You At Tumbleweeds Door

He says it was a very personal decision to change his life so drastically.

“It’s very personal. I needed a house for myself, not just financially, but I built a small house that allows me to live a life I want to,” said Shafer.

“A small house is any house in which the space is used well,” said Shafer. “Don’t need more than that – any more is a liability: financially and emotionally.”

Shafer says the move to downsize has been a life changer. “In a dozen years I’ve lived in four tiny houses, first one was 90 sq. ft., the next was 70 sq. ft..” Jay married recently and his family has grown to include a wife and two daughters – they now live in a Tumbleweed 500 sq.ft. home.

The houses are set up like an RV (recreational vehicle) so you can hook up to water/sewer, he says utilities are really not a problem.

Shafter says people who come to Tumbleweed are motivated by any number of reasons: some just want to reduce excess in their life, others talk about reducing their carbon footprint. “I’d have to say it’s dual interest – because they are thinking people.”

Shafer acknowledges this philosophy: Let necessity dictate use. Value over resale value and buy no more than necessary.

Find out more about Tumbleweed Tiny House Company here.

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