Feeling Liberated in 704 Square Feet

Househappy —  January 27, 2014 — 4 Comments

It’s no secret that tiny homes have become one of the latest trends in housing and architecture. More frequently, people are finding that downsizing their space is not only more sustainable (and often cheaper), but it can also lead to a less-cluttered, easier existence.

But what do we sacrifice when we give up space? Will living in a tiny home leave us feeling constrained and claustrophobic? Last week, The New York Times featured a 704 square foot Oregon home that proves forfeiting space doesn’t have to feel small.

Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel of Portland, Oregon, had a few things in mind when imagining their perfect home: Kennel, who is 6″1, wanted to escape the low doorways and cramped rooms of the older houses they had previously occupied, and Copenagle dreamed of living in a home that wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to vacuum. Their strategy became, “own less, live more.”

$135,000 later (including materials and labor), the result is a one-room home with a wood stove for heating, a green roof, a 550-gallon rain barrel, a huge backyard, and industrial touches throughout.

This article can be found in its original form at The New York Times.

Photos: Aaron Leitz via The New York Times



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4 responses to Feeling Liberated in 704 Square Feet


    Very Cool!

    I feel there are some issues that need to be addressed regarding tiny houses. I currently work in the real estate industry and I support the tiny house concept. My wife and I would consider having a tiny house as a second home in a heartbeat if it was well made, and in the right location.

    But from a realtor’s perspective a tiny house movement could be a nuclear weapon on their income. A tiny house that sells for a fraction of what a regular house sells for would make for a “tiny” commission. The National Association of Realtors is not going to support tiny houses if the realtors can’t make any money selling them!

    Ultimately, more efficient green living could be a great escape from a high mortgage and be more accessible to young people starting their careers and looking to build their credit. In fact overall it could support home ownership in general for some people who feel it to be inaccessible at the current prices.

    Perhaps we could consider a couple of payment options for the realtors, because if the house isn’t in the MLS, then most people are not going to know about it.

    First: A flat commission that is part of the sales price if the home fits into certain square footage requirements or is under a certain price and is not a condominium or townhouse.

    Or second: A residual income opportunity where the realtor receives a monthly payment for the amount of time the resident is in the house. This could be a part of the HOA dues for example.

    Or a combination of the two could work as well!

    Ultimately realtors need stable income; either related to higher commissions or residual income from the properties. And while brokerages at first may not be excited about not getting a portion of the original commission if the income is residual instead of up front, think of the reduction in realtors leaving the business because the financial swings are too great. The brokerage could control the number of residual transactions the realtor does in a year, unless the realtor just pays a desk fee.

    Thanks for reading, just my opinion.


    Jamin O’Brien


      Gotta be honest. I could give a shit about Realtors making enough off of my purchase. If I can only afford a $135K then that’s what I’ll buy and if no agent wants to work with me all the better if your commission is all you care about. Work harder as they say. Sell more houses as it has always been. Don’t expect me to pay you rent on a house I own.


        Amen Justin!!! I am not living in my small house for the someday hope of paying commission to a realtor or that I somehow owe them residual payment. If you need to make a living and feel real estate is not it, find a different career path. I barely make $40,000 a year and I really do not think my real estate agent deserves a cut after making $4600 on my current home, in commission. Thanks.


      How about you get a hourly wage for your service like everybody else. The commission system is a total ripoff to the consumer! All ways has been IMHO.

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