104: A Tiny Problem with Claustrobia – Tiny Houses

Matt and Sean talk about tiny houses, the mindset necessary to live in one, and aliens.

Watch the Undecided with Matt Ferrell episode, “Is a Tiny House Good for Sustainable Living?”: https://youtu.be/xPB4RIxLPb4?list=PLnTSM-ORSgi5LVxHfWfQE6-Y_HnK-sgXS

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Hey everybody welcome to the still to be determined podcast as usual, this is the podcast that follows up on topics from the Youtube channel undecided with Matt Ferrell as usual I am not Matt Ferrell Matt is with me though how you doing Matt I’m okay.
Good. How are you doing.
I’m Matt’s older brother I’m Sean Farrell I’m a writer and I will be asking the questions and Matt as the guru from the channel will be answering them or trying to guru be the guru that you want to see in the world. That’s what I say.
Before we get into the episode just a reminder there are ways you can support the podcast you can go to still tbd fm. There’s a link there or on Youtube you can just click the membership but the membership button and join us either way is a great way to support the channel and if you’re not able to do those. Just listening and sharing this with your friends is another great way to do it. So today. We’re going to be talking about Matt’s most recent episode this is the episode that dropped on January Eighteenth Twenty Twenty two it is the episode that I am gleefully pleased to say.
Ends with a question Mark is a tiny house good for sustainable living question Mark it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that and I know we’ve all missed it. Yeah you.
I have missed it. That’s why I brought it back.
You’re bringing questions back is what you’re saying now that’s right? So first question who the hell wants to live in a tiny house I’m I’m I’m jaundiced on this.
That’s right Matt Ferrell bringing questions back.
As before we started recording I was I was literally just minutes ago saying to Matt I’m on the verge of buying an exercise bike and the reason I’m on the verge of buying an exercise bike is because pandemic life make Sean Brain broken it’s it’s been a claustrophobic time for Sean who is prone to ah bouts of anxiety and claustrophobia as the result of not being able to get outside not getting enough exercise and of course a tiny house doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. In fact, it encourages it. Tiny house doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. You can do whatever you want to do the tiny house. Don’t care but sometimes late at night when it’s time to sleep and Sean lays down to go to bed suddenly Sean feels like these walls are too close i.
Yes, yes, yes.
Sean can’t breathe Sean need air and I think it’s I think that similar to other conversations we’ve had um, similar to off-grid living similar to you had your video about mobile living.
People converting vans to be a mobile home living completely off grid and in some cases. That’s a very particular mindset. A very particular lifestyle and as I watched your video I was fascinated by. Very obviously brilliant design choices in the house I Loved in the one house. It showed the steps lift up to reveal that there’s storage compartments underneath the stairs and I was just like that is a tiny stroke of Genius. Yes.
Every square inch is maximized now.
Using every square inch in a way really squeezing every and in some cases repurposing every square Inch So that you you showed that one house that had a footprint of that was half as big as the actual usable Square footage within the home and I on a. Intellectual level can look at this and say Wow that’s remarkable on an emotional level I look at that and think I would absolutely lose my mind and I don’t say that as hyperbole it would be.
Some night at three o’clock in the morning I would suddenly run through the nearest wall and create a Sean’s shaped door in the side of that tiny house and the tiny house would never see me again. It would the last the tiny house would ever see of me would be me running into the woods screaming to find the the nearest. Ah.
Um, yeah.
New home development where I could get back into a home that was larger than a Thousand Square feet
That is. That’s my exact my exact thing this pandemic for me like I live in a house that’s basically a Thousand Square feet I live in a 1950 s house and I brought it up in the video the average size of a house in the 50 s was basically my house and today it’s over twice the size of what my house is today. And I am somebody who’s currently working on building a new home and my new home is going to be about two Thousand Square feet so I am falling into that trap. But the reason I’m doing that is what you just described my wife and I both work from home and in this tiny house even a Thousand Square feet
Um, yeah.
Basically on top of each other and my workspace is basically a nine foot by Nine Foot room I live in here pretty much all the time and the walls are closing in and so it’s like I need more space. My wife needs an actual workspace she works in the basement. It’s not pleasant down there. So it’s like.
Um, yeah.
Um, yeah.
The whole idea of having a little more room living in a tiny house in a pandemic where you’re not. You may be working from home and if you have a spouse and children in a little so you know four hundred Square you’d be murdering each other I don’t know how you could make that work but at the same time God Bless The people that are into this.
Ah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah.
I’m not 1 of them. But I respect that choice and I want to strive to be better and be more minimalist and have a smaller impact on the environment and this tiny house movement is awesome for that. It just ain’t for me, it’s like I can’t I can’t do it.
Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s I think what you’re describing is that there’s a a tool for every job and a tiny house is a specific tool for a specific person with a specific job in mind and as you’re describing your home situation.
Um, yeah.
Ah, not too different from my home situation working from home during the pandemic really enjoying aspects of working from home really feeling like I still have a job which is effectively the office job I had before the pandemic started but my mindset my overall health my outlook. Has improved in some ways because of removing things like a commute being able to have access to things at home that would otherwise how do you squeeze enough time out of a day used to be ah, a typical refrain and those those things go away but then the other side of it is. My partner and I we are basically on top of each other I have a teenage son and when he’s with us. It’s there’s a third basically now fullgrown physical body in this space with us and I love them both to death. But sometimes it’s just like wow I really need to be not near anything.
If you were living by yourself I could see a tiny house as being like unquestionably like okay I can make this work for a certain period of time maybe a long weekend. Maybe a getaway weekend that sort of thing for people to do it. 24 hours a day seven days a week. Um I’m reminded as I was watching your video of the movie nomad land.
Which came out Twenty Twenty I believe it was it won the Academy award for the director for best director and it is the story of people who have not removed themselves. Their goal was not to remove themselves from the grid. Their goal was to.
Embrace some kind of nomad-like existence and they follow work and the different people in the movies in some cases are actually people who live like this so there are a few actors in the movie but the the movie also includes people who legitimately live this way.
And they did semi improvisational scenes where they would work with the actors and they would effectively have moments of revealing their stories and some people do this because of a desire to get away from a society that they think is largely working against.
Individual Health You know the idea of like society is doing things putting restrictions on us that crushes our spirits other people want to get back to the idea of the open road The Nomad spirit they see as something that’s ingrained in humans. So the idea of being able to take your tiny house and go whenever you might want.
It’s that kind of romantic appeal I wondered how much of that is evident in your research when you were looking at these companies because there’s always the the unspoken ideology in salesmanship of.
Ah, you’re looking for a home and there’s the website of the home development which is talking about a suburban lifestyle and they’re going to include unspoken elements which are very clearly geared toward people who are looking for that twenty five hundred Square feet maybe expanding their family maybe getting a dog needing a bag backyard needing fenced in spaces that idea comes with an unspoken set of images and ideas how much of the nomad spirit did you see as the unspoken of this in those companies.
Yeah, yeah, a lot a lot It’s it’s it’s in all the marketing materials I saw from all the different tiny companies tiny house companies. It was all geared to what you’re talking about. It was not talking to me like the messaging was not resonating with me because it was talking to that. Um go getter spirit being mobile not not being in debt and being able to go wherever you wanted to go all those kind of things which don’t resonate with me but they’re going to resonate with somebody else. It’s like you could you. Definitely pick up on those threads that they were putting into all the marketing messages around it and that’s not a mass market appeal. It’s like even though tiny houses is a pretty big movement. At this point it will never be mainstream but it is a very vibrant. Healthy community because there’s a lot of people that do want to do that. It’s just ah, it’s still a niche market. But it’s really cool that it’s there and I actually have several patrons that I released my videos early and when they saw that video several people have chimed sent me messages saying I lived like that for 3 years
Or I’m currently working on building a tiny house right now and you know I lived in a mobile home for you know 3 years traveling the country and but most of the messages were along the lines of it was a temporary thing. It was something they did for a year or two years or even 5 years but then they settled down into a slightly larger house.
Um, yeah.
And the the thread I took from that was this is not a permanent way. You can live. It’s like there’s going to be a point a breaking point where your life shifts and tiny houses just will no longer work and you’re going to have to go back to something maybe a little larger. Maybe not a two Thousand Square foot home but
Um, right. Um, right.
Sound from all the messages I got from people. It was clear that the struggles we’ve talked about are there even if you’re in the camp of wanting to live in a tiny house. So there’s ah, there’s another Youtube channel called um, ah the handyman. And he lives in Arizona and he built a tiny house with his wife. They lived up for several years rainwater harvesting solar power off-grid living incredible and they just built themselves a big two Thousand Square foot home that they just is. They’re now living in and in his most recent video where he was walking through the the place he brought up several times of like. Living in a tiny house was not sustainable because he and his wife did for years and they worked from home and it was like literally like they’re working like across the room from each other It’s like hi they’re working a little aloft in this tiny house and it’s like they’re right next to each other 24 hours a day.
Um, right.
And it was basically not going to be conducive for the relationship they had to get distance to be able to be have a happy marriage. Otherwise they most likely would not be married anymore. So it’s like there’s there’s a breaking point for even people like the handyman that was just like I can’t We can’t keep doing this. It’s not ah, a forever home. It’s a.
Um, right.
Temporary ways station that allowed them to save money save up a huge amount of savings and build this massive two Thousand Square foot home and basically be living debt free. So it’s like there is ah there is a reason why you’d want to do it and I think he’s kind of the epitome of like what it means to be a tiny house lifestyle because it’s not a.
Yeah I thought about that as well as I was watching the video the cost savings you you at 1 point layout if you had to get a loan in order to get one of these and you scaled it so that it would be 15 year repayment
Ah, temporary way station.
The total repayment costs was under $600 per month and that I almost fell off my chair because I’m a renter and I I don’t even want to tell you how many times higher I pay for a rental above that $600 and it’s.
I know how much that is. It’s a lot and Sean just just put in perspective I have friends in San Francisco and they pay 2 to 3 times what you’re paying for rent.
It really made me go oh boy and there was.
I yeah, it’s it’s absolutely crazy. Um, from that perspective the idea of of doing the numbers and saying like okay if I can live in a tiny house for 3 years and then sell it pay off the loan.
It’s insane.
I could save quite a bit of money and that could be the down payment for a house so that kind of lifestyle might be geared toward that kind of temporary tighter struggle to put in time and money for the the larger space I’m curious from our listeners. Have any of you done something similar to that have any of you taken the bullet for a couple of years so that you can then make the bigger leap into something like larger homeownership. Whatever that might look like let us know in the comments you can just scroll down. Or reach out through the contact information in the podcast description um moving on to the comments on your video There was a number of comments that caught my eye.
Such as this one from Stephen Collier who wrote it would be interesting to see a breakdown comparison between the cost of tiny houses versus massive skyscraper apartments your analysis really did focus on the idea of home ownership house ownership as opposed to.
Oh yeah.
Something that might be comparable to urban living like in New York City Chicago or someplace like that where somebody might live. Yeah yeah, this and if you were ever to revisit this I think then the number of ways you could slice. It could be very interesting which would be.
Like an apartment like an apartment alternative. Yeah I didn’t look at it from that direction. Yeah, that’s it. That’s really interesting.
Power consumption as a whole for a building. Ah the overall costs of home ownership in an apartment per Square foot is vastly different to that of a house. Um, so and size is.
Usually pretty comparable I’m lucky enough that I found an apartment which I do pay quite a bit for this apartment I will I’ve said that already. But I also have 2 floors that’s not typical in in Brooklyn and the square footage of my apartment I think you and I talked about this previously It’s either very very close or I’m a little bit bigger I’m yeah yeah, and it’s an older building. Um, that went through a huge renovation to repurpose the space which at one point this probably would have been a building that would have had a.
It’s you’re bigger than my house. You’re slightly bigger than my house.
More families in it than it currently has so you know it’s It’s um, been repurposed to make it more attractive to this kind of so it’s almost houselike in the way that I live but if you took a typical apartment from.
Generic town in the Usa I wonder how that would compare square footage wise to a tiny house. Obviously the tiny house is it’s making the smaller side of it. The goal as opposed to an apartment which is um, you know and you own it? yeah.
And you own it. So you’re you’ve got equity because you have at the end when you get rid of it. You can sell it and make money from it so you can’t do that in the apartment. So there’s there’s a benefit there.
Yeah I Also like this comment from purple cat having lived in small spaces before the fantasy about there being less cleaning is just that a fantasy there’s there’s less space to clean. But because everything is so tightly packed in you feel it immediately if something gets dirty as a result I’d feel like I All was always cleaning and nothing was ever Clean. There’s definitely a happy medium between having to clean all the time because the space is too small and having to clean all the time because the space is too big I Thought that was a.
That’s funny, the psychological aspect of it. Yeah.
Yeah I Thought that was a good analysis. Yeah, and and I wondered overall about other ways that the psychological aspect could impact that lifestyle like I mentioned you know at at nighttime for me as a time when I feel like I sometimes struggle with. Whatever you’re doing during the day can distract you to a certain degree to the things that are around you once the lights go out and you’re trying to sleep and your mind starts to just kind of calm and quiet. Suddenly it becomes evident like oh I could touch both walls at the same time. Oh everything I own is within.
Arms reach and I wonder I wonder if there’s a psychological you know how there’s different personality profiles that you can take quizzes and figure out what type of personality you are I Wonder if there’s a standard personality that is more open to this kind of living than another type.
Yeah, yep.
Um, oh hundred percent oh my gosh like the the people that want to live off grid they all are cut from the same piece of cloth. It’s like there is a mindset that you have to have to want to live like that and again, that’s not me but I totally respect that lifestyle and that choice and I admire it aspects of it I really admire. It’s. I am cut from a completely different piece of the cloth the other on the other side of that that that piece.
Right. The last comment I wanted to share was this one from Julian Canelhofer who wrote neat idea but I can’t imagine lots of apartment sized houses being more efficient than an apartment building so that is something I wanted to to touch on.
Do you have any ideas as to is Julian onto something or do the numbers actually tell a different story.
Know he’s he’s onto something it depends on where you are though like here in the United States we have a lot of space. There’s so there’s a lot of space here. So it’s very conducive to this kind of lifestyle you could move out to Montana you could go wherever you want and find a little plot of land and put up your home and. Pops your uncle you’re done in like a european city which is more densely packed. You’re not going to be able to do stuff like this very easily on top of which I brought it up in the video There’s regulations very here in the United States state to state some states are more accepting of tiny houses than others and that’s really true in Europe I had people reach out to me saying that like. In Germany and they can’t do this. They want to do it but they can’t so it’s like it’s just regulations don’t make it doable so it’s it’s a combination of is the space available in the region that you live in and then also do they even allow it like what are the constraints from the laws and the regulations.
I don’t know what country it was but years ago when I was I was doing research to find a new apartment. It was a real estate search and I was looking for apartments and something about the way that I put terms into the Google search.
I ended up on some very interesting links to a company that was basically making tiny houses but they weren’t called tiny houses and they were they effectively looked like little 1950 s style ufos like a tiny little either. Sometimes they were rounded. Sometimes they look like a trailer without wheels on little legs so they look like little lunar landers and they were designed to be lifted with a crane onto the roof of an existing apartment building so that landlords could.
Oh Wow at a space.
Purchase these and effectively add an apartment to an apartment building and what you would need to have would be access to the roof. So I would hope that they would and then there would ah I think if you were doing it properly. Not only would you have that. But as soon as that.
As they’re lowering them down. Do they play thurmon music as it’s being lowered into the roof. Yeah.
The house landed the front door would open up and somebody dressed as a Martian would come running out. So yeah, clot to Verrata nito.
Clack to Nick to yeah, it’s it’s that’s why I was bringing up like the space. It’s like if you’re in a congested city or urban location. It’s like. Apartments make so much more sense because you’re building vertically and you can get a lot more apartments into the same kind of square footage on the ground. So. It’s like tiny houses only really make sense if you’re in an area that has the kind of room to to grow and allow people to kind of find their own little plot of land otherwise apartments are gonna win. Yeah, or.
Um, yeah.
Yeah, so listeners. Let us know have you ever lived this kind of experience I’m really curious about that kind of lived experience what it was like and I don’t know maybe if if we get somebody who’s.
Putting these ufos on rooftops.
Done this before and is open to a conversation. Maybe we could revisit this with an episode where we could chat with you for an episode I think that would be very interesting. Let us know you can find the contact information in the podcast description our on Youtube you can just scroll right down to the comments section below the video. Don’t forget, there’s still tbd.
Um, yeah, interview them.
Fm you can support the podcast there through the support the podcast link or on Youtube you can just click the join button and become a member and whichever you’re able to do we greatly appreciate the sport There’s also supporting us via rating reviewing and sharing us with your friends all of that really does help the podcast. The podcast helps the channel the channel helps Matthew and then Matthew helps me build a ufo thanks so much for listening everybody. We’ll talk to you next time.
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