Tiny House, Big Experience: Why Tiny Homes Are Worth The Hype
Would you make your next getaway a pint-sized one?
The magic of the fall season is about more than the shifting of temperatures — it's just as inherent in the sensory pleasures it evokes. That sense of full-body cozy, of watching the trees change their dresses before taking them off entirely for the winter. The childish joy of crunching through colorful leaves, or of curling your hands around a steaming mug of tea as rain patters against the rooftop.
And now that I've heard the rain fall on the roof from mere inches away, while curled up in the lofted bed of a tiny house at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Oregon, I've experienced it in a whole new way. It was my first time visiting the Pacific Northwest, on a trip hosted by Buick to promote the new Buick Encore. And yes, it was my first time falling in love with the region's fall foliage; with its uniquely welcoming cultural aesthetic; and with the unapologetically lush landscape.
Growing up in California is perhaps the reason for my obsession with fall: We don't really have it here, aside from pumpkin spice lattes making their presence known in early September, of course. But in Welches, Oregon, just a little over an hour's drive from Portland, this pint sized-community offers a rustic getaway that defines "cozy chic."
Yes, there are fall feels, people, and they are the real deal here.
Now, I'm decidedly not a minimalist, although I'd certainly like to be. Perhaps this contrast, too, has helped fuel my interest in the tiny house movement. I've watched Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters with the best of 'em. But, of course, that's entirely different from staying in one personally. Think of it this way: A tiny house is defined as a living space that does not exceed 400 sq. ft. That's pretty tiny, indeed — practically Polly Pocket-sized, even.
See what I mean?
I'm definitely not alone in my tiny house obsession. So why the recent rise in popularity? Well, if there's one thing millennials want, it's an experience — and, if it's Instagram-worthy, then game on. I'm not immune to it; and, if you bought into the Color Factory and Museum of Ice Cream hype, then you're not either.
But staying in a bite-sized home is a truly unique type of bandwagon, and if you ask me, it's worth the hype. Probably the coolest thing about tiny houses? These cute miniature cabins are ideal for on-the-go living and traveling, as they can be towed. Actually, the little abodes are technically RVs, which means they're built to be towed — and that for some, they're essentially a choose-your-own-adventure home, one that's about so much more than your living space itself. Because the focus isn't necessarily on what you're doing inside, it's about the breadth of your experience.
This is true, too, of the homes in the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village, the scenically located RV park I was invited to stay at for two nights. (Thanks, Buick!) This little Oregonian community features homes from Petite Retreats, a company that offers — you guessed it — petite accommodations across the U.S., including tiny houses, yurts, teepees, and more. "We have four different tiny house villages across the country — this one by Mount Hood; something near Sedona, Arizona; in Leavenworth, Washington; and then an hour outside of Boston," Marketing Director Annie Colletti shares over lunch at the nearby Bridal Veil Lodge.
What's important to realize about the design of a tiny home is just how much organizational acumen goes into building each and every one. And, as with the Buick Encore, looks can be deceiving: They're both thoughtfully designed around the idea that less really is more.
With zero space to waste, every part of a tiny home's interior is designed to be multifunctional, down to the last inch. For example, the stairs leading up to the loft I curled up in during both nights of my stay in Zoe have built-in drawers for storage; the refrigerator is just a touch larger than a hotel mini-fridge, and fits into a cupboard beneath the countertop burner which serves as a stove.
And that door to the left of the stairs? It opens into perhaps the smallest bathroom I've ever used, with a fully functional shower, if a slightly dark one (there's no light fixture, just a small window in front of the sink).
As you can see, style isn't sacrificed for functionality, here — it's simply built in a very specific way. Yes, it takes some getting used to moving around the space, even if you've got a fairly petite 5'4" build, like me. But it's also just all-around cute, so you'll probably be too busy taking photos of the sweet décor to care. And, after staying in one, am I more obsessed with tiny homes than ever? You bet.
At the end of the day, staying in a tiny house is all about the experience. Plus, it might just be the most Instagrammable trip you'll ever take.
Interested in trying a tiny house for size? Book your stay at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village here.