In Bavaria there lived a King named Ludwig II who was a dreamer, a patron of the arts and a builder of palaces. He reigned only shortly from 10 March 1864 – 13 June 1886 until he died. His death is considered to be a great mystery and some believe he was killed for spending all the royal coffers in just over twenty two years of rule.
That he was raised in castles and palaces and the family already owned many, many was not enough for King Ludwig. He built, many magnificent and wonderful castles and palaces during his reign: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, A Royal Apartment at the Rezidenze Palace, and before he died he also had THREE others in the works, Falkenstein, Graswangtal, and the Chinese summer palace. I suggest that you google to see these structures, if you are not familiar with them. I have been fortunate enough to tour many of them and I can assure you that no expense was spared and they are absolutely beautiful monuments. Today they are tourist destinations that will remain for centuries.
Ludwig also built a tiny house called Konigshaus am Schachen and this palace is the most little known of all the structures that he built. Ludwig’s “tiny house” is only 2300m square. About a half acre spread out on different levels. Just three times the size of an every day North American McMansion. When compared to his other palaces, this palace would certainly be tiny. But, you know, I don’t think this is tiny. Do you think it is?
Then, why (you may be asking yourself) am I sharing this house and this story with my tiny house readers?
Well, now for the rant.
We live in a society where most people suffer with what my husband and I refer to as King Ludwig Syndrome. The idea that people can have their cake and eat it too. The idea that you can say something and just because you said it means that others must believe it. That in your own little Kingdom that when the emperor gets new clothes that we, who so happen to live in your Kingdom too, should all somehow pretend that we all see fine clothes and not a birthday suit.
Frankly the idea that anyone, including King Ludwig, can build a GIANT HOME, a moderate home or even a small home, and call it tiny is preposterous. That you can call your house tiny, just because it is smaller than your other or former house is, simply, not correct.
I am tackling this subject because recently I have noticed on many, many tiny house threads that people want to call their 1200 square foot, 900, square foot, 700 square foot, 500 square foot homes (or not yet built homes) a tiny house. Simply put, they are not. They are moderate and they are small and they are hopefully perfectly right sized for you and your family… but again, this does not make them tiny.
The generally agreed on numbers and terminology are as follows. A tiny house is a house that is UNDER 400 square feet. A small house is under 800 square feet and a moderate home is under 1200 square feet. Simple.
Now for the tough part. These sizes do not mean anything more than being a descriptive term with a certain figure attached. Clearly to a family of four a house that is 500 square feet will not feel like a big house. Fact: that house will feel very tiny, but technically it is still a small house and not a tiny one. You see the house size description is not intended to encompass your family, it is just a descriptive term for the house.
With all that said, tiny housers are NOT trying to say that everyone needs to live in a house that is less than 400 square feet. It is a movement that suggests that people need to right size their home. That is all. Don’t pay for, or use more than you need.
I have said this before, but I feel the need to reiterate today. It is not a competition to see who can live with the least. Clearly homeless people win this. The Tiny House movement is about living with the least amount that you can, and still be comfortable. We tiny housers are NOT suggesting that every family needs only 100 square feet. We are simply suggesting that if you live with less space that the quality of your life will improve.
I think that by anyone’s standards, I can say and we will all agree that King Ludwig’s threshold for the minimum was set unreasonably high. Tiny is not for everyone, but you know what? Right sized is!
Please don’t be a King Ludwig or to make us believe that you are wearing a fine suit while you are standing in your underwear.
Three years ago I retired from the military and sold my 1400 sqft house and moved into my 1000 sqft home. I couldn’t agree with you more, about living to your size! The bigger house was just too grand for just me (and the dogs and cats). We are much more comfortable in our smaller (not tiny) house. Amazing what an extra floor and those extra feet of space does… I’m much less anxious here (and there’s less housework, too! ☺)
Perfectly put, nothing annoys me more than people listing their tiny homes (1200 sq ft) on the tiny homes web site. They just plain don’t get it. I guess I needed to rant as well.
Currently we are trying to sell out 1350 sq ft semi detached in Alexandria. Once it sells, we are looking to move a little further west, into the hills just west of Perth. Could be closer to Ottawa or closer to Kingston, but somewhere beyond the farm land in Eastern Ontario. So far, all the areas I have looked at between the Rideau River and the Quebec border all seem to have 800sq ft listed as the smallest dwelling.
Being a family of four, with three cats, and an intense desire to continue homeschooling as well as being off grid, self sustaining, not to mention that we really like a candle lit soak in a large tub on cold winter nights, I am not sure that we would be comfortable for too long in something much smaller than 800 sq ft.
We do intend as part of our home schooling to do a year driving across Canada – and at that point we are thinking it will be a combination of a stealth tiny house van pulling a somewhat larger tiny house trailer. The stealth van means we can park the trailer in decent spots, and make day trips with the possibility of camping on city streets for a night here and there.
We are also planning to set up an RV Park, with year round access, specifically for tiny houses. Charge enough to cover the property taxes, and snow plowing fees, and see if we can’t eventually grow a small tiny house community.
But for now – sell the house in a dead market. The dreams will happen, later if not sooner. 🙂