King Ludwig Syndrome

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.

Not tiny

Not tiny

Categories: 400 square feet, Open your eyes, Rules, Rules of thumb, Tiny house | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Post navigation

8 thoughts on “King Ludwig Syndrome

  1. Kelly

    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! ☺)

  2. Gwendolen

    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. :/

  3. Carolyn Marenger

    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. 🙂

    • Stella Hogue

      Hi Laura, Husband & I live in the area and are interested to know if you are still pursuing your idea of setting up a RV park for tiny houses. There do not seem to be any possibilities for tiny homes in Eastern Ontario. If so, would love to hear from you. If not, would you know of any other community in this part of Ontario that would be open to these buildings.

      • Hi Stella, While I would love to see someone do this in my area it won’t be me. I am afraid that I don’t have the money or the gumption to get this going. There is one up near Ottawa though.

  4. Carolyn Marenger

    I understand what you are saying, I would like to point out that the decision to use a term that is not specific, but is in fact used as a comparison, makes King Ludwigs tiny castle tiny, compared to the rest of his abodes. It is. I too have seen and wandered through some of them.

    So, if you, I or anyone is going to use a term that requires a relation to define a size, you had better get used to people using it as they see fit. If the tiny house movement was called the Under 400 movement, or maybe the the 37 and under for our metric compatriots, then we could have something to complain about when Joe pipes up about his 800sq foot under 400 house.

    They got it wrong when they called it Global Warming too. In some places it seemed to get colder, so many people, corporations, and news outlets scoffed at the idea, throwing the words right back at us. If it had been called Climate Change from day 1, it would have been easier to defend in the office lunch room, or on the six O’clock news.

    So, from Eastern Ontario, I bid you a wonderful fall day! Hoping to be in our own smallish, 836 sq ft including exterior walls and insulation, 670 sq ft of living space. Why so big? To meet the 800sq ft minimum in the local building code.


    • Yes, I think you are right… The Under 400 movement would have been better in retrospect… but of course hind sight is 100%.
      800 is a nice sized house. May I ask what township the minimum is 800 in. Many now are 1500 so this is not too, terribly bad. You may be able to get around it by pretending one section of the house is a great room with a large floor to ceiling window… and then when you get your residence permit switching the great room to a garage.
      Good luck on your build and I wish you many happy years in your small home.
      xo L

  5. WELL SAID! From poor Ludwig’s perspective.. it must’ve SEEMED tiny…!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: