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My Interview with Tiny House Talk's Alex Pino
By The Craftsman on Nov 26, 2012
Continuing our series of posts on Tiny Houses, I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Alex Pino of TinyHouseTalk.com. Alex is a fellow blogger and friend in the “blogosphere.” His website acts kind of like a clearinghouse for any happenings in the Tiny House world. So, I thought he could give us some good insights to this movement and its benefits and drawbacks. So, with no further ado here is our interview.
On a personal note, what initially drew you to the idea of tiny houses?
Alex: ”I have to say that it was the desire to change my life. I was at a job that I didn’t like and the idea of simplifying my life and lowering my expenses so dramatically really resonated with me.
I thought, ‘Hey this could be a really powerful way to make a change in my life.’ At the end of the day if you had a really, really small house that would really cut costs the most and I’d be able to make a big change. So, my real motivation was to change my career, change the way my life was. It was just kind of this re-prioritization of my life.
I had always been searching for ways to make this change. Somehow, somewhere I ran into tiny houses online, and when I saw the picture of one for the first time I got really happy. I was like, ‘Hey this could be it, this could really be it!’”
What do you think it’s going to take for the Tiny House Movement to go more mainstream?
Alex: ”I think this is a great question! There are a lot of people in this country that want to live in tiny houses but they are just not available. Then even if you want to build one yourself it’s hard to find a place where you would want to live and still be a part of society. So we face that challenge.
We also have to find easier ways to finance them, even though part of the movement is about saving up cash and not getting a mortgage or a loan so that we don’t depend on banks. I believe in that whole-heartedly, but if people were able to finance these little houses I think that could be a good thing because these houses could make a huge change in people’s lives on a monthly basis.
Next, we need zoning adjustments. We need to find a way for the goverment to allow these houses. You can do this a number of ways. One idea is to take existing RV parks and transform them into Tiny House communities. Another way would be choosing neighborhoods where you can put them in backyards and things like that. Have them as accessories! We just need more ways for these houses to be more available. Easier to get, easier to buy, easier to find a place to put them.”
Why do you think the Tiny House Movement’s followers are so passionate? What drives them?
Alex: ”Thats a great question, and I think the answer is really easy! They see a cute little house which is not only beautiful, but it represents much more than just a house. People see freedom in these little houses. It represents them having the American dream.
Even though it seems so ironic and is the opposite of what most people think the American dream is. A huge house with a bunch of stuff, a Ferrari and a motorcycle. [These houses] represent having a choice in our lifes. Controlling our own lives and making relationships a really important thing, like #1 on the list, above stuff, above the house, above everything! I think that’s why they are so passionate.
What are the drawbacks to a tiny house?
Alex: ”The first one is very obviously the size. If you move into a tiny house and you end up having a kid or multiple children you’re probably going to have to move out of it eventually. You can still have a baby in a tiny house. I think that’s totally fine, but as that child starts to grow they’re going to need more space.
Another draw back of a Tiny House right now is all the zoning obstacles that we face. Sometimes you just can’t seem to find the right place for one. In some cases, a tiny house moves people out to a rural area where they are far away their work, from all the places that they want to go.”
What would you say to a family that is interested in the idea of a tiny home, but just doesn’t see it as a feasible option?
Alex: ”They’re probably right! It’s kind of hard to design a tiny house (especially one that fits on a trailer) for an entire family. Sure, it’s been done before and there are examples of how it can work, but it’s not ideal. In this case, my opinion is for a family of four you’re probably looking for a small house not a tiny house.
Tiny houses aren’t for everyone. But the idea and goals, those things are for everyone. The idea that you can take away some things in your life to make room for something better. More happiness, more freedom, I think that can go for everyone.”
Where do you see the Tiny House Movement in 10 or 25 years?
Alex: ”Great question! I see all of these ideas going mainstream in 10 years. I definitely see multiple RV parks throughout the world where people are able to get into these homes. In 25 years I can see it continue even more!. If you live a simple life you have the ability to control your life, to really direct your life more so than if you’re stuck in the rat race living paycheck to paycheck.
Not only that but also the environment is super, super important! We only have one earth and the Tiny House Movement is great for the environment in comparison to apartments, houses and mansions. All in all the garbage that’s produced when you build, the electricity you use, everything is less! That means answering questions like why do we as a society go to the bathroom in our own drinking water. Can’t we find a better way like using recycled water from our own house? Tiny Houses have answers to all these problems but it takes time for these changes to take place in this world
So, I see this movement continuing to grow and grow and grow. In the next 10-25 years, i see phenomenal growth in the Tiny House Movement and smaller, smarter housing in general.
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