The word “cozy” is one that is over-used. Usually by real estate listings trying to find a way to say “small” that won’t put off the average buyer. By definition, the word means “small, comfortable and warm”, and “friendly and pleasant”. These are descriptions that fit a tiny house perfectly. Though most people would invariably focus on the lack of size in a tiny house, I prefer to instead put more importance on the emotions a small, comfortable space can illicit.
Perhaps my occasional social anxiety is the reason I think about things like this. But to me, the idea of being in a cozy space makes me feel safe. The image of being able to quietly observe the world from a safe perch is a very pleasant one.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my living room with Chris and Chito in our house in town, during the season’s first big windstorm. I really wish we could be out at the tiny house now, enjoying the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. I think the “safety” aspect of my tiny house is even more important because of its location; out in the middle of the forest, where it gets pitch black at night and cold since it’s up near the mountains, the notion of having a little place that’s warm and inviting just seems even more appealing. I can imagine coming in from the snow to warm myself by the fire, my dog on my lap. Even though I’m perfectly warm and comfortable here in our house in town, there is just something so reassuring about dwelling in a space that is scaled down.
When one realizes that tiny houses are meant to provide exactly what you need and nothing more, the idea of “home” becomes much more powerful, to me at least. This is a sacred space, that provides not only shelter from the elements, but also is a place to house ones thoughts, emotions and dreams. And somehow, the smallness of a tiny house is the thing that really amplifies this philosophy. That’s not to say that big houses can’t be comfortable, but somehow, being in a cavernous space isn’t congruous to that feeing of safety. Time and again, I’ve read interviews with other designers where they say that, although their clients have huge homes, they always seem to prefer to the smallest, most intimate rooms. Those are the places they actually live.
A long while back, I found a book called ” A Place of My Own” by Michael Pollan. It documents his adventures in constructing a small building to house his books and to work out of. In this book he really describes what this space means to him, it’s a special place and in reading his words it’s easy to understand how important it is to him. He really understands the charm a small space contains. I really recommend checking this book out. It’s a good read.
I find it sad that American culture has been conditioned to believe that bigger is always better. As a result, we have suburbs full of cookie cutter houses devoid of any individual character. This is why the tiny house movement is such a big deal, I think, for it challenges that long held belief that the bigger is always better than the smaller. While people in these homes might feel more fortunate than tiny house dwellers, I feel so fortunate to enjoy the quality of the light coming from my many windows. I feel so lucky to be able to look up at the stars while I lie in my nest-like loft. I can’t describe the sheer joy I felt when, a few months ago, we were up in the loft and saw the international space station cross the night sky, perfectly framed in our skylights. I also feel fortunate because, my tiny house is like the grown up version of my childhood dream of having a clubhouse or treehouse. And it’s the coziness of the space that really makes it special.
I’m sure I’m rambling at this point, and I should really spend some time to organize my thoughts more thoroughly, but I guess my main point is that I believe that the main shortcoming most people would attribute to a tiny house is the very thing that makes it so wonderful. I feel so lucky to be a part of the tiny house movement. And I hope more and more people discover the joys of being in a cozy place.