SPOKANE, Wash. - The idea of packing of everything you own and moving into 300 square feet can certainly be a terrifying thought, but one local architect says the tiny home movement is about more than living a simple lifestyle.
"Tiny houses are the most popular form of alternative housing right now," said local architect Saul Hansen.
The Spokane City Council voted Monday night to encourage the development of tiny houses in Spokane, and Hansen says these homes are about more than living trendy.
"There's a lot of freedom in lifestyle that is provided by tiny houses," he said.
Hansen says the average person can build a tiny home for around $20,000, and if you use recycled materials the cost is even less. Building a tiny home isn't just for the experts as just about anyone can do it.
"Anyone can do it, anyone can have it, and you can do it in probably a year or less," Hansen said.
Hansen is part of a local group called The Collaborative Tiny House Project, which hope to make tiny homes available to the masses. He's working to develop a blueprint that would give specific instructions and a list of materials needed to build your own tiny house. He's also working on one of his own, which he'll give to his sister.
"Just like everything you get in an apartment, you get everything the same without sacrificing anything," he said about the home.
The tiny house began as a project at Riverside High School. Students were learning to build the home in exchange for credits in math, science and English. That program is now on hold but Hansen says teaching students how to build a tiny home could empower them to live debt free.
"A high school student if they started when they were a freshman, they could have something like this when they graduate high school," he said.
Hansen also says tiny homes are a great way for young couples to save money for a home in the future, which they could potentially pay for without a loan. He also hopes educators will implement more tiny home programs in schools. Hansen would like to see students building homes as part of their curriculum, then selling them to the city, which could be used for affordable housing, creating a cycle that could benefit the community.
"If you can make housing more affordable for people without sacrificing quality, then you can boost the quality of life for many people, and that's what I find really rewarding," Hansen said.