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The Best Almost-Tiny Homes for families

Updated on May 15, 2016
Stacey Foster profile image

A journalist, editor and tiny house enthusiast, Stacey Foster hopes to one day make her tiny house dreams a tiny house reality.

The tiny-house movement is alive and well. While it was virtually non-existent a decade ago, the idea of living small is becoming mainstream with the help television shows featuring micro homes, many on wheels, that are redefining home ownership.

With a tiny house comes the promise of a simpler life, fewer bills and more freedom. It's easy to see why the movement is gaining steam.

Often, the homes are built by those just starting out after college, or later in life, but usually they're meant for one of two people, with the occasional guest. Some families with young children manage living in less than 300-square-feet, but as the children age and become more aware of the space around them, there comes a time for many when it is simply too small.

Thankfully, the small house movement is providing family-friendly alternatives for those who crave a simpler life, but also the privacy that comes with separate bedrooms.

540-Square-Feet for a Family of 4

This small one-bedroom house, the family home of designer Jessica Helgerson and her family, feels light and airy.

Built in the 1940s, the redesign of this home took place almost exclusively with reclaimed materials and sits on a 5-acre plot of land near Portland, Oregon.

Along with the bedroom, which is shared by two children and also includes an additional bed for guests, the home features a loft accessible by ladder with a bed.

Custom features like built in couches and shelving, is meant to fit the needs of the family as they grow.


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Built in the 1940s, this house was redesigned using reclaimed materials.The ladder accesses a small loft with bed where the couple sleep.The closet in the bedroom rolls out to reveal excellent storage.
Built in the 1940s, this house was redesigned using reclaimed materials.
Built in the 1940s, this house was redesigned using reclaimed materials. | Source
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The ladder accesses a small loft with bed where the couple sleep.
The ladder accesses a small loft with bed where the couple sleep. | Source
The closet in the bedroom rolls out to reveal excellent storage.
The closet in the bedroom rolls out to reveal excellent storage. | Source

665-square-feet for a Family of 5

This one-bedroom, one-loft home is a perfect fit for a family of five.

The family lived in a large home until both parents lost their jobs during the 2008-2009 recession. It was at that point the couple and their children decided to downsize with the intention of saving up and becoming more comfortable financially.

The couple occupies the only bedroom on the main floor, which also has a hidden washer and dryer, while three boys live together seamlessly in the loft, each with a curtain separating their beds from the living space.

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A family of five live happily in 665 square feet, which features one main floor bedroom, one bathroom and a loft for the children.The loft in this home houses three growing boys, each with their own space.
A family of five live happily in 665 square feet, which features one main floor bedroom, one bathroom and a loft for the children.
A family of five live happily in 665 square feet, which features one main floor bedroom, one bathroom and a loft for the children. | Source
The loft in this home houses three growing boys, each with their own space.
The loft in this home houses three growing boys, each with their own space. | Source
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557-Square-foot 2-bedroom home

When talking about the tiny house movement, it's impossible not the bring up the work of Jay Shafer, founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

While the company specializes on tiny homes, they do offer a number of floor plans considered small by many standards. One of the most popular, the Whidbey, boasts 2 bedrooms at 557 square feet, with the option of a full loft as well.

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The Whidbey, designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House CompanyThe floor plan also allows for a loft above the first floorA modified Whidbey design.A modified Whidbey design with an open concept living space.
The Whidbey, designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
The Whidbey, designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company | Source
The floor plan also allows for a loft above the first floor
The floor plan also allows for a loft above the first floor | Source
A modified Whidbey design.
A modified Whidbey design. | Source
A modified Whidbey design with an open concept living space.
A modified Whidbey design with an open concept living space. | Source

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