Monday, July 3, 2017

Tiny Houses for Older Folks

 Aren't "tiny houses" so very cute? They draw us in with their promise of easy, clutter free living. I love the wood, tiny appliances, and cool, tricky design features. And yet, when I stop to visualize living in a tiny house on a daily basis the allure dims.

Daily living means sitting, standing, accessing and using stuff. It means cooking, showering, going to the bathroom and sleeping. And that's where my first problem with tiny house design comes rushing in.

My first steps after hours in bed are often a bit stiff and a little tentative. I don't really notice it in my house and I suspect when I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I don't even thoroughly wake up. Enter my greatest problem with tiny house design-the stairs, or heaven forbid, the ladder.

I have never seen a tiny house design that doesn't have the double bed in the loft. You want me to climb down a ladder in the pitch dark at three o'clock in the morning to pee? Really? That was fine when I had a loft bed at Caroline's when I was 25. But thanks! I suppose that tiny houses will also re-introduce the chamber pot. I'm not against a chamberpot. Funny they're never shown in the pictures.

And speaking of that bed, how good are you at getting  off of a mattress which is lying on the floor? Oh, and don't forget, you can't stand up. You have to crawl. On your knees? I recently saw a tiny house that was built for a grandmother. Yeah, I can see a 75-year-old woman climbing up a ladder to then crawl to her bed. Then somehow climbing up and down that ladder in the middle of the night to ...well you know.

Now let's go downstairs. I have looked at hundreds of tiny home pictures, in only one have I ever, ever seen a comfortable seat. Do you want to sit on plywood with a piece of 4 inch foam on top? For hours?  I don't, I bet you don't either. And when I am relaxing in my living room I like to put my feet up. And I like to rest my arms on armrests.

A tiny kitchen seems OK to me but I am amazed I've never seen an over the sink cabinet that also serves as the dish drainer. Those Europeans, they're pretty smart. The dishes are stacked vertically on a wire rack with the bottom of the cabinet open to allow the dishes to drip down into the sink as they dry. Brilliant!  I'm also good with a tiny bathroom. No problem there.

My ideas for a tiny house design that makes better sense for folks who are perhaps, not so supple as they once were and who enjoy long comfortable hours of lounging.

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