We’ve read a few critical pieces about Boneyard Studios (BYS).  We’re not sure understanding will fully cure fear, but thought to include a few FAQ’s for the skeptics:

“The Tiny-House movement is another push by eco-nuts to get Americans to give up comfort and “consumerism”” (Liz Thatcher article on BYS at the right-wing Newsbusters, comparing tiny house dwellers to Ted Kaczynski.)  If one were to go to tiny house building workshops, review online discussions, read the mainstream press on tiny homes, or talk to Boneyard Studios, one would be struck that by far the overriding motivation driving folks to build these homes is financial independence, made all the more acute by the recent mortgage crisis.  Fortunately no one is forcing anyone to move or give up their quality of life.  The tiny house movement is about presenting just another option for living- one that involves no mortgage or big banks, no big yards to mow or an unending list of house projects.  And one that might allow more flexibility in life, if not an early retirement.

“No dystopia yet conceived by any fiction writer, no actual communist society in all history, matches up to this nightmare. (Atheist Conservative article on BYS)”  We’re just 3 friends building some small houses on a vacant alley lot.  Check our resumes- zero experience in forcibly collectivizing the masses.  Think Mao, Lenin, Stalin likely have us beat. 

“You only read stories about how great it is to be poor, how empowering it is to settle for less, when a Democrat is president. If a Republican was in charge, would the Post be doing stories about how awesome it is to live in a breadbox?” (from Jim Treacher’s “Obamahaus” piece at the conservative Daily Caller, calling tiny homes the “Barbie’s Lowered Expectations House”). The implication here is that the liberal press is suddenly extolling the virtues of simple, tiny living when the economy is in the gutter.  But we’re pretty sure these media outlets qualify as mainstream and have been positively reporting tiny homes long before Obama was elected: CBS (July 2006), CNN (2008 Article | Video ], NYT (Feb 2007 and Sept 2008), Christian Science Monitor (April 2007), Time (Aug 2006), Wall St Journal (June 2006), Oprah Winfrey Show (Jan 2006), among many other articles, TV shows, and radio spots pre-2008.

“$20-50K is way too much money for these “shacks”. You can just buy a Home Depot shed for $3K”.  We’d love to hear more about how to decrease the build costs of a fully functional tiny house.  Our experience has been similar to the company building and selling plans for tiny homes for the past 10 years (Tumbleweed). Sample materials costs typically range from $20-30K, with labor a considerable additional expense.

“Isn’t this just a trailer park/a trailer?”  The widely accepted industry term for those structures is manufactured housing (some of us once had grandparents who lived in them, and loved them).  But manufactured singlewides are typically 16’x60′ or 16’x80′, are cheaply constructed and minimally insulated, unsuited to an urban environment, and are not generally regarded by anyone as particularly aesthetically pleasing.  Like manufactured housing, some tiny homes are built on wheels (others are foundation built).  Unlike manufactured housing, tiny homes are typically 1/5 the size, with gabled roofs, designed/built by architects and crafted by master builders.  Folks have stood in line for an hour to have a look.  So we feel that calling a tiny house community a trailer park is like calling a row of Dupont brownstones ‘tenements’- inaccurate, and a bit derogatory to the all the fine folks who live in them, or wish to.


Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. What do you do with sewar effluents? are you tied into town sewar or is there a tank that needs pumping?
    Thanks, Bruce

  2. Ok I was curious about that. so composting toilets are an option too? I assume your gray water is for the garden? last question is what do you do with gray water in the winter and where are you getting water in the first place?

    • Composting toilets could work well in an rural setting- we opted for incinerating toilets as we are in an urban environment and do not have space for keeping compost like that. With incinerating toilets, there is no need for water, and consequent blackwater (sewage). Water comes from the rain and is filtered. When it becomes gray water post-sink, its an occasional bucket of biodegradable soap and water, which gets spread on my garden plots. In an average DC month 9,700 gallons of (somewhat polluted) rainwater falls on this alley lot, so a few gallons of filtered sink water does not cause me too much concern. If this tiny house showcase ever were approved for full time residential dwellings, then wed of course need DC water/sewer hookups so the greywater would be mixed with our neighbors sewage, and would then go through some basic treatment before being expelled into the Potomac River. (As an aside, its interesting to note that at the large live aboard houseboat community down in southwest DC, that -all- of their greywater gets dumped directly into the Potomac each day.)



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