How comfortable is life in a tiny house really

Tiny Houses: life on a small footing

The trend towards living in a few square meters comes from America. Tiny Houses are called the reduced, often mobile homes. The movement is finding more and more supporters - also in Germany

The first mini house in Germany

Steve Areen built his dream home in just six weeks: a round, orange mini house on a Thai mango farm. For the equivalent of 6500 euros. The pictures of his mini house have been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook. Apparently the American hit a nerve.

Tiny houses are between ten and 55 square meters, originally have a conventional shape with a gable roof and are often mounted on wheels. In times of rising rents, alternative housing models are becoming more and more interesting. Living in a small space is inexpensive and at the same time more environmentally friendly. The tiny house movement, which has been promoting downsizing in the USA since the beginning of the century, provides ideas for this.

A trend that has also arrived in Europe - at least online. Complicated building regulations, licensing requirements and road traffic regulations are still preventing the tiny houses from spreading. Klaus Toczek from Braunfeld in Hesse was not put off by this - and is currently building the first tiny house in Germany.

Cost for a tiny house: around 20,000 euros

His new home is to be just 15 square meters: a small, compact wooden house on wheels, in which there is space for the kitchen, bathroom and bed. The 60-year-old IT consultant has been working on his new home since March. "I just want to live in nature and self-sufficient," says the hobby home builder.

A particular challenge: every square meter must be optimally thought out. In the end, his house should be 3.20 meters high and weigh no more than 3.3 tons. "I must have planned 30 different floor plans and then discarded them until my current design was ready," says Toczek.

The whole thing should cost around 22,000 euros. "Living in a tiny house means personal freedom for me. I save money on construction and maintenance. I waste less energy, less water and less land."

Those interested can follow the construction on his website; Toczek records up to 100 clicks per day: "The interest is very high. There are many who would like to build a house like this, but are put off by the regulations in Germany."

Toczek makes use of every loophole in the law, no matter how small: "My house is not a house because it has no foundations and no mobile home, only loads on a trailer. In addition, it is on a leased property, on which building law does not apply."

Tiny Houses in Germany

Building consultant Isabella Bosler is equally fascinated by the idea of ​​living in a small space. That is why the building consultant founded the information portal tiny-houses.de: Here she collects information and images of the worldwide tiny house movement. "The response we are getting is enormous," says Bosler. Many people are fascinated by the topic, but very few can imagine actually living like this forever. "We are culturally very different from the people in the USA," says Bosler. "There is more and more the need to live in a more simplified way. Here, too, the trend is towards downsizing. But the typical tiny houses, really tiny houses With around 15 square meters of living space, which may also be mobile, you will look in vain here. " 15 square meters - that is simply not enough space for many Germans. There is also an increasing demand for small houses in Germany. Compared to the tiny houses, they have around 80 square meters of living space.

Life in a trailer

There are hardly any fixed small houses in Germany. Because German laws do not allow you to simply build a small house somewhere. Construction expert Bosler explains: "If a room is not only used as a garden shed, you need a building permit. And that is complicated in Germany."

The difficulty of finding a suitable building site keeps many people from having their own real mini-house with electricity, water and sanitary facilities. "You have to pay attention to so many things in Germany that it is not worth it as a main residence for most of them."

Alternatively, some people move into their allotment hut. Or they decide to live in a trailer. There are now trailer settlements in many German cities. In Germany there should be between 150 and 200 car spaces. Quite a few site trailer owners also opt for a place in the country.

Like Olaf Bergmann (Name changed by the editors) from Brandenburg, who built a home on wheels in a town in Fläming two years ago. For two months he worked on the car with a carpenter friend; the construction cost a total of 17,000 euros. "That was really hard work," says Bergmann.

In 20 square meters he has everything he needs for life: his bed, his books, his kitchen. There is a compost toilet but no shower. "You can wash yourself like that," says Bergmann, who consciously decided against comfort. "Simplicity is important to me. Having a lot of things doesn't mean a better quality of life."

A legal gray area?

Bergmann lived in a community for a long time. Then he wanted to try something new. A friend gave him the idea of ​​the caravan. Today his car is on a green meadow, surrounded by apple and mirabelle trees. "In this region there are many people who live in a construction trailer," says Bergmann.

Life in a trailer - that is still a legal gray area in Germany. "It's actually illegal to live like this," says Bergmann. "That's why you have to be courageous and stand behind it."

Master carpenter Richard Wandel is now an expert in construction trailers. Out of his passion, he founded the company Wandel Wagen and converted former construction trailers from GDR times into caravans. He mounts a completely new car for living on old chassis. Depending on the length of the chassis, living space between 20 and 23 square meters is created. The interior can be designed individually. His customers don't have to do without living comfort: "You have everything you need in my car." The model car has a fully functional kitchen, cupboards, a living room with an oven, and a bathroom - including a washing machine and shower. This then costs between 20,000 and 100,000 euros, depending on the level of comfort.

Change is certain that there are potential customers in all social classes for a long time: "Reduced living in the country, that is a way of life that is no longer only popular with dropouts or the 68ers," says the master carpenter. He observes that more and more retirees are choosing a life in a trailer.

"These are people who now want to fulfill their childhood dream of a self-determined life." For him, this means above all: You can decide for yourself where and how to live. Wandel's car is in a beautiful spot in Fläming, Brandenburg, with a view of the pine forest.

Klaus Toczek wants to move into his mini house next year. His wife is now also enthusiastic about the small house. "I'm looking forward to the self-sufficient life in nature," enthuses Toczek, who found out about minimalist ways of life before starting construction. "It's a bit crazy. But I think the idea of ​​only leaving a small ecological footprint in the future is fantastic."

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