Thursday, August 16, 2018
How can one downsize to what is essential and important, live happily and comfortably on a budget all while serving as a steward of the environment?
The Tiny House movement can be credibly traced back to Henry David Thoreau, his 1843 Walden Pond experiment (and the book that came of it) as well as the $28 dollars he spent to build what amounted to one of the first true “tiny houses.” It was 150 square feet and featured a fireplace, a table, a desk and three chairs. Its purpose? To see if a person can eschew the trappings of luxury and live happily and comfortably with less. For less.
Today’s tiny house is a little bigger – around 400 square feet on average – and often includes a kitchen and bathroom. But the general concept, re-introduced in 1997 and exploding today, remains the same. How can one downsize to what is essential and important, live happily and comfortably on a budget all while serving as a steward of the environment?
To get a unique perspective on the phenomenon, we asked Ted Roberts, the Style and Design Chief at Allegion, to share some thoughts on tiny living and how a tiny home and its owner can benefit from the Schlage door hardware products that Ted helps design.
Q&A with Ted Roberts
Q. Why invest in the latest Schlage door hardware when part of the motivation for building a tiny home is saving money?
A. “Just because it’s tiny doesn’t make it any less of a house. In fact, these homeowners have downsized to the point that they’re only really keeping their most prized, most valuable possessions.”
“It may be counter-intuitive, but they actually need the better locks. From a security standpoint, there’s less between themselves and the outside world than you’d find in your typical 2,600-square-foot home. In the final analysis, how can someone afford not to have the best locks possible for their tiny house? You’ve got maybe an entrance or two and maybe an interior door, so why not get the best lock you possibly can to secure what’s important to you?”
Q. Would you say that cost, then, is the main driver behind the tiny living phenomenon?
A.“It’s one of them, for certain. The average cost of a tiny home is only around $20,000. But when you look at the costs and then factor in everything else, it’s really more than just saving money. Tiny living helps to reduce one’s carbon footprint. What’s more, the lifestyle really requires you to take stock of what’s important and make some significant decisions about where and how you want to live. It’s a little house, but it involves some pretty big thinking.”
Q. Who is buying and building these tiny homes?
A. “Believe it or not, 2 out of 5 tiny homes is owned by someone over 50 years old. Owners of tiny homes are individualists looking for something different; some fun in their lives. They’re principled, emotionally engaged, they know what they want and they go and get it. There’s a measure of pride and ownership building a home and a lifestyle like this. It’s like joining a club, of sorts, where tiny homeowners find a measure of identity and self-actualization through the investments and the decisions they make to embrace tiny living.”
Q. As a style influencer, what are some challenges you’d anticipate an owner of a tiny home might face selecting the right door hardware?
A. “It’s not the hardware that’s the challenge. All of our products are refined for user experience, aesthetics, quality – all without sacrificing security. And that’s regardless of application. For the owner of a tiny home, it really is a matter of finding products that fit the style and character of their house. That’s as true of the appliances they choose as it is of their door locks. These aren’t just boxes. This isn’t camping. These aren’t trailers. I liken them to those quaint motor court cottages that were popular in the 20’s and 30’s and they range in style from rustic to Victorian to ultra-modern. So, it’s important that we provide flexible styles and finishes that complement these homes, just as we would any home. And we do, along with the security and convenience people expect from Schlage.”
Q. Anything else a tiny living homeowner needs to prepare for, security-wise?
A. “There are a lot of important possessions that you would normally keep in a garage or shed at home that you wouldn’t have room for in a typical tiny house. Bicycles. Motorcycles. Utility and recreational vehicles. Your lawnmower. Your grill. Our sister company, Kryptonite, is known for its specialty locks and offers a wide selection of smart, serious security solutions. We have your tiny home secured, inside and out.”
“If you’re thinking about opening your home to guests, carefully weigh the pros and cons. Think it through from every angle. And prepare yourself and your home for the tremendous responsibility you’re taking on, as well as for the tremendous opportunity. Take advantage of the latest smart home technologies to ensure a great experience for you and your guests. And look to Schlage to provide the style, simplicity and security you’ll need, plus the peace of mind that can only come from a brand that’s this experienced and trusted.”
Q. With tiny homes often available as vacation rentals on Airbnb and similar platforms, are there any special security considerations?
A. “Home hosting is huge right now and it only makes sense that the tiny house and home hosting phenomenon would intersect at some point. Again, a tiny house is still a house, so security, convenience, affordability and style play just as important a role in determining one’s selection of door hardware. For instance, a Schlage programmable electronic lock or a smart lock would be ideal for the exterior doors. You get the convenience of an easily changeable and assignable code versus having to provide a key for your rental properties. And with smart locks, you’re providing the added benefits of managing home access using your smartphone. That goes for whatever size home you’re renting.”
Image and quote from Matt and Melina of @ourtinybeachhouse, minimalist DIYers who use Schlage locks.
Q. Do you see yourself living in a tiny house at some point?
A. “The simplicity, the style, the reduction of complications in one’s life – these have a real appeal to me. It’s just that by the time I made room for my more than 1,000 books on architecture and architectural design and all my art supplies, it would no longer be a tiny house!”