Feeling claustrophobic during quarantine? Spare a thought for those living in spaces not much bigger than your living room.
No we’re not just talking about people who live in regular houses or flats, but those who are part of the ‘tiny-house movement’ – an architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in a teeny home.
Many of those living in these tiny houses have chosen to do so for a simpler and happier life.
But now, with the UK forced to stay inside their four walls for the foreseeable future, we asked tiny house residents how they are coping with lockdown life in such small spaces.
Laura Snellgrove started building her tiny house with her partner Christian in July 2019. The pair moved into the shell of the house in November and worked at weekends to finish it.
Laura said: ‘We have lived with it in a 90% finished state for a long time, but, since being quarantined, have now been able to give it some more attention and finish off the few remaining cosmetic jobs.
‘Although, I don’t think we’ll ever really stop tweaking and adding to our space, there is so much scope to be creative and fun within a tiny house.’
Their house in Hampshire is just 6.6 metres long by 2.4 metres wide and is 4 metres high.
Laura says: ‘We really don’t need any more space, we have everything we need.
‘We live fairly simple lives anyway, if we weren’t quarantined we’d be paddleboarding or going on country walks, but a good board game and spending time in the garden is all we need for now.
‘Quarantine has been pretty much the same for us, aside from the obvious lack of freedom and missing hugging our family and friends – we’re already used to living in a small space together.’
Laura says the good weather has also made quarantine life a lot easier.
She adds: ‘We are very lucky to be situated in an acre of garden that has views of fields and trees out the French doors.
‘Christian had just finished building a wrap-around decking area outside just before the lockdown happened, so we essentially have extended living space for which we are so grateful.
‘One thing we do wish we had put into place before the coronavirus happened would have been to set ourselves up to be completely off-grid.
‘This is something we are wanting to achieve in the future but it would have definitely benefited us at the moment to not have to pay electricity bills.’
But Laura adds that the pair are still very content living in their tiny house during lockdown.
She says: ‘Being in a bigger house during this lockdown has its advantages for sure, we would get more exercise by just walking around the house or up the stairs to bed, or just going from room to room, but we don’t feel like we are missing out.
‘Having less space means less cleaning and more time to plan for the future, cook good food, drink wine, video call our family, play board games and cuddle our 10-week-old puppy.’
Florence Hamer moved into her tiny house in April 2019, after building it with her cousin.
The space – which took 18 months to build – is just 2.5 metres wide by 5 metres long and is 4 metres from the ground. It features a bathroom, a kitchen and a sleeping loft on the mezzanine floor.
As well as adjusting to quarantine life, Florence is also coming to terms with living with a new person under her roof.
She said: ‘My boyfriend has now moved in with me and we are adjusting to life here, together for the first time, in a very small space.
‘Naturally, this is a huge change, but we have adapted well to this new normal and have taken various steps to try and make life as comfortable as possible, like getting lots of fire wood, checking on my solar system, and making sure the gas is full.’
Florence adds that while the space is small, there’s nowhere else she would rather be during this lockdown period.
She adds: ‘To be honest, I am happiest when living in my tiny house. I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be living during this time, and I feel incredibly lucky to have a place where I feel comfortable and safe.
‘I have space outside to walk and I can concentrate on my various woodworking projects, so that helps immensely.
‘Even with two of us, I don’t think we need or want any more space – although my boyfriend might disagree.’
Michael Rauch moved into his tiny house just before Christmas, despite it still needing work. He and his girlfriend, Alex, decided to finish it up while living inside it.
In total, the house is 6.3 metres long by 2.5m wide and is 4 metres high (around 150m2) but that’s not including the sleeping loft, which overhangs on the trailer.
Michael says he hasn’t encountered any difficulties living in such a small space during lockdown.
He says: ‘The tiny house has been more than enough for us.
‘We have a large kitchen area and full-size cooker, so we have been doing loads of cooking and baking, as well as all the “luxuries” of a standard house.
‘In some ways we are more happy in this size of a house – because of the size of the house we were able to pay for the house with our savings, and the house is set up off grid with solar too.
‘We are very lucky to have the tiny house parked up in a great location at the moment with loads of outside space and plenty of fields to walk the dog over.’
Sadly, both Michael and Alex lost their jobs due to coronavirus, but he says their ready-built house has given them lots of security and has taken the pressure off during this tough time.
He says: ‘If we were in a larger house at the moment, we would most likely have significant monthly costs to worry about.’
Michael adds that there’s still a few bits and pieces to tackle on the house, which is good for passing the time in quarantine.
He says: ‘We have a few jobs to finish on the house so that has been great for keeping us distracted.
‘We built the house specific to our needs so even though it’s small, we find the house a really comfortable, functional space to chill – it’s been no issue.’