For Some Seniors, Tiny Houses Are The New RV

published May 25, 2017
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(Image credit: Sausage Nonnas)

Picture this: a caravan of gypsy Grannies and Gramps cruising down Route 66, watering the planter boxes and waving from windows at passersby as they roam cross-country. A scene that may seem downright Lynchian could soon be very real as more and more retirees opt for tiny homes.

For over 100 years, senior “snowbirds” have been packing up and downsizing their Northern homes and packing into wagons (or RVs) for the annual seasonal migration to warmer weather — sometimes then settling there, or halfway, permanently. Jumping on the Tiny House trend, these seniors are now doing it in style, according to the pioneering tiny house builders at Tumbleweed Homes.

Scaling down makes as much (or even more) sense for seniors living on a fixed income than it does for millennials just starting out, and this newfound minimalism for the generation of excess makes our hearts swell with pride for a future that’s right here and now.

(Image credit: Sausage Nonnas)

A fantastic alternative to a closet of a rent-controlled city apartment for the golden years, especially since more and more tiny house plans now involve master-level beds (making lofted rooms and stairs a non-issue for daily access), tiny homes can be a seriously practical option for Boomers, too. In fact, many tiny home plans now offer senior-friendly modifications: one senior Tumbleweed Home owner even rigged a rock climbing harness as a sort of chair lift so she could keep the loft despite her disability.

Tiny homes makes a whole lot of sense for multi-generational living, too: parents who want to invite the grandparents and in-laws to live close to the kids but allow them to maintain their own space (and keep their independence) can simply park a tiny home in a driveway or spare few hundred feet of backyard without undertaking a costly home renovation or addition.

(Image credit: Sausage Nonnas)

And for those famously aforementioned snowbirds and halfbacks creating what are called “white cities” in Southern RV parks each winter — so called because of the spontaneously appearing sea of white roofs — tiny homes can add a little color, personality, and individualism on the exterior of a transitional dwelling as well as on the interior.

For a sneak peek at what this sassy, minimalist, off-the-grid utopia could look like, check out this Calendar Girls-esque photo spread picked up by Inhabitat this week, featuring — for instance — the “Sausage Nonnas” as examples of what could be in store for your favorite elders. And soon.