Calling all homebodies (pandemic-forced or otherwise)! How has your home felt these past several weeks? Too big, too small, just right? A trend that started in the US after the 2008 recession is taking hold in Switzerland: the increasing popularity of the Tiny House.
An article in today’s Swiss Info explains further: In line with other global trends towards downsizing, minimalism, and eco-friendliness, these homes are nearly self-sufficient, and often (thanks to solar panels) produce more energy than they consume.
Swiss laws are currently unfavorable to these tiny dwellings, but despite the legal hurdles, there is a growing group of supporters. A tiny house is defined as less than 45 square meters of living space, and is constructed with traditional building materials and techniques. They are meant to be as durable as a typical house, and share the same aesthetics. Tiny houses can also be added on/adjacent to a larger property as ADUs (accessory dwelling units), more commonly referred to as granny pods, she sheds, man caves, or just as a getaway for kids or teens.
And you can’t argue with another big advantage: Affordability. You can own (or build) a tiny house in Switzerland for 20K – 200K Fr. (for the structure itself), and around 500K overall (including the land, depending on location.) Meanwhile, the median asking price in 2019 for a single-family home in Geneva was 1.67 million Fr.
They can also be a fun, creative and challenging project for DIY enthusiasts. And well, since the DIY stores have reopened this week, it might be a way to fill the time during the months ahead if you have some extra green space in your garden.
Finally, a lovely memory from a prescient AIWC member who forecasted this trend years ago:
When my daughter, Melanie, was somewhere in the 6-8 age range, and on a trip to visit her grandfather in Australia, she made me a tiny hut out of twigs “Because,” she said, I know how much you like tiny houses.” I treasure this.
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about our activities and excursions, visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/