Jay Austin’s minimalist houses could help to solve major cities’, like Washington D.C. or Houston, problems of overcrowding and high cost of living.
They offer fractional utility costs, and everything you need to live.
There’s just one problem: some city’s zoning and housing codes makes them illegal.
Austin calls them “Matchbox” houses: only 140 square feet of living space, but still inclusive of a bathroom, a shower, a modest kitchen, office space and loft area for use as a bedroom.
It’s inexpensive to heat and cool, and there is even a system designed to utilize rainwater. Skylights offer natural ambiance during the daytime and keep energy costs down.
“I got driven down the tiny house road because of affordability, simplicity, sustainability, and then mobility,” Austin told Reason TV.
In a city just as expensive to live in as New York, affordability and housing continue to be complicated issues.
However, Austin’s Matchbox houses run anywhere from $10,000-50,000 – a relatively low cost, considering the one-time fee for construction, eliminating some need for lifetime mortgages.
While one of Austin’s houses might be attractive to the Houston minimalist, several parts of major cities’ zoning codes mandating things, like square footage and room size, currently render the tiny frontier illegal.
A change to the code is possible, but very expensive.
On any given night in Houston, more than 5,000 people are estimated to be without shelter.
At the moment, a Matchbox house can only be part time home, even in the nation’s capital.