“It’s nothing personal. It’s not you. It’s nothing to do with your performance. It’s just that we’re…..downsizing.”

The dreaded downsizing; when big gets too big. During twenty years of business psychology consulting, I’ve been brought into companies numerous times to work on strategies and plans for reducing headcount, simplifying organizational structures, merging departments and realizing efficiencies. Such poetic mumbo-jumbo that masks the reality of job losses and eliminated positions.  More recently, the thoroughly despicable term “rightsizing” has been doing the rounds. “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just that we’re rightsizing” comforted no-one, ever.

Anyone who has been involved in downsizing, on either side of the table, knows it’s an anxiety-provoking, rumor-fueling, anger-inducing experience. Trust breaks down, people turn on each other and work suffers. However necessary it might be, it’s miserable, at least in the short term.

So when is smaller better? 

There’s another form of downsizing that’s sweeping the globe which has none of the downsides of shrinking corporations. Ask anyone who has joined the Tiny House revolution and they’ll tell you that smaller is, indeed, better. Living tiny, commonly defined as dwelling under 500 square feet, is on the rise. More and more people are saying goodbye to their oversized homes in place of something more compact. You just have to turn to social media to get a sense of the size of the Tiny House revolution. Googling the term ‘tiny houses’ yields 17,000,000 results. This YouTube video from tinyhousebuild.com posted last year has already received over 4 million views. There are hundreds of blogs featuring tiny houses such as this favorite of ours, Small House Bliss, dedicated to showcasing all kinds of well-designed and interesting small houses. Flick through the TV channels this week and you’ll see Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunting on FYI and Tiny House Hunters on HGTV.

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This gorgeous example of Tiny House perfection was designed by 2by4-architects and was built on an equally tiny island on Loosdrecht Lake in the Netherlands.  It measures a whopping 226 sq. ft.

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Why go tiny?

There are many reasons why people are choosing tiny houses. Here are some of the most cited:

Freedom: This one is a bit of a catch-all. Whether it’s the dream of living mortgage-free or the desire to travel, many tiny homeowners talk about the freedom they achieve when they move into their mini houses. With some tiny homes being designed to fit on the back of trailers,  owners can literally pick up and move their homes at their whim. This fits with a generation of new home buyers who are less and less likely to stay in a single job or location for life and who want their lives to be about more than just their careers. Buying a small home removes the burden of a heavy mortgage and big utility bills, which in turn gives tiny homeowners greater financial freedom and choice.

Cost: A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders determined that the average cost of building a home in the United States in 2013 was $399,532. The average home size was 2,607 sq. ft on a 14,359 sq. ft. lot. Not only are tiny homes quicker to build, but basic units are available from about $10,000. This makes home buying more accessible and affordable to more people. However, while the overall cost may be significantly lower than a traditional home, the cost per square foot of tiny home construction can be higher than a conventional home. In part, this is because lots of expensive items such as stoves, fridges and air conditioning units are packed into a small space, rather than the cost of these being spread out over a larger square footage. Also, for homeowners looking for permanent structures, there is the cost of land to add into the equation.

Going Green: Tiny homes use less materials, take up less space and land, create less waste, use less energy and are often constructed using the latest green technology and sustainable, reclaimed or recycled materials. Living in a tiny home forces you to have fewer possessions. All in all, this contributes to more eco-friendly living.

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The 210 sq. ft. Minim House, commissioned by founder Brian Levy in 2013 and designed by Foundry Architects seeks to fully reimagine the mobile micro home, adding livability, streamlining construction, modernizing aesthetics, increasing off-grid versatility, while keeping costs affordable.

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What do tiny houses need?

By their nature, tiny houses don’t have much wall space. Tiny houses need tiny artwork. Just as we’ve seen an explosion in the tiny house movement, tiny artwork is on point right now. Take, for example, the current project by South African artist Lorraine Loots: 365 Postcards for Ants. It’s the second phase of a project which started on 1 January 2013, for which she challenged herself to create a miniature painting every day for the entire year. The 2014 series are all inspired by Cape Town. Each day she produces an original painting and five limited edition postcards of the image.  The piece for today, 27 December 2014, is this beautiful chimpanzee, measuring just 18mm x 28mm.

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Day 361 : Chimpanzee | Pan troglodytes by Lorraine Loots

Smaller still?

The incredible British artist Willard Wigan, MBE, produces micro-sculptures small enough to fit inside the eye of a needle or on top of a pin head, visible only through a microscope. His work attracts huge attention and is owned by the likes of Sir Elton John, Mike Tyson and Simon Cowell.  Queen Elizabeth II even requested one of his mini-masterpieces in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee.

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Golden Harley by Willard Wigan

While we don’t have any pieces quite that small at The Road Gallery, today we’re celebrating our tiny artworks.  Here are 10 of our favorite small pieces, all 10 inches and under.

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1. Cave (2012) by Emily Zuch. Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 6.75″ x 8″

 

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2. Wolf Hut (2012) by Emily Zuch. Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 8.5″ x 7.5″

 

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3. Laundry Line II (2014) by Emily Zuch. Oil on board, 7.25″ x 8.75″

 

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4. Timing is Everything (2013) by Maureen Cantara. Acrylic, charcoal and oil pastel on paper, 8″ x 8″

 

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5. Underneath it All (2012) by Maureen Cantara. Acrylic and charcoal on paper, 8″ x 8″

 

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6. Pares Balta (2012) by Ryan Pressman. Oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

 

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7. Landscape IIIb (2010) by Xanthippe Tsalimi. Oil on canvas, 7.9″ x 7.9″

 

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8. Without Memory (2014) by Kara Smith. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 9.75″ x 9.75″

 

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9. Exhibit B (2014) by Melissa Monroe. Watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper, 9″ x 6″

 

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10. Avow (2014) by Joseph O’Neal. Industrial paint, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 7.5″ x 7.5″

Discover more artwork by our emerging artists.