Pardon my use of the technical term ‘hovel’ to describe these things: ‘shack’ simply didn’t have the same connotation of ‘lived in by a beaten-down peasant’ attached to it.
Step into an alleyway in the Northeast Washington neighborhood known as Stronghold, and you will see a vegetable patch, a campfire, a view of the Capitol and a cluster of what neighbors call “those tiny people, building their tiny houses.”
The people aren’t really tiny, but their homes are — 150 to 200 square feet of living space, some with gabled roofs, others with bright cedar walls, compact bathrooms and cozy sleeping lofts that add up to living spaces that are smaller than the walk-in closets in a suburban McMansion.
Anyway, the answer to the question is simple: you don’t. You don’t even really raise one kid in it. Oh, I know that other countries have somewhat less… stringent… requirements when it comes to ‘acceptable minimum square footage;’ but this is the United States of America. We are not like other countries.
So, I guess it’s a self-correcting problem in the long term. Because let’s just say that there’s a certain demographic that finds this arrangement attractive, and it ain’t the working/professional clas:
“A midget could catch the devil in one of them teeny, tiny little houses. I just don’t understand the point,” says James Harris, 70, who worked for 40 years in the maintenance department for the Smithsonian Institution and, with his wife, Patricia Harris, 65, a longtime D.C. school administrator, saved to pay off the spacious rowhouse they bought 38 years ago.
“It’s our little piece of Washington,” Patricia Harris says.
Her family is descended from freed slaves; they moved here from the South with a dream to own land and a house big enough to raise children and entertain guests. “These tiny houses feels like we are going backwards,” she says.
Danged straight, Patricia. What can I say? White people are just weird sometimes. …What? Hey, I’m white; I’m allowed.