I spent 2 nights in a tiny house and it was basically the same as my New York City apartment, but with more windows and fewer stairs - here's how they compare
Hillary Hoffower/Business Insider
- Tiny houses are basically New York City apartments on wheels.
- I've experienced both myself: I live in Manhattan and recently stayed in a tiny house in the Catskills.
- Both NYC apartments and tiny houses are notoriously small and involve amenity trade-offs.
- Compared to the tiny house, my apartment may have a living room, but my bed is smaller, my windows are fewer, and my bathroom storage space is basically non-existant.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Welcome to my abode.It's roughly 700 square feet, in Manhattan's Upper East Side, and has no washing machine or dishwasher. That makes it, basically, a tiny house in the sky - without some of the amenities tiny houses are most famous for.Advertisement
Think panoramic windows, natural lighting, and the ability to take your home with you wherever you go.
I would know: I recently visited Think Big! A Tiny House Resort in the Catskills, about two hours north of Manhattan, and stayed in a tiny house for three days. It wasn't the tight squeeze I anticipated, and I quickly realized why: It was essentially my apartment, but in the middle of the woods.They're both small spaces that necessitate some physical trade-offs. You have to be resourceful in both to make the most of your space.
NYC apartments on wheels. Here's why.
As Business Insider's millennial wealth reporter, I've been covering the intersection of money and the lifestyles of today's most controversial generation. That has meant deep dives into topics like student debt, millennials' attempts to catch up financially, and early retirement.
I live in a pre-war building in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Like many streets in the area, it's pretty noisy and tree lined.Advertisement
Please, step on in to my living room. Don't mind the futon — I've yet to be a real adult and upgrade to a couch.
Along one wall is space for an entertainment center (and a much bigger TV, if we wanted one).Advertisement
My living room only has one window, and it yields a classic NYC view: The apartment building next door and the garbage cans in between them.
Now here's the Catskills tiny home I visited in October, when I traded in sirens for crickets for a weekend. It looks like a world away, but it's actually not too different from my apartment.Advertisement
The living area accounted for one of the biggest differences between my apartment and the tiny house: My tiny house didn't have a living room. The central living space consisted of a kitchen and dining area, with no room for a couch.
But the tiny house wasn't without an entertainment center. The TV was placed at the foot of the main bed — a convenient location, in my opinion.Advertisement
The tiny house's panoramic windows, which boasted beautiful autumnal views of the sky and trees, put my apartment's sliver of a window to shame.
Comparing the two kitchens shows how differently space gets used. There's a window in my kitchen, but there's also a notable lack of counter space. Only a sliver of it exists to the left of the stove.Advertisement
The kitchen storage space in my apartment isn't bad — there are seven cabinets and six drawers in my kitchen.
Where my kitchen falls short is in appliances — the fridge, oven, and microwave aren't standard sizes.Advertisement
Here's my NYC fridge. It's a tight space for two.
In the tiny house, the counter space wasn't exactly ample either — but there was still more of it.Advertisement
There were six cabinet doors and four drawers in the tiny house kitchen, as well as a shelf — and they seemed to fit all the necessities quite nicely.
The kitchen amenities were far bigger in the tiny house. The oven was much more spacious.Advertisement
And I could probably fit my entire fridge into the tiny house fridge if I removed its shelves.
That brings me to the bathroom. My bathroom is basically a square with one cabinet under the sink and one medicine cabinet.Advertisement
The tiny house takes the gold in the bathroom: It was full of storage. There were two cabinets above the sink and a row of cabinets — plus drawers — underneath it.
But what's really important is the bedroom. Like most NYC apartments, my bedroom is small. I crammed a full-size bed against three walls to create space.Advertisement
There's not much room for a dresser in my bedroom, but I made it work.
I can live with the full-sized bed in my apartment. What really matters is the closet space — and that, at last, is where my tiny apartment wins out.Advertisement
In terms of accessibility, the bed in the tiny house was also accessible from one side and one side only — but it's a queen bed! That would take up too much room in my own bedroom. And note the difference in the window size.
This was the only closet space in the tiny house. All I have to say is: yikes. For the first time, I felt grateful for my small NYC closet space.Advertisement
It's a lot better than the single dresser drawer under the tiny house bed, though.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons when comparing an NYC apartment and a tiny house. On a basic level, both are small and require downsizing and trade-offs in space.Advertisement
While they're not all that different physically speaking, it's not really what living in either is about: It boils down to the lifestyle — the biggest difference of all.
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