You have actually become aware of tiny houses– let me present you a tiny
All but one of the houses was designed by one of the hotel’s four founders: each has a different theme and the attention to detail is utterly charming. The Gypsy Wagon (the one exception– it was purchased) is a bohemian riot of brightly colored fabrics, the Beach is all soothing pastel blues and the Barn has a sink fashioned out of an old whisky barrel.
My log cabin is decorated with suitably outdoorsy pictures of grizzly bears and rutting stags, plus there’s an eclectic reading selection that includes a tongue-in-cheek wilderness survival guide with a chapter on how to negotiate with a hippie.
I’ll confess I was a little skeptical at the prospect of squeezing myself and my suitcase into such a compact space. But by the end of my stay, I was a convert. I loved the ingenuity, the irreverent decoration, and the sheer, irresistible coziness of the place. It also made me think seriously about how much space and stuff one person really needs. Which, presumably, is the whole point.
The founders of Tiny Digs spent eight months looking for the right location for their hotel of ‘tiny houses. Eventually, they settled on an old car lot in Portland, Oregon’s vibrant Kerns neighborhood, six kilometers east of the city center. After launching in September 2016 with six houses, they now have eight and plan to add more.
It’s a good start but many would argue that to really reduce your footprint you need to do something more drastic– take up less space. The tiny house movement has been slowly gaining momentum in the USA, with people trading in their sprawling McMansions for smaller, more eco-friendly properties. Predictably, it was only a matter of time before someone did the same with a hotel.
As the tiny house motion gains speed around the world, Rob McFarland checks out some little areas in Rose city, Oregon that approve the design as well as enjoyable.
Once, hotels were all about lavish indulgence. They’d have giant spa baths, luxury toiletries, and towering stacks of fluffy white towels. Of course, some still do, but most properties pay at least lip service to guests’ increasing concerns about the environment. Baths have been replaced by showers; towels are no longer changed daily and toiletries are refilled rather than replaced.
I stayed in the Cabin, which is an adorable homage to all things woody. The interior is made from tongue-and-groove cedar, the outside is covered with cedar logs and the bathroom door is fashioned from beetle-damaged pine. Miraculously, the designers have crammed a queen-size bed, a kitchenette, a dining table, a sofa (which converts into a second bed), and an en suite into a floor space of just 14 square meters.
Make no mistake, it’s cozy– you wouldn’t want to throw a dance party or attempt to cook a six-course meal– but it just shows what’s possible when you apply clever design to a compact space.
Head an hour east of Portland and you’ll find another collection of tiny dwellings in the Mt Hood Village RV Resort. From here you’re well-positioned to explore the spectacularly verdant Mount Hood National Forest.
To be fair, Tiny Digs wasn’t Portland’s first tiny house hotel. That honor goes to Caravan, which opened in 2013 in the Alberta Arts District. The property is still going strong, with six themed houses clustered around a cozy communal fire pit.