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A tiny-home road show that’s not selling tiny living

The architourist

Taken for a tiny tour

The house is really two custom-built boxes roughly the size of shipping containers.

Marble Trend's 'neolith' tiny home isn't all that tiny, but it does raise questions about how people actually live

As a general rule of thumb, when deciding what to present in these pages I avoid anything that uses marketing phraseology such as "city within a city," "join our caravan," and "a new concept in living," or things that are touring across the country and make an "exclusive stop" here. Even if there is wine and cheese involved.

However, when an invitation to see a "tiny home" at a marble showroom appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago, I must admit I was intrigued.

Often, when I want to turn my overactive brain off, my hand reaches for the TV remote, and often – as my long suffering wife will attest – my digits punch in the digits that correspond to either Food Network or HGTV. I tell her the former is so I can prepare gourmet meals for her, the latter is for "research," and she shoots me a classic Don Rickles' eye-roll in return (may he rest in peace).

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And, these days, it seems there are more shows about tiny homes than you can shake a tiny T-square at: Tiny House, Big Living, Tiny House Builders, Tiny House Nation, and Tiny House Luxury. Oh, and there's a spinoff of House Hunters – how this juggernaut became successful using one camera panning across empty beige bedrooms and marble countertops is a mystery for the ages – called Tiny House Hunters as well.

To their credit, many of these shows feature quite innovative ideas about how to economize on space. There are tiny Murphy beds, tables that fold down or swing away when not in use, boat-like millwork and loft bedrooms I'd hate to be in if a nightmare forced me awake.

I can see the appeal, since many of us have a fascination with miniatures. A video entitled Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos won a Webby Award in 2015, which led to follow-up videos, of course, of hamsters eating tiny donuts, tiny pizza, tiny sushi and an entire tiny Thanksgiving dinner. I get it, it's cute.

Also, because there is a do-it-yourself element to tiny homes – manufacturers haven't flooded the market with tiny millwork and tiny furniture yet, but give it time – there are great shots of bearded, artsy guys cutting wood and figuring things out. And then there's the payoff as they walk their doubting parents through the finished product to Southern-accented cries of "Oh my, look how big tiny can be!" and "Son, I hate to say it, but I'd live here," and hugs all around.

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