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What we’re obsessed with right now: ‘Tiny House Nation’

People wait in line to go into a 367-square-foot home made by Tiny Mountain Homes at TinyFest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
People wait in line to go into a 367-square-foot home made by Tiny Mountain Homes at TinyFest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on March 1, 2020. The two-day festival had a variety of tiny houses from pro-builders, DIYers, van lifers and tiny dwellers.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.

What I’m obsessed with: “Tiny House Nation,” a TV series about building tiny homes. Hosted by John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, the show chronicles the journey of folks looking to “go tiny.”

Why? I find tiny houses — small dwellings usually under 400 square feet, often built on a trailer — innately fascinating. The idea of purging my clutter, living intentionally with less square footage (and less cleaning!) and gaining the freedom to take my home on the road sounds like a dream. Plus, with the current state of the San Diego real estate market, going tiny makes the idea of homeownership an actual possibility. But until I get to that point, “Tiny House Nation” lets me live vicariously through other people.

Sitcom alternative: You know how people love sitcoms because of their predictable structure? That’s the way I feel about “Tiny House Nation.” Each 40-minute episode presents the same sequence of events: We meet the soon-to-be homeowners and hear their story, then watch them downsize their belongings, second guess their decision to go tiny, and ultimately fall in love with their new house and lifestyle. And in between that copy-and-paste storyline, there’s lots of cool footage of people building an actual house from start to finish.

Added drama: Sure, it’s no “Real Housewives,” but “Tiny House Nation” doesn’t skimp on the drama. No matter how smooth a build is, there’s always a hurdle about halfway through the episode. While some are definitely real — like a car crash involving a truck on its way to tow the trailer of a build — you can tell most of the scenarios are invented. You know, like a couple requesting an earlier move-in date (because they forgot to tell the crew they were getting married in a few days) or a custom-built bathtub being too large to fit in the space (even though it was measured multiple times). As exaggerated as these end-of-the-world predicaments can be, I love knowing the challenge is coming and experiencing the satisfaction once it’s resolved.

Giffin’s gifts: I’ve never seriously considered a career change ... until I saw Giffin work a table saw. Each episode, he creates unique pieces personalized to the homeowners’ lives. Living plant wall for vegans? Bike pedal powered workspace for triathletes? Ten-person dining room set — that drops down from the wall — for a large family? Giffin comes up with the most innovative and thoughtful designs for every build. I’m convinced he’s a superhero.

Local connection: Have I sparked your interest about tiny homes yet? You’re in luck, because TinyFest returns to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on March 12 and 13. The festival, which travels around the country, brings together tiny house builders, homeowners and enthusiasts and invites them to share their experiences or learn more about tiny living. While there’s no guarantee “Tiny House Nation” will be there, the hosts have spoken on TinyFest panels in past years, and Weisbarth does live in San Diego ...

Stream “Tiny House Nation” on Netflix, Hulu, Pluto TV or Sling TV. TinyFest tickets are available at tinyfest.events/at-the-festival-san-diego-2022.

"Tiny House Nation's" renovation experts and hosts John Weisbarth, left, and Zack Giffin.
(A&E)


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