Think Small


Story by Heidi Pool | Photography by Kailea Frederick

tiny homes Maui
With its year-round summer climate, Maui is a perfect location for tiny houses. And the scenic panorama fits right outside your door.

Since the 1970s, the average American household has shrunk some 20 percent, down from three people to two-and-a-half. If this were a movie, you could call it The Incredible Shrinking Household — except that, while they were losing half a person, our homes got a lot bigger. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average single-family home has grown by more than 40 percent.

tiny house mauiWhat goes in there, of course, is all our stuff. (Apparently we still don’t have enough room. The U.S. has between 2.3 and 2.63 billion square feet of rentable storage space—equivalent to three Manhattan Islands and a football field or two.)

Lately, some folks have begun to move in the opposite direction, into tiny houses, defined as smaller than 400 square feet, most often around 200 square feet. Enough folks, in fact, that, across the country, tiny houses are becoming a big deal. For some, it’s a philosophical choice, a commitment to living more simply and reducing one’s environmental impact. For others, it’s a pragmatic answer to the high cost of housing.

The tiny-home lifestyle comes with its own set of costs — from downsizing one’s possessions, to embracing the concept of composting toilets — but with the median price of a home in Maui County exceeding $550,000, and rents skyrocketing with no end in sight, our island paradise is in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis. Could tiny houses be a solution? Two Maui entrepreneurs think so.



  1. Is it possible to buy a tiny house on Maui already with property included in price and space for small animals?

  2. Aloha Karen, Perhaps reach out to Kalani Iselin (808-866-4911, or Erik Blair ( for an opportunity to see tiny house models on island. Mahalo for reading!

  3. An affordable tiny house is one thing, but what about purchasing a piece of property to put the tiny house on? This issue alone seems prohibitive. I would do it in a minute, but this property issue has me puzzled.

  4. Mahalo MNKO Magazine for such a great article on this Tiny House Movement!
    Come out and talk tiny with the Simply Tiny Houses creator, Erik Blair, at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center’s “Let’s Get Sustainable Expo” on Saturday, September 24, 2016. For more information contact Toni Rojas at

  5. Aloha and mahalo for the wonderful article. I hope everyone contacts their representatives locally and at the state level and let them know how important it is that they support the tiny house movement and get behind efforts to increase alternative affordable housing in Hawaii.


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