Todd Krainin on Washington's Beautiful, Illegal Tiny Houses


"I got driven down the tiny house road because of affordability, simplicity, sustainability, and then mobility," says Jay Austin, who designed a custom 140-square-foot house, which is part of a showcase community of minuscule homes located in an alley lot in Washington, D.C.

Despite its size, Austin's house—The Matchbox—is stylish, well built, and it includes all of life's necessities (and some of its luxuries): a bathroom, a shower, a modest kitchen, office space, and a bedroom loft. There is even a hot tub outside.

But tiny houses violate several city regulations, notes Reason TV's Todd Krainin. Until those rules change, creative solutions like The Matchbox won't be widely available to people seeking affordable housing—or even to its owner.