The local Bay Area initiative Tiny House in My Backyard, or THIMBY, is adding the final touches to its massive project – an affordable, 100% solar-powered “tiny” house that will be competing against other small homes in the “Tiny House Competition on October 15 at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. The competition will bring together collegiate teams throughout Northern California who will showcase their small home creations for a battle of epic proportions.

The competing homes range from 100 to 400 square feet and will feature smart energy appliances, green building techniques and the use of renewable energy. The purpose of this exciting competition is not only to bring students together for a fun, fulfilling project, but to also promote the idea of smart living.

“The Tiny House Competition will explore net-zero energy building, green building techniques and sustainable living,” writes the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the company hosting this exciting competition.

The winning homes will be chosen based on the major categories of architecture, communication, home life and energy. In addition to having their homes exposed to the public, judges and media, the winning schools will also receive trophies and monetary prizes for their successful efforts.

In light of the tiny house spirit, we decided to check out homes in California that may not be as minuscule as these competing homes, but are significantly smaller than the size of an average American home. According to the Census Bureau data, the median size of a new single-family house was 2,467 square feet last year, making it the largest on record.

Houses may be increasing in size, but that doesn’t mean smaller treasures should be overlooked.

Let’s take a look at some “tiny” homes across California that showcase how you can live big in a small space.


Northern California



2549 Kally Court, Santa Rosa| 1,133 square feet | $415,000

This three bedroom, one bath home may be small in size, but its carefully designed layout provides a sense of amplitude at every turn. The large windows allow tons of natural light to make its way inside which instantly makes the space appear larger than it really is.




565 Harcourt Avenue, Seaside |1,113 square feet | $639,000

Bright white walls, twinkling lights and glossy hardwood floors create a feeling of space and comfort. Its location in the coastal town of Seaside brings in that cool, crisp ocean breeze that flows through the small, charming home.




613 Nantucket Court, Walnut Creek | 1,528 square feet | $825,000

This fantastic remodel in the heart of Walnut Creek showcases a completely functional floorplan including wood floors, vaulted ceilings, fresh paint and open windows that bring the outdoors in. We love ultra-sleek design that is evident throughout the home.



Southern California



5221 Reynolds, San Diego | 1,014 square feet | $399,000

A light and bright open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling windows is what you’ll find in this San Diego home. We love the home’s light grey walls which perfectly compliment the light blue kitchen cabinets giving off a harmonious, relaxing vibe. This compact home reminds residents and guests that big things come in small packages.




865 N Wilson Avenue, Pasadena | 1,382 square feet | $950,000

This restored Pasadena home is a true gem. With stylish windows, doors, custom fireplace, flooring and more, you’ll realize the artistic amenities are fully appreciated thanks to the home’s small size.


Is livin’ small the new big? Let us know in the comments below.