One of the tiny houses from Tumbleweed Tiny House Co.

Greg Cantori plans to downsize when he retires. Really, really downsize.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, his retirement home is 238 square feet — one-tenth the size of the average new American house — and sits in his Anne Arundel County yard. He and wife Renee can hitch it to a truck and take it with them wherever they go.

“It’s so cheap — that’s what’s so cool about this,” said Cantori, 52, who envisions a surf-and-turf future, alternating between the house and a sailboat. “We bought the house for $19,000. We can live an extraordinary life for very little money.”

It’s an example of the “tiny house” movement, which has collected a small but growing — and passionate — group of adherents. Some like the freedom from a big mortgage and high energy bills. Some, the freedom from roomfuls of stuff. And some see it as a promising option for workers whose rent overwhelms their paychecks.

Tiny houses fall into two categories. Some, like Cantori’s, are technically travel trailers — tagged and road-ready. Others have foundations and aren’t going anywhere.

The houses usually manage a lot of function in a little bit of space — kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room — and they’re often cute to boot. Gables. Wood siding. Even porches.

“These are beautiful works of art,” said Joe Coover with Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., a California firm that sells tiny homes — as small as 65 square feet — and tiny-home designs.

U.S. houses got bigger for decades, ballooning from just under 1,700 square feet in the early 1970s to 2,500 square feet last year, even as household sizes shrunk, according to Census Bureau figures. But the housing crash, foreclosure crisis and rough recession have pressed some to think differently about how much space they need. And a house you can move with you has a certain appeal to anyone stuck in a place worth less than its mortgage.

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