I think I may have redesigned the floor plan for the cabin about 87 times... I'm back to one floor now, and I increased the footprint to 24' x 32'. Construction logic states that it's cheaper to build up, than out, but I'm not so sure how true that is for smaller houses. Increasing the footprint by 8' is likely going to be a lot cheaper than adding an entire second floor, and actually results in a similar amount of usable space. Building stairs to code takes a LOT of space! I think a lot of us are used to steps that are a bit steeper and narrower than what is currently required for new construction. I was losing almost 75 square feet just by putting stairs in! So the current plans afford me 768 square feet for a kitchen, dining area, living room, bathroom, laundry room, and two bedrooms. Don't forget to cram some closets in there, too - doggie food and a vacuum has to go somewhere!
So, depending on who you ask, my little cabin in the woods might qualify as a 'tiny house,' or maybe just a 'small house.' By comparison to some hardcore tiny house-ers, our cabin will be a mansion!
Sure, Karl and I could borrow a couple hundred thousand dollars and build some big house with lots of rooms we probably wouldn't go in (other than stuffing some useless junk the closet of course). We could then pay a ton of money to heat it, and furnish it, and maintain it, and continue to slave away working to pay for the big stupid house that we don't even use because we're too busy working just to pay for it.
We can go low key. Live simply. Keep the things that are important to us and forget the rest. Spend more time together, doing things we love, and with friends and family. Limit our expenses to the things that matter and stop the incessant consumerism that is so harmful to our planet. And stop slaving day in and day out while life passes us by.
Of course, I may be a bit more of a hippie tree hugger than the average Joe. But I really encourage everyone to make an effort to live simply. It's an achievable goal, while the constant more more more will never be enough.