For the last eight months I have lived in a granny flat out the back of my aunt and uncle’s house, forking out just $100 per week.
I’m not the only Aussie embracing these daggy dwellings. The Department of Planning and Environment reports there were 4818 granny flats and dual occupancies approved in 2013/14; an increase of 68 per cent in a year.
People use them for home offices and art studios, extra storage and for housing their teenage children or elderly parents (close enough to keep an eye on them, enough distance to keep the peace).
Indeed, if family folklore is correct my own granny flat once served as an office to sell the display homes on our street.
In a world of million-dollar medians I’m likely to be calling my little pad home for quite some time to come, which is perfectly fine by me – a granny flat is a bit like all the other types of dwellings, only better. And here’s why.
While similar to apartment living, there’s the bonus of not having to share a building with other pesky residents. Not once have I had to deal with noise coming from the apartment above or below me.
A granny flat is a bit like a Tiny House but it has a more humble reputation; people don’t make Pinterest accounts and write blogs about the #journey of their granny flat and how it has transformed them.
My granny flat is minimalist, but not in a cool Scandinavian way. I’m not even one of those people who is passionate about downsizing; it’s just that I haven’t had much time to accumulate a lot of things.
Then there’s the name. Saying you live in a granny flat definitely does not sound cool, but it does kinda sounds hip in an ironic way.
It looks like a miniature house. The reason people like babies so much is that they’re tiny humans and they like cats so much because they look like tiny lions. This principle can also be applied to granny flats.
There are two types of granny-flat residents; those who spend time with their landlords up in the normal-sized house, and those who don’t. I’m grateful to belong to the former category.
For me, renting a granny flat from my super cool (assuming they’re reading this) family members in the house adjacent means I benefit from the good parts of living with other people. I get to eat dinner with them (and not cook), and watch ‘quality’ shows with them at night. Sometimes, they even pick me up from the bus stop when it’s raining. It is also brilliant because we don’t have to have social interactions before midday – my peak time for brooding, caused by my hatred of mornings.
It’s also mostly like living by myself. I can stay up as late as I want because no one tells me not to watch Netflix.
Sure, life in a granny flat isn’t perfect. I don’t do a lot of cooking but if I did I would probably feel disappointed by my “kitchen” (a bench top with a little camp oven, sink, toaster and kettle). There’s also the issue of the smell of brewed coffee hanging around for two days, which feels inappropriate when I’m trying to sleep.
My granny flat is the right size for me. I’ve grown so much over the last year but it’s still just the right size. All the words from all the stories I’ve read, all the songs I’ve listened to, all the hopeless meals I’ve eaten, all the long-winded phone calls I’ve made, they all fit perfectly inside my little flat. All the things that belong to me – tangible and intangible – are there.
Granny flats definitely aren’t suited to everyone, but they are perfect for grandparents, young couples, or for a sentimental individual like myself.