The Tiny House Dream
Am I too late to the movement?
Tiny Houses - yep, they’re a “thing”.
Just like “vanlife” became a thing. So maybe this is just me following the next trend… but I believe it’s bigger and more real than that. I believe tiny houses are the next BIG thing and I want to be onboard. I’ve seen the change within the nomad community already moving from adventure mobiles on wheels to wanting a more stable home base to adventure from. Tiny houses can be adorable and yet also extremely functional. I love the idea because I can put all the “luxuries” (hot shower, kitchen, laundry, my own personal space) I want into a smaller box completely custom to my style and that I can actually afford. That last part is key - it is also why the “tiny house movement” is sweeping the nation as millennials look for a way to own something that will not put them in a lifetime of debt. Yes, tiny houses can be a cute little airbnb in the woods or in your backyard - but they can also be used as a functional tool to solve a national housing crisis. And no, they are not for everyone - and that is just fine too.
I can rent an apartment or I can even afford to buy a house in certain parts of the country… but it’s not getting me closer to what I really want right now. To nest in my own space. That’s right, I want to nest the sh*t out of this tiny house. And now is the time to do it, because to be honest, I probably won’t want to live in a tiny house forever. There will come a day when I will want more space, but that time isn’t today.
Today, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned about tiny houses so far and what I want in my future tiny home. Follow along as this dream hopefully becomes a reality.
Pinterest is back! Check out my Tiny House Vision Board
What is this post REALLY about?
What do Tiny Houses have to do with rediscovering my self and my creativity?
I am currently readying a book called “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron. It is less book and more of a 12 week workshop that guides you on “a spiritual path to higher creativity”. Sounds intense, right? It is, so back off - my artist isn’t quite ready to get vulnerable with you yet.
The Tip Jar is about discovering happiness (my happiness to be specific). The Artist Way has played a big role in my recent journey of self rediscovery and slowing down to pay attention to what I really want. This blog was born out of the idea of “attention” as an act of connection and attention must be brought to your dreams before you can make them a reality. In The Artist Way, Julia Cameron writes, “Understand that the what must come before the how. First choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself.”
The other thing I’ve learned from The Artist Way is, “Possibility is far more frightening than impossibility.” Possibility requires action and responsibility. It allows us to take our own life into our own hands and help ourself. i.e. sh*t gets real and there’s no more excuses.
I have a habit of calling my ideas “crazy” or “silly” - but what I’m really doing is hedging my idea in case other people think it’s crazy or stupid. My crazy maker is my own self doubt. I doubt myself, my ideas and then I call them crazy as an excuse to ignore them. No more!
So today’s exercise is about trying to recognize a dream for what it is - an idea (crazy or not) that actually makes me feel EXCITED! I also have the ability to make it my reality, and if I don’t, I want to make sure I am choosing not to for a good reason rather than allowing myself the lack of attention.
This post is also about having fun - having fun with the dream, the idea, the process. I should have been a designer or an architect - because there is nothing I love more than getting into the logistical details of designing something that is functional, efficient and beautiful.
So there it is folks, let’s bring attention to our dreams. Tell me about your dreams in the comments below.
So what does the dream look like?
I took a deep dive into the tiny house black hole on the interweb and I’m still swimming around figuring things out. But here are a few things I’ve learned so far…
General Design Thoughts:
Size: General sizes range from 18-32 ft long x 8-8.5 ft wide. I’m targeting 20-24 ft length. As additional reference points… Vanna was 18 ft long and an average RV ranges ~20-30ft (and up to 40 ft).
Bedroom + guest sleeping - I'm thinking a downstairs bedroom with barn door and a loft for guests + some storage. I've also seen some great master lofts (with enough headroom) paired with a living/working space downstairs that converts to a guest sleeping area when needed. It's important that both have the option for some privacy.
Kitchen - A beautiful + functional one that will be used often. Propane stove (hopefully with oven), farmhouse sink, fridge, small pantry, seating for 4.
Bathroom - Shower, toilet, sink, storage - and ideally includes W/D.
Functional living / working space. This is the largest unknown space in my head but depends on the rest of the layout to determine how to fit this in.
Outdoor space - A front porch and functional outdoor space to spend all my time when the weather is nice and to host friends for BBQs and potlucks!
A mix of being connected and off-grid living. I plan for this house to be parked in a consistent location and connected to water and utilities. I’d like a solar setup but depending on location, may also chose to be connected to the grid to easily power things like a washer/dryer. Running water is simple enough and important. Still looking into how the composting toilets vs traditional flushing toilets work… stay tuned.
Budget: Tiny house builds range from $25-100k+. Yes, that’s a big freakin range and depends on if you have the skills to do it yourself or if you plan to work with a professional builder. I’m targeting $60-80k considering I will likely choose to have it built by a professional.
Favorite Models Found To Date:
The Kokosing by Modern Tiny Living - I love the big social area, beautiful kitchen, full bath and loft bedroom.
The Everest by Mustard Seed Tiny Home - Modern, open design with a Bedroom + sleeping loft, full kitchen, and spacious bathroom.
The Urban Micro Home by Wind River Tiny Homes - A 650 sq ft home on a permanent foundation in Tennessee - I love everything about this micro home.
Tru Form Tiny - They have 3 functional layouts and an awesome online quote process to customize exactly what you want. It is extremely helpful to get an estimated quote based on your choices because one thing I quickly noticed is that builders quote a tiny home model “starting at $X” but you should add a good $10-20k to that starting price to get to the models they show you in their galleries.
Resources I’m enjoying:
Tiny house Giant Journey Blog - Jenna shares great stories on alternative living and a lot of great information on tiny house design + build. She speaks from experience and shares insight into this community in a meaningful way.
Tiny House Expedition Blog + Youtube - Hosted by a couple living and traveling in a THOW for 3+ years. They share a lot of great information, resources and stories of inspiring housing projects. Their mission is to "empower others to create more sustainable housing, more meaningful lifestyles and more connected communities.” Check out their “resources” page as another great place to start.
Tiny house Community - A great place to start for tips on building, design, planning + other digital resources.
Tiny House Talk Blog - Inspiration for affordable and alternative housing ideas and options.
Questions I still have:
Where the F’ do I put this thing?
Weekly revelation: If you hashtag vanlife AND tiny house at the same time you will blow up the internet.
Social media rant: Yes I’m exaggerating. But it’s been an interesting social media journey since I moved out of the van. I’ve lost almost 2k followers since. I’m not upset about it and I understand there were people following because they were curious about vanlife and enjoyed my views. So I don’t blame them for unfollowing this less-picturesque journey of someone they don’t really know. I think of it as a reminder to the importance of being authentic on social media… because do you really want an inauthentic following? It’s like a relationship - you deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you back. Instagram is a big creative outlet for me and with any creative endeavor… it is nice to receive positive feedback on what you put out there. However, I’m not putting myself out here for the followers. I now have less followers but more engagement in my posts… which tells me the people who care and matter are still listening. And I just want to say, I appreciate you.
And I found it amusing the above post got 10x the attention on instagram as any other post. But it’s still my current dream for real and authentic reasons.