A Tiny Home Open House: Visiting Hannah’s House

Today we attended Hannah’s Open House, a gathering that we’d found through Meetup.com.  Although we’d seen a Tumbleweed home at the Mother Earth News Fair, and I’ve obsessively viewed thousands of photos online, It was nice to finally see a Tiny Home that was being lived in.

Hannah’s home had a couple of great features that we’ll have to borrow for our design.  The L-shaped seating in the main living space converts to an RV-style guest bed, which is something that will be extremely useful when adult kids return to visit.  I also enjoyed seeing and using the mini-staircase, and we’ve decided this is a feature we like, especially since we’re approaching 50.  We backpack and stay active, but because I’m nearly comatose in the morning, stairs are a good thing!  The loft was nice and bright, and seemed roomy.  We can see ourselves living in such a space.

Wish we’d had time to talk to Hannah or her parents, but there was some serious inquiry going on.  Hannah, we think your home is adorable, and wish you the best in your tiny house endeavors!

Check out additional photos of Hannah’s house here.




Planning for a Tiny House and Other Crazy Ideas

I am a research junkie without much fear.  Give me a YouTube video and I will build a bathroom. That’s pretty much what we did.

Jon owns a house 60 miles away or so that has required a lot of repairs due to deferred maintenance and an undetected water leak that had completely rotted out the floor in parts of the master bath and second bedroom.  For the last year, we’ve spent one of our weekend days (and sometimes our vacations) commuting 60 miles to spend the day doing construction and home improvement.  We’ve moved walls, sistered floor joists, replaced subflooring, built closets (where there were none), learned to install drywall, and in the process, developed skills we never imagined we would.  Paying a contractor to make the repairs would have taken much less time (we’ve been working on it for a year), but we’ve enjoyed the hands-on and have learned a tremendous amount.  Eventually, this house will be rented out — at least until Jon can recover the equity he lost during the economic downturn.

Repairing the subfloor

Repairing the subfloor

Neither one of us was particularly handy before this began, but we are resourceful and our styles complement one another.  Jon likes to jump in and try things; I tend to analyze things and dependencies, sometimes to the point of analysis paralysis.  I’m a planner; he’s a doer.  It works for us.

Jon repairing the bathroom floor.

Jon repairing the bathroom floor.

With Jon’s house nearing completion, we’ve wondered what will fulfill our home improvement addiction.  Becoming construction junkies wasn’t in the original plan, but the whole process has been so rewarding that I can’t imagine not having something to work on.  Spare time?  What would we ever do with that?!

We’re in a rental currently, but have been planning on buying a fixer once Jon’s house is rented.  And in our long-term plan to live off-grid and eco-friendly, we’ll now be looking for a fixer with room to build a Tiny House — eventually selling, or renting out that fixer to live further off the grid.

After hours of obsessive research over the last few weeks, I bought a couple of books on Tiny Homes for inspiration (I’m sure this isn’t the last of my book purchases):

Master bath almost completed!

Master bath almost completed!

I have only had an opportunity to flip through them at this point, but am hoping to delve into them this weekend.  I’m anxious to read Dee’s book for a number of reasons.  First, she lives just a short drive down the freeway from us.  Second, there is much that can be learned from following one person’s experience from start to finish.  There are some great blog posts about building Tiny Homes out there, but most are very subjective and limited in scope (e.g. “Why we chose XYZ stove”).  I wanted to read a story that would inspire me.

So, here’s the plan:

  1. Get Jon’s house rented out
  2. Buy a fixer with room to build a Tiny House
  3. Fix up house
  4. Build a Tiny House
  5. Rent or sell fixer house (I’m still not sure how I feel about being a landlord)
  6. Buy Land (and hopefully zoning laws will be more flexible by then)
  7. Move Tiny House to land

Sounds like a 2-3 year plan, which we’re fine with.  It will coincide nicely with our daughters both heading off to college, and the opportunity to relocate eventually, though we may need to build a guest Tiny House!

And a Tiny House art studio…

And a Tiny House chicken coop…

The Cider Box | Tiny House Swoon

I love this!  This has to be my favorite exterior design of a Tiny House by far.  The side entrance floor plans seem to have a more functional flow of all the Tiny House designs I’ve examined, and I much prefer the light that french doors provide.  The kitchen and stairs would need reworking to suit us, and the interior is a bit dark for my taste, but this one is really close to meeting our needs.  Check out additional pictures on Tiny House Swoon.

Check out additional interior photos here: The Cider Box | Tiny House Swoon


My Latest Obsession: Tiny Homes

As another year draws to an end and I reflect on life, where I am, and where I truly want to be, I’ve come to a realization.  Though I want to live more simply, deliberately, years can just slip away, one day at a time.  Without a deliberate attempt to escape it, I’ve become stuck in a culture and way of life that is out of alignment with my values.  It’s easy to get stuck here, really.  Humans tend to value stability and have an aversion to change.  Getting up the courage to take the first step is probably the hardest part.

My vacation this week has been spent doing much research and desiring to make a change.  Tiny Homes are again on my radar.  Over the years I’ve researched many alternate building techniques and alternate housing possibilities.  As my partner and I creep ever closer to 50, and as both our youngest are due to leave the nest in 2.5 years, a major life-change is certainly possible.  We are tree-hugging, eco-minded introverts, and suddenly the ability to live anywhere is extremely enticing.  I’ve always come back to Tiny Homes in my research, and it may be the portability that’s the strongest draw.  Build it first, then figure out what the heck you’re going to do, and where you’re going to live.

Of all the examples I’ve stumbled upon, I think my favorite has to be The Tiny Project.  What an amazing use of space.  I don’t think I’d change a thing except possibly the upholstery on the couch.  After looking at so many, that’s saying something!

We have so much waste in our culture, and have a tendency to accumulate way more than we need.  We then store it in living spaces that are much larger than necessary, or even reasonable.  So much of our time is spent working to just accumulate “stuff”, and we’re left with so little time to live.

Tiny Home

Tiny Home

A Tiny House is now part of our plan, and may just fall in line with our girls’ departure for college in 2.5 years, though we may just need 2 Tiny Homes for when they come home to visit.  Ideally, we would have the ability to be off-grid: propane range, refrigerator, water heater; solar outlets/light fixtures, and a well for water.  While we may not go off-grid immediately, having the ability to do so is something we want to incorporate.

I think the first step is just going to be getting rid of the unneeded “stuff” that just creeps into our lives, and I’m suddenly very motivated to do so after spending hours upon hours perusing tiny homes.  Time to make a donation before the tax year ends!