What’s Happening With The Tiny House??
The million dollar question… What’s happening with the tiny house?
In short, I don’t know exactly.
What I do know:
- We’re keeping it.
- We hope to live in it again, soon. Legally.
- It’s moving.
What’s been going on
We knew, when we set off on our big adventure last year, that when we came back we have some things to work out. We were served a code violation two Octobers ago. This resulted in us needing to bring our home up to code or to move it along. Since, at that time, there was no code, in no way could we possibly meet it, it was basically an eviction notice. Very lucky for us the amazing Andrew and Gabriella had been working on some heavy lifting with the Tiny House IRC Appendix. It was very timely and that same October we were served papers, we were planning on flying out to Kansas City to give our public testimony in favor of the addition of the tiny home appendix. Because of this unexpected situation the city was very kind in granting us an extension, to see how that went. By November the appendix had passed! After many years in architecture, never have I been so excited over building code!
With that, we had already been planning an epic road trip to start a few months later. It wasn’t something we could just change, we literally spent a year building our trailer! The city was fully on board with taking the next steps in tiny housing together, in fact they basically held my hand and walked me through how to get the new appendix adopted at the state level. We, the occupants, were the weak link. We were setting off on a big adventure to see all the National Parks this great country has to offer. The city was very kind in granting us an extension to live in our tiny house until we took off. Never were we more legal than after our code violation, I’m not going to lie, that felt great! To live tiny, with legit permission through the holidays… I will never forget those warm fuzzy feelings! While on sabbatical the house could stay put for the duration of our trip. THEN, when we get back, we’ll work it out. What more could you possibly expect, right?? It was the best send off we could hope for!
Now, we’re here
We’re back, at least temporarily, from our trip. It turns out, traveling is a lot of fun! We’ve seen 3/4 of the national parks. That’s 45/59. Just like living in a tiny house, it turns out, it’s not as hard as you might expect to take life on the go. In fact, even MORE doors have opened! We loved it. We’re planning on heading to Alaska and Hawaii next. Then maybe we will hit the four island parks we had to skip along the way. Or maybe international, who knows. That is a chapter for a later date though, right now we have to figure out this tiny house thing.
In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to go back to the city, use the momentum we have, the fact that our city is in a major housing shortage, and try to do something meaningful to get tiny houses adopted as a bona fide housing solution. Which means as a bona fide housing option! For anyone. Not just us!
How this happens… I have some ideas, but it’s not fully up to me… It is a discussion. One that we hope to start this week.
We’re planning to meet with the city this week
We got back from our ‘road trip’ five weeks ago. Since then we have been busy catching up. We came back and sold a LOT of stuff. I didn’t think we had a lot but we had a full yard sale’s worth and then some. We’ve been catching up on work. Catching up on family and seeing friends. We’ve been making our workshop into a place we can actually work instead of a half converted sorta garage space. I bought ANOTHER trailer, this one is a utility trailer, that will be turned into a small, portable shop, so we can project to our hearts content, wherever we want.
We need to talk ‘next steps’ with the tiny house though, officially.
I miss my house. I never got to feel the comfort of ‘home’ in the sense that I felt like at any point I may be asked to move along. But I loved my neighborhood. I loved my neighbors. If I am being honest, I don’t know how much fight I have left in me. Not fight (because it’s been anything but a fight), but… stamina. It’s effort to make real change. On the road it was just known that ‘this isn’t your house’. People are friendly, they loved the camper, they admired us for ‘fitting in such a small space’, temporarily. No one assumed that WAS our full-time living situation. That anonymity was somewhat nice! We felt very ‘at home’ on the go.
Now, back in the city
People make comments. The neighborhood has changed. It was a week that we were back before someone else called the city on us, again. They came out and took some measurements, apparently we fit the mold because we never received any kind of violation. We have most of our immediate neighbors still but there are a dozen new houses within a block. We met one of the new neighbors yesterday. She asked ‘do you live in that thing?’ later adding ‘and with kids?’ add some scoffs in there as you see fit, it was a fairly judgemental interaction. I probably shouldn’t take offense, but it made me ‘grrrr’ a little inside. I thought ‘I was here before you, don’t you dare judge me… Just keep telling me about how your ‘loft’ looks like a treehouse (her words) instead of the shitty track house, like the other eleven that have gone up everywhere else too. And tell me more about how you picked this neighborhood because it was ‘poor’ and needed help and how YOU, single hand-idly have made it a nice community again’ (probably by calling in a complaint about the tiny house around the corner… this was a real conversation btw…).
A lot of the people we knew are gone, new people have rolled in with their own expectations of how everyone should be and I am left wondering if we have changed, or if the neighborhood has. Either way, I don’t know if I want to live here anymore when I could easily take some of the money I saved over the last six years of living tiny and get the hell out. We could buy a plot of land in the boonies, raise our kids to be industrious and inventive, out in the country where everyone’s opinions don’t matter so much!
The plan was always to take the lot that the tiny house sat on (James’s empty lot), build out a rental and do something else with life. IF we were to build it out to a rental home there is no room for my particular tiny house, but maybe A tiny house. We could fight the fight, stay living in a tiny house in a neighborhood we potentially don’t care for anymore OR we could move it, build our rental and carry on. Looking for a nice property where I can definitely envision raising our family (I have found that in north Idaho I think… but it’s not an overnight move). AND hopefully we can have the conversation about using our lot to set some sort of standard for how tiny homes can be incorporated into an urban fabric. I have ideas on that but I can’t tell how well they will be received until the conversations are had!
So… I’ll update you on the progress next week! 🙂
How is that for ‘life is complicated’? It really doesn’t need to be though, we will do what we can and the rest will just fit together.