I feel weird posting pictures of my life but I will do it anyway This is me:
I am an artist, a thinker and a minimalist at heart… I love being out in the sunshine… I love animals of nearly every kind, at least the furry ones, I am trying to be a gardener… I believe people are good at the core but are also capable of very bad things when they aren’t intentional about their actions… I love my family, my passions and my life… I am just me
Since I was a tiny girl I always wanted to build my own place that had everything I wanted in it, nothing more nothing less. My own personal ‘fort’. In the house I grew up in there was a space on the side of the deck where my folks built a dog kennel. It was sort of tucked back and thus was a sweet little hiding spot. I used to go out and hang a hammock in the kennel and hang out with the dog all the time. It was my favorite place to be, partly I’m sure because our German Shepard spent time there too… he and I were BFF’s. The thing about it was that I could only hang out there when the weather was nice. So I started thinking that I wanted to build an enclosed fort there. I actually started saving money for it when I was around 5-6 years old. I remember pricing out plywood and knowing that it would take me a LONG time to save up enough.
I started drawing up plans hoping mom and dad would see how passionate about it I was and feel sorry for me and eventually give in and just buy it for me :). The thing is I wanted it to symbolize my favorite thing at that point in my life. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t come up with a logical way to shape a plywood house into the shape of a dog… they were too tall, how would I enter without adding a really expensive elevator??
My next best animal was a rabbit, they were much easier to imagine converting to a fort for my small noggin. So I drew up plans for a rabbit shaped structure that would sit in the dog kennel area (approximately 8x15ish feet). I drew it up a hundred different ways and I remember my dad helping and thinking it was cool… at least encouraging me… it wasn’t cool enough to buy for him, but cool still.
That plan never worked out, I had to stay a resident at my folk’s place for another 10-12 years :), I was bummed!
I got pretty distracted from those plans by going to school but I always stayed passionate about building and design. I ended up going to school to be an architect. I am, right now in my internship period, I recently started taking my exams to get my license. While studying I realized just how much I DON’T know. Not only in terms of what is on the exams but I don’t have a ton of ‘real world’ experience with a lot of the products and sciences I shamelessly promote. I want to build this tiny house in an effort to learn ACTUAL construction as well as to give me a baseline for understanding pros and cons for various building systems such as solar power, radiant heat, alternative sewage management etc. I want to document the construction process but also make a record of actual pros and cons of various systems as they function. In theory, I know a lot about these things, in reality I don’t. This is the main reason I am building this.
I very much believe that form follows function. Everything in a design should have a reason and a purpose. Good design can seamlessly integrate a plethora of systems and make it look natural. It can take various pieces and add them up to make a greater ‘whole’. I have no doubt there will be a lot of mistakes made from me on this house experiment but I will learn, that IS the ultimate point. In the mean time I get to not only learn about building, I get to learn about myself.
I will miss some things that I find lacking in my tiny house I’m sure (or maybe learn to appreciate them better) and I will realize some things I thought were ‘needs’ are really just wants. Either way I am going to strip my whole world back to what I consider the bare minimum for me to be happy. NOT the bare minimum for what I need to ‘exist’, there will be a lot of ‘excess’, but there are certain luxuries I don’t want to give up (like a shower with shoulder-room, a desk to work on, a chair for reading, an area to do my art work comfortably, etc.), these wants will be in my tiny house. There will be a lot that some deem as ‘needs’ that will not be though, like a spare bedroom, granite counters, a septic system to name a few. I want to prove to myself and to others that it is okay to challenge your own views of what you NEED and what you WANT.
Some say that this living situation won’t work for them, they have kids, or they ‘x’ or they ‘y’. And that may very well be true. But I want people to see that this is a valid direction to head, I may be more extreme about it than necessary but there will be lots of usable aspects for everyone to at least think about. The point overall about building environments is to have as little impact as possible on our ecosystem, in my opinion. Something that is a little closer to this WILL work for everyone. The thing about design is that it is fitting of the end user, or should be. You may not be able to build your home on the bed of a trailer and haul it into the woods at the end of its daily use to be used as a cabin but you CAN build a 600 s.f. house rather than a 2,600 s.f. house… You do not have to be this ‘extreme’ about re-evaluating your life but you CAN re-evaluate some things, you may be surprised at what you come up with, I have been.
Right now I am in a situation of paying someone else’s mortgage (rent), I hate that. There are actually LOTS of benefits to paying rent over a taking out a mortgage, I have learned that over the years. Certainly paying rent is better than buying a house you can’t afford, at high interest rates, low downs and long terms… I would MUCH rather rent than that but, I still hate renting.
There are also benefits in renting when you can ‘test’ out certain neighborhoods and see if you would actually like to put roots down there. You get to try out various layouts and figure out what you like best… I have enjoyed doing all of those things, I hate renting though, I don’t want to rent any longer.
Another, maybe lofty goal is to be able to travel around and learn how to build earth-ships in a couple years. It would be awesome to have a home I could take with me, off the grid and learn to take things to even the next step! That is a lofty dream, and I have a bit to cover first before going there… but still a partial reason I want to build my tiny home.
Why Tiny Works for Me:
I have been living in my tiny house for 6 months at this point (December 2013) with my great dane puppy. My daughter is due in March and we will be staying put in my tiny house. This has allowed a perfect situation for her and I to live simply and for me to be able to raise my daughter instead of working so that I could provide her with day care. I now have about a three year plan until I am guessing she will start needing some of her own space, that may happen sooner or later, I’m not sure.
Tiny works with me because I like simple. I don’t have a ton of ‘stuff’, I don’t want a ton of ‘stuff’. I don’t have extended family or kids to shelter. I am single and don’t plan on starting a family for a few years at least. I could afford to put visitors up in a hotel with the money I saved from not paying rent. My needs are simple. A simple house will be perfect for me.