As some of you may already know, I have been interested in building a tiny house ever since I watched the documentary, "Tiny" last spring while house sitting for a friend. They didn't have cable in their house so I was just browsing through Netflix and thought it sounded interesting. O.M.G. By the time I finished watching it, my heart was racing 100 miles an hour and I was so excited about the idea of a tiny house! So I spent the last nine months or so reading all about the "tiny revolution," researching builders and pinning design ideas to my Tiny House board on Pinterest. But before I update you on where I am with my Tiny House journey, I'll take a minute to explain what a tiny house is (in case you don't know) and why I find it so appealing.
First of all, a tiny house is exactly what it sounds like... a little, tiny house. They look a lot like regular houses, just shrunk down to about a tenth of the size. They're not trailers or mobile homes, although they are usually built on a flat-bed trailer. This is to get around building codes since they usually are only about 100-200 square feet total and most housing codes require a minimum that is much higher than that. So by building them on flat-bed trailers, they are considered "RV's" and can therefore be smaller. Here's an example of a cutie-pie tiny house:
Or they can also look like this:
You can pretty much design them however you want (as long as they stay within the height and width guidelines for highway driving) and include all kinds of features like porches, skylights and lofts. They can be designed to be on-grid with traditional water, electric and sewage hook-ups or off-grid using composting toilets, water catchment systems and solar panels.
Simply put, they are stinkin CUTE. And the best part of all is because of their relatively low cost (especially if you build it yourself), you can usually get them mortgage-free!
So of course, that was the main selling point for me. Instead of putting the same amount toward just a down payment on a condo or a townhome, why not buy a whole house outright and not have any mortgage or rent payment?? Not to mention one that I can pick up and move to the beach whenever I want! :) I also have always been much more about spending time with friends and family, traveling or going out in life and having experiences than accumulating material things, so this is right up my alley. And the idea of having to downsize all of my stuff to fit in just 150 sq. feet (roughly) is exhilarating and liberating! Every time I move, I always have so much STUFF that I just continue to move from house to house but never really use... we all do. But I'm excited to get rid of mine!
Now back to my journey...
Since I am dealing with adrenal fatigue right now and can't do anything that requires any amount of exertion and don't currently have a husband, father, brother or other random male relative that might want to help me build a house, I decided to go the route of a tiny home builder. There are actually quite a number of them out there already but most of the ones around here (NC) are more toward the mountains. So I talked to a few of them in NC right off the bat but they were out of my budget. :( That's the thing about going with a builder... you can build a whole house with all the bells and whistles yourself for like $15-25k but when you go with a builder, most of them start at like $40k. So I ended up talking to a company called Tiny Happy Homes in TN. They had the look that I wanted... more contemporary with white interiors (not the "log cabin" look that a lot of the others have) and great options like full size appliances, staircases and bathtubs. I went back and forth with them though for literally like 2 or 3 months before ever getting a quote, which I didn't really like. And when I did finally get the magic number a week ago, it was too much again.
Sooooo... I was about to start from square 1 all over again, when someone I had contacted a few months ago came back in the picture. He had been in the process of moving his company and was unable to take on any new builds. But now he was settled in Raleigh and wanted to know if I was still interested. Um... YES! So I've been discussing a house with him and it's been going great! He actually took everything I wanted and created a design just for me which I feel so much better about instead of being forced to pick a random design. There are certain things that I really want in my house like headroom in the loft area (I am a tall girl after all and I don't want to feel claustrophobic), a staircase up to the loft instead of a ladder, a bathtub (even if it is a small one) and a functional kitchen with all the regular appliances. And he's even going to work in a little porch for me on the front so I can have a rocking chair from Cracker Barrel like I've always wanted. :)
Here's an idea of what the inside will sort of look like (this is another house he did):
And what I kind of want the outside to look like (color-wise):
Seriously. How stinking CUTE!!
So now that I found a builder that I feel good about and the design seems to be falling into place... dare I say, I might be signing a contract soon! I've started a Tiny Transition e-course that includes weekly lessons on downsizing and have started a little bit of it already. I went through all of the clothes, bags and shoes in my closet and was AMAZED at how much I pulled out. I already went through my clothes twice recently... once when I moved in with my roommate in May and again when I bought some new clothes back in Aug/Sept. So I thought I had already pared it down for the most part. Think again. When you think about things in terms of a teeny, tiny closet, it's a whole different story. I had still held on to so many things that I thought I'd wear "one day" or that I "meant" to wear... when in all reality, I haven't touched them in over a year. It really is true what they say... we only wear about 20% of our wardrobes. But it felt good to REALLY get rid of that stuff this time! I went through some books and photo albums in my living room too and again, it was crazy how much stuff you just get used to seeing every day that you really never even interact with. I had a trash bag full of photos and a huge stack of books and movies to get rid of in like 10 minutes. And lemme tell ya, it kind of gives me a high! I think I'm going to like this downsizing thing! :)
So as things progress, I will keep blogging about the process on here and on a blog that I'll be doing for Lake Norman Magazine as well. And even cooler... when it's done, they're going to send a photographer out to take photos for an interior piece in the magazine! :)
I think that's it for now. But if you're in the Lake Norman/Charlotte area and you know of a place where I can park my tiny home (on a piece of land for rent, someone who has property or just extra space in their yard, etc.), let me know! I have one possibility but it's not in stone yet so I'm always looking for options!
Until next time...