This blog is about our progress, successes and struggles during our Tiny House build. I want to write about what the experience has really been like, what a Tiny House is, and why we chose to do it.
Simply, I am grateful for many reasons and joyous that we have finished our home. I’m now a 20 year old who is a home owner (however small), I am not in any debt and still have money in the bank!! Though it was not always easy, I am proud to have done things my own way. I dropped out of high school, started working early which has allowed this chain of events to lead me into the position that I’m in now. I just want to recognize how grateful I am to have a roof over my head as well as an incredible story of persistence and growth to go with it. Comparatively, my “notable points” and observations about our home’s pitfalls may seem minute.
Though we are still in a driveway, we have been “living in” the tiny house on and off for a few months. It’s exciting to have our own space and finally be able to live in it, as was the goal. When we are in the house we are more aware of what’s working and what’s not, what can be made more functional and more useful. We have noticed there’s a shortage of pantry space in the kitchen, jacket space in the closet and shoe space. We have also been unable to shower due to our strangely functioning tankless propane water heater. Still yet to be finished is our sleeping loft pulley ladder, our extended pantry space and installation of a water pump in the shower troff. Since the drain in our shower troff is pre-installed on the side of the basin about 2 inches up, we are left with a stagnant 2 inches of water and this needs to be fixed with a small pump. We are hoping to get settled and build a small porch to create a more flexible space and create a little more lounging room. I am loving a lot of features in our home including our sleeping loft with the perfect size smart TV at 32 inches.
Through our published articles, the people we know, and the flyers I’ve put out in town, we have cast an even wider web for ourselves to search for the ideal host property. A big thank you is deserved to everyone who gave me a call with an openness to our house and what we need. Though most of these situations were not ideal for one reason or another, it’s the effort and openness that is most appreciated by Nick and I. We have looked at spaces in the middle of the woods two hours away as well as farm land on Bainbridge and elsewhere. It’s really kind of the locals who have been seeking and recommending their friends to us, or suggesting places that might be a good fit.
Generally, the response to our tiny house story has been mixed. I have mostly been ignoring the negativity but I want to acknowledge that there is a bit of that, and that people are often opinionated on the subject. When the articles came out in January and were shared online, it was interesting to see what comments people were making online some of which were riddled with factual inaccuracy, and random commentary. One person even compared the death rate from natural disasters to the insinuated dangers of our home collapsing on someone during an earthquake. I believe that a lot of the feedback that we received regarding our house and our story was directly related to both of the articles themselves, and more specifically the way the Kitsap Sun article was written and the exaggerated problematic topics that were brought up. I want to give a big, general thank you to everyone who wrote something positive online and stood up for us and all that we have worked hard for. I would like to share a positive quote that someone wrote regarding our tiny house article.
“It’s never can’t work, is always how will this work.”
I want to point out that when we started building the house we didn’t plan for it to be seen publicly but did plan to go “under the radar” and not bring attention to the issues at hand regarding unwritten laws and codes for tiny houses. After the house was finished and with some coercion, I decided to reach out to the local newspapers and shed light on the topic in hopes that a connection would be made between our city and this grey area regarding tiny homes. I wanted to advocate for other tiny house builders in my area as well. I was excited to see how many people continued to read more about our story on this blog, 4,304 views total for the month of January!
The first dinner in our tiny house was cozy and simple, everything came together and it started feeling a lot more like a home than just a house after a few dinners by candle light. Since our TV is in the loft, we watch it less and spend more time listening to music and doing things outside of the house. Since we have little to no counter space in our kitchen, we have been preparing meals on our fold out ikea table (which I am loving for many reasons).
If there was anything I would choose to press the “do-over” button on, it would be the overall height, the storage loft/closet functionality and layout. I am having trouble climbing the loft ladder, grabbing my outfit and getting both myself down and my clothing, god forbid you forget your socks and have to do it all over again. I have started climbing into the loft, throwing my things to the floor, and climbing down solo without a handful, and with both hands. When it’s the first time for anything your doing, thats when you learn the most. Sure, we are not 100% satisfied with every aspect of our house but we know that we’ve done the best that we could do with the resources, time and experience that we had. Simple things like window placement, ladder layout and storage space are all things I would have thought a little harder about.
Nick and I finally have a few potential tiny house placement spots, that we love. Both on Bainbridge Island, one has the complete package for us but gives less privacy or ambiance. The other is much more private and only 30 seconds walking to the beach with a beautiful agate pass bridge view, but only has a hookup for water (power hookup can get costly). Both locations are roughly the same distance for the tiny to travel so we are leaning towards the more functional location. I am so happy that we have found a nice arrangement that both parties can gain something from, as I always hoped. I am seriously nervous to move our house, ridden with anxiety just thinking about it. I might just remove myself from the situation to avoid an anxiety attack. There is so much at stake, our investment, our entire home, all of the time, effort and energy we’ve put into it. Since this is “handmade” I am relying on the building job solely that Nick and I did, hoping and wishing that it’s sturdy enough to travel. So far, we have only moved it around a few times in the driveway, even that made me nervous. There are so many components to consider, the height, the weight, the tire size, the balance, the towing vehicle, insurance liabilities, inside structures moving, other vehicles on the road etc. Let’s cross our fingers, and I will definitely write about the moving process when we get there.