We aren’t sure about how this blog is going to work.
It’s been on our minds to share our tiny home building experience and we’ve been encouraged by the questions and interest we’ve had along the way. We also want to jot down for posterity as much we can while the trials and tribulations are still fresh on our brains. We hope these ruminations and anecdotes are inspirational and informative. If building a tiny house is something you’ve been thinking about, or curious about, we hope you’ll follow along. And please jump in with questions and comments. We have a lot of topics we aim to discuss, but if there’s something you’re itching to know now, please interject. We will be happy to write on that topic. We have no agenda to follow.
As sort of a disclaimer, our tiny home is still in the works (now and forever). We’re designing and building as we go and as we discover more about our habits and needs. We have a lot of work to do building storage and built-in seating and such. Plus, we plan to develop the surrounding property with outdoor living spaces and an edible landscape. More on that when we get there. Nonetheless, we’re moved-in and the major work is done.
Anyhow, here’s where we’re at right now :
- Square footage : about 183 (plus a sleeping loft)
- Location : Pacific Northwest on family property (in the back of an acre lot)
- Broke ground: August 28, 2014
- Moved in : November 27th, 2014
- Percentage of materials from salvage : about 75%
- Pounds of nails pulled from salvaged boards : 30
- Novice builders (gracious volunteers) : 19
- Man hours to date: about 1200
- Amount spent to date: about $3100
- First completed repair : Roof Leak (January, 4th 2015)
- First repair needed: December 5th, 2014 (window blew out on a windy day, still needs fixing)
We went back and forth on how to present our path to building a tiny house … we decided to just share our abridged conversation :
O: When did we start talking about building a tiny house?
D: I think we were both feeling burnt out on high rent and long hours while we were living in Brooklyn, and wanted a freer and more self sufficient lifestyle. We had both started to hear about tiny houses and then I gave you that tiny house book for your birthday! Ha! What really appealed to me was that creative and hardworking, yet inexperienced builders, were creating charming and livable spaces for themselves.
O: I think lifestyle is a key word in that description. For me, the cost of living and the job was one thing, but in my off hours I wasn’t feeling like I could live the life I wanted to live.
D: And what was that?
O: I didn’t feel connected to the natural world. I wanted to be more connected to my food sources and to trees and the places that you can’t find in a city. And so we started talking about moving to a place that was basically the opposite of Brooklyn and North Carolina was an option with your job so we moved there. And I think we did find a lot of the things I was looking for.
D: Are we going to talk about our foray into buying a house?
O: Oh, right. That’s important.
D: You obsessively started looking for houses to buy in North Carolina and we went down and were talking to real estate people and looked at a bunch of houses and we both felt like that wasn’t the situation we wanted to get into – of having a mortgage. Partly because we were trying to lessen our financial responsibility for where we live and partly because we already have a bunch of debt from school. Especially me. And taking on a mortgage felt like something we couldn’t do. We shouldn’t do.
O: Yeah. It’s crazy that I was so bent on buying something. I think I just wanted a big change–to get out of the city and be more connected to the land. Moving to North Carolina was going to be that. We made the decision to move there without knowing where we’d live exactly. When we were out looking at properties we found Saxapahaw. And it seemed like that spoke to us.
D: The small town. In the middle of bunch of farms.
O: With people our age farming and thinking about building a local economy and sustainability.
D: A community that cared a lot about food and building community around that.
O: So how did we get to the tiny house here?
D: We could talk about how we were deciding between settling there for a while or moving closer to our families. Or you could talk about how you started building and then we did that workshop.
O: Yeah. A lot of inspiration came from working as a carpenter in North Carolina. I felt empowered to build something of my own and was inspired by Logan’s (Heirloom Builders) approach to building and the self-sufficient lifestyle he was creating. The strawbale workshop was pretty influential in our initial designs for the tiny house. And also the philosophy behind building your own shelter.
D: So then I think we flung out to the universe that we wanted to do that for ourselves once we landed in the Northwest. And we talked to my mom about converting the loft above the woodshop or the room near the carport using the natural building practices we learned.
O: Then, when we were still on the road, your mom mentioned that there was a shed that had to come down and that’s when we first started to think about building from scratch.
D: We landed without much of a plan of what we were going to build.
O: And we started to build a week later.
UP NEXT :
Next week, we’ll talk about our initial design ideas and how we settled on a design.
If you’re looking for more info now, we have a section devoted to books that have inspired us HERE.