Building the Tiny House
Here we are in 2017 in the middle of the growing tiny house movement. More and more individuals are opting out of the traditional housing options to a life with less square footage and finding more happiness with a minimalist dwelling. In 2013, my husband, Sam, and I decided to take the leap into the Tiny House Movement and build one ourselves, from bare metal beams to a finished home.
Sam was the one who brought the idea of alternative living into light when he came back from a six month venture in the Philippines in 2011. Seeing what it was like to live in a 3rd world country brought on a new outlook for Sam for what you need versus what you want. Sam came back with stories about workers who walked 5 miles every morning to a job where the average pay was $7.00USD a day, and said that the people who had to do this were some of the happiest people he’s ever met. He realized on a very real level that material things don’t bring you happiness.
Shortly after he got back from the Philippines, Sam came to pick me up on our first date on December 27,2011 in his 1975 Canary Yellow Pinto and told me about his humbling adventure and the possibility of him building a tiny house. I knew this guy was something else. After a year of us dating, we decided to build the tiny house together (WOAH, what?). As any couple knows, building a house, even LIVING in a house with your partner can be a very trying time. We took this into consideration and found that we actually worked really well together in the designing and building of the whole house. The paint for the exterior was where it got a little muddy but ended up agreeing on colors after 2 or 3 trips to the Home Depot paint section.
Construction for our tiny house on wheels started in the Spring of 2013 and we were moved in by the Fall of 2014.With us both working full time jobs, it took us a little over a year and a half to get a finished home ready to move in to. From start to finish, the total cost of building was right around $12,000. We paid as we went, taking out no loans for building, and tried to find sales for building supplies and ended up using Craigslist and antique stores for all of our windows and appliances (the sink, stove, etc.). Though a majority of supplies that we built with were used, I think it adds a lot of character to a home that we made ourselves. Our stove is a three burner cast iron stove top that was made in the 1800s, and our sink was originally used as a laboratory sink in a high school (we believe). We don’t have a microwave, dishwasher, or laundry machine, but I was gifted with a KitchenAid Miniature Convection oven that sits on my counter.
•Interesting fact about our tiny house, we have no indoor shower/toilet! Something not a lot of tiny home dwellers talk about is the storing of clothes and shoes. We used the space that would normally be a bathroom and made it our closet/storage room.
So far, we have been in the tiny house for 3 years. Sam and I got married October 2016 and still love our tiny lifestyle. Eventually, I got use to taking baths outside year round and actually prefer it to an indoor shower. Our whole tiny house process has been a wonderful experience and it has expanded our outlook on what we need compared to what we want. Everything that we have in our house is hand selected and cherished by both of us. We don’t plan on staying in our tiny house forever, but it is exactly what we need as we continue on our journey as a married couple.
You can read an in depth article that Sam wrote for Tiny House Magazine here on the building process.