Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Tiny Announcement for 2013

It is funny when you say something online like "I have an announcement." or "a tiny announcement." Everyone seems to think that you're expecting a baby.

Let me set that record straight.


So, then - what is this tiny announcement? Well, it is actually quite a grand announcement. Big. Really big. At least for me.

Let me cut to the chase.

I am now the new co-host of the r(E)vo Convo podcast!  

Random photo of me and a dachshund
So here is the build up. Earlier in February, blogger Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution announced that he was searching for a  co-host for his tiny house podcast. I had recently been bit by the broadcasting bug and I think I'm pretty good at that sort of thing, as an amateur. I had been thinking about ways to dip my toe into the podcasting world.

When I saw his call for auditions I thought, "why dip a toe when I can cannonball right into it?"

I threw my hat into the ring and next thing I knew we were in business.

Tiny r(E)volution and Life in 120 Square Feet are about to meet over the airwaves and celebrate all things tiny!

The first podcast in this brave new world will be available tomorrow, Thursday February 28th. There will be a new one each week featuring interviews, book reviews and all kinds of conversation about tiny houses and things we think tiny house people would be interested in.

I am super excited about this partnership and I hope that I'll be able to contribute something great to the conversation.

Be sure to check out the next podcast tomorrow and every Thursday! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Tiny Trip to the Tiny House

We've been spending most of our time at the city house this winter. Even here in the mountains the cold winter temperatures can drive you indoors. This weekend wasn't particularly warm, but we needed to head up to the tiny house to clean up after some fallen trees.

Our friend and neighbor brought up his monster chainsaw to help carve through the biggest tree that fell right behind the tiny house. While he and Matt were working outside, I did a little work inside to get the house ready for habitation again. I made the bed and I arranged the shelves.

Usually there is a guitar hanging in front of this shelf so you can't see what it on it. We have 4 ounce beer tasters that we've collected from beer festivals in Atlanta. They also make great wine glasses. We have photos of me and Matt as kids. We have books on bird and tree identification for the region. And gnomes.

We have someone coming out the end of this week to interview us for a local magazine. I'll keep you updated on that.

It was an overcast winter day. It was hard to be motivated to do any work. I cleaned some twigs off the main path to the tiny house. And I took some photos.

With the trees leafless you can really see the landscape of the mountain behind us.

Just around the corner from the tiny house there is a path that leads down to a large clearing. From the top of that path you can get this view. With the bare trees it feels like you can see for miles.

A little housekeeping.

By this I mean blog housekeeping, not house housekeeping.

Over at my Facebook page, I am getting very close to 1500 "likes." Once I get there I have a special give away courtesy of another tiny house blogger. I have no idea what I am going to do yet but one lucky Facebook fan will get something pretty cool.

Also, I have a big announcement coming this week. I am dying to tell you what it is but I can't until Wednesday. You're just going to have to wait.

Don't forget to check out Tiny House Talk and Tiny House Listings. I write for both of these blogs and love every second of it. Both blogs have a great team of writers providing tiny house news for everyone. 

Like I said, we're being interviewed at the end of this week and I'll certainly keep you updated. Now that spring is springing we will be back up at the tiny house more frequently and will start posting more tiny living updates.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Time: Our Most Valuable Posession

A couple of months ago I wrote about Debt Free Living here at Life in 120 Square feet. I said that the tiny house made it possible for me to pay off my debts and be able to do something I love rather than something to make money to continuously pay down debts.

There is something else that the tiny house made possible. It gave me back my time.

I firmly believe that time is our most valuable asset. Even as a kid I was keenly aware that life was not a forever prospect. I never wanted to wake up one day and feel as though my life was wasted. It became very important for me to get my time back and live every moment as engaged as possible.

When I worked in a regular corporate job I felt as though I was trading my time for the ability to pay off debts I probably shouldn't have had in the first place. It wasn't the fault of my company, and I had a love/hate relationship with my job for many years. It was the fault of the way of thinking that leads us to feel as though we have to work conventional jobs to pay for our conventional homes.

By reducing my debt and moving into a tiny house I am free to do the things I want to do rather than things I feel I have to do. There isn't a secret formula. I just started marketing myself as a writer and I began to get writing jobs. It is ongoing and I continuously need to market my skills, but I enjoy it so I don't mind. By eliminating my dependence on a conventional way of earning money I am able to take my time back and live every moment the way I want to.

Maybe I can meet some friends for lunch in downtown Asheville while they're swinging through town on their way home to Atlanta. When I was working a conventional job I may not have had the freedom to do this. Maybe I want to start my writing project at 10pm because I don't have any reason to go to bed early in order to get up early and commute to a job. (I don't do this, by the way - I am a rare example of what people call a "morning person".)  There is no restriction on my time and it freeing.

I firmly believe everyone can do this. It may take some creative problem solving. It may be about transitioning your conventional job into a work from home situation that is results oriented rather than based on the hours you work in a day. More and more employers are understanding the needs of the 21st century workforce and are allowing these kinds of schedules. Maybe you have a skill like writing or graphic design that you would be willing to turn into a freelance career. There are so many endless possibilities.

Time is not a renewable resource. And it is unpredictable. Without knowing how much of it you actually have I think it is extremely important to spend it wisely. I can't imagine a better way to take back your own time than to engage in something you love and live in a way to make it possible.

Are you ready?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Ready for Spring in the Tiny House

I am dying for the warmer weather to arrive in the mountains. While we've had cold nights as late as the Spring Equinox before the days are going to start getting warmer. The daffodils agree.

Daffodils by the garden statue.

We are headed up to do some work at the tiny house this weekend! The first job will be to do something with the fallen tree by the Folk N' Ale.

We cut through it to make the path accessible again when we were there last, but it is still in the way.

Once that is done it is time to start getting the inside of the house ready again. We need to make a plan while where there to do things like figure out when to hook the batteries back up to the house and start gathering water again. I also want to make the bed so it looks like a home again.

I'm really aching to get back to this simpler life. I imagine most people think I'm a little crazy for missing my chores and my simple shower, but I do. I don't want to wish my life away but Spring can't happen fast enough.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Matt of Life in 120 Square Feet

It is a running joke in our house.

"Laura LaVoie built her own tiny house with her own two hands all by herself."

I'm the one that does the blogging and the press. I'm the one involved in the tiny house community. Even as much as I say "we" did this and "we" built that, people seem to always fixate on the "me" instead. Even Huffington Post assumed Matt's last name and mine were the same without asking me.

The truth is there is no way I could have built this tiny house by myself. Not because I am not capable but because it was never a one person project. The tiny house was always the product of our combined ambitions and dreams.

So this post is dedicated to the other half of our team; Matt. 

Whoo hoo! I cut a board!

Matt isn't in any of this for the fame and notoriety. I guess I'm not either but I am the one in the public eye. He actively tries to stay out of it.

It has been Matt's dream since he was very young to build a house entirely by hand. His dad was a builder and he died when Matt was very young. For this reason Matt has always wanted to build things for himself.

While I spent hours writing blog posts and inserting photos of our progress, Matt spent hours planning each weekend's work before we arrived in Asheville. He studied how to do foundations, framing, siding, roofing, building a porch, building cabinets, laying down floor, and finishing the walls. I certainly did my share of work, but nothing compared to what Matt was able to do in a weekend.

Part of the reason I am celebrating Matt today is because it is Valentine's Day, of course, but it is more than that. Valentine's Day was also our first date and we celebrate it as our primary anniversary each year.

Our first date was 18 years ago today. 

We've been together, partners, ever since. I think of all the things we've done in 18 years and I couldn't be happier. Now we live in a city we love and have a tiny house in the mountains that we built together.

Matt will be with me at the Tiny House Workshop with Deek of Relax Shacks in Wilmington, NC this April. I believe it is almost sold out so reserve your spot now. Matt and I are pretty awesome, of course, but the entire line up is out of this world.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Anniversary, Matt. Here's to another 18 years! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We Just Can't Freaking Sit Still

Matt and are are a perpetual project couple. It took us three years to build the tiny house and mostly because we loved the adventure. Now that the tiny house is done, we needed a new project.

Enter, the city house. The house we're staying in this winter could use some serious cosmetic help. Matt is painting the kitchen as we speak. And don't think I'm just sitting around not doing anything. My job was to pain the cabinet doors which are currently on the floor on a tarp in the basement. I finished my work already. Matt's almost done for the day.

Why are we doing this. We didn't have to. The house was perfectly livable even if every room was shade of seafoam green. But we could so why not.

Check out our new Bedroomstar Galactica! 

In case you're wondering what Bedroomstar Galactica is - well, we decorated it with Battlestar Galactica art. We are geeks, remember?

Check out this pretty sweet light fixture. I love the way it matches the dark brown furniture.

This was the print that started it all. It is the same painting that was in Adama's quarters on Galactica. My brother got it for us a few years ago and had it matted. We added the dark brown frame to match the rest of our stuff.

So our city house is 700 square feet which I believe firmly falls within the small house category. If you're interested in knowing what makes the difference between tiny houses and small houses, check out this discussion over at Tiny House Talk. 

We're here until about April when we can head back to the tiny house. As much as I am enjoying living in the city (we have about a mile walk to downtown Asheville and we've been doing that quite a bit), I can't wait to get back to the tiny house.

I have some fun stuff in store for when we return, too. Once we have the house put back together I plan on making a video to share here!  I can't wait. I've been wanting to do one for a while but my old camera didn't have a great video setting. Now I have a pretty good video camera so I can't wait to share a tour. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sleeping in the Tiny House

I've been missing the tiny house this winter. We haven't stayed their yet. It has been pretty snowy up on the mountain and that makes the hike up to the tiny house a little treacherous. But I was thinking about how comfortable our tiny house loft is and thought I would share some of the specifics.

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company plans that we bought about four years ago suggested making a bed out of foam for the loft. The primary reason for this is because the length of the loft in the Tarleton design wasn't the same as any conventional mattress. Since we built our tiny house on a foundation we extended the entire building by about six inches which gave us the perfect space for a high end futon mattress.

Strange angle view of the FLOR along with the green counter.
Our loft is carpeted with a product called FLOR. I'm not really sure why except that we just liked the stuff and it added a pop of color to the house. We used FLOR on the rungs of the ladder to the loft with the hope that it would make it easier for Piglet to use the ladder. Once she got comfortable with it she would zoom up that thing all the time.

We bought the futon mattress at a local shop here in Asheville that worked with us to find what was really comfortable. It was pretty amazing to me how diverse futon mattresses are. The one Matt and I had in our first house out of college was cheap and uncomfortable but this mattress is exceptional. However, we did have to carry it up to the tiny house pretty much on our backs - not an easy feat. Now that its there it isn't going anywhere - that's for sure.

I love how the comforter matches the trees.
 Now the loft is one my favorite places to spend time even when I'm not sleeping. It is perfect to curl up with a good book-on-kindle and just relax. Piglet will come and cuddle with you if you sit still long enough.