Friday, June 28, 2013

The Journey Toward Simple Living

I have been doing this tiny house thing for so long sometimes I forget that others are just tuning in for the first time.

I thought I would give you a little insight  into our story.

A view from land that we didn't buy.
Matt and I live in a 120 square foot tiny house that we built ourselves over the course of three years. Our house is in a secluded area of a mountain that is part of the Great Smokies in North Carolina.

We bought our land in 2007. This purchase was the result of a lifetime of decisions and dreams that both of us brought with us to our relationship. (For reference, we've been together since 1995.) Matt dreamed of building his own house and I dreamed of becoming a full time writer and living an unconventional life.

It is important to know that when we bought our land we didn't know what we wanted to build at all. All we knew is that we wanted to be in the mountains near Asheville and we wanted to live simply and off the grid.

Building a tiny house did not lead to off the grid living for us. Rather, the desire to live off the grid led us to tiny houses.

Before even learning what tiny houses were, we had a lot of different ideas. At one time, before we knew where Asheville North Carolina was, we thought about living on an RV and traveling the country. We also considered a similar nomadic lifestyle on a sail boat. Once we knew we wanted to to live in Asheville, Matt began to learn about sustainable building techniques that we might be able to use.

He learned about Earthships. 
Earthship in Taos, NM
 He learned about Cordwood Masonry
Cordwood Building in West Chazy, NY



Eventually we were introduced to Jay Shafer's original Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. After we bought the land a friend mentioned that she had seen him on Oprah. We looked into the concept and decided it was perfect. It could easily be built to be off the grid and because it was so small we felt confident that we could do it ourselves as our first building project ever.

Both of us wanted to prove - mainly to ourselves - that we could build our own home and live off the grid. The experience needed to be inexpensive (both for construction and for future living costs) and comfortable. We didn't want to build a hut in the woods and live like feral mountain people.

I am grateful that we discovered the Tiny House Community throughout this process. I have met some of the most amazing people and forged connections and launched projects with many of them. My tiny life is very different from many others, and that is exactly how I like it. Most tiny house people are rebelling against a cookie cutter life and whether we have gourmet kitchens or not we all want to live deliberately and really connect with the world around us.

Tiny house in the Summer



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