In the post I discussed some of the important questions everyone should ask themselves before they ever buy a trailer or pick up a hammer and nail. I kept that post pretty general to allow people to see themselves in the answers, but I'd like to address some of those questions for my own project. It was very helpful for me to see the ways other tiny housers built and lived in their homes when we were building so I am hoping that our decisions can help others as well.
Here are some of the decisions we made and why.
- Our bed. We chose to have a loft bed with a ladder. The reason we did this was very simple: that was the way the plans were drawn. It really doesn't get any more complex than that. We decided we wanted to use Tumbleweed Tiny House plans (at the time, Jay Shafer was still running the company) and the Tarleton model we chose had a loft. We did spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the ladder and what kind of bed to put up in the loft, but the actual loft was a simple decision.
- Our kitchen. Our indoor kitchen is very simple. We use portable burners and don't have an oven, a sink, or any sort of refrigeration. We wanted to keep things as simple as possible to start. We knew we could always add these things if we felt we needed them but it would be harder to invest and never use them. We also wanted to enjoy cooking outdoors so we built a small outdoor kitchen space as well.
- Our bathroom. Our indoor bathroom was placed precisely where the Tarleton plans said it should go. We bought a 30 inch fiberglass shower enclosure and built the bathroom walls around it. We also opted for a composting toilet because our home was designed to be off the grid.
- Our entertainment. This was actually one of the easiest decisions for us. The act of downsizing and simplifying was very important for our process so we knew we wouldn't have a TV or a large collection of books. Instead, we have handheld devices and a tablet where we can read books on Kindle or watch TV shows and movies digitally.
- Our hobbies. It was very important that we were able to do the things we love in our tiny house. We included a wall mounted guitar hanger so Matt could play music. He also wanted to be able to use and store a large gaming laptop. Everything else, like our camping equipment, is kept in our barn. We were really lucky that our land came with an old barn and we used it a lot over the years.
- Our work. Matt and I both work from home. As a freelance writer everything I do is conducted on a laptop and online. Articles and invoices are all submitted electronically and all of my research is done through the internet. I wanted my job to be location independent so I could work from anywhere. Matt has a remote working arrangement with his company and can do most of it from a tablet computer. Much of his work is done via conference calls.
- Our systems. Part of the process for building a tiny house for us was to simplify our lives as much as possible to prove to ourselves that we cold live self-sufficiently. We wanted to see how little money this lifestyle took, so we began with extremely simple systems. Our solar power keeps our laptops, lights, and devices running. We planned on building a rain catchment system but our spring has proven to be very reliable. We haven't decided yet if we are going to upgrade system or not.
The beauty of tiny living is that everything you do is fluid. If we decided tomorrow that we wanted to add a heater to the house we could easily do that. We know how we built it and we know where to cut to install such a thing. We could add a sink or a stove if we wanted to. We could even build a second tiny house to try out new techniques and layouts.
Every single choice we made building and moving into this tiny house was deliberate.