This article originally appeared in the January issue of Tiny House Magazine. Check out details to read this and other amazing contributions when they're published each month.
Our tiny house journey has been a roller coaster, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
We began our process in 2007 when we bought land in Western North Carolina. We broke ground for our foundation in 2009. We spent the next 3 years building the tiny house with our own four hands on weekends and vacations. And it was 2012 that we moved in.
I’ve not kept any of our decisions secret and after living in the tiny house for a year, we bought a bungalow in the city that we fixed up. But people always want to know the whys behind our various adventures. So, without further ado, here are the 10 reasons we built and lived in the tiny house, and the 10 reasons we moved out.
- Adventure. It all comes down to this. My partner and I are not people who can sit still. When we decided to move from the state where we grew up to Georgia where we knew practically no one, we just did it. When building a tiny house seemed like a good idea, we just did it. It’s just one more weird thing in a long list of weird things we’ve done.
- Building something with our own hands. Matt always wanted to build a house with his own hands. His father wanted to be a builder and designed several homes, but passed away before he realized these dreams. Matt didn’t want to wait. Building a tiny house was a way to get that experience.
- Proving to ourselves we could do it. We wanted to do it, so we did it. Sometimes it really is as simple as that.
- Living sustainably. Our tiny home is also off the grid. We wanted to see how much energy we actually needed to live our lives. That included everything from working to watching TV. We discovered that our water use was reduced dramatically and we could run our lives on a small solar power system.
- Reducing our expenses. Starting with eliminating a mortgage or rent, we wanted to reduce our living expenses. With an off-grid house, we could do that even more. It gave me a chance to quit my job and take a risk.
- Living close to the mountains we love. We also found ourselves in love with the Smoky Mountains. It was a fascination that actually started years before we began building. We felt fortunate to be able to buy our own part of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
- The tiny house community. I was most excited about the connections that we made because we built the tiny house. We’ve met people all over the country and the world. People who truly get what it means to take risks and try something new. It’s the sole reason I’m able to write for Tiny House Magazine today.
- Fodder for my writing career. Which brings me to my next reason. I wanted to be a writer my entire life. I thought I had to wait until someone told me I was a writer. What I realized what that all I really needed to do was write. So I started my tiny house blog and that launched an entire career.
- Togetherness. People always ask us how we can live together in such a small space. The truth is, we never thought we couldn’t. We actually like to be around each other, and the tiny house only enhanced that.
- Trying something new. Ultimately, it was worth the experience. Just trying something that we hadn’t done before. And, at the time, not many other people had done it either. It was exciting.
And when we moved out of our tiny house, it wasn’t without a lot of consideration.
- More adventure. We’ve already established that we’re not people who can sit still for very long. Once the tiny house was done, we didn’t feel right just staying in it forever. We needed to get our hands dirty again and do something else.
- Our bungalow. We stumbled across a 1948 bungalow with a slight historical significance that was in disrepair. At 700 square feet, it seemed perfect for us. We were able to buy it and spent a year fixing it up, living between it and the tiny house.
- Proximity. What we realized during that time was how much we liked living close to downtown Asheville and all of things we could do within just a mile from our home. The tiny house is about a half an hour out of the city.
- Health challenges. Then, one summer, I had some health challenges that required a minor surgery. After my recovery, our beloved cat required surgery to remove a tumor. Our tiny house with the loft wouldn’t have been the best place for either of us to recover, so I was grateful we had the city house.
- Getting rid of a car. Living so close to downtown, we were also able to sell one car. Since we both work from home, it was rare that we both needed a car at the same time to go different places. And with rideshares becoming more common, we can rely on Uber or Lyft when necessary.
- Traveling. While travel was a priority while living in the tiny house, we also realized that the city house had a lot of benefits in this department. Our kitty went on a lot of trips with us, but she couldn’t travel internationally. With the city house, we could get a pet sitter to keep her company.
- Our cat. Beyond Piglet’s surgery and our ability to travel without her, she was also diagnosed with a second form of cancer while we lived in the city house. She was aging and keeping her safe and comfortable became a top priority.
- Neighborhood. We also became pretty close to our neighbors and loved living in our little slice of Asheville. Our small street was developed in 1948 with a series of identical bungalows, which is fun to see on the inside.
- Community. Getting involved in the community was also a huge draw for us. We started the Asheville Small Home Advocacy Committee to help others in the city find ways to live tiny in legally viable ways.
- Big life changes. And through all of this, we continued to grow and change. And a big life change happened that would affect everything. In the summer of 2018, we packed up at moved to Atlanta.
But wait, there’s more. This summer, 2019, we’ll be moving back into our tiny house. And there is one reasons for that.
- Adventure. Now, we’re here in Atlanta, Georgia while Matt attends the Emory School of Law. We are renting out our small bungalow, adhering to our values of affordable housing in the city. But our tiny house is still standing on that mountain north of Asheville waiting for us. We’re grateful we have it because it means we can go home for the summer and not have to worry about where we will be living or having to pay for two apartments.
For us, life is all about adventure and risk taking. We want to push and challenge ourselves and we find that we can’t do that if we’re just staying on one place. The tiny house is a testament. A monument. It represents so much more than just a house.