UPDATE FROM OUR LAST POST: We have received our trailer back!!! It came yesterday (4/22) and it was a flood of excitement. There will be a separate blog post as we move along in waterproofing and framing the subfloor. Stay tuned for that!
In the mean time, we wanted to do a post on general questions we are asked when telling people of our adventure to live tiny. There will be a Part 2 to this post that addresses in-depth FAQs, but this will give you a basic understanding of tiny living.
WHAT IS A TINY HOUSE?
Generally when I get on the subject of our tiny house build, the person I'm talking with (if they are somewhat young) immediately goes "Oh, like Tiny House Nation!". Well, pretty much. For those that don't know what a tiny house, I literally say "just google it and go to images". These are a few of the exterior images you will see.
Gable roof, more country log cabin style
Shed roof (back to front), more modern, contemporary style
Shed roof (side to side), gooseneck trailer (bed above the gooseneck, no loft).
This is the same trailer we have. Ours, too, will have the bed over the gooseneck and no loft.
Interior (mainly wood) of a gable roof
Note: Wood used for interior wall finishing is very common in tiny homes as opposed to drywall which is rigid and will crack during transportation. Although, we've read multiple places of people using drywall and never seeing a crack!
Interior of the gooseneck trailer seen above.
Also, this is similar to what ours will look like - light, white, airy interior to appear more open.
Okay, so now that we've seen a few different tiny homes, you can see that they vary significantly. Most recently, the tiny house movement refers to tiny homes as small homes on wheels, but there are MANY other types of small homes - boats, treehouses, etc. that brings us to the next question:
WHY ARE YOU BUILDING IT ON WHEELS?
There are multiple reasons here:
1. Mobility - Many people build on wheels for it to be transportable. People want to have the luxury of relocation and pulling their home with them everywhere they go.
2. Building Code - This is also the way that your tiny house is put into the "gray area" of building code. Without getting into too much detail, this is the way that you're able to (in some places) get around building code. Your tiny house is looked at as more of a mobile home than a permanent residence. This is more of a factor for us than #1. Yes, we want our house to be mobile, but we don't want to pull it every few months. It's a nice means to move our home out west, but not our primary reason for putting our home on wheels.
HOW DO YOU TRANSPORT THE TINY HOME?
1. Pull it yourself with your own truck - This is a great option for people who are planning to move their house a LOT! They can justify the purchase and upkeep of a large truck (3/4 or 1 ton truck). As mentioned previously, we don't imagine ourselves moving our house frequently, so this wasn't the right option for us.
2. Pull it yourself with a rented truck - You can also rent 1/2, 3/4, or 1 ton trucks. This is a great option for someone who has a tiny house that is small enough to fall under the weight requirement to pull with a normal driver's license. Your normal driver's license allows you to pull a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds (truck weight + trailer weight + whatever you're pulling). In our case, our whole setup would be over this requirement and one of us would have to get our Commercial Driver's License. Something else we couldn't exactly justify in our case.
3. Hire someone to pull it -The cost of pulling your tiny home (time + gas money) can actually be pretty crazy if you're pulling it all the way across the country. In our math, once we actually did it ourselves, got our CDL, rented a truck, and hauled it out there, it would have been just as cost effective (and probably more safe!) to have someone else pull it.
HOW "BIG" CAN TINY HOMES BE?
We have heard a general rule of thumb that anything under 500 square feet is generally considered "tiny living", although, in our minds, 500 square feet is pretty big :) Tiny homes on wheels could max out around the 300 square foot range.
Ours will be roughly 270 square feet. This is, of course, on the larger side of tiny homes!
WHERE WILL YOU PARK IT?
There are also multiple options for parking:
1. RV Park - I would say this is the least permanent option, although people with smaller Tiny Homes are able to pull this one off. In our case, our home is way too large to pull up into any RV Park.
2. Host Home - This is the way we will go initially. Basically, there is a community of people that are interested in "hosting" tiny home dwellers. There are multiple places you can find these gracious people online. The overall idea is that we will put the tiny house on their land and plug right into their utilities (electricity, water, etc.)... although, because we're moving to a very cold climate, this is a lot easier said than done. Separate post on MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) when we get there! This, though, will give us the ability to get out west in a timely manner. Purchasing land + running utilities and/or living off the grid is expensive and time consuming. We want to get out tiny house out west before we bite off this step.
3. Purchasing/renting your own land (off grid or running utilities) - This is our ultimate goal. We would love to be able to purchase land and live off the grid. You could of course purchase land and have utilities run, but as we all know... this can be a very costly thing - especially if you live on a piece of land well outside of town. Like I mentioned in #2, we want to get where we're going with our tiny house and then we will set out on the adventure to find land and make it to total off-grid living. We feel it's necessary to become part of a community - making friends, getting advice, etc. before making this step.
Where will all of your stuff go?
Brian and I have actually moved several times over the past few years - both individually and together. We all know that with every move comes purging. In our most recent move we held a massive garage sale and anything we didn't sell went directly to Goodwill.
With that being said, we still have WAY too much stuff...and we really don't have all that much. Tiny home dwellers say that building the tiny house is only half of the challenge and that downsizing your possessions is the other half... and equally, if not more, difficult.
We will hold another very large garage sale prior to going tiny and again, everything we don't get rid of will go directly to Goodwill.
We will each have one large tub dedicated to ourselves. Everything we own will fit into those - yes. 1 tub for shoes, clothes, makeup, swimsuits, boots, jackets, computers, and anything else you see as a necessity. Sounds like a great challenge, right?
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
Well, for several reasons:
- Location: It's always been a dream of ours to move out west where we can live next to a mountain. As outdoor driven people, this will give us the ability to snowboard, mountain bike, hike, etc. anytime we want. We also wanted to have our own (semi) permanent residence, but not one that was tied down to a particular location.
- Money Isn't Everything: Being 3+ years out of college, Brian and myself both had successful careers but quickly came to the conclusion that money isn't everything. We wanted to live a much more simple life.
- Our Own Space: We not only wanted our own home, but also wanted to build it ourselves. The tiny house was the way of doing just that, but also doing it debt free - something that is very important to us.
- Experience Life by Traveling: Because we're not having to make monthly mortgage payments, rent payments, etc., we will have the money and means to travel as much as physically possible and this is something that we can't wait to do!