Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Archive for December 2012

Pets & Tiny Living

Here at La Casita a surprise was in store for Cedric this holiday season. A young Corgi pup named Asher Bear was my gift DSCN3844to Cedric for Christmas and now we are adapting to tiny house living with an adorably fluffy, tiny being! It’s quite the learning experience, both enriching and challenging and well worth the extra effort! So far, we’ve found the transition from two to three quite smooth and La Casita is proving to be just as nurturing a space as a big home can be.

People have asked us about having pets in a tiny house and many seem skeptical of the possibility.  I believe many things you can do in a larger home you can creatively accomplish in a tiny house. For me, this means tweaking my lifestyle and asking for help. Over the summer a friend of ours house sat La Casita and he owns a 50 pound dog. Rather large for the size of our house but with a little help from our community it worked out beautifully. We put Zach in touch with a friend and neighbor who had just lost her dog a few months back and was more than happy to dog sit during the day while he was at work. That way, Ani-dog was able to have a larger space to spend the day and both human and pooch had much desired company. It was a great compromise that worked for everyone and is one example of how you can make having a pet in a small space work for your tiny lifestyle.

Ani dogAs with any pet purchase,  it’s important to seriously consider what creature best fits personal lifestyle and, for dwellers of tiny houses, the animal’s adaptability to living in a small space. Cedric and I thought long and hard about a dog.  We’d been looking at breeds and talking about potentially have a pup for over 2 years. We selected a breed for size and personality as well as a breed whom we’ve lived with in the past. We always knew a small to medium sized dog with plenty of energy would best suit our lifestyle. We are active people who enjoy biking to the park, kayaking the marshes and going on walks after dinner. We wanted a pet who could enjoy these activities along side us. We knew Corgis need lots of outdoor time so we felt that we’d be able to meet the breed’s need for activity and in terms of size it wouldn’t outgrow a tiny space as s/he moved in to adulthood. So far,  La Casita has proven a great environment for Asher  since it pushes us daily out of our home and into our community.  It allows us to assist in his socialization but there’s still enough space in our home to invite over friends for puppy parties which are great fun.

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Holidays Tiny Life Style

It’s nearly Christmas and here in Charleston we have been enjoying the festive decorations throughout the city. Living inP1000035 a tiny house definitely limits traditional decorations and living the tiny life means having to tweak some holiday decor. One difference is that last year we had an 8 foot tree. That just will not work in La Casita and I have to admit I was a bit bummed about not having the space but one of my students at my school came to my rescue! He brought me the top off his twelve foot tree and placed it in a bowl of clay with a little ornament hanging on one of the branches. He came in the kitchen a couple weeks ago and said, “Here Ms. Andrea! It’s for your tiny house!” It was the sweetest gift and it fixed my tree dilemma.  Now we have a Charlie Brown tree to keep things festive this holiday season!

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Luckily for us, here in Charleston, the city goes to great lengths to decorate the streets. Wreaths, living trees, lights and banners are everywhere so when I feel like enjoying the season I can hop on my bike and go out to Marion Square to see the park all lit up in white lights or down King Street to enjoy 16 foot living trees placed along the shopping areas. Living in such a vibrant city is great when your living space can’t support all the holiday bells and whistles!

Since we don’t have a regular tree we’ve decided to celebrate gift giving in the style of stockings! I’ve yet to make them, which I swore I would do last week, and now with only a few days til Christmas I have work to do! Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas morning growing up and it’s a great way to receive presents in a tiny house! Certainly helps keep things scaled down. Check out Ryan’s post about gift giving and tiny house living for more great ideas on giving or receiving this season!

P1000043In terms of indoor decoration we have Christmas lights lighting our living room and we’ve put out the cards we’ve received from family and friends. I’ll get the stockings up when I finish them and we’ve put a winter wreath on our door. It takes some adjustment to have a merry tiny house Christmas but I find it no less enjoyable than past holidays when I lived in larger dwellings. We’ve had to be willing to sacrifice a few things, like a regular tree, but when compared to my daily enjoyment of life in La Casita I don’t mind doing things a bit different during the holidays.  For example, since we don’t have the space to host a party this year we are going to host a Christmas Eve bike ride! We’ll bring cookies and hot cider and enjoy the lights of the city on a tour around the downtown peninsula. We love to entertain our friends and family and while it takes a bit more creativity living in a tiny space, we’ve had just as much fun having gatherings outside our home as in and w e look forward to many more tiny life inspired holidays to come!

Your Turn!

  • Hey tiny house inhabitants! How do you celebrate the holidays tiny life style?

The Hardest Part So Far…

If you had to guess what the most complicated part of building a tiny house is, what would you say?  Building the walls?  Making sure it’s all square? Putting in the gas and electrical?  Nope….

This one thing has been a lot of fun, but a major pain at the same time!  There are times that I feel like I spend more time on this one thing then I spend building my house.  So what is it?

wpid-life-friendship-wallpaper-quotesFinding all the materials to build my house has been the most difficult and near the top on the rewarding experience so far.

What I have found is that when you tell people about your tiny house, they are often really excited and really interested.  It is here where you can forge some great connections and maybe even friendships, in the end having people as your advocate goes a long way.  At this point when I walk into my local hardware store, everyone there know me.  To some I am the Tiny House guy; To most, we know each other on a first name basis and in part it’s because how much time I spend with them finding the right materials for my house.

There are times that I feel like I spend more time at the store searching the various vendors for the perfect fridge, flooring, flashing, or a million other details, but it is worth it.  The details that go into building a tiny house is mind boggling.

I would argue that I spend more time on the details in my 130 square feet than a person does in a McMansion.  The reason why?  Because when you have such a small space, every little thing matters, you have to consider how things will fit together perfectly because the tolerances in a Tiny House are much smaller.

Another thing to consider is that traditional building materials are of a scale for a larger house; there have been many times where traditional materials won’t work because of the size or the scale would look weird on a house so small.  When you get into the building process you see how substituting one thing for another could have a ripple effect throughout the whole house for various reasons.

One factor that I am constantly grappling with is the timing of ordering all the materials.  While I have a great space to build my house, I don’t have a lot of space to store stuff out of the elements.  This means I have to time things to arrive just when I need them or sweet talk the warehouse manager at the hardware store to hold onto them for me.

jared-spool-quoteTo give you an idea of how much time it takes to do all this, take for example ordering windows.  I literally spend 10 hours reviewing different vendors, choosing various options, matching colors, and so much more.  Today I went in and spent 3 hours ordering all the parts to my roof, but before that, it took 3 weeks of phone calls to get a color sample to make sure it matched my windows.  By the time I had selected my roofing I had considered 10 different metal roof manufacturers, collected 6 different color samples and spent a lot of time on the phone.  The reward was when I opened that last packet to find the perfect shade of red to match my windows.  It is identical, even though its two different companies and it is going to look great when brought together!

So just know going in that finding the perfect materials for your house will be a daunting task, but in the end, it’s worth it!

Oakland Tiny House

I have been mulling over a lot of Tiny House design ideas as of late and I keep finding myself being drawn to shed roof styles.  It is something about the look of it and the ironic thing, its about the simplest to build.  Today I found a neat tiny house over at Tiny House Listings that is on a trailer (hard to see) but has a shed roof style.

Owner/artist designed and built tiny house in Oakland CA. 120 sq. feet with sleeping loft and all custom built in furniture. Salvaged hardwood maple floor (from an old roller skating rink) and salvaged redwood ship lapped siding. Fully insulated with 120v electrical, on demand hot water heater, outdoor shower, Dickinson propane heater, two burner gas range and hard maple countertops. Every component is hand made with premium hardwoods. I’ve been living in it for a year and have loved every minute of it.

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The Tiny House Movement Across The Country

The movement is growing, we have seen it in the number of people coming to this website, the number of houses being built and if you haven’t checked out the Tiny House Map, you should and be sure to add yourself!  I came across this great video of some tiny houses and the people who live in them.

tiny houseYour Turn!

  • Are you planning on building your Tiny House yourself or have someone build it for you?
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