Tiny houses and tree houses go together like shrimp over grits or gravy over biscuits.(Cravin’ some southern food, can you tell?) I have to reveal that I not so secretly wish to live in a tiny tree house community. I actually visited a tree house community in Belgium that consisted of 6-10 people on any given day. They were squatting the land trying to save the last bit of woods outside Brugge. Unfortunately, they lost their battle with the developers and the trees were cut down but it was a really interesting community to visit for a few days. I wasn’t crazy about having to descend ropes every time I needed to tinkle in the night and then ascend back to bed but it was a really fun experience. I would definitely want a staircase as well as climbing equipment to reach my tiny tree house. Options are a good thing. Check out the following worthy pics for inspiration.
If I look over and see even a simple platform for some children in a tree I get giddy. I have seriously considered hopping more than one fence to test the enjoyment of a structure in a tree. Tree houses for me imbue this feeling of childlike exuberance and whimsy. What else could you feel when you see a treehouse? Unless you are afraid of heights and then just don’t answer that question.
I’m not an old school tree house enthusiast who may see a structure like this and balk. I’m all about innovation. How far can tree house design be pushed? How does such a structure incorporate a modern lifestyle with an ancestral habitat? I’ve got similar questions for the tiny house movement. Humans have been migrating back and forth across this planet for so long, I think it’s in my genetics to crave mobility. Carrying your home with you is how the human race lived for millennia until agriculture came along. For me, it a big reason why I’m so attracted to the tiny house on wheels lifestyle but I could be convinced to stay put in any one of these tree houses!
Ideal aesthetic scenario: my garden starts to overtake my tree house. Ideal tree for a treehouse: Banyan for sure although probably super challenging since it’s branches grow horizontally towards the ground, not vertically from a center trunk.
The above structure reminds me of my favorite place at Disney World. The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse attraction. I could have spent all day there pretending I was shipwrecked and livin’ it up treehouse style.
Hang me a hammock off this thing and I’m home!
What kind of tree would you build your tree house around?
When it comes to tiny houses when is small too small? 50 square feet? 100 square feet? 200 square feet? A lot of it has to do with individual circumstances, needs and number of people living in the space. After over a year in La Casita Cedric and I have come to the conclusion that as cozy as our home is, 98 square feet for two people and a stocky corgi is pushing some limits. We need more room in order to work on hobbies, store our bulk items and fulfill our need for independence. In the South it seemed a lot easier to fulfill these needs. We didn’t worry about freezing hoses, there was no need to store bulky winter clothes or gear and going outside was bliss in the winter months. Now that we live somewhere with a serious winter, we have more gear, more clothes and less and less space to put it in and as a tiny house fills, the more claustrophobic it feels. So how do you figure out how small is too small before you’re already living the tiny life? Here are few suggestion from our experience.
First, carefully consider needs. For example, we did not thoroughly consider the impact a tiny house would have on our social lives. We would host 30+ people a year in our apartment and threw lots of social events and fundraisers for different project we were a part of. While I’ve found lots of solutions to the issue of hosting events and entertaining, it’s difficult not having a place for family and friends to stay if they want to visit us up North. This has been one of the hardest parts for me and it wasn’t even something I considered as seriously as I should have. Also, my crafting time has diminished due to lack of space for supplies and the room to actually do projects. My advice is make a list of what is most important to your happiness in your space. Is it being able to cook delicious meals, soak in a tub, host potlucks or a space to do hobbies and crafts in? Number your list with 5 being most important and 1 being least. Make compromises from this list, tweak it as you build and use it throughout construction to remind yourself of your needs and how you plan to meet them.
I started watching this video today and was floored by not only how good it was, not only how true it was, but also how much it just resonated with me. I think every tiny house person should watch this and even non tiny house people.
The quotes that stood out for me is “if you don’t answer this question [what does freedom mean to me] there is a corporation, company or product that is happy to answer it for you”
Here are 5 misconceptions that have cropped up while living the tiny life. Some were my own before moving in to a tiny house and some are what I’ve been asked over and over again.
Numero 1: Oh you live in a tiny house on wheels? It’s like a camper, right?
C’mon! Does this look like a camper to you? Once you mention wheels peoples’ brains seem to zone in on this comparison. It has to be one of the top 3 questions people consistently ask me when I try to describe living the tiny life. First biggest difference between the two in my experience is a tiny house is usually built by it’s owners and is meant as a year-round residence. Secondly, a tiny house is a less toxic living situation than a camper which is usually made with a lot of plastic and glues that are harmful to one’s health. Lastly, you can tow a camper behind a car-I don’t know of a car than can haul a tiny house. At the very least, even the houses on the smaller end need a truck.
Numero 2: The tiny life is the simple(r) life!
Okay, so by simple I mean the misconception I had before living in a tiny house that financial freedom would mean increased simplicity in my overall life. This has not necessarily been the case however. With less bills life has become more flexible for sure but simple not so much. Living the tiny life proves more complicated on the day to day for us due to the time it takes to perform chores and daily tasks, especially if you are without running water like we are. Staying organized is a constant demand, doing dishes takes more time and while cleaning is fairly simple, it has to be done a lot more often. Other complications include finding storage for possessions you don’t want to part with but won’t fit in your tiny house, renting or finding land to buy, setting up utilities and having space to do hobbies and projects. I’ve mentioned other difficulties in a previous post so I’ll leave it at that.
Numero 3: A tiny house means ultimate mobility!
Not quite…if you want to move a tiny house any significant distance plan on paying a tidy sum of money and experiencing a fair amount of stress. At least that was our experience moving from South Carolina to Vermont. Having our own truck would afford us more flexibility and ease of movement but if ultimate mobility is what one seeks, I’d recommend an RV or one of these. Tiny houses are not meant to be moved all the time in my opinion and they don’t have the flexibility of movement that a RV or camper enjoys ( harking back to misconception numero 1).
Vermont has quite the tiny house scene. Only two weeks after moving up here we came across our friend KJ’s tiny house and heard about several more! Back in SC, we were pretty much the only tiny house folks that we knew about but it seems Vermonters have had tiny house fever for some time! Today I want to share this wonderful tiny house that our friend built and currently occupies with her bull mastiff!
The house currently lives on a farm and sits on a 8 1/2 x 16 foot trailer with two bumpouts that serve as storage and sleeping space. She has a hard wired, 20 amp circuit that allows her to hook to a breaker box in the barn next door and although she has a clawfoot tub she recently bought, she does not having running water in the house.
While taking a permaculture course, KJ was exploring a less toxic, less material based lifestyle. She was living in yurt in Vermont and realized that it was not the best living situation through the long winters. It took a lot of wood to heat it and keep it warm for one person so she nixed the idea of buying a yurt. She became especially interested in gypsy wagons and began researching other small living alternatives, such as school bus renovation, back in 2008. Then she moved in to a tree house on a goat farm owned by a couple of architects. She revealed her dream to build a tiny house and she says their eyes lit up! They agreed to help her in exchange for goat sitting on the weekends. Two months of building and she had herself a house.
The house is built with pine that was cut and milled from the forest on the goat farm and it was built specifically to her measurements. She’s thinking up new ideas for the house and planning to remodel the downstairs to have a narrower staircase and a space for a table and two chairs. The best things about living the tiny life? The strong sense of ownership and accomplishment is certainly a strong sentiment for her. “It’s mine, I made it!” is the first thing she tells me when I asked her the above question but also living in a non-toxic space and escaping the materialistic bent of our consumerist culture are among the positives to living this life.