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Posts Tagged la casita

Moving a Tiny House

After one year of living the tiny life in Charleston, South Carolina, we get ready to venture north with our tiny house. Over the holidays Cedric applied for a new position at his job, Vermont Bicycle Tours. He was a trip leader here in the South but has now been promoted and so we are moving to Vermont in the middle of February! We’ve never moved La casitaCasita further than 15 miles so we have quite a challenge ahead of us, especially with winter in full swing in Vermont. Above all else we want the house to come with us but we’ve made two concessions:

1. If a snowstorm hits too soon before we leave we won’t move the house.

2. If the winds prove too blustery we won’t move the house.

Hoping that the weather holds out on us we are taking the following steps to traveling with  La Casita.

1. Towing Vehicle: This is already proving expensive. Moving a tiny house  is not going to be cheap. We have to cover 1,200 miles in a long weekend and most trucks are round-trip rentals only. The cheapest rental we’ve found is $550 not including at least another $500 in fuel. It will have to be a 4×4 and we’d prefer diesel. We’re also looking in to buying a truck and possibly reselling it up in Vermont. As a rural state we figure there is plenty of need for a truck but if it isn’t diesel and it has too many miles, this idea could backfire on us. We’re definitely leaning toward buying at this point seeing as we don’t want to have to bring a rental back down south. A truck could really prove useful up north and we’ve talked about possibly keeping it if we find the right one.

2. Trailer Preparation: La Casita sits on a 6’x16′ dual axle trailer and is pretty easy to tow, even for me, who has little to nopainted-trailer experience in towing anything. We are going to have to replace the tires, another $500, in order to tow it safely. Besides tires, we need to double check our lights, brakes and bearings to make sure everything is in working order. We have to look for chains for the rear axle and the truck as well.

3. Packing up La Casita: For the most part, we don’t have much to pack since it’s already mobile! The kitchen will have to be boxed up to prevent any glassware from breaking and our artwork will need to come down off the walls but other than that the house is set. It will probably require the least amount of work in all the going-ons. We’ll also use it to transport our bikes and Cedric’s tools and anything else that may not fit in the car.

These are the preliminary stages to our planning but it’s going to happen fast as we near next Friday, February 1st which is our current departure date. Cedric does not start til the 19th so we have plenty of time to settle in to our new lives.  For whatever reason, if we can not move the house, we have had a few people ask about renting it in our absence. We will certainly consider this option if it comes to that but we’d rather be able to take our home with us since that was the intent of building it on a trailer. Hopefully, lady luck keeps the winter weather at bay and we’ll find ourselves living the tiny life in Vermont in a couple of weeks!

Your Turn!

  • Any advice or suggestions from the tiny life community on towing a tiny house?

 

 

Essential Tiny House Appliances

This Christmas my favorite Belgian tiny house builder gifted me the most excellent kitchen appliance. He knew it was essential to any tiny house kitchen. He realized I needed it after going an entire year without homemade hummus. It was…a three piece immersion blender! I can’t fully express in a post how ecstatic I was to receive this appliance. It not only acts like a blender on a stick, which is incredibly convenient, it also has a whisk and small food processor attachment. The following night I made 14 bean garlic hummus and plenty of vanilla whipped cream. There is nothing I love better than homemade whipped cream in my coffee and hummus on my morning bagel. Needless to say I’ve been in the kitchen more! This appliance is so handy because it is compact, fitting neatly in our spice rack, and provides the action of three separate appliances in one. The attachments are unobtrusive and easy to store. Besides being  a lot less bulky, it’s also much easier to clean an immersion blender than a regular blender. It’s truly an excellent tool in a tiny house. So all this excitement got me thinking, what else is useful to a kitchen the size of a sailboat galley? Here are a few answers from La Cocina de La Casita.

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1. Pressure Cookers

Today’s pressure cookers are modern, readily usable and safe cooking appliances. We bought a small pressure cooker from the Spanish company Fagor and it’s incredible. We can cook something as simple as brown rice or as complicated as seafood stew in twenty minutes.  Newer models also come with better safety features and cookbooks to help get you started. I had never used a pressure cooker before we lived in La Casita and now I never want to go without one. The one disadvantage is bulk. Our cooker is the largest of our kitchen necessities but it makes up for it in practicality, especially when it saves us money on propane every month.

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2. Collapsible Accessories

Our silicon strainer is my favorite kitchen accessory. It reduces to the width of a badminton racket, allowing for storage practically anywhere in our kitchen. We also had collapsible measuring cups but unfortunately those were lost in a move. They would have been super handy in La Casita. Basically, any item in your tiny kitchen that you deem a necessity try to kind it in its collapsible edition!

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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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Sneak a Peek: The Inside of La Casita

After last week’s post, Ryan asked me to provide a peek of the inside of our tiny house and I was delighted to do so! As of today, Cedric and I consider La Casita at 85% completion for the interior. It has taken us much longer to complete the finishing work, which seems is the case with any building project! When we began construction we promised ourselves from day 1 we wouldn’t move in until the house was completely finished, however, fate wasn’t going to let us keep our promise.

It was right around Thanksgiving when we came home to the rental property we shared with a couple of friends to find an eviction notice on our door! We had 30 days to leave the premises and Cedric and I had a tough choice to make. La Casita was roughly 90% complete on the outside. It was water proof, we had a mattress and our electricity worked although there was no running water and out bathroom was incomplete. In the end we made the choice to move in starting in January rather than try to find another lease.

After months of designing we finally installed bench seating in our living/dining room and it has had a huge impact on our space! Now not only do we have custom seating but we acquired an incredible amount of storage space! Our biggest challenge throughout the house is definitely storage and in retrospect we should have considered building more in for upstairs as well as downstairs. As we continue to tackle that challenge throughout the house we learn more about how to design small spaces for maximum comfort and convenience.

 

Our bathroom is another challenging aspect of the house. It was originally a foot longer than it’s current size but we realized it would eat up too much of the downstairs floor space so we downsized. I also wanted a bathtub and researched Japanese Omnitubs but between the weight and the size we couldn’t compromise our trailer or our living space. We ended up with a stainless steel floor pan and re-purposed corrugated tin for the walls making it a bona fide wet room!  As for our toilet we have a composting bucket system although we are considering switching to an Ecovita design for a more comfortable and classic look. Our favorite part about our bathroom is the window over the shower with a view of the garden!

Upstairs we are always on the look out for storage ideas! Between clothes, books, bed sheets and bags we have had a lot of reducing to do in terms of material goods. I try to keep things organized with plastic storage bins, dresser drawers and lots of up-cycled ideas! It’s a challenge in the loft due to the pitch of the roof. We wanted La Casita to look like a house, not a mobile home, but with the pitch of the roof, along with 7 foot ceilings downstairs to accommodate Cedric’s height, we lost space in the loft. It can make it difficult to find storage solutions for all our stuff. I think between under the bed storage containers and assorted drawers and baskets we’ve finally found a way to make it work.
No matter the challenges we continue to enjoy working on La Casita and improving upon it every day. The great thing about a tiny house is that a tiny adjustment can make all the difference in the use and comfort of the space and that’s how you begin to make a house a home.
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