I’m back in Charleston for the month visiting friends and family and recently went to visit my friend Zach at The Golden Elephant! No, it’s not an Indian restaurant it’s his tiny house! He’s about half-way through his build and I was really curious to see the progress in person and talk about his approach to building a tiny house. Here are some of his insights!
What inspired you to build a tiny house?
I was originally inspired by the shed that Cedric re-modeled in to a living space in the backyard at our apartment. It was the perfect set-up. I was attracted to the minimalism of the lifestyle as well. Plus, all the resources and time to do it were there.
What freedoms do you hope to attain living the tiny life?
Time, I want my time back. Time and flexibility in life. I feel like you have to pay that ahead though. Truthfully, I don’t want to work as much. I also really appreciate the mobility the lifestyle offers.
Why is it called The Golden Elephant?
Cedric and I were hanging out at the house and we were discussing names at one point. We got to work and then he turned to me and said it was going to be called the golden elephant. I think the name fits. The cantilever of the house looks like a big trunk. It’s one of the largest tiny houses I’ve seen so far and the outside of the house is a golden color from the cypress.
How has community impacted your build?
I’ve met so many awesome people through this thing and it’s made me form stronger bonds to my community. It would not be possible without my friends. You can’t really do it without help from your community unless you have that skill set already. Building I had help with the sheathing, siding and installation of the roof. I have had help figuring out where systems are going to go, talking about ideas and how I’m going to approach these things. A lot of help has come through talking to people who have done things like this before and going over what I plan to do.
What are your methods for getting rid of stuff?
The formula that I’ve adopted is if it’s not serving a purpose or I haven’t used it in 30 days, I try to get rid of it. The exception to this is tools and camping gear because you’re not going to use them all the time but it’s difficult and expensive to replace those things. At minimum, I do four major purges a year. I will take full inventory and clean everything that I own. I will touch everything that I own in my house and if it doesn’t serve a purpose or I don’t need to own it, it’s gone. That’s what keeps me sane because I don’t need to own any more of this stuff. I’ve never been let down by not hanging on and you just have to really decide what you can and can’t live with.
What has been the most challenging part of the build?
Coordinating the inside such as placement of outlets and lights and switches. It all needs to be carefully laid out. I didn’t really have an interior design so that’s been really troublesome. Predicting where the systems should go is difficult but staying the night in the space has really helped with that. Also, roofing sucked. I kinda hated roofing only because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I felt like I was unprepared for that part of construction.
What have been your favorite aspects of the build?
Creating home, creating my own space. The siding was good. It was really rewarding, there was something deeply satisfying about doing that.
Anything else you’d like to share about the process. Got any advice to throw out there?
Try to dive in to it as much as possible. Really get all the research together and try to do it all yourself. It’s worth more to me to do it myself than to pay someone to do it but that’s if you have the time. Not everybody has the time and my project has taken exponentially longer because I’ve done it all myself. I also think tiny houses should be built as whimsical as possible. When you build it yourself you can do whatever you want! Embrace that.
Thanks Zach and good luck with the rest of your build! To check out more awesome pictures and find out more about The Golden Elephant visit the via link below!
- Are you building a tiny house? What are the most challenging as well as rewarding aspects to your process?
- What originally inspired you to join the tiny house movement?