2 Years of Tiny Living
This is just a quick check-in to let you know how things have been going in Keep on the Sunny Side!
Last time we updated, we told you about the things that we love in our tiny house, the things that took some time to get used to, and the things that we changed. Since last year, the tiny house movement has exploded! There are hundreds of designs and features posted all over social media, on the multiple tiny house TV shows and documentaries, and on personal and professional websites and newsletters.
With this overload of information, we’d like to take this blog post to wind it down and talk about the simplicity of year two in the tiny house. Unlike in many of the tiny house TV shows, we have experienced little or no drama in our tiny house.
Just to give you a few examples…
- We cooked a lot in the tiny house, yet still have not yet over-shopped enough to fill up the mini fridge.
- Right after Christmas we replaced the on-demand water heater that we disliked, and now have a little 19 gallon tank that we really enjoy! Around the same time we got a rain head shower attachment, which extended the head to the middle of the shower so that we use the whole space. Now our 2×3 shower feels really luxurious!
- Family visited for Thanksgiving, and although they didn’t spend the night in the tiny house we all enjoyed the visit!
- We got a little stir-crazy in the winter and grilled out in the snow.
- We rearranged the furniture a few times just to make the space feel different.
- We bought clothes and got rid of a few things, we went to school, worked, slept in the loft, washed in our washer/dryer combo, and hung out on the couch.
Are you starting to feel a little bored? Is this list feeling familiar, or similar to your own past year? It’s probably because tiny house living is pretty similar to regular life. If you want everyday to be a wild adventure in the tiny house, it can be! But, if you are using the house like a regular home, then it will feel like regular life!
Hopefully this assurance that things are normal in a tiny house will help to counterbalance some of the craziness about tiny homes that are advertised today! In our experience it is possible to live simply (and normally) in a very basic tiny house.
Keep on the Sunny Side is the simplest tiny house we have built yet. It has a portable two-burner cooktop and convection oven for cooking, a kitchen without a single base cabinet, a ladder to get to the loft, a 2’x3’ shower inside a bathroom that is only 4’6”x3’, and three feet of our 24 foot home is our front porch. There are very few bells or whistles in this tiny house, and basically no “splurge” items (unless you count the large windows), yet we are happy and satisfied with how we live!
We love the creative, multifunctional, show stopping, and far-out ways that people are finding in order to fit their lives into small spaces! We have really enjoyed coming up with designs to suit customers’ lifestyles, and checking out photos of other great features in people’s DIY homes. However, we just wanted to point out that it is pretty easy to live in a tiny house with a simple design, base-level materials and appliances, and an affordable cost.
For anyone who is looking to retain a sense of normalcy while in a tiny house, don’t worry too much about squeezing everything from your old life into your tiny space! Tiny living can be very simple and still very rewarding. We’d be happy to make it happen for you through Brevard Tiny House Company!
A Year of Tiny
It’s been over a year since we built Keep on the Sunny Side, hauled it to PA, and moved in for full-time tiny living. The tiny life has been great, and we like to be upfront about the benefits and challenges of living in our small space. After a year of living, we can confidently say that we are really happy with our tiny house! After all, we wouldn’t have started Brevard Tiny House Company if we didn’t fully believe in it ourselves! Here are some of the perks and not-so-perky parts of living tiny:
5 tangible things we love (in no particular order)
The Closet: I don’t want to fall into the typical gender stereotype of girls loving closets, so I wont… but most tiny houses really skimp on closet space, and it is just not handy to have to climb in a loft to get your clothes or to put them on. Our closet is right by the door and right across from the bathroom. It couldn’t be handier! When we close the curtain over the door, it’s a perfect dressing space, and it holds even our giant winter clothes! Helpful tip: the clothes hanger rack is raised to only inches from the loft, so that we could have taller drawers underneath. I’m 5’5” and I can still reach it. Moveable Furniture: With regular furniture we can move it to clean, move it to get a new vibe in the house, and it is really comfortable to sit on! Having that squishy loveseat to lie on is perfect after a long day! Storage isn’t bad with regular furniture either! Our electric piano and books are housed under the loveseat, and the Wii board is under our chair. Loud Bathroom Fan: Fans are advertised according to their noise level. The quieter the fan, the more expensive it is. I encourage you to “splurge” on the cheapest fan you can find, because sometimes it’s nice to not hear bathroom noises! Loft Light Switch: We wired our loft light so that a switch in the living room and a switch in the loft can control it. When we are headed up to bed we flick the switch in the kitchen so that we have light while climbing the ladder, then turn it off from bed! “Giant” Features: Our sink is quite large for tiny house standards. Its almost 2’x2’ and is 9” deep. Perfect for after parties, or when we let the dishes pile up, since it can hold a lot of stuff, and we are not splashing everywhere when we wash pots and pans. Also, our windows in the living room are almost floor to ceiling! This makes use feel like we are outside all the time! Big windows are a must in a tiny space!
5 Intangible things we love
The calming wood smell: I had been worried that using pine tongue-and-groove on the walls and ceiling would make the house feel like a “wood tunnel”. With the pop of color from the dark wood floors, it doesn’t feel that way at all, and the smell is incredible every time we walk into the house. The breeze at night: We are soaking up every minute we have without cold weather by keeping the tiny house windows open 24/7. Lying in the loft at night we see the stars, hear the crickets, and the breeze blows all around! Easy Cleaning and Finding: Everyone says it is so easy to clean a tiny house… and they are right. In fact, its turning me into quite the cleaner because after the 5 minutes of pick-up and sweeping, its very easy to get into deep cleaning that we’d rarely (i.e. never) do on a regular house, like cleaning the windows or baseboards. Also, although we still lose things in the tiny house, most are found within 30 seconds, and they are usually just left in the loft. Talking Point: By living tiny, you automatically have something interesting to talk about with colleagues. The tiny house has been a great icebreaker for getting to know new people, and we have found that our friends now introduce us as “these are the tiny house people we were telling you about”. Tiny house parties are also great fun! Being Together: Hands down the best part of living tiny is being together! Sure we can have separate spaces by going in the loft (or the bathroom I guess), but we just really enjoy always being in the same space. I think you have to try it to know it, because living tiny just makes us happier!
3 things we’d do differently if we did it all over again (Sorry, I couldn’t think of five)
Propane heater: We were on a very tight budget when we built the house… and we may have underestimated the length and strength of winter in our location. Our electric space heater is thermostat controlled, and did a great job of keeping the house at my preferred temperature (a toasty 70 degrees). However, electricity isn’t cheap, and if we were to go off-grid in the future, we would need to add a propane heater. Water Heater: We have a small tankless water heater used by many tiny house dwellers. I’m not sure if ours is just a lemon, but we haven’t had the best luck, mostly because the activation flow rate is high and the temperature gauge is fickle. If we did it over again we would still go tankless, but would splurge for a water heater with an activation flow rate of .5 or less, that way you don’t have to have the water at full-blast to make it hot. Shower: Definitely not a need, but sometimes it would be nice to have a bigger shower. Though I love my mini-tub (2’x3’), a standard 3×3 shower is nice! We did have the space for it, and could have made a bigger shower instead of a full porch on the back of the house, but we liked the idea of the full porch, and have used the full porch so it was a worthy trade-off.
2 things we changed
After reminiscing on our first year in the tiny house we reviewed our lifestyle and the things that we could do to make things easier/more enriching/or something we wanted to treat ourselves with for the tiny house. Cabinet: We had empty wall space over the countertop on the right side, and had waited a year to see if we really needed that space. As it turns out, we did! Jake built a nice cabinet that hides the one kitchen item we had forgotten to include when designing our house: Tupperware. Freezer: After much debate, we decided to get a tiny freezer that sits in our storage loft. We contemplated trading our mini-fridge (which only has an icebox) for a fridge with a freezer, but decided to get some extra freezer space with this separate unit. The real catalyst was a year without ice cream, since the icebox was too small to store it. Now the freezer has ice cream and a bunch of meals and produce from our garden and farm (spaghetti sauce, lasagnas, quiches, frozen jalapenos- yum!) A word to the wise: tiny living does lend itself to germ-spreading. Every time one of us is sick it only takes a few days for the other to get the same thing. Thankfully, it is easy to wipe down all surfaces, which hopefully speeds the recovery process, and in the meantime you get to wallow in misery together! Yay Nyquil! Living tiny has been a great experience, and is one that we plan to do for many years in the future! Although we couldn’t think of everything we would need beforehand (there are too many ideas on the internet to choose from!) we are really happy with the end result! Let us know if we can build a house to suit your tiny dreams!