Living tiny: how tiny can we go?

Monday, April 04, 2016

It was a year ago, right about when we moved into our current too-large-for-2+2 home, Justin and I decided that our next project will be a tiny house.

Our inspiration came from Portlandia... What an efficient way to live!

The truth is, as much as we love living with lots of room for the doggies to run around inside, we are looking forward to the day when we can take on more large construction projects and have the ability to live onsite so we can roll out of the bed and get to work. (This is true passion!)

Because of our need for tool storage and work space, after looking at many options, we decided that what we need is, again, to go full custom. Our plan is to use containers not only for storage, but also as a house frame, so we can maximize the usage of a single 25ft flat bed trailer to move all our things (and the house!). We wanted to cap ourselves at 25ft maximum so that we have a little more maneuverability for sites with more difficult access.

We started out with a four 20ft cube design, since 640sqft is about the same size of our first apartment. After all we want to go small, not ridiculous. :P

But then as we went through the design, the idea of having to make 4 trips to make "a home" began to seem a little daunting. We'll have all the conveniences, but we have to be on the road that much longer each time we move. So we decided to try smaller: cutting back to two 20ft containers, one cube with a kitchen + sit-in dinette/office with ample storage, and another cube for sleeping/bathroom/washer+dryer.

It sounded like a terrific design until I realized how unusable each cube can be by itself during the trips--we can't sleep in the kitchen while we're on the road, and we can't cook in the bedroom while we're on the road! Hmm.

So we went back to the drawing board. Maybe containers aren't the best idea because we're limited to 20ft and the next jump is 40ft. Maybe we just have to give in and look into getting an over-height 22ft trailer with usable interior space over the gooseneck.

While I was having fun coming up with a concept layout, Justin called around to find out how much something like that would cost. The answer is: pricey. Imagine my sad face!

To cut the story short, we came to the realization that in a world where you always get what you pay for, if we want to have a custom tiny mobile home that meets all our needs and price point, we just have to go really tiny. 160sqft it is then!

Justin and I took turns tackling this big tiny challenge, and we finally came up with the first Tiny Solera design!

This is my view while lounging on our custom built sofa with pull-out storage ottoman tucked under it.

And this is my view when I'm in the kitchen loading laundry in and out of our LG 4.3 cu.ft. all-in-one washer/dryer combo while waiting for some cookies to finish baking in the GE speed oven/microwave.

And this is my view while enjoying a very personal moment on the loo...

It is ridiculous how much "necessities" we can cram in that little space! Not to mention, we designed this so that it's self-contained with fresh and black/gray water tank. We also have a few more tricks up in our sleeves (not shown here) for hot water supply, power, and other storage.

If you're as excited as we are about this tiny house, prepare to have your heart broken... The truth is, we still have a long way to go before we can embrace the tiny & mobile life style. We also just learned that, again, what we see on TV or in bloggosphere is just too good to be true--there is a whole bunch of issues related to legally & semi-permanently living tiny for cheap (it's not a problem if you're willing to pay the big bucks to live in a mobile home park). Last but not least, we still got a big house to finish.

So until then, we'll continue to dream tiny, and refine all the details related to our tiny house project in the virtual world...


though my lenses...

currently coveting...