Tiny House in a Landscape

Welcome November, winter is just around the corner. This weeks Tiny House in a Landscape was submitted by Candy and it sure looks inviting to me.

Candy says: I had this tiny house built in 2007. It is 320 square feet and is located in the Willow, Alaska area, halfway between Willow and Talkeetna. It is situated on a small picturesque lake with a view of Denali.

Thank you Candy for your submission, if you have a photo that fits into this category please email it to me at tinyhouseblog (at) gmail.com.

alaska cabin

Hotel Living As A Tiny House Option

You wake up, put on your house shoes, throw on last night’s clothes that still lay in a pile on the floor, amble down to the lobby (of course stopping to speak to the college co-ed manning the front desk), grab a paper from the lobby coffee table, and stop at the occasional table behind one of the oversized couches, just long enough to get a cup of coffee and say good morning to a couple other familiar faces. And so begins life as a full-time resident in a hotel. Okay, so the hotel sounds a bit more posh than perhaps what you or I may be able to swing. But it does sound pretty amazing, no?

Adina Hotel

photo of the Adina Apartment Hotel Norwest in Baulkham Hills, Australia

I can easily think of a number of perks that living in a hotel might provide including free and reliable WiFi, on-site fitness room, access to a pool, fresh towels upon request, in-house laundry service, and even an on-site restaurant/bar! The idea of living in a hotel is not so far fetched either. In fact, a number of celebrities have called hotels home though the years.

New York’s Hotel Chelsea – a Queen Anne-style landmark that first opened as an apartment cooperative in 1883 –  served as home for the likes of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Miller. Overlooking L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont has been home, sweet, home for people like Greta Garbo, Robert DeNiro, and Johnny Depp while the St. Regis in Washington, DC counts among its past residents, Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire. And those are just a few.

On a more practical note though hotel living is a style of tiny house living on its own. Most rooms available for long-term lease are only about 325 square feet according to BoardingArea.com and feature a small kitchen, a bathroom (usually with tub/shower kit), a master bedroom (2 queens or 1 king), a sitting area, and some sort of workspace be it a simple desk or a fully dedicated corner. It features the essentials; typically nothing more and nothing less. But is it feasible? Can one truly live in a hotel? Absolutely!

NOTE: The hotels talked about in this post are usually called “apartment-style” hotels. Rates are based on a minimum of a month’s stay (30 days).

POTENTIAL PERKS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • No long term commitment. Perhaps you have been bitten by the traveling bug and have a location-independent job? Maybe you don’t want to build a tiny house trailer or live in an RV or even sublet a room in a house. This might be the best arrangement. It offers privacy, small amounts of luxury, and a lot of freedom.
  • Choice. When I moved to Brooklyn some years ago I was limited to my budget in a major way. I could choose between a 7th floor apartment with only two windows and bathroom at the end of the hall or a garden apartment that literally faced The Garden; a sushi restaurant that was open 24-hours.  Luckily something else came along out of the blue. But when when you live in a hotel you can decide what you want to be close to, what kind of atmosphere you want, and how large/small you want your accommodations. Remember, this is not a long term commitment so it can be changed quite regularly with no penalty.
  • On-Site Services. While most full-time hotel dwellers don’t abuse this service there is still housekeeping and room service available. You can have fresh towels as you need/want them. You can have someone else make your bed. You can have someone replace your dirty dishes. The list goes on. It is important to note though that because you are living there you will gain some sort of reputation (be it good or bad) and tipping is STILL polite. Skipping this and doing things on your own could save you money and make you great friends in the building.
  • Free newspapers, coffee/tea and/or breakfast. This is typically included in your rate so feel free to take advantage of them. No more excuses for running late to your next appointment either!
  • Having your own kitchen. Just like a sticks ‘n bricks or your own tiny house trailer, with a hotel room/suite you have a kitchen or at least a kitchenette which – more often than not – comes with plates, bowls, silverware, glasses, mugs, strainer, chef’s knife, etc. You still have to grocery shop but at least you can cook your own meals whenever you like.
  • Front Desk Support. Looking for a donut shop in the neighborhood? Need a cab to take you to an event neighborhoods away? Waiting on a package from UPS that will arrive just moments after you leave? No worries. The desk clerk is there….24/7!
  • Handyman Support. Your coffee pot is not brewing? Your TV stopped turning on? No problem. Every hotel employs a small staff of handymen and service personnel. Call them. Tip them.
  • Security. This is huge! Between lobby cameras, hallway cameras, key card elevators, etc. security is usually top notch at a hotel.

UPS DeliveryUsing the desk services at a hotel will keep you from ever missing one of these again. 

POTENTIAL PRATFALLS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • Nowhere to call “home”. While it is true that home is where you park it or home is where you hang your heart or a number of other cliches living in a hotel means you won’t have a physical address. While hotels will allow you to have mail delivered there in care of their direct address they – nor the government – will allow you to claim the location as your permanent address.
  • Loneliness. Like living in a campground or other community-type setting there are in-seasons, off-seasons, perk weekends, and quiet times. On normal days and nights it is likely that you won’t see many guests at a hotel so you’re interaction will be limited. Living in a hotel may also keep you at some distance from friends and family unless you are huddled down in your home town.
  • Lack of personality. Don’t like the artwork on your bedroom walls? Does that picture over your bed make you think of clowns parading through lollipop factories singing a chorus of degenerate laughter? Too bed. Without causing damage to the room there is nothing you can do about the overall appearance. The colors, pillows, comforters, and dishware are there to stay. This is however a good exercise in adding personality to your surroundings. You can use colorful scarves, small houseplants, live flowers, digital photo frames, etc to add a personal yet portable comfort to your accommodations.
  • Space. A hotel room/suite is usually a standard, corporate design with furniture designed or purchased to fit in an exact spot. There are few options, if any. If you feel cramped with the desk in a certain spot chances are you can’t move it anywhere because there is nowhere to move it. The space is laid out for you. You are the guest in this situation. The furniture is there for good.

Living in a hotel room or suite is not conventional at all. It is not part of the American Dream so many of us grew up to understand and look forward to. But it is an adventure like no other and could possibly make your next tiny house. Don’t ever be afraid to hang your heart anywhere there is a good cup of free coffee!

 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

 

Co-working and the Redefining of the Corporate Office

I can’t remember the first time I heard of or even saw a co-working space. The best I can remember the year was 2007 and I was working for a tech startup company and we were leasing 2 desks, a phone line, a mailbox, and a shelf in the fridge from a medical supply company in Fremont, California. I wasn’t really sure what the arrangement truly was since I was only working for the company and not running the company. But I remember talking to someone from the “other” company one day and getting a recommendation for perhaps the best Mexican cantina I’ve ever eat at. It was very cool. Here I was an independent contractor for the most part getting the benefits of a corporate environment along with the freedom of an entrepreneur. Little did I know I was not the only one taking advantage of this sort of situation. In fact, “the concept of co-working is credited to a software engineer named Brad Neuberg who in 2005 paid $300/month to rent space from a feminist collective in San Francisco. He used card tables as desks, and then put a notice on Craigslist inviting others to work alongside him at their respective professional goals. His goal is said to have been to find freedom and independence of working for himself along with the structure and community of working with others.” 1

Coworking 1

There are conflicting reports claiming nearly 1,000 co-working spaces across the United States to as many as 4,000 co-working spaces. The majority of the spaces are in urban or otherwise metropolitan areas and help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups find a suitable space where they can focus and enjoy the perks of a larger office space. Coupled with the growing number of business people who need to be mobile to some degree as well as as independent contractors who choose a more nomadic life the trend has grown faster than anyone initially predicted. Companies like:

offer monthly rates (or memberships), the use of a conference room, high-speed Internet, hip decor, and even game rooms. But how can a co-working space benefit the life of a tiny houser or nomad?

According to Global Workplace Analytics some 25 million Americans telecommuted in 2012 alone. This is in addition to the 2.6% of American workers who consider their home their primary workplace. With those sort of numbers it is becoming a corporate tend to work at home to some degree. However, when your home is less than 300 sq.ft. or your home is in a different location each week it can be incredibly difficult to maintain a work/life balance. For those situation co-working can be the answer. The following 3 tips will help you – a tiny housers – determine how co-working can help you professionally.

Coworking 2

ACCOUNTABILITY

Working from home has its own set of unique problems. When you have to show up at a set time at a set office location it is much more difficult to procrastinate your workday by instead walking the dog a few extra minutes, going grocery shopping before the afternoon/evening crowds, going to the gym for a morning yoga class, etc. It is also perceived as unprofessional to arrive at the office in your pajamas. So by working in a co-work space you regain that sense of professional accountability which can help you succeed professionally.

NETWORKING

By sharing a space with other professionals you can again develop both professional and personal relationships that can help you do everything from locating a reliable babysitter for your toddler to getting tips on the discounts at your local office supply store. There is still much to be said for face-to-face contact and a good ‘ol fashioned handshake.

CREATIVITY

Sometimes keeping your mind sharp, your ideas fresh, and your work creative can be exceedingly difficult when you have only yourself to consult. In a co-working space though you can oftentimes turn to your cubie neighbor or your newfound friends from down the conference table. They can offer a second or third opinion, help inspire you, or even solve seemingly impossible situations for you.

Have you participate in a co-working environment? What was your experience? Would you do it again?

1 Urbanland
Telecommuting statistics

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]