by Ally Nithya
My husband and I have a dream of creating a sustainable micro-homestead on a tiny backyard plot. We built this 120 square foot home on a limited budget with zero construction experience. Neither of us had ever swung a hammer before starting and we had less than $6k in the bank upon breaking ground. As far fetched as it all seemed, we decided to trust that anything is possible with inspiration, vision and enthusiasm.
We learned framing, sheathing, roofing, dry walling, tiling, flooring, plumbing and wiring mostly from YouTube and a few select books. Each part of the project had a steep learning curve as we gathered the necessary tools and materials and knowledge. I mostly had to learn the art of patience and the supreme importance of good prep work!!
We designed the shell to be simple and approachable for first time builders. And because our budget was as tiny as the house, we used as much salvaged, reclaimed, restored, discounted and second hand materials as possible. The chronic lack of funds inspired a lot of creativity and I discovered an amazing alchemical skill for transforming trash to treasure. The whole thing cost less than $8500 to build and took about 9 months to manifest.
What a tremendous journey to build a house! Besides being a dynamic, hands-on education, it was an absolute joy to see our vision manifest and take shape, step by step. The result is a gorgeous labor of love that fits our simple lifestyle like a glove.
We have plans to develop the edible landscape with recycled grey water irrigation and to build a tiny greenhouse, rainwater catchment system and matching chook house.
Having completed this project, Priyan is now interested in the creation of tiny home communities where beautiful, functional, sustainable homes are affordable and available to average people. Such communities would offer shared utilities and facilities and create safe, legal spaces to live large in tiny homes.
If you are interested in learning more about our projects and visions please find news and updates at our burgeoning FB page: https://www.facebook.com/palmtopalm Thanks for reading! Many blessings on your journey.
by Hari Berzins
During the big snow storm last week, Karl and I walked up the hill from our tiny house to our newly dried-in (Woohoo!) big house to watch the falling snow. The snow in the woods was magical and the view in all directions was spectacular. I looked up at the rafters and there was no snow falling in the house! We were dry. After more than a year of watching rain and snow fall on our house, this was big. I smiled at Karl. “How does it feel to go into this snow storm with a finished roof on the house?” He took a deep breath. “You have no idea.”
That was a nice moment.
We’ve come so far, and it’s so important to take time to celebrate all of the milestones along the way.
Hi, I’m Hari Berzins from tinyhousefamily.com. My husband Karl and I built a mortgage-free micro-homestead and have worked our plan for the last five years. We’ve created an online course to help others realize their dream of mortgage-freedom.
In 2008, we had to totally redesign our life after losing our restaurant and home in the financial crisis. With a firm resolve to never use credit again, we started over. We dreamed of building a homestead for cash. With $300 to our name, owning a mortgage-free homestead seemed like an impossible dream.
I searched and searched for others who had lost everything and built a new life that included debt-free home ownership. How happy I would have been to find a course like ours, but I guess it was our work to write The Plan: Creating Your Pathway to Mortgage Freedom.
Our plan was a simple one and simply radical. We would work hard, stop buying, sell, donate, downsize, make a budget, and save every penny. We would find a little piece of land,
buy it for cash, and grow a homestead. We saved, worked, bought land, drilled a well, dug a septic system, built a tiny house, and are now completing the exterior of our main house. We did all of this with cash and time. We now live our impossible dream!
In our rebuilding process, we’ve relied on several practices of deep self-care to affirm that our worthiness is not attached to the balance of our bank account, nor our foreclosure, nor our belly-up business. We’ve relied on these practices to cultivate the contentedness and patience we need to thrive in our 8’ x 21’ ft. tiny house while we build our right-sized house. And we’ve relied on these practices to keep the faith when we have no idea how we are going to get through the next phase. We will share these practices with you because this change is for the long haul and we want you to be successful getting there.
You might wonder why we are building a bigger house. The tiny house has been our ticket to mortgage-freedom. This phase of the plan has taught us so much about what we really need, about compromise, communication and delayed gratification, but we need room for our art, space to dance, and entertain, space for our children (now 9 & 11) to grow into adults. Space is so very personal, and we will explore your needs for space in the course. You will design a plan and a homestead to fit your unique lifestyle and budget.
Our little journey has attracted the attention of many media outlets which has brought with it a ton of emails with questions about our plan. We felt the need to compile a comprehensive course to guide others down the path to mortgage-freedom.
Now when I look up the hill at the main house, I’m so thankful we chose this route. It’s not an easy path. It’s hard in the beginning. It’s hard to talk yourself out of those moments when you just want to give in and blow your budget on a dinner out, or buy those cool new hiking boots or whatever it is the merchants pry your self-esteem with. With practice, this has become the norm for us, and the urges are rare. We’ll help you with this, too.
“. . . I will act, says Don Quixote,
as if the world were what I would have it to be,
as if the ideal were real. . .
– Don Quixote de la Mancha, Cervantes
There were lots of naysayers in the beginning, even family and friends who thought we were crazy. How in the world are the four of you going to live in that little house without killing each other?
We are still alive almost three years after moving in, and look what it’s enabled us to do. We live mortgage-free on our own land; we’re raising animals and growing food. We get to be choosy about the work we do, and we spend tons of family time together. And once we move into our main house, we’ll have a micro bed and breakfast ready to go!
What would your life look like if you didn’t have a mortgage payment? If your dream is to simplify your life by building a tiny house, we can help you get there.
Having a supportive community is all important when making a “tiny” lifestyle change such as this. As part of our course, you’ll have access to a private Facebook group where you will connect with other like-minded individuals to discuss course materials, share ideas and support each other in creating your very own micro-homestead.
This e-course is 5 weeks long and begins on March 15, 2014. If you want to join us, see all the details here: http://tinyhousefamily.com.
by Michelle in Oregon
If you were to ask me why I am excited about living in a Tiny House, I would tell you that the list is so long we’ll have to sit, and chat for a bit, for you to understand how perfectly perfect the idea is, to me. You see, the answer isn’t simple.
The answer is my life’s story…
I have worked since I was 15 years old. Most of those years have been spent in front of a desk, and a computer, and working for someone else. Problem solving and resource management has always been my strong suit and I enjoy my work, but I have no intention of sitting in a cubicle till I’m 70 years old. (or even 60!) I want to explore more creative, active, and social career endeavors. Having a paid-for Tiny House will give me the flexibility to do just that. It’s finally time that I put my problem solving skills to use for myself.
And I can’t wait to get started!
I have been married and divorced twice. Each time, I designed and then supervised the construction of “our” home. I landscaped, and painted, and stenciled, and mowed, and put all of my emotional and financial self into our new space. With each divorce, the house was left behind, in the pile of carnage, that was once (twice) the plan for my life. I have, since then, vowed to never let the success or failure of a relationship dictate my domestic security. I’ve been on my own, dependent on nobody but myself, for over ten years now. My Tiny House will finally fill that void, the hole in my soul, it will be my emotional security blanket. It will be the end result of my creative and financial efforts.
I’ll finally have my own space in this world that nobody can take from me.
Words can hardly express how excited I am to be moving on to the Empty Next phase of my life. I am a single mom and sole provider and have devoted my life to raising responsible, respectful, children. My youngest is going off to college next year and, as such, there will no longer be a need to maintain an expensive, suburban, three bedroom, two bathroom, yard and garage lifestyle. So far, however, this transition hasn’t exactly been easy for me. Redefining my role with my children (my oldest is already 18 and in college) and redefining my role to the world has been harder than I thought it would be. Who am I? What do I do? “Mom” has always been the answer. Granted, I will always be “Mom” but to a much lesser extent than before. They won’t need me. My job is done.
It’s time for me to find, me, again.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that nothing in life goes according to plan. My ability to roll with the punches, and get up after being knocked down, is one of my best attributes. I don’t even think about where I want to live when I retire because I know that no matter how I see my future now, reality will be very different. I don’t know if I’ll live in a bustling city where strolls to the coffee shop or farmers’ market will be a part of my everyday life. I don’t know if I’ll live on a farm, and raise animals again, or next to a lake where I can greet the sunrise over the water with my pen and paper in hand. My Tiny House can go where I go, it can be where I need and want to be.
Whether I am alone, or with my love, I will be where I want to be.
My love is one of my biggest fans. While he occasionally feels the need to inject reality into my Tiny House Fantasy (“You have over 50 pairs of shoes! Even they won’t fit in a Tiny House) he also understands that once I get something in my head I won’t be talked out of it. And although the exact logistical details of our future together remain a mystery, the Tiny House will provide us both with options we had not yet considered. Maybe we’ll rent out his houses and pull the Tiny House to another state where we’ll live for 6 months, then move again. Maybe I’ll live with him and we’ll park my Tiny House on his lakefront land for use as my personal escape space or a place where the kids can stay when they come to visit. Maybe we won’t last long enough to know the details but we’ll part knowing that I didn’t put undue pressure on him to take care of me.
Life is full of maybes, but with my Tiny House, I’m not afraid of them anymore.
It has been a few months since the idea of building my own Tiny House struck me, and although I am still in the planning stages, I can already smell the cookies baking in my vintage oven, in my tiny house, in a quiet lot, where ever I land.
Michelle is an outgoing single mom, published author, speaker, patented inventor, blogger, craigslist stalker, enthusiastic Glamper, and Northwest native. Her interest in all-things-tiny-and-old started when she was only 12 years old when she became fascinated with a tiny abandoned farm house near her parent’s home; and she’s been sketching floor plans ever since. With pencil and graph paper in hand she’s more than ready for the next phase of her life. Her Tiny House, aptly named “My Empty Nest”, is the culmination of a life spent dreaming of a tiny reclaimed space, all her own.
A grandmother named Monica Smith worked on her tiny 8 x 10 shed in her back yard. Her neighbors laughed when they realized she was converting it into a tiny cabin. It was very strange that she was putting so much effort into this small space. However it was not just a hobby this grandmother had a plan.
Her youngest daughter and her five children had lost their home and needed a place to go. Monica decided to give them her large home and she would move back into the shed cabin and call it home.
Is that not the most generous grandmother or what?
See the original post with more photos here. http://www.viralnova.com/grandma-tiny-house/