Guest post by Lisa
When my husband and I first moved to the country after 20 years of living in the big city, we talked a lot about the different possibilities for housing. We were both sick of apartments. We fantasized about the different natural building techniques like cob and straw bale, but worried about exorbitant land prices here in California.
About five or six years ago we stumbled upon Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed website and were completely charmed. This was pre-Oprah, before he was so famous. We had a free private consultation with him within the first few weeks after he moved out to California. A couple years later we went to one of his open houses, and recently went to his first showing of his new Craftsman style cottage. We love his work, but his prices were too high for our budget. Building it ourselves seemed too difficult, though I’m sure it is possible for some people.
The tiny house bug had us. We now knew how we could own our own home without land or a mortgage, but we needed a place to put the house.
After a couple years of searching we found a lovely RV park that would take us as long as the house was an RV. We knew Bill Kastrinos at Tortoise Shell Homes usually builds his as RVs, with the DMV doing an inspection and giving a license plate. For a time we were also looking at Little House on a Trailer in Petaluma, and Molecule Homes in Santa Cruz. Both of those guys also do lovely work. But we finally decided on Bill.
I spent long months designing my floor plan. Bill was kind and built me a custom house. The build was exciting. We were close enough to him to be able to visit every weekend and watch the progress of the build. My husband got lucky on his commute home from work on delivery day, and ended up driving behind our house as Bill hauled it down the highway to our RV spot at the campground.
We have now lived 3 months in our new home and have loved every moment. It being a studio and only 150 sq. feet (8’ x 18’), we wouldn’t recommend this size for couples that don’t get along really well, or for those with complicated hobbies. For us it has been wonderful though. Our main hobbies are watching DVDs, reading, and hiking. We are using our computer as our TV to save space. We don’t feel claustrophobic, having a view out our great-room window of the rolling hills of a horse pasture. We can’t really see other dwellings or people for the trees. Our first utility bill was only $28.00. Our house is all-electric, we use a little space-heater to heat the house.
At night we like to look out our big window at the constellations. I’ve never had such a view of the sky at night before, it’s quite magical. Our loft we only use for storing all our stuff. We bought a very comfortable futon couch which we convert into a queen-size bed at night, and that seems to be working for us. For those that don’t want to negotiate ladders, we recommend futons. My husband does have a camping pad up in the loft and likes to take naps in the daytime once in awhile, he calls it his ‘man cave’.
Here are pics of the loft, and my hubby having a nap in his ‘man cave’. Also, the closet which covers the whole end-wall by the door. We were originally planning on having enclosed his and her closets on either side of the window. But changed our minds once we moved in. There’s still a window behind all those clothes, so if we decide someday to have enclosed closets we could still do that. It’s messy now, but very easy access which we like.
Here is a pic of our little kitchen which has granite counters that I absolutely love. The other pic is of our recessed shelving, which was one of my best ideas. It is built into the interior wall between the kitchen and bathroom, next to the bathroom door.