Why I Want to Live in a Tiny House

Tiny Project House

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.

floor plan

And here’s my latest sketch

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.

decor

My décor plan includes lots of color, and space saving ideas that utilize wall space, like this one!

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.

doors

Love These Doors!

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.

Visit Michelle’s brand new blog by clicking here and her FB fan page here.

MichelleMichelle 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.

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Beth - February 26, 2014 Reply

Just remember – kids, no matter how old they are, ALWAYS need their mom! (Doesn’t mean they have to move back in, though!) 🙂 So glad you found freedom and fulfillment through your tiny house!

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    That’s true. I’ll always be Mom. A Mom with a Tiny House, of course!

Lenore - February 26, 2014 Reply

Loved this article!!! Thought I must have written it in my sleep. It’s my story and my desire in every detail … Even this house! I knew it was perfect from a previous newsletter – stairs versus ladder. Washer and dryer and lots of light. Perfect! Tiny house living …. Can’t wait until it’s my turn.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Thanks. I think I’m gonna’ like the stairs because they’ll be so much easier to climb when I’m “old”.

Victoria - February 26, 2014 Reply

Wow. Michelle thank you for sharing! This is the first time I have commented on this blog, even though I am a great fan and love seeing and reading everything. When I read your “story” it was as though I was reading my own. I have been in the exact same position, in putting everything financially and emotionally into two homes, only to be left with nothing and have to start over. So my thoughts have been traveling along the same path yours have and I am in the planning stage of looking at how to accomplish my dream/goal of a tiny house that will free me up such a lot financially and allow me to explore so much more of life! Kudos to you!

BA Norrgard - February 26, 2014 Reply

Great piece! I think we may be related….lol Thank you for sharing your story.

Chas - February 26, 2014 Reply

I read this just now in the wee hours of the morning and I can relate. I am divorced once, 48 and tired of laying it all on the line for others and keeping nothing back for myself. My tiny house will be for ME and it will be MINE.

I applaud your courage…it won’t be easy. Nothing having ever is though. Stick to what your heart tells you and keep us posted on your progress. Good luck!

jaclyn tredway - February 26, 2014 Reply

I love this woman’s story. It has the spirit of the phoenix rising from the ashes, much as mine does. I had more than a decade on this lovely lady, and looking forward to passing on my massage practice and establishment to an up & coming therapist, and retiring with a residual, retirement income. Then the businesses of my clients crashed, which caused mine to. I finally reconciled that foreclosure was inevitable, and I was too old to start over again, so I had to reinvent my future based on social security as my sole income. Now, three years later, I have built my luxurious Tiny Traveling Home, which I designed to my dreams, and am getting ready to take my life on the road. I added a picture to Gravatar, as you indicated, and it can be found at the following:
http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/5ac055d1cc00c1a8efcfacf059d6807c.png

    Judy V Smith - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Hi, I enjoyed your story about your house. I followed your link to see your house, but the picture is very tiny. I would love to see more pictures and hear more of your story. I lost my husband last April and I can so relate to your everyones stories and why I want a tiny house. Thanks Judy

Ruth Prock - February 26, 2014 Reply

Dear Michelle, I love your floor plan and your empty nest. I am somewhat older than you, and as you mentioned, reality does change things unexpectedly. Before you build, let me suggest that you consider where and how you would add a ground floor sleeping space if you needed to. Old hips and knees should not deprive you of the space you love. I can’t tell from the sketch how you plan to heat and cool it. I am interested in what materials you might choose for the exterior. Are you going reclaimed chic? I am happy and excited for you, I hope you will post pics! P.S. The job requirements for you as Mom have changed, not ended. However the benefits have been upgraded.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Thanks and yes, I am still considering how to fit a bed on the main floor. (murphy bed, perhaps?) Yes, design wise My Empty Nest will be Vintage Modern. Already have many of the décor items and the 1950’s kitchen appliances and drain board.

Hillary - February 26, 2014 Reply

Hi there! I loved this article and I feel that it embodies all of my emotions towards the tiny house movement and why I would love to join it. I have one question though that I have not been able to figure out….where do you take the tiny house when you move? Are there areas where its legal to just park and reside or do you need to own little bits of land all over? Im sorry if the answer seems obvious but I haven’t known what to tell my friends when they ask! Thank you 🙂

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    My plans for where to park my house are still up in the air. Most likely I’ll park it next to the lake at my love’s property. We have a long distance relationship so I also might live in my Tiny House in a pasture or property near work and commute to his house on weekends. My “hook up” will be a 110V extension cord and a garden hose. Most people can provide that so it shouldn’t be hard to find a host family.

Kari - February 26, 2014 Reply

I am so you. Divorced twice, kids in college and ready to stop spending every spare moment mowing, edging, painting, repairing etc… so I have no free time and every spare penny goes into the house. Since mine is a 3000 sq. ft. ranch house on land with horses and dogs it will be a challenge, but I am ready to be FREE. I work with elderly individuals and I see the issues which arise when they die and their kids are stuck dealing with all the THINGS their parents own. Most goes to the dump. I want to get rid of 90% of what I own so my kids do not have to worry about it. I am so excited to start this phase of my life!!

Joy - February 26, 2014 Reply

Your thoughts echo how I’ve been thinking, and I bet…many others! Go Girl!

Natalie brennan - February 26, 2014 Reply

Hi, i can so totally relate to this article!!
Tiny homes on trailers offer so many wonderful things that would enrich life.
Good things really do come in small packages.

My husband has pancreatic cancer and hopes to build us a home while he still can. It will be a fabulous place for me to raise my 16 month old son Angus 🙂
If anyone would like to follow our quest or help out please see our website links.

Karanda - February 26, 2014 Reply

Your story echo’s many of my own feelings. Thank you. This is a must read for my husband (2nd) because I am not doing the loss of my fairytale dream home a second time without knowing I’ll be ok. The tiny house offers this. These are concerns that I hadn’t even voiced to myself yet, so thank you so much for putting them out there.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    You’re welcome. My love and I have had many discussions about the implications of this build and our future together. Good luck!

Tamie - February 26, 2014 Reply

I am in much the same place. I was widowed 8 years ago, my youngest is soon to graduate from college. My life was all planned everything was set. Retirement, house that we would pay off and sell to secure that next phase of out life together. And then he died and left me with children to raise alone. I got out from under the house before the market completely fell apart, but there wasn’t anything left. The retirement plan was gone. Wasn’t long and not only was I not a wife, my kids were grown and I had no idea who I still was. I sold my house, rented a small apartment to start the down size for my tiny home. Got on a plane and flew to Switzerland and Italy. Came back and settled into this new life. I am hoping to start on my tiny house this summer, hopefully early June, so I can be framed in so I can finish it over the fall and winter. I would like to do as much of it as possible on my own, but I have a few friends in construction that can help me. Something I am not good about…….asking for help.
I think about it almost all the time. It is a pretty crazy idea here in MN. I am pretty much the pioneer in this adventure right now. Everything about it feel right. The more time I give it to settle in the more sure that I am that this is the way I want to live. It’s about the space, the simplicity, the Finicial plan, the lifestyle, everything resonates with me and feels very authentic. I even giggle about how much I loved the box car kids when I was young and used to put myself to sleep at night thinking of living in that tiny space.
I have a few other friends that imaige this way of living, maybe we will have a community of tiny homes. That would be my ultimate dream, living in a multigenerational tiny house village.

    Penny in SC - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Oh Tamie you made me smile when you mentioned the boxcar kids, that brought back so many memories and its funny, I wonder if thats is why I have been fascinated with the tiny house movement. I have had plans on paper for a while….. and thats where Im stuck. Best of luck on your new life!!!

    Troy - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Tamie,
    I would love To help you build when you are ready. Are you part of the Mpls/St Paul Tiny House Meetup ?

      Tamie - February 28, 2014 Reply

      I am, just found one recently, right before Christmas and haven’t been able to attend a meeting yet. I am about 20 west of Minneapolis, it is a very easy commute when we aren’t having a snow storm 🙂
      I would love some direction and help to make this happen
      tnkugler@mac.com
      You can contact me here
      Thank you Troy
      Tamie

Keith - February 26, 2014 Reply

Curious where you found the dish rack in the pic above. Thanks.

laurie - February 26, 2014 Reply

What a wonderful story — and wonderful writing! All the best to you and your tiny plans. 😉

Frank Mielke - February 26, 2014 Reply

There’s a great article in the Huffington Post about tiny houses as one community’s response to the homeless problem. Such an easy and cheap solution to a big problem.

Judy - February 26, 2014 Reply

What’s the name or your blog?

I love this post for so many reasons!

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    My brand new blog is mytinyemptynest.blogspot.com

    It’s brand new so I hope that you’ll excuse me while it’s still “under construction”

gmh - February 26, 2014 Reply

You go, girl!

Kathleen - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle:
What an inspiration you are! Thanks so much for sharing your insight. I really love the storage unit that you have for the kitchen. I’m sure lots of us would like to know where you bought it.

Very best,
Kathleen
Mariposa, CA

Penny in SC - February 26, 2014 Reply

You have said everything I have wanted to say!!!

Heather - February 26, 2014 Reply

Hi Michelle!

I love the plans you have for your life and for your tiny house.
Can you tell me where you found the image or actual shelf unit for the kitchen items? I am building a small house (650 sq ft) this summer and that unit would be perfect for my kitchen. (The house will be majority living space, minority kitchen and bedrooms.)
Thanks and good luck with your house!
Heather
Prince Edward Island, Canada

Deb Stephens - February 26, 2014 Reply

Blessings to you! I too have taken the leap, sold my house which I inherited and then had to buy out me ex-husband after 26 years. I sold my 65 acres of farm ground a year later after realizing I would be make zero income from it, due to high costs of power (for pumping water) taxes etc. Best thing I have done in a long time! I decided to go where I wanted since my daughter was grown, so I bought 27 acres in the mountains. It is pasture/timber so I can pasture calves/horses, and a good spring for water. It has a great spot to build with septic in, or in my case park my living quarter horse trailer that I love. Follow your dreams, and love your life!

Lois - February 26, 2014 Reply

Where might I check into that wire set of dish shelves shown in the article today?
Thanks,
Lois

Kat - February 26, 2014 Reply

How do I friend you, follow you? I loved what you said and really felt connected to you. I especially loved that your from as I’ve had a longing to live there for over 20 years and have never even been to visit. I hope to resolve that this year. I too long for a simpler life and a tiny home on a tiny or not so tiny piece of land is what I want most now.

Please help me connect or send a link to follow your writings.

Peace,
Kat

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    my brand new (still under construction) blog is mytinyemptynest.blogspot.com
    my facebook link is also noted by my bio, above.

Maryl - February 26, 2014 Reply

I’m totally with you on this one! GO FOR IT, GIRL!!!!

Jo - February 26, 2014 Reply

Like a couple of the other people who posted, I would love to know where you found that hanging metal dish rack! My husband and I are building our own tiny home in just another month and a half and it is EXACTLY what I need but I cannot find it on line anywhere!

Thanks,
Jo

Katie - February 26, 2014 Reply

Having lost a house my ex-husband and I built, then needing the sell my second home to suit my husband, I can relate deeply with your story here. Glad you’ve learned from your experiences. What is it that makes us give up on our own dreams to serve the dreams of others ? This feminine role would be interesting to explore more .

Anyway what I wanted to say here is that we have off grid acreage and love visitors. We have an outdoor shower and outhouse is a private spot on the Mendocino coast. Anyone wanting to travel with a tiny house, our road is a little steep, so you’d need to pull your trailer in with four- wheel drive. Come visit ! http://www.rosemancreekranch.com

    Christina Borland - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Katie,

    It is so amazing to see your post about welcoming visitors to your beautiful Roseman Creek Ranch! I am living in Virginia right now, west of Richmond, and have been praying for a way to move my little vintage camper trailer and my dog and cats to a place where they can be outside more freely. I would love to talk with you more about how you made your ranch a reality and get your ideas so I can make them happen in my own life (and maybe even come and visit your farm too!). I eat 100% organic and vegan, and would love to send you some information I have put together on this also. Hope to hear from you soon! Christina Borland – Please write me at cyborland@gmail.com – thanks!

Margo / Halfway to Harmony - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle,
Keep this piece of writing, and in the dark doubtful times in the midst of your tiny house build read it to yourself over and over again. Trust me, your own confident thoughts are the best remedy for self-doubt. Throughout our tiny house build process there were so many hurdles to overcome, from when supplies got ruined in the rain or appliances broke mid-install or friends raised skeptical eyebrows at our plans. But through it all Jeff and I agreed that making that very first Fateful Decision that “we are doing this tiny house thing, dammit and nothing’s going to stop us,” that was the most difficult part of all. Because once you’ve set your intentions to it, the momentum builds, positive things come your way, and nothing can stop you!
7 months after we made that Fateful Decision we were living in our own custom-designed-and-built tiny home, and adoring it. And now just over 2 years after we made that Fateful Decision, we’ve been living in our home for a year and a half and couldn’t love it more. It’s amazing the power of the Fateful Decision, and it sounds like you’ve already made it! Listen to your confident self in the words in this post, make no room for self-doubt, and you’ve got this in the bag, girl.
-Margo
http://www.halfwaytoharmony.wordpress.com

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Such inspiring words of wisdom. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts.

Wendy - February 26, 2014 Reply

I am also fascinated by that shelving unit. It looks great.
About five years after my dad died, my mom got rid of most of her stuff (3 bedroom house) and moved into a mother-in-law unit on our property. While it wasn’t a TINY tiny house, it was much smaller than my family home. She said that she had gotten rid of all of her stuff because she didn’t want my brother and me to have to deal with it after she was gone. She passed away five years later (five wonderful years of having Grandma a few steps away out the back door). I really appreciated at that point that I didn’t have to deal with getting rid of a lot of her stuff.
I’ll be sixty this year, my daughters are both grown and on their own, and while I hope to be here for quite a while longer, I have already started the process of getting rid of Stuff that I know they won’t want and that I don’t need anymore.
*Helpful hint* If you are having trouble parting with “stuff”, watch a few episodes of “Hoarders”. Even if you aren’t a hoarder, they talk a lot about the emotions behind getting rid of stuff. After every episode, my motivation for getting rid of stuff gets better!

Beverly - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle . . . I understand your story much like mine. I’m also a twice-divorced mom and currently married to #3. For me it was a financial decision when my daughter was young. I wasn’t able to support her the way I wanted so gave up my life to make her’s better. I’d love a tiny home, but I want a permanent structure and current zoning laws do not allow me to build the home I want. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

toni - February 26, 2014 Reply

I would also like to know where you found the dish rack???

Kind Regards,
Toni

Ellie - February 26, 2014 Reply

I loved this article and would love to follow Michelle’s blog, but I don’t see any link. Could someone please post the link or at least the name of her blog. thanks

TERRY - February 26, 2014 Reply

Me, too! How do we get that wonderful dish rack!!!!!!?????

Ginger - February 26, 2014 Reply

Dear Michelle,
You are so much like me. I too am a single mother and have been divorced twice. I have been on my own for 16 years. My son and daughter are almost ready to graduate from college and I have been planning to build a tiny home for about 8 years. I can’t wait to have my own place after losing two homes in my divorces. I have been working since I was 14 years old. I don’t know where I will end up living, but I know I will have my own little home that no one will ever be able to take from me again!! I am so happy for you
Best Wishes, Ginger (Cedar Crest NM)

Christina Borland - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle,

Thank you so much for sharing! I was so inspired by your story! I have gone through a heartbreaking divorce and loss of our first home in the process, and am now living in a restored vintage camper trailer with my pets that I am just loving! It was a total impulse buy before my divorce and now I see what deep part of my spirit was yearning for a secure place of my own! Now I am looking for the right piece of land to make it a more permanent home for myself, my Husky dog and my kitty cats. Thanks for the inspiration and I wish you the best! I would also like to connect with you via Facebook or your blog or maybe this group can create their own! Phoenix Rebirth through Tiny Homes — 🙂 Christina

Lynne - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle,

I want to add my praise and thanks to the others, for your sharing of your wonderful story.
I, too, have been fascinated by tiny spaces since I was a young child (I’m almost fifty-seven). From creating a hideaway in the attic of my childhood home, to planning a loft apartment in our unique barn during my teens, to learning to utilize every inch of space in a small and ancient mobile home for my young and growing family, to making the most of our hundred-year-old Sears kit house for our ‘yo-yo’ kids, to many, many pages of graph paper home designs, I love the challenge of making a small space feel like home.

As the oldest of seven children, married soon after college, I realized a couple of years ago that I had never had a room of my own. My wonderful husband built a ‘craft cottage’ for me, not quite completed yet, for which I spent many hours scouring the web for tiny house ideas. My cottage is a mixture of recycled and new, done up in ’30s – ’40s style. Antique prairie-style windows, antique wallpaper, salvaged door that I painted with a faux grain and granite technique, and my husband applied a vintage-style rosette texture on the ceiling. No floor yet, storage not built, but I use it now anyway, and have discovered that it’s most important function at the moment is as a getaway for me.

Good luck to you, I hope you keep us updated!

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Please, do, connect with me on facebook I would love to see a pic of your cottage!

      Lynne - February 28, 2014 Reply

      Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have a Facebook account (a deal I made with my youngest daughter, who isn’t allowed to have one at the moment).
      But I’m bookmarking your blog, so maybe later this spring, after the wedding of my oldest daughter – for which we’re making EVERYTHING! dresses, flower arrangements, food from scratch, music arrangements, etc. – I’ll get some nice photos and send them to you. Does that sound okay?

Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

Thanks for all the support, comments, questions, and feedback! I look forward to getting home from work tonight and answering everyone’s questions then. Michelle aka My Empty Nest

DeWhit - February 26, 2014 Reply

” My Tiny House will finally fill that void, the hole in my soul, it will be my emotional security blanket. ”

Honestly, I think you will be disappointed if you pin your future to just a structure of any kind.
The house is just a tool to be used to meet physical needs within a budget you set and hopefully enables you to be able to redirect finances to those things that inspire you.

The land is the secret. Get some land. Tent, trailer, cabin, tiny house, tree house, lean-to, it all needs to sit on something you can control.

The single guy with fifty pairs of shoes is an answer to the question.

I wish you much luck on this journey.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    “The single guy” is indeed the answer to a lot of my questions / quandaries. Thank you for the advice RE not pinning too much on a structure. What can I say? I’m a creative romantic!

      DeWhit - February 28, 2014 Reply

      I probably should have worded my response better and I apologize. I was wanting to make a point about the possibilities of setting up house with a single older man that currently has fifty pairs of shoes.
      That may not be the person that is ready or ideal to downsize with you.
      Maybe he could be a “weekender” if the land works well for your new home.

        Michelle Boyle - March 2, 2014 Reply

        LOL Actually, I am the one with 50 pairs of shoes and he keeps telling me they won’t all fit into my tiny house. Perhaps I am the one who should have worded my blog more clearly. In any case, this journey will truly be an interesting one and one that my love and I will have to compromise often I imagine. His lakefront land is the perfect spot, we both agree on that so far! Thank you for reaching out. Tiny Housers Unite!

Lizanne - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle,

I don’t have two marriages/homes in my past, or kids, but we are soul sisters just the same!

I’ve been into the tiny house movement for over a year, but as an observer… recently I came to the realization that I could do that for myself. So I’m getting serious into research, saving ideas on my Pinterest board and will be looking for workshops etc.

I started following you on Facebook and look forward to seeing how things work out for you… you are an inspiration – thanks so much.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    I know it will be a huge struggle but so worth it. I’ll learn a lot, make some mistakes, and end up with something I can be proud of. Surely, worth some blood, sweat, and tears for that, right?

Elsie Gilmore - February 26, 2014 Reply

Michelle, who sells that wall-mounted dish rack? I love it!

Christina Nellemann - February 26, 2014 Reply

I love this story. xoxo

christine - February 26, 2014 Reply

I was brought to tears with this – I’m a single mom w 2 boys and I so get this! What an inspiration You go girl!

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    Awwww, what a sweet sentiment. Good luck to you and your boys!

Christine A. Ferguson (Miss) - February 26, 2014 Reply

How people reinforce each other in Tiny House blogs! This story seems to have touched the hearts of so many people. What resolve- what achievement. Here in Spain with 56% of young people unemployed and elderly pensioners hardly able to live on their income, couples being evicted as homes are being reclaimed by greedy banks due to unemployment, construction of such such tiny structures are the sweetest , most efficient way forward. Where governments have failed the very people who voted them in they should be obliged to offer obligatory parking space land to people to have their Tiny Homes and get a life.

An international Constitution for Disenfranchised citizens’ needs and ‘rights’ would be an interesting proposition. Endorsed on a global network it could be presented to town halls and national governments with the same sort of aplomb that the current world free traders are doing. Normal law does not apply to them. They choose to fly above what everyone must conform to. If it can be done with one arrogant group maybe a needy group needs
to go the same way! See how little we demand and how much we put into that little! Crushing commercial footprints-v- sustainable tiny carbon footprints. What better! Christine F. cferguson57@hotmail.com

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    The Tiny House indeed can help solve many problems that our society, and us as individuals, face. I’m happy to be a part of “the movement” and inspired by those who have gone before me.

    DeWhit - February 28, 2014 Reply

    Those are some noble words you have written and ring very true, but very little is being accomplished in this country to address social and financial divide and the complete gutting of the American lower and middle class by the entrenched elite.

    Fifteen brands of peanut butter, but only two political parties ?

    We are descending back into a two class society and those on the upper end have decided that they will control all the financials and thus, all aspects of everyday life ,until the working classes revolt. The United States is not that old or its citizens controlled enough to accept serfdom. At some point, the people will do what is necessary to cause the money changers to take a bit less and save their skins. Money and power is of no use to a dead man. History is quite clear on that fact. It is a shame, but the only solution.
    This nation was born in revolt.

    The tiny/small house movement is a part of the buildup to that eventual day when many push back.

    Maybe Americans have “helped” too much in too many ways around the world that are actually part of a spin for a bigger grab for markets and resources than actually helping all affected citizens of a region.
    We may need to help ourselves and fellow citizens for a bit before we go looking for causes.

      Michelle Boyle - March 2, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for your thoughts. I am, however, inspired by the use of tiny houses, and dwellings, that are now being used to house the homeless and our veterans. There are many new tiny house camps and non-profit builders. Personally, I cannot change the world or our political system but I am happy to be part of a movement that is inspiring many to pare down in order to make time to give more, and spend more time giving. The Tiny House movement is, in large, already a backlash to the “more is better” society of the 80’s. You bring up good points we should all consider and will continue to do so….

emme - February 26, 2014 Reply

Found the dish rack on Amazon, for those of you looking. It’s a 36″ Dinnerware Complete Dish Rack, and it’s $643.18–yikes. But it’s a very nice and compact dish rack. Wondering if one could pull something similar together using less expensive components from someplace like Ikea.

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    I imagine so. I love IKEA!! I’ll see if I can find something like this, there…..

Nila Ridings - February 26, 2014 Reply

So happy to know you went the tiny house route not down the condo or townhouse path. Thousands upon thousands of us have learned the hard way what a nightmare HOAs and condo associations are. We didn’t realize the purchase into such a place meant we were signing away our US Constitutional Rights, becoming business partners with all of our neighbors in a non-profit corporation, and guaranteeing all debts of the association with our person bank and retirement accounts. Many of us have lost our life savings. If only we had known that crazy, dishonest, corrupt board members could cost us everything. I wish I had built a tiny house and enjoyed life like you are planning to do. Congratulations! For all others who wish to know more about HOAs and condo associations….check out this website: http://www.neighborsatwar.com

    Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

    The less I depend on others (be they HOA’s or other jurisdictions) the better. Thanks for your comments.

Michelle Boyle - February 26, 2014 Reply

Thank you, everyone, for taking time out of your busy lives to connect with each other and myself. We each have a story to tell and you have given me so much today, telling me a bit of yours. Good luck, stay in touch via my blog or facebook, and remember that if you want to finish….you have to start! XOXO

Mike - February 27, 2014 Reply

Hi Michelle –

It’s not that well known, but you’re not limited to 8′-6″ on the width of your construction. You can go to 10′ wide – you just need to incorporate a wide load sign (banner or fixed) on the back end of your house when/if you move it. Wider than that requires permits and escorts, which isn’t a problem if you’re parking it for the long term; a one time cost that isn’t that much.

I thought you might like better proportions for your tiny house.

    Michelle Boyle - March 2, 2014 Reply

    I had thought about the wider version but do want the flexibility to move it to another state every 6 – 9 months. My love has a large truck so towing a 8.5′ wide house won’t be too much of a problem. Slow going, as you can imagine, but not problematic.

Virgil - February 27, 2014 Reply

Michelle, thanks for writing this, but I’m troubled by the overall story somewhat. First, I do agree that a big plus for the tiny house movement is to help disenfranchised individuals who feel shut out due to the high costs of home ownership. What I disagree on, is the whole happiness thing…

You seem to focus on happiness originating from ownership of a home, without really acknowledging the other things in life that spawn happiness. Just assuming that owning a home will give you more freedom to figure out the other stuff (resulting in happiness), is not a given. There are lots of people all over the world very happy and still renting places – western Europe has some of the highest rankings for happiness and these same countries have high proportions of renters. On the flip side there are lots of unhappy people who own property outright. It’s easy to conflate happiness with home ownership, because (with the tiny house movement) the latter is something that you can actually DO something about. BUT, that doesn’t prove cause/effect.

As someone who is comparatively very secure (early 40s, own a home outright, stable employment, good retirement savings and other investments), I should by your definition be “free to be happy”. The problem is, as I mentioned above, happiness does not come from owning things. It comes from within, and will come to you (or not) regardless of whether you own a house.

This is not meant to pee on anyone’s fireworks or detract from your great story in any way. I’m just pointing out that if there are deeper life problems at play here (and let’s be honest, 2 failed marriages does not suggest that all is well), then simply owning a home will not bring happiness. It’s necessary to look deeper than one’s current situation, to really do some self exploration and figure out what makes you tick. Do that, and accompany it with the satisfaction that comes from financial independence, and you’re on the right track. It is naive to simply assume that financial independence and/or home ownership are the keys to happiness – they’re important parts of the puzzle, but far from the whole deal.

    cheryl - February 28, 2014 Reply

    Virgil, I don’t think you’re female, so I’ll go out on a limb here and try to re-tell her thoughts: Michelle is a single parent (I’m not)who has lived through two divorces (I haven’t). But she’s female. We live with a different system of happiness than males. The tiny house world wasn’t just created because people were out of work or getting a divorce.. it’s there because many of us are sick and tired of the american mentality of needing more and more and leaving an ugly footprint on the world. Some of us don’t want that to continue.

    I’m one of the most fortunate. I live in Italy in a very small apartment and I live in a condo in U.S. I am planning on dumping the american condo because I’m not happy with my surrounds. I want a tiny house and my daughter has agreed that it can be located in her back yard, zoning is fine with an addition to her home this way. We will be in there for five months and in Italy for seven months. I will have freedom and peace & quiet and happiness that comes from knowing I’m not taking up more space than I truly need. And when I’m old and feeble but still want my independence, my daughter and her family agree I’ll be happier outside of a nursing home/independent living/assisted living environment. See? That’s happiness!

    Virgil, you most definitely peed on Michelle’s fireworks. We all get that you are employed, in your 40’s, male, have a great job and great retirement, own your home, etc. But you do not have the right to decide what makes the rest of the world happy. SO WHAT if Michelle has been divorced twice. Are you married? Have you shared your life/belongings with another human being? I have to say that all you brag about I find to be offensive and very american. Bring that smug attitude to Europe and let’s see how many people cozy up to you. I’m a dual citizen, Virgil, so I live peacefully in both worlds, preferring Europeans to Americans – way less arrogance.

      Michelle Boyle - March 2, 2014 Reply

      Above all, the best part of being an American is our freedom to share our thoughts openly. In fact….I’m also pretty sure that “pursuit of happiness” is also mentioned somewhere in our history. We all have different paths and, therefore, different values which lead to different sources of happiness. I AM HAPPY, right where I am. Once my kids have their own lives I will then HAPPILY move to another scenario which will give me the flexibility to create even more HAPPINESS for others. Thank you, Cheryl. You seem to “get me” which is rare in my world….

      DeWhit - March 2, 2014 Reply

      Virgil merely stated his opinion and the obvious.

      Someone with two homes on two continents understands the someone with no home of their own ?

      …the arrogance of Americans ?

cheryl - February 28, 2014 Reply

I’ve noticed a repeating theme of the tiny house blogsite. So many women of those middle years have been able to break from the ancient divorce rules of duking it out and one side getting shafted, usually the wife, but not always. Women can now choose to move on in their lives with something they create on their own. There is so much incredible style incorporated in these tiny homes (I’ve been planning mine for several years now). Am very proud to be a female of the 21st century at age 66. Can’t wait to cut my first piece of wood next year!! p.s. I’ll be stealing/sharing lots of their ideas – thank you, ladies, for paving a wonderful path for me!!

    Michelle Boyle - March 2, 2014 Reply

    I am grateful to live in a country where women’s contributions are increasingly appreciated. We have a long ways to go but like any movement, it starts slow and then builds momentum. I’ve been in contact with a few organizations and hope to have mine built only by women contractors and students. Wouldn’t that be awesome!!!???

Joe Murphy - February 28, 2014 Reply

Thanks so much for sharing your story! I am the guy version of it and am building my tiny house now!
When I am finished I will see if I can put pictures on this blog!!

Bob Ratcliff - March 2, 2014 Reply

You’re TOTALLY charming! Your layout idea is probably one of the smartest I’ve seen to date. As a home designer, I’ve always loved proving to clients we don’t really need as many square feet as we think we do yet the one conundrum I’ve got with the “super” tiny concept is we might just not be planning very well for an unknown tomorrows or that we might need a larger kitchen/eating area or a bathroom that’s more than a closet. “No dream becomes a reality until it’s an obsession.” I’ve used this mantra in my life for decades and it’s served me well as we rebuilt our 113 farmhouse on 5 acres. It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s another to actually make it happen. There’s ZERO doubt in my mind YOU WILL! I really admire the way you’re considering the ways you can use this charming home in other ways as your future evolves:)

    Michelle Boyle - March 5, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for your comments, and encouragement! It’s gonna’ be fun, I’m sure of it!

Tonita - March 2, 2014 Reply

Great story. Just wanted to tell you that you do not have to get rid of any of your 50 pairs of shoes, nor do you need to be a minimalist to live in a tiny house. You just have to be creative.
Tonita @ http://www.ShabbyChicTinyRetreat.blogspot.com

    Michelle Boyle - March 5, 2014 Reply

    I’ve considered crown molding, mounted on the wall in horizontal strips, for storage of my amazing collection of stilettos. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful!

Nicole Green - March 10, 2014 Reply

You are such an inspiration! I’ve been planning for my TH for two years, and I am just on the verge of accumulating materials. I will keep my eyes out for more news on your endeavors… I have a feeling your TH will be a grand adventure.

Kimberly - July 27, 2014 Reply

Great ideas! Can hardly wait to see it through to the end.

KC - September 18, 2014 Reply

Where did that wall dish storage come from?

angela - January 12, 2015 Reply

Love your creativity. I am also interested in the kitchen wall storage. I am trying to help my daughter-in-law with a tiny kitchen and little to no storage.
Thank you for any help you can give me.

Barbara - January 27, 2015 Reply

the dish rack can be found here http://www.hayneedle.com/product/orginnovationspegrail36indinnerwarecomplete.cfm

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