I understand that my tiny house experience is pretty unique. We built our home on a foundation halfway up a mountain. And when I say halfway up a mountain, I mean that quite literally. There is no road, so we hike. We’re in the middle of the woods on several acres in the mountains of Western North Carolina. To compound things, our tiny house was designed to be off-grid.
The most commonly talked about tiny house experience is on wheels. Some are designed to go long distances; some are just designed for the trailer act as a foundation. In most cases, they are generally on flat land and easily accessible. I recognize my experience is different from most.
We moved into our tiny house in the summer of 2012, and we moved out a year later. Not because it was too hard but because we are people who can’t sit still. We crave adventure and weren’t content to just sit on our mountain and never do anything again.
Which has brought us back to this point as we move into the tiny house again in the summer of 2019.
In our prep for moving back into the tiny house, I have realized a few things. They’re not insurmountable obstacles by any means, just things we often take for granted in any other situation. If your tiny house experience is different from mine, you’ll have other hurdles, so keep that in mind.
Where am I Doing My Laundry?
I used to love the answer to this question. When we first moved into our tiny house we frequented a laundromat bar. Washers, dryers, and over 100 different craft beers in cans. I even worked there part-time for a year because it was fun. Unfortunately, it closed some time ago.
Without that option this summer, we made a standing arrangement with a friend. We’ll bring over our laundry and dinner once a week if we can use her washing machine and watch a movie. We can always supplement this with trips to a laundromat (without a bar) when necessary.
How Do I Get Water?
We built our tiny house with no running water. I know you’re probably thinking, “That’s crazy,” and you might be right. But part of our original idea was to see if we could do it with just a Big Berkey water filter and the spring on our land. We collected water in large containers and brought them to the house. We could fill the Berkey with three gallons at a time. We were able to take showers and wash dishes with no problems.
We are still planning to do that. But for the summer, we may also purchase some of our water in the large three gallon containers from the local grocery store. In part, because Matt will be working a full-time job through the summer so we can only collect and carry water once a week.
Where Will I Work?
I don’t mean this in terms of a job. I work for myself, so I can honestly work anywhere. And I will, most days, work at the mountain. But after we moved into our city bungalow, we went down to just one car. And with Matt working over the summer, he’ll need it to travel 30 minutes into Asheville every day. Do I really want to be trapped on a remote mountain without transportation every day?
Some days, it sounds like absolute heaven. But other days I may need access to the car or other people. We are looking into co-working spaces. Or I may work at various friend’s houses throughout the summertime.
What Will I Eat?
Our tiny house was also built without a full kitchen or refrigeration. This was a deliberate choice. We have portable burners and we built an outdoor kitchen area where we can use those and a Camp Chef camp oven to cook complete meals. To keep anything cold, we have a Coleman Stirling Engine cooler, a product that is unfortunately no longer made.
In the past, we made trips to local farmer’s markets a couple of times a week and buy what we needed to prepare meals. We also kept simple things on hand that didn’t need refrigeration, such as a ploughman’s lunch with cured meats and hard cheeses, and staples like pasta and rice.
This time, things are different. I may not be at the tiny house every day and it would get expensive to eat out for lunches and dinners. We need to come up with creative solutions that are easily portable and require little preparation.
Your tiny house experience will be different from my tiny house experience, and that’s what makes this entire thing so exciting. No two tiny houses are alike. I’m excited abut this adventure, so stay tuned for more updates.
written by :: Laura M. LaVoie
This is a featured article in Issue 77 of the Tiny House Magazine.