Self-Evaluation & Stories: Part 1

In April, I posted the first two phases of the steps list I’m writing (see them here), noting that every tiny house journey happens in a different order. I made the steps list in what I think is an optimal order, but that doesn’t mean I did them in order. When I wrote phases 1 and 2, I tried to separate them in this way: the first phase deals with more thought-related steps, while phase 2 involves more action-taking steps. The order I did the steps in was affected by how convenient and fun they were, as well as how much they cost. My phases 1 and 2 overlap and the steps are all over the place, but here they are:

Phase 1, Step 1: Discovery – (quoting my Discovery page): “I first came across tiny houses around November/December 2012. I don’t know how I found the site I was on, and I don’t even remember the site. It looked interesting, so I clicked on a few more links and found The Tiny Tack House site. Their house was beautiful. I especially liked how much wood there was. It reminded me of my grandparents’ log house, which my grandfather built.”

Phase 1, Step 2: Attraction – (quoting my Discovery page): “I could definitely picture myself living in something like that. Imagine, a little mini home custom designed by you for you. I could have exactly what I wanted (which mainly was a window seat). It was like an apartment, but I could change it however I liked and I could take it with me to university, wherever I decide to go.”

Phase 1, Step 10: Choosing a Method – (quoting my discovery page): “I liked the idea of building my own tiny house…” I knew that if I ever owned a tiny house, it would be built by me, mainly because of money. Maybe if I won the lottery, I’d get the house built for me, but building your own tiny house is half the cost of buying one. I was also drawn to the basic idea of building my own home and how down to earth that is.

Phase 1, Step 7: Asking Yourself Questions – I was in my second last year of high school when I discovered tiny houses online. A guest house or backyard office weren’t on my radar. I wanted a place all to myself that I had control over. A tiny house was so much more appealing to me than a dorm identical to everyone else’s or a crappy shared apartment.

I figured it’d be just me in the house. However, since 2012, my tiny house has become the future home of my cat, my boyfriend, and the dog he wants.

Since I knew I’d want to live in the house full-time (minus any traveling), I had to think of things like heat for winter and whether or not I wanted a laundry machine (answer: yes). Looking at other tiny houses, I noticed that they all had a focus or two. Some people like to cook, others need an office. Some tiny housers are musicians, some snowboard, and some do both. Every tiny house is reflective of its owner and has a delicate balance of their priorities. So for me, I don’t need a full kitchen, but I do want a full-size closet. I won’t use a bathtub, but I want a cozy window seat.

Phase 1, Step 11: Affording the House – As the idea of building my own tiny house started to grow, I considered how I would afford it. I had some savings, no access to credit, and another year and a half of high school left. I assumed I’d save as much money as I could before the build, and work as I built.

Phase 1, Step 13: Thinking About Your Future – I hadn’t (and still haven’t) decided about school or a career or a location, so it was perfect that I’d be able to take the house with me. I could live in it just for my university years or as long as I wanted. I knew that if I lived in it for 3 or 4 years, it’d be paid off and worth the savings in dorm costs. A tiny house, for me, opened up my future to be anything I wanted.

Phase 1, Step 5: Considering Your Reasons – The more I researched tiny houses, the more I loved everything that came with them, specifically: customization, freedom, no mortgage, the ability to take the house with me, independence, cheaper utilities, less or no rent, human-size, being a home-owner, encourages mindful consumption, ability to spend money on other things, ability to spend more time on hobbies, minimalist, encourages community, incentive to get out more, choices, quality materials, ability to work less hours, less cleaning, less maintenance, flexibility, freedom to pursue a dream job, ability to travel more, less environmental impact, more sustainable, a house with a personality, the experience of building your own home, uniqueness, dream home, and a simpler life.

Phase 1, Step 6: Thinking About Your Values – To be honest, saving the environment is not first on my list. The things that are important to me in a house are smaller scale: energy efficient (to save money on heating), movability, room to host over-night guests (rarely), room for parties and get-togethers (barely), a laundry machine (I don’t want to have to rely on other facilities), and closet space. I like that tiny houses use less materials and therefore are more sustainable, but I’m not going to go out of my way to find recycled materials. I do care about renewable materials, which is why I’m looking into bamboo and cork flooring, but I’m still probably going to buy lumber at a local hardware store chain.

Phase 1, Step 4: Decision – (quoting my Discovery page): “In February 2013, I told my parents and younger sister what I was planning, having decided I was actually going to do it.” That was when the idea became truly real and not just something in my head and my internet history 😛

Phase 2, Step 6: Asking For Help – At the same time I told my family, I shyly shared that I hoped they’d all help when they could. My dad is my go-to person for anything hands-on, I know my mum would give 100% in anything she helped with, and I thought it’d be fun to have my lil sis helping me and to teach her how to use power tools.

Phase 1, Step 3: Day Dreaming – Just days after I told my fam. about the house plan, I left for a 3-month exchange to Quebec. I was in a small town, surrounded by another language, and in a home with a family that ignored me. I had plenty of time in my own head to day dream about the house I wanted for myself. I scrolled endlessly through Pinterest and I starting paying attention to little house things, like the curve of the roof and the wooden curlicues that decorated the side of the staircase. I doodled tiny house facades in art class and tested colour theme ideas.

Phase 1, Step 14: Imagining a Floor Plan – In April 2013, on a random day, I took out some white paper, a pencil, and a ruler, and drew my first tiny house floor plan idea. It’s not so far from what I have now. It’s so strange to me that I dreamed up my floor plan at a dining room table in Quebec.

Phase 2, Step 2: Spending Hours Online – After I got home from Quebec in May 2013, I moved away from just looking at pictures of tiny houses and onto researching what goes into building one. Whenever I came across a part I wasn’t sure about, I’d spend extra time on that one topic. I’d Google it for hours until I had a decent amount of information and a decision in mind. I’m not done researching yet. I don’t think I will be done until the house is, because I’m going to research the steps as I go to make sure I’m doing them right.

To be continued…


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"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris
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