Another Side of Living Tiny

It seems to me that there are two main focuses in news and tours for tiny home dwellers.  Either you’re tiny and mobile so that home is more or less a place to sleep and eat, or you’re living tiny to avoid a mortgage.  Tiny homes are considered cheaper but, in reality, many aren’t cheaper than an existing starter home.  They’re just better designed and more organized.

Today, I came across a video that shows another side of living tiny that resonates with me: Living tiny in a penthouse.

This father spends a lot of time discussing how unimportant it is to have a single room, such as an office, for a single task and that all living space should be used daily.  He also discusses the dense urban lifestyle that means the family walks up to 10K per day instead of taking a car or public transportation everywhere.  Yet, transportation is available for him and his children without car ownership.  He also has a beautiful view if city views are to your liking.

Adam Ruins Everything discussed urban density in Adam Ruins Cars:

If we didn’t develop our cities around cars, there’d be more room for stores and homes.  People would walk more.  It would be more social and more healthy for everyone.  With smaller, local, businesses, maybe online shopping wouldn’t be killing brick and mortar.  But, I digress.

The average tiny home costs the same amount per square foot as any other home.  It costs less only because it’s smaller.  A new tiny home on wheels will cost anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000.  Other costs will include transportation costs, maintenance costs, and possibly land maintenance.  If you have a vehicle in addition to your tiny home there are costs to maintaining, using and insuring that vehicle.  Apartment or condo living in a densely populated area eliminates most of those expenses.

Some apartments or condos offer other advantages in the form of swimming pools, gyms, and theaters.  When my kids were growing up, we had the opportunity to live in a tiny luxury apartment in Fort Myers, Florida.  The view from every window was palm trees and a pond that had fish and turtles in it.  There was a pool and the community center always smelled of peaches.  There was also a playground.  This gated community was quiet and within walking distance of a shopping center, fast food, and the mall.  It was a wonderful experience.

Prior to moving into my tiny home, I lived in an apartment in Green Bay, WI.  At 825 square feet, I never considered that home tiny, but the rent was reasonable and the location was perfect.  While I’m happy that I missed out on the historic snowstorm that just struck that city (and the possible flooding to come when all of that snow melts!), I miss the freedom that living in that urban location provided.  During that snowstorm, a friend of mine was able to hike to the grocery store and Kwik Trip was always within walking distance–I’ve used Kwik Trip as a grocery store in the past.  Everything I needed was within walking distance except work.  Public transportation in Green Bay is not the best so a car is definitely necessary.

Since moving into my tiny home, I’ve discovered that I’m not as handy as I thought I was.  The prevailing attitude is that you can learn to do anything by watching YouTube videos.  But, when you have a compact car, bringing home lumber or a garbage can is challenging.  When the nearest building supply store is 26 miles away, you have to add those expenses in.  eBay has become my best friend.  It is cheaper to have things shipped to my location than to try to get supplies in town.  And, for me, with my ADD, attention to detail isn’t my best skill.  I have a tendency to want to shortcut things and that ends poorly when it comes to home building and maintenance.

So, this is a love letter to everyone living tiny in multi-home rental spaces.  I have a lot of passions and I loved living in a space in which maintenance was not an added expense or timesink.  I loved the freedom of being able to walk to my favorite haunts.  There are a lot of ways to live tiny and experiences to be had.  If you’re considering a tiny home, but aren’t there yet, please don’t limit your thinking to the travel life or a suburban homestead.  There is a tiny house option for every lifestyle.






Link Your Tiny Home Photos, Please!

I came across this post on my Pinterest feed the other day and I recognized the photo, so I immediately clicked on it.  I thought it was nice that they were using Eric and Katie’s ideas and wondered what other good information I would find in the piece.

I was going to be disappointed.  Like so many sites today, especially sites related to tiny homes, it was just a gallery of pictures.  I hate the gallery of uncredited pictures because, if I want more information, I can’t find it.

This was a little worse, in my opinion, because below the photo was this block of text:

50 Best RV Camper Van Decorating Ideas (12) is a part of pictures gallery. If you need to download this picture 50 Best RV Camper Van Decorating Ideas (12) just right click on the image and choose “Save Image As” to your device, and then you will get this image about 50 Best RV Camper Van Decorating Ideas (12). You can also find another pics by click “Next image” or “Previous image” button.

All of the images displayed are of unknown origin. If you are the rightful owner of any of the pictures posted here, and you do not want it to be displayed or if you require a suitable credit, then please contact us and we will immediately do whatever is needed either for the image to be removed or provide credit where it is due.

In fact, this same block of text was under every photo.  First, it tells you how to download these pictures.  Then it tells you that all of the photos are of unknown origin.  Interesting, since this one has its origin watermarked in the lower left corner.

Mountain Modern Life Table
Eric and Katie Nathey’s pull-out table build,

At first, I thought I was just upset because I have a lot of artists in my life and I’ve learned that you should give credit.  I do try, but I apologize to anyone I have disrespected by not giving them proper credit.

Then, I got upset because Eric and Katie are fellow bloggers and I know they make a large portion of their income from their blogs and vlogs.  Taking their pictures and not linking back to them is kind of like stealing.  Click on the photo above or go directly to this blog post to see how they built this table and how it works.

After spending some time clicking through the photos in the site, I just got angry, but this time for more selfish reasons.  You see, it’s not just that I follow Mountain Modern Life and consider them, at the very least, kindred spirits.  It’s that I follow them because they provide helpful information that has helped in my own builds.  It was that I saw a lot of their photos in this gallery–pretty much the majority of their home tour!  And, I found other pictures that I wanted more information about.  There were other pictures that I was pinning that I’d like to link back for other people who want more information, like me.

And, that’s when I realized that I was angry because I know that almost every one of Katie and Eric’s photos was part of a tutorial that helps tiny home dwellers like me achieve our dreams and avoid the pitfalls that others have already suffered.  There’s also really helpful product advice in a lot of these blogs and sometimes a photo includes those products.  It’s really hard to trace them with only a photo.  I know there’s some Google technique to find every instance of that photo, but I’d have to hunt it up again.

So, I want to say to my fellow tiny home bloggers, please don’t just post photos.  There are a lot of dreamers in our community; people who aren’t there yet or who just think it’s a nice idea to live tiny.  There are a lot of tiny home dwellers and DIYers looking for more information and you make that harder when you separate the photos from the info.

On the flip side, if you’re a tiny home blogger posting photos of your own work and it contains a tutorial or product information, please, please, please, watermark those photos with the address of your website so that we can find you.

As for Eric & Katie Nathey of Mountain Modern Life, congrats you guys!  You made that top 50 post eight times!  Someone really likes your decor!  I really like your tutorials and blogs!  I’ve also learned to be more careful about linking back in my own work.

Philadelphia Eagles Themed Home Decorations

The Eagles have won Super Bowl LII for the first time ever! Super Fans of the Eagles finally have some validation that they’ve backed the right team all these years. If you’re an Eagles Super Fan, building your tiny home around your passion is just the ticket.

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Tiny Home Flooring Options

The first place to start when deciding on your flooring is going to be knowing how you need it to function.  That sounds like a weird thing to say, but some floors perform better in certain situations than others.

I sell floors for a living, so be sure to ask questions in the comments section below if you have them.

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Are Tiny Home and Zero Waste Lifestyles Compatible?

I moved from an 825 square foot apartment in the city to a tiny home 10 miles from the closest town and the nearest gas station is 4.3 miles away.  That might not seem like much of a distance, but when you’re used to walking to the corner, it’s a bit of a hike.  The landfill is 10.5 miles away.  I don’t have garbage pickup, either.

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Starbucks Themed Tiny Home Decor

Starbucks.  It’s iconic.  You see it in movies like The Devil Wears Prada, You’ve Got MailThe Proposal and about 40 more.  With coffee bars and stations being the hot thing for 2018, Starbucks themes are perfect for tiny homes.

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Design Your Personal Tiny Home Experience

I’m an experiential designer.  What that means is that I design complete experiences rather than simply picking a theme and putting that skin on whatever I’m designing.  There’s a difference between decorating a house in a country style and designing every element in the house to embody a rustic Northwoods look or give the house the feel of a summer beach cabin in the woods or a French Country Cottage in the countryside.  The idea is to create an aesthetic; a feel.  It’s not just a look; we want people to feel something.  We want to immerse them in the experience we’re trying to create.

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Surviving Winter In A Tiny Home

As I sit down to write this, it’s -15 degrees F outside.  It got down to -24 degrees F during the night, but when I got up my tiny house was sitting at 47 degrees according to the weather station in my kitchen.

I live in a 1972 Wilderness trailer, 24′.  The walls and ceiling are two and a half inches thick which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for insulation!  So, 47 degrees in -24 weather is pretty good!  I couldn’t see my breath and it’s hard to describe that the house is still pretty comfortable at that.  Also, I have a lot of bedding–my bed is super warm.  It was great sleeping weather.

But, you can’t keep your house that low.  It’s bad for electronics, bad for furnishings and most flooring, and you won’t feel comfortable in those low temps for very long.  Eventually, I plan to write more about how I chose my heating and insulation options, but for now, I’d just like to talk about what I’m doing to keep warm this winter.

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