It’s hard, really, to answer why we’ve decided to build a tiny house. At least it’s hard to answer it succinctly. But I’ll do my best. First and foremost,
We like a good project.
The thing that really makes Aaron and I’s heart skip a beat is the prospect of doing something new. And, well, building a tiny house on our own is more than something new. It’s a whole lot of somethings in one awesome little project. Flashing a trailer, we’ll learn that! Framing a house, we’ll learn that too! Installing windows, yup! Roofing, bring it on! Building stairs, sure why not! This is a project unlike any we’ve ever undertaken. A project where most every step in the process is something new to learn and try.
And, once its done, we’ll have a place.
We live just South of San Francisco in the Silicon Valley. It’s a lovely place and not quite as cramped as our former home base, Chicago. Its spread out in a suburb kind of way and it has loads of mountains and nature that aren’t more than a short drive. But we still want more. We need more green. We need more space. We need a retreat. The tiny house will give us all of that. Once it is done and parked on a chunk of land (yet to be found) we’ll have the green retreat we need. The green retreat that we built ourselves.
Meets our needs in an out-of-the-box way.
Building a tiny house is a way to meet our needs for a good project and also for a bit more green, but in an out-of-the-box way. Right now we live in a rental townhouse about three miles from Aaron’s day job. We are surrounded by a strong, vibrant homeschooling community. The location is perfect and we would like to stay in the area for awhile.
So, why don’t we buy a first home in the area, first? Why don’t we buy with more green? Well, a few reasons. First, buying a home here, near to where Aaron works requires taking on a big mortgage. Single family homes rarely sell for less than a million dollars around us, and if they are close to the million dollar price point they usually require some “imagination.” We are just not super jazzed about entering into that amount of debt and commitment and still not really getting what we need or want. Places with more green and more space are simply too far for us, completely out of budget, or both. None of us want Aaron to spend hours of his life each day in a bus or behind the wheel of a car. We also don’t want to put ourselves in a financially precarious position.
For now, a hybrid model seems the best plan. Our rental townhouse for the week as we all go about our business – Aaron with work and me with homeschooling the kids and their activities – and a place to retreat in the woods for weekends, holidays, and any other time we need to escape the frenetic pace of the valley.
We can make it happen, now.
Building tiny means we can do this project, right now. We can afford to build a tiny house and buy a piece of unimproved land (which means our house will have to be off the grid!). We are confident that we can learn the skills needed to raise walls and install plumbing and build lofts. We are eager to show our children all that goes into building a house, a tiny one. We want this life now. And so we’re going for it.