The first moment I stumbled across a tiny house on my internet rambles, I knew this would be the home for me.
Now its actually becoming a reality. We have started the process of building our dream home. Today, I'm going to tell you all about it. Pull up a chair and grab a cuppa readers, we are ready to dive in...
So, what is a tiny home?
It surprises me when people still look at me blankly when I announce that we are going to build a tiny home. Then I remember, not everyone is going to become as instantly obsessed with this idea as I am. Its also still relatively uncommon, especially in the UK. In essence, a tiny home has pretty much everything a normal home will have, except smaller. To be classed as a tiny home, they are generally under 400 sq. ft, as opposed to 828 sq. ft, which is the average for UK two-bedroom houses. American houses are even bigger at an average of a whopping 2,426 sq. ft for a 'medium' sized house.
The other key aspect of tiny homes is they are built with movement in mind. In our case, this is going to involve building on top of a trailer. Tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular. With house prices ever rising and cities getting busier, this provides another less conventional option for those brave enough to try it out...
Why would you live in a tiny home?
For me, tiny homes align perfectly with my lifestyle and values.
I moved a fair bit in my early adulthood, which is common in my line of work as a wildlife conservationist, as I moved between short-term contracts. At one point, I was renting a two-bed suburban house by myself. At the time, I enjoyed living there. It was a modern house so well insulated (not common on many places I have lived!) so provided very comfortable living. However, I found that I hardly used the space. That, and it was costing me an arm and a leg. I was barely scrapping by each month and could put next to nothing in my savings. As much as I enjoyed this home, I knew something would have to give.
That's how I ended up in my current home - a static caravan on a farm just outside Inverness. I'm not going to lie, living here has not been as cushy as the two-bedroom house I left. The winters are tough. I mildly despair as I once again have to bash my bedroom window open as it has frozen overnight. But, this caravan has become home to me. I love being surrounded by green fields as I have always been a country girl at heart. More importantly, living here has meant that I have been able to put some money aside every month. After finally persuading my other half that a tiny home is the only reasonable route forwards (he is now potentially keener than me!) we were able to start planning in earnest.
Personally, I don't see a reason to have a large house. Even in this caravan, there are cupboards and entire rooms that are empty. After embracing minimalism at the beginning of 2020, I now only have a relatively small amount of treasured possessions. Living tiny means that I can continue to lead this minimal life and never be tempted to buy stuff just to fill space.
Tiny living is also often far more eco-friendly than traditional houses. We require less materials and land and will also be getting our electricity from solar panels in order to be totally off-grid. We will have a composting toilet and rainwater will be one of our primary water-sources. Nothing will be wasted.
On top of this, tiny living means freedom to use. Not just in the literal sense, as we can move wherever the wind takes us, but financially. Neither of us were keen to get a mortgage. To be bogged down in debt for what seems like endless years just didn't suit us. Instead, we can own our home, without an extortionate mortgage and with minimal rent.
How are we going to do it?
After months of research, we finally took our first step and bought a trailer at the beginning of this year. We decided to go with a company that sells trailers specifically to build tiny homes ('Tiny eco homes UK'). It was pricier than doing up an old farm-trailer, but as this was going to be the foundations of our house, we thought this was worth it. This trailer is 7.8m long, 2.4m wide and can be built up to 3.95m tall (including trailer height) in order to comply with UK road legislation. This is classed a 'medium' sized trailer in the tiny home world, which we felt would be appropriate for the 2 of us and of course our very demanding cat.
In order to save money, we are going to build this house ourselves. I should say, this is a royal 'we'. My partner is well-equipped in all things handy and has had previous experience in converting his own van. This may be a bit of a leap but I have complete confidence in him. I will help where I am able, but it may be restricted to a bit of supervising and flouncing around with a paintbrush. I have also created our mood board for our interior design theme. Forget the building plans, this is where the important information lives...
We have a rather ambitious goal of building our entire home for under £10,000. This is massively helped by doing the work ourselves and we will be scrimping wherever we can. Sourcing second-hand items is where I come into my own. With a childhood of haunting charity shops, I feel I have been training my entire life for this mission. We've already racked up the hours on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Ebay. Second-hand is not only cheaper, but generally more sustainable, which of course makes me happy.
In terms of where we park it, our current plan is to be based on the farm where I am currently living. With the landowners permission of course. Its a beautiful spot and we feel very lucky to be given this opportunity. It will also make the moving process far easier!
I am buzzing with excitement about this new adventure. I will be sure to post regular updates of our build on this blog. I post more regularly on my social media so be sure to follow me on there! You can also sign up to be a member to my blog below to get more behind the scenes content in our awesome community forum. Get ready of lots of photos of me in paint-splashed clothing have the time of my life...