Keys to Being Happy with Your Tiny Home

Hi Folks,

I wrote this entry as a comment to a post on the Tiny House Blog regarding “Things I Don’t Like About My Tiny House”. There is a lot to learn from such posts and the comments if you are thinking of building and living in a Tiny House. I hadn’t found articles like this before I planned and built my home so I feel very grateful that my house suits my needs so well.  I spent months drawing and re-drawing. I day dreamed about being in my house, what I wanted it to feel and look like and what I wanted to do there. I laid out the space in the yard with string and walked around in it and tried to imagine it in 3D with my things in it. Still, I didn’t really know how it would be in the end. I’m happy to say that I truly feel at home in my home and it’s perfect for me.

Here’s a link to that post:   Now follows what I wrote:

I’ve built my own tiny house that I designed (I’m 61 and had a lot of the same concerns as the other “older” commenters) and I must say that I love how the space has turned out and works perfectly for me. I spent many months figuring out just what I really needed and wanted to make sure I’d actually have room for it. This includes that I can do yoga in my living room, I have an electric piano and actually enough room so that another musician can join me in playing music at my house. I can’t do the yoga and have a cellist playing in my living room at the same time though!

My house is 8’6″ wide and just under 13’6″ tall – fitting most of the “down-the-road” no-need-for-a-permit limits. I used a larger flatbed trailer (28′ long and then 8′ of gooseneck) so my bedroom is up a short flight of stairs (5 steps and I have a hand rail) and it is an actual bedroom with a closet and a chest of drawers and double bed. I definitely did not want to sleep in my living room or climb up a loft ladder every night and have the shortened head room over my bed. I have a totally workable kitchen, plenty of storage and a bathroom with a composting toilet and RV-type shower/tub. It isn’t palatial, but it works for me and has worked for my guests.

Speaking of guests and possible visits by eventual grandkids – I have a loft with two twin mattresses in it and a ladder and also a double bed sofabed for my elderly guests – or me if I can’t even make it up the 5 steps to my bedroom because of illness or injury. I even have a built in wine rack and a collapsable trampoline.

I also have radiant floor heat run by a dual water heater that heats the floor glycol and also provides the insta-hot for my domestic water needs. I have a 100gal water tank in another storage loft and can run my electricity from my solar or by running my propane generator or by plugging into “shore” power if I need to. I fill my water tank about every two weeks – more often if I am doing laundry by hand in my large, deep kitchen sink. I got a laundry plunger and a hand wringer and have set up some hooks in my living room (I have a retractable clothesline) so that I can hang laundry there to dry if the weather is bad.

It does tweak my laziness button at times when I have to empty my urine bottle and the compost from the solid waste side of my separating/composting toilet (Nature’s Head). I have two of the urine bottles though so one is always empty and I never have to deal with it in the middle of the night. The compost is emptied about once every two months. The urine is every 3 days or so.

It does take planning to figure out where to put my house. I’ve been in one beautiful place for over 7 months and now need to find another place. Fortunately I don’t have to leave in a hurry so I have had time to hunt for the right spot and meet the people whose land I will be on. This summer we had a fire nearby too and were evacuated. Though in theory I can move my house, ironically the fire fighters wouldn’t allow me to get into the evacuation area with my truck to move it. Luckily it didn’t burn down. Sadly, many immoveable homes did burn.

I think building on the larger gooseneck trailer is the main thing that allowed me to have what I really wanted in my house. Goosenecks are more stable and easier to maneuver to drive down the road too – which is important since my house is quite heavy and tall.

That’s it for today!

10 thoughts on “Keys to Being Happy with Your Tiny Home

Add yours

  1. Thanks, Robin. That was interesting to read. What you didn’t say is that your home is also quite charming and esthetically pleasing, inside and out! I bet this will be helpful for those considering designing their own tiny home.

  2. Hi Robin,

    We just came across your tiny house website and it’s fantastic!

    We’re making a feature length documentary about the tiny house movement called Small is Beautiful – A Tiny House Film.

    As part of the film we’re accepting photo submissions of people and their tiny houses (built or in progress) and we would love to include you! Our aim is to have as many tiny houses in the film as possible to celebrate and promote the tiny house movement.

    It’s completely free and, of course, up to you if you want to be a part of it. Here’s where you can find the details:

    We’d love to have you on board!

    Jeremy & Kelly

    Kelly Nardo
    Production Manager
    ph [USA]: 541-914-3075

    Jeremy Beasley
    ph [USA]: 541-654-7266

    twitter: tinyhousefilm
    join team tiny: team tiny

    1. Hi Jeremy and Kelly,
      I’d be happy to be in your film. I think I already sent you one photo, but I kind of wanted to send another with me in it too. When does it have to be submitted by?

  3. I love your project! My name is Whitney, I am completing a Certificate at Yestermorrow Design Build school in Warren, VT. For my project I am researching the availability of homeowners insurance for tiny homes. If you own a tiny home please take a few moments to fill out this survey. Thank you for your time!

    1. Thanks, Whitney. I’d love to follow your research, as we are currently looking to re-certify and insure Gyrtle as a mobile residence! This is Robin’s daughter responding, as Robin passed away in December 2013. As you can imagine, there are a whole host of new issues to do with insurance since her transition. Please keep me posted!

  4. Hello Robin, I love you tiny house. Do you have plans to share. I am in the planning stage and I like the space your tiny house has. I

  5. Robin, Can you say the brand of trampoline, and where you store it? We are building a 24 foot, and I’m not sure how to fit it all in! Also, can I email you directly? It seems like you are really happy in your home and I’d like to pick your brain a bit if you have the time and space. thank you! Tara Ambrose,
    Belfast Maine

    1. Hi, Tara. My mom used a Cellercizer Rebounder, the tri-fold model. It folds up very small, so she was able to store it under her desk! I’m sorry to say that my mother passed on Dec. 24, 2013. We are still figuring out Gyrtle’s next journey, and I will be updating this blog again soon with more info. Thank you for reading 🙂

      You might check out the List of Tiny Housers that is the most recent post on this blog to find out about other people who might help you with ideas for building and design:

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