Savoring the Tiny House

Tiny House & Hammock

Tiny House & Hammock

A year ago I decided to rent a tiny house. We moved Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow to Portland at the end of September last year, just before I started my first quarter studying urban planning at Portland State University. I figured it would be an economically-savvy and environmentally-friendly housing choice for my first year of graduate school. Living in a tiny house would enable me to decide whether I could realistically live in less than 200 square feet. Furthermore, it would inform my design choices if I decided to build a tiny house of my own.

We’ll be moving Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow back to Olympia this Saturday. So this week I’m savoring the tiny house. I’m enjoying the dappled light through the lilac trees while I’m curled up with my kindle on the window seat, I’m appreciating the tiny, efficient kitchen while cooking meals, and I’m relishing the view of the stars from the skylight of the sleeping loft.

I’m also reminding myself what I will do differently in my own tiny house now that I’m convinced I want to build a tiny house of my own. The top three changes I would make are these:

1)   I’ll design my tiny house with a larger porch (see Shrinky-Dink Porch for an explanation).

2)   I’ll spring for an on-demand propane water heater. (Since I had to wait 20 minutes for the 4-gallon tank to heat up once I flipped the switch I often ran out of time to actually do the dishes, which meant I’d wasted that energy.)

3)   I’ll use the Envi wall-mounted electric heater instead of an oil radiator or a propane boat heater.  (See Top 10 Reasons to Pick Envi Heater Over Propane Marine Heater)

Ten months of tiny house living have also convinced me that a wee abode perfectly suited to me can be even smaller than 121 square feet. My latest design for my own tiny house is a gypsy wagon (also known as a vardo) built on a 14-foot long trailer. I think about it every day as I go about my daily activities in this tiny house. I’m looking forward to scouting for materials this year and building my tiny house next summer. Meanwhile, I will use everything I’ve learned about simple living in my future housing arrangements. For the rest of the summer I’ll be living in a garden cottage (also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit) on the same block as Cully Grove, where I’m building tiny houses. For next school year I’m considering a more urban version of the Little Life with a studio apartment in a more walkable neighborhood and a shorter commute to campus.

I’m extremely grateful I had the opportunity to test out the Little Life before committing to it. Once we get the tiny house back to Olympia Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow will be available for rental by the night, weekend, or week so that other people can test out tiny house living. There don’t seem to be many other opportunities to rent a tiny house, so if you’re interested, please do get in touch with Brittany. Her reservation calendar is filling up quickly!

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