Shiny Tiny Mansion

Living Small Naturally
Building a Small House

Tiny Homes Should Fit Your Lifestyle or Don’t give up Your Passion Just to Cram In

Dreamer!

After Sue’s last post on Tiny Communities, we realized thatย not everyone who dreams about their own Shiny Tiny Mansion will fit into the same mold or layout. You don’t have to give up gourmet cooking, quilting, entertaining, or working at home just to live tiny.ย  Follow along with me here. . .

Let’s start with how you describe yourself , your passions, and what makes you happy in your home. If you are a gourmet cook, your Tiny would need to be designed around the kitchen. You would need more cooking and prep space than someone who eats out a lot or does just simple everyday cooking. A teeny, shallow bar sink and a 2′ long workspace with a hotplate in a drawer just isn’t going to cut it. You will need more storage for pots & pans and utensils, but that can all be easily designed into a small house if you know that’s what you want up front. We hang pots from the ceiling, and there’s always fold down counters or islands on wheels that can be pushed out of the way when not in use. Ya gotta think it through realistically!

Beaded Snow Queen by Sue

If you are an artist, you gotta have space to do your art. Maybe a kitchen isn’t that important to you because you areย  living on fast food, tattoos, and cigarettes – SHAME ON YOU! I hate fast food, have temporary tatts (for now anyway) and don’t smoke, but only to save money and my lungs ;/ We didn’t bother to think that both of us are artists when I built Shiny Tiny. We just wanted out of the 1968, snake and mouse infested, leaking trailer, but that’s for another reflecting-on-old-times post. So after we had moved in, I built myself a 10’x14′ studio/lean-to off of our shed.

I always think too small when building – always thinking, “I can make do” ~ Damn Yankee sensibility! For any woodworkers out there, you ain’t airplaning around $300 pieces of nicely veneered sheets of Exotic Bubinga plywood in that tiny space ( tiny by professional woodshop standards anyway). Needless to say, that has become Sue’s Studio, and it fits her medium of writing, watercolor, and general peace and love better than my loud and dirty woodshop. I still don’t have a workshop in fact, and always hope to find a low priced rental where I can work into the wee hours of the morn without bothering the neighbors with screaming routers and ripsaws and my cussing when a design fails to translate from screen to reality – I’m a night type.

OMG ~ if I have to crawl up to the loft one more night!!!!

But, if you are a writer or painter, get some North facing skylights in that puppy and make the kitchen & bedroom smaller. Think about having one larger open room where you can spread out a little and make some well thought out, easy “close-up” hiding places for all your art should friends come over. Or Hell, if you’re not living in a 100SF Gypsy Caravanette (which may be coming soon for Sue and I), build an extra room off to the side. Even including Sue’s studio, we are still only at 600SF or so!

Thanksgiving 1955
My Grandma Whisler’s Family ~ Thanksgiving 1955 in a pretty small basement!

Maybe you are more the party/gathering type and dearly love family and friends to visit for extended stays. Bless you if you can handle all those family traumas and tribulations like your inadvertently racist Aunt Beth or Grandpa Narcolepsy who falls asleep in mid sentence, or Cousin Bob who cheers at every sports replay “YAY, we scored again!”

If you are the more-the-merrier type, then you need to try and design around fold down Murphys or fold out sofa beds and multi-purpose tables and other cool stuff. You don’t need to go the whole 1 million dollar folding NYC apartment route, but with some pre-thought out and good design, you can have room for 2 fold out sofas and maybe a blow-up mattress or two.

With visitors though, you need to think about climate whilst you dream your tiny design. If you live in the south, you can spend a lot of time out doors if it’s not raining or hurricaning or buggy infested – BUT – a screened in porch will take care of a lot of those woes and give the more adventurous and strong-willed a place to sleep. But If you live northerly, like us here in Ohio, having an outdoor living space is limited to maybe 6-7 months out of the year with 2-3 of those in heavy sweaters – which is perfect, really. Even if company loves winter sports, it can get challenging to feed 15 in a 600SF tiny in the evening! And even with our harsh winter last year, here at the edge of the woods, with water all around us, the ‘Skeeters are unbearable this summer.
In essence, we would recommend some serious thought about your true passions and how you can design those into and around your Shiny Tiny before you leap. Be it a Tiny Piney Trailer or a 900SF Shiny Tiny Mansion on a slab, it takes some realistic thinking of what you really want and how your tiny will make your life better. Saving all the money in the world won’t make a cook happy in a 2′ kitchen, or a painter happy with only a lap easel or Aunt Beth spouting off well meaning, but horrible things to the hotel staff because there’s not enough room for her to stay with you.

So in closing, think about your passions before you think about the savings of living in a tiny, because in the end, if you’re rich and unhappy, you are still unhappy. Metaphorically, Demons can still run strong within us, even when we seem to have a fulfilled life. Living in a tiny won’t solve all your problems but they can maybe, just maybe, make them a little smaller. If you build around your passion instead of letting your passions build around you, maybe life will be just a little easier. And can’t we all use that?
Rest in Peace and cheers to you my friend ~
Ron
B&W Blue Eyes 2Profile

11 Comment

  1. Very nicely said!
    Hubby and I can sit with book, laptop, music, tv, wine, beer, bourbon. Sitting it turns out takes very little space. And we aren’t real gregarious so people dropping in won’t be a problem. Cooking – yes, but generally for two.
    We keep looking at that Escape Cabin and our mouths water.

    1. It is true and we don’t think about that often – How much space do really need when we are sitting and drinking/eating? It may be nice to have the grandeur of a vaulted large space, but we can do that when we go out. In fact, when you live in a grand space, eventually you habituate to it and it’s not so grand anymore. We prefer a glance to the outside and see a sunset, a creek, or a city skyline – we seldom tire of those!

  2. Hello … I appreciate all you’re doing for the tiny house movement, but I have removed myself from your so-called emails. An email that is little more than a collection of URL’s is nothing more than a website, wouldn’t you say?

    If I wanted to read any of those articles while in transit, an internet connection would be required. On a train, underground, a connection is not so hot. It is so frustrating to see something and not be able to read it because there’s no connection a the moment. A true newsletter should have everything right here in the email so the reader can read it with or without a connection. Sorry but all these URLs provide no value at all. I can see that at your website.

    1. Hi Zendog57,
      I am so sorry to see you go, but I am so glad you brought this up because it raises a very interesting question. How do our friends want to read these posts? The majority of you are on the email subscriber list and a while ago, judging from my own likes, I decided to send a quick overview for our email subscribers and then let you decide if you want to take the time to click on “Read more”, if it sounds interesting. I am happy to send a text only and full post version to anyone that wants that instead.

      We live far out in the country and trust me, I know how frustrating the lack of decent internet service can be. YOU tell me what you want and that’s what I’ll do. Going to do a separate post/poll on this, so anyone who wants to sign up for a text only version – COOL! But then you’ll miss the pics that we try to keep engaging and fun, even if they don’t always relate directly to tiny living ~ but that’s fine! If you’re not getting what you want out of our blog, tell us and we will accommodate you if humanly possible.

      So ZenDog, if this will help you out, let me know, come on back, and I am happy to sign you up on the text only email version.
      Cheers,
      Ron

        1. I just fall in love with you more! A simple girl that only requires a fully charged laptop and a holder for booze to be happy, LOL! That’s why I married Sue – same simple requirements but with wine!!

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