After Sue’s last post on Tiny Communities, we realized that 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. 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!
If you are an artist, you gotta have space to do your art. Maybe a kitchen isn’t that important to you because you are 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.
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!
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 ~