It is going to sound very unromantic, but after it had been in the back of our minds for a couple of years, things worked out so it just made sense. It made sense financially, and 100% fit the lifestyle that we had grown into. Re-introducing the idea seriously was something of an “aha!” moment, when Lauren’s mom mentioned we should live in a tiny house (although I am fairly certain she was completely kidding).
Our “aha!” moment was born out of frustration with our mortgage and lack of traveling because of it, combined with a coworker telling me all about yurts. I started to realize that changing our lifestyle could help us travel more.
I was an immediate go on alternative living; I tend to be impulsive with these types of decisions. I also knew I could do it because I had traveled across the country in a Yaris with my brother and sister and a backpack and found it freeing. It took a little convincing, though, because Tim was not on board with Yurt Life, and was not on board with tiny houses until he set foot in Brian Levy’s MiNiM Home (which is what we built). His “aha!” moment was right then and there, when he thought to himself, “I could live here comfortably!”
I think there were a few “aha” moments. The first was when Tim really started looking into tiny living and discovered it was a real possibility. We had discussed it before and knew we were both on board. But the game definitely changed once Tim dug into it a bit and came back with some actionable steps towards financial goals and places we can put our home.
The second big “aha” moment was the second day we stayed in a tiny rental. We just looked at each other and said, “We could definitely do this.” Staying in a small space first was a huge help for us.
Our ‘aha’ moment, actually came externally. We were originally cast to be on the show Tiny House Nation. Planning on being on the show acted as the catalyst for something we had wanted to do for a while, but were hesitant to pull the trigger on. We did some investigating after running into some communication issues early on, and found that being on the show wasn’t going to work for us. However, the plans were already set it motion! We were able to secure funding, find our builders, and sell our house. It did not work out at ALL how we had planned, but it worked out great!
At the end of 2017, I had been dreaming of buying my own house for almost two years. I was growing tired of living in the city, with hardly any outdoor space and the bare minimum of natural light, in my modest one-bedroom basement apartment in Downtown Richmond.
I was getting a bit desperate to find a place that I could truly make my own, and with the real estate market booming in Richmond, I would need to start making plans soon. But I couldn’t seem to unblock myself enough to find a real estate agent and start looking in earnest. After taking some time to pick apart my worries, I figured out that my concerns were three-fold.
I was absent-mindedly scrolling through Instagram one night, recently having gotten hooked on following the van-life movement—people who live on the road out of mostly self-converted vans, working remotely and traveling the world. I was thinking about how brave it would be to sell almost all of your possessions and live fully mobile in roughly 60 square feet. I didn’t think I could ever do that.
I, like many other people, had been following the trend of people building tiny houses on wheels online and on TV for some time. But for some reason, I had never connected that idea to myself, as something I might want to pursue.
That evening, while I was admiring all of the smartly designed compact spaces on wheels that these van-lifers were off using to live the good life, everything clicked into place and I, quite literally, smacked myself in the forehead. I scoffed at my inability to connect the dots before. “You want to create a space that’s yours, but you are worried about cost, about it being stuck in the same place, and about how to handle unforeseen issues... Why don’t you just design a tiny house, on wheels, and build it yourself?”
I was instantly obsessed with the idea. That very night I stayed up until 3am doing research, flagging photos for inspiration, pouring over blogs and builder’s websites, figuring out a potential budget, even sketching a floor plan! A year and a half later, here I am!