July 27, 2018
Bela and I have lived in our tiny home for over a year now. During that time, we’ve built a deck, cut down 15 trees, done countless little repairs and modifications, and completed a tremendous amount of landscaping. We’ve become more self-reliant than ever before and spent every day creating our own lifestyle and an environment for success.
The tiny house movement is still young, and the lack of financial or legal infrastructure certainly hasn’t made the transition easy. But how has it been so far?
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE…and we do it with a two-year old!
If you think tiny house living might be for you, then it probably is. But tiny house living can work fine or it can thrive. It can be a decent housing alternative or a nation-changing movement. It can save you a little money and eliminate some junk or it can provide you with a new life and extraordinary opportunities.
What separates these two outcomes? How can tiny homes go from a fringe movement to something so obviously positive that people are racing to jump in?
How can we create the sorts of tiny homes that can change the direction of housing for good and how can you have the sort of tiny home that will dramatically improve your life over the long-term?
Let me walk you through what we’ve found to be the most persistent narratives about tiny homes, and share our vision of the future for the tiny house movement.
I hear this a lot: “I want to move into a tiny house because I’m so tired of being held back by all my stuff.”
This is absolutely true. Move into a tiny house and you’ll free yourself of almost all of your crap. But if you just focus on having less, you’re missing the real opportunity. Living in a tiny house is a chance to have items you treasure. Not just less things that you hate.
The objects in my life bring me inspiration on a regular basis. Why? Because they are objects that were created by hand, with craftsmanship and commitment.
Because they are a reflection of someone else’s expertise, vision, and love for life. They show me things about this world that I may have missed otherwise.
They show me how to see the world from a new perspective and they encourage me to create similar experiences for other people.
A tiny house is an opportunity to set a high standard of excellence. It's a chance to start from the beginning, to slowly build up your access to interesting and worth-while objects. It’s an opportunity to support people who are creating art and selling peace of mind. Design a full-spectrum experience, then see how beautiful and meaningful objects can change your life.
There’s nothing wrong with clearing debts. We paid a lot for our tiny house and don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to have it all paid off (hopefully in a year or two from now!). But it’s a mistake to think that you should only move into a tiny house that you can pay for cash money or with minimal debt.
What do I mean by better? I mean a home that is going to age well. A home that is going to bring you joy every day. A home that is going to present you with beauty and inspiration. A home that is going to facilitate your success and your well-lived life.
Maybe you’re not really going to be spending much time in your home. Maybe you’ll be working a lot or traveling the world, and getting a $40-50k tiny home makes more sense for your lifestyle. That’s great!
But maybe you want a home to live in full-time. Maybe you’re going to be spending 14+ hours a day in and around your home for the next 3-5 years. If that sounds like you, then stop thinking about the short-term cost and start thinking about the long-term value. Your home is important because it’s often the first step in shaping your life. It’s where you will spend most of your time. It’s the first place and last place you’ll see every day.
Your tiny home is an opportunity to create a Shangri La for yourself, a sanctuary of beauty and bliss where you can dream for your future and experience your presence. Don’t limit yourself to thinking of tiny homes as debt-erasers, they’re also dream-makers. Sometimes that means making a long-term financial commitment and that’s okay.
We didn’t build our own home. It took us about two weeks of research to realize that, while probably attainable, DIY would’ve dramatically restricted our tiny house.
Why? Because working with a builder freed up our minds to focus purely on how we would live in the home.
We didn’t have to think about the nuances of construction. We could instead focus on all the minute details of our lives and creating a tiny house that would seamlessly promote our daily activities.
We were free to dream big and push the design of our home to the limit. To chase our vision of the perfect tiny house and to design a home that would bring us happiness and fulfillment for years.
What’s the key to designing this sort of tiny house? Stop thinking about the novelty and start thinking about experience living in the home. Stop thinking about maximizing square-footage and start thinking about the space within the home as perceived. A double-loft studio might have the highest square-footage, but it feels tiny, not expansive and diverse.
Design a tiny home with lots of differentiated spaces, all filled with natural light and open to the outdoors, and you’ll have a home that never gets boring – one that feels like paradise instead of one that’s just livable.
Above all, think about the atmosphere of your home – how it feels to live in the home day after day. Design your home to be a place for your mind, not just for your stuff.
They’re homes, just like every other home, and you should invest accordingly. Go big. Design the best home you can. No matter what you do, your tiny home is still going to cost way less than a traditional home.
A tiny home is an opportunity to have a home that inspires you. It’s an opportunity to bring something uniquely beautiful into the world. It’s an opportunity to create a new life for yourself. Don’t let the small size cause you have to have a small vision. Push yourself, don’t hold back, and you’ll never regret it.
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My name is Alan—founder at Dream Big Live Tiny Co! A few years ago, I quit my consulting job to pursue a life full of adventure. After traveling around the world for a year, I sold most of my stuff and moved into an 160-sqft tiny house. Now I spend most of my time showcasing incredible people living with less in pursuit of more freedom, as well as incredible tiny houses around the world!
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