We’ve been looking for an alternative housing that we could afford without a mortgage. The best solution we could´ve come up with was to build our own Tiny house.
We are architect Barbora Drblíková and engineer Tibor Bogdan. We are a couple who always finds a different solution to any problem. We want to do things our way. We have been traveling around Europe and took some fantastic pictures of our imaginary home. The main idea behind this project was that it doesn´t matter where we live, as long as we are together.
We founded the HOME WITH YOU non-profit organization to help young couples to find their first home. The Tiny House prototype is our first project, covered by our private money.
Of course, the decision to build a Tiny House was not just the one day talk. We’ve been thinking about it for almost a year. I (Barbora) was in my last year of studies to become a master of architecture. In the last year of studies, one starts to think about the future, career and of course, the main thing: where the hell am I going to live? 😀 The rent is crazy high, and we didn´t have much money saved.
So we started to think of an alternative. We did not even dare to think about purchasing our own house or flat. We were not sure whether we want to settle in Martin, where we currently live, or Zilina, where I work, or if we want to move to Bratislava or even abroad.
We considered buying a cottage at first, but we couldn´t find one that would meet our requirements. The second idea was to buy a mobile home. They say one does not need a building permit for a mobile home. What they don´t say is that if you want to connect to the water, sewage, and electricity, you need a building permit in Slovakia. Even the transport of the mobile home is very expensive.
The most extraordinary option was to buy a caravan. We found the perfect old caravan from Germany for €1.7k. It had a separate bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a living room. It was strange looking from the outside, but once you were inside, it was so cozy. While we were looking for a land to park it, the caravan had been sold to somebody else.
That’s when we realized that we could build our own house on the wheels. We started browsing the internet and were really surprised how many such mini-houses exist.
And so we´ve begun the endless internet searches, discussions about what it should look like, design solutions, etc.
We knew that we have to design it the way we could build it ourselves easily.
After about twenty changes, we created the concept that has changed only a little since. We wanted a big couch, decent kitchen, table, and big sleeping loft. We didn´t want it to feel cramped from the inside. There were so many challenges we can´t even count them. 😀 We started to build the first Tiny house in Slovakia. There was nobody we could ask how to do it in our region. We had to google everything that we needed to know. The biggest challenge was to calculate the weight of the material used. Our trailer allows only 3,5 t maximum, so we needed to plan the skeleton that is light, but strong enough for transport and insulated enough for Slovak winters when temperature goes below 0° Celsius. The second challenge was to choose natural materials that are light, relatively cheap, and have the best quality. We wanted our house to be eco-friendly. The third challenge was the chimney. Almost nobody does the chimney straight up through the roof in Slovakia. It was a nightmare. 😀 The last challenge was plywood interior cladding. It was the worst job ever. 😀 It took us much longer than we expected to build our tiny house. We thought it could be ready in 3 months, but it took almost seven months because we were building only during weekends.
We used mostly new materials in our build. Repurposed materials were only trailer, windows, wood stove, and gas caravan oven.
We would have used much more repurposed things; we just haven´t found anything suitable.
We kept three factors in mind while drawing the design. First, it needs to be a bit aerodynamic, so we can tow it easily. Second, it needs to look good from the outside and spacious from the inside. It needs to have a modern look but also some kind of traditional feel, so it looks ok in rural and urban areas, as much as in a forest. The third factor was that it needs to be easy to build. It´s built from eco-friendly materials like wood, sheep wool, and is 100% recyclable.
Babora´s favorite part is the couch (it has many storage inside), Tibor loves the bed. As I write these answers, I´m sitting on the couch, and I can´t even see Tibor because the bed is „upstairs, “ and it seems so far away. 😀 The upstairs bedroom makes a lot of privacy.
We can also accommodate two guests as the couch can be rearranged into a double bed.
In our Tiny House, we have a smaller sink than regular one, a smaller stove, and fridge, but everything else is full size. Foldable tables and chairs are very handy.
The overall cost of our tiny house was €10k, the off-grid system included.
We are located in Vrutky, a little town in the middle of Slovakia. It wasn’t very easy to find land for rent in Slovakia. We had special requirements for location as we both go to work every day. We came across three possibilities, and the third one was the best one with a beautiful view and walking distance to a train station.
We didn’t have a downsizing process as while we were building the tiny house, we lived in even smaller room in a flat with Tibor’s mom. 😀 So the tiny house was in contrary so spacious and private. 😀 The best thing about living in a tiny house is freedom. Our living costs are so low; it allows us to save money for the future. We realized that the space in a tiny house is all we need for now. We love the fact that we have a garden and if we change our mind about location we can just move. The only thing that annoys us is the water. We collect rainwater, and it´s very challenging. We plan to have our own property in the future and dig a water well. 🙂 We were worried about the composting toilet and heat during the summer/ cold during the winter, but it´s all manageable.
We totally enjoyed the work with wood during the building process. If we could start everything over, we would insulate more the floor. Everything else is just perfect. We gained a lot of skills and realized we could build anything we want. 🙂 We love the fact we did everything ourselves. Living tiny and off-grid, we are connected a lot with nature.
If you are interested in going tiny, just do it and follow your dream. Don’t let anybody talk you out of it. 🙂
Our house is 2,5m wide, 6,6m long, and the height is 4m from the road to the top, chimney excluded. We need to fold the chimney down before any transportation. The weight is 3,5t. The maximum that our trailer allows. The inside is exactly 14,8 m2 + 8m2 loft.
For more information you can find us:
Photo gallery on bored panda here.