Our Tiny House is completely off the grid – we are collecting and filtering rainwater, and we have solar panels.
We are Mattias & Anniek and our dog Tobi. Mattias is an environmentalist who works as a sustainable energy consultant and Anniek an urban geographer working in mobility for a municipality. We love being outside and doing outdoor sports, such as climbing, hiking, snowboarding, and running. We eat plant-based and always think about the impact on the environment when we do or buy things.
We used to live and travel in a small self-built campervan. We knew we wanted to live back in the Netherlands, but we didn’t want to live in an expensive apartment or a campervan. During our travels, we saw many houses that were different to the houses we were used to in the Netherlands which are built to meet many regulations. So we thought about what we needed in a house, and we concluded we needed a bit more space and a bit more luxury than our campervan but not much more.
All the decisions in the building process were very hard. Where to add the source outlets, windows, etc. We also didn’t have real experience or education in building a house, so we needed to figure out everything ourselves. It was hard to figure out what layout we want in our tiny house, but also very fun to do. We made many designs, and it took us a long time to find the right one. Mattias built our house in 4 months (full time) using mostly repurposed materials. We prepared the build for six months, and after it was built and we started living in it, it took us six more months to complete the final touches.
We built our tiny house in a swap body that was used for cooling transport (we have only found one other person doing the same somewhere in the world). Everything is custom-built, so we used every corner of the house to save space. There is no space wasted. We are not that tall, so our bed is very small (about 120cm x 185cm). It is big enough for the two of us and a big dog. We have a raised seating area for storage. We have a small attic for our outdoor gear. Our kitchen is in width instead of the length, as many tiny houses have. We also have a very, very small bathroom, where we shower very close to the toilet.
Our bed and bathroom is separated from the living area with kitchen and living room.
We can comfortably accommodate one guest. More guests can also sleep outside in our garden. During winter we can accommodate four guests during the day and in summer many more.
The overall cost of our tiny house was 30.000€, including the off-grid system, a veranda and plants for the garden. We live in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. It is close to the city centre, the train station and all facilities. It used to be a gas area, and in recent years the area wasn’t used for anything. We live here with five tiny houses, and we can stay 3-5 years in total. We are near the water and a park, it has a bit of an urban/green feeling. The additional cost for having our house in this location is more or less 100€ per month.
We live in an affordable detached house in a green area, which otherwise isn’t possible in the Netherlands. Detached houses are very expensive. So we can spend our money on other things that make our lives fun.
We moved in our tiny house after living and travelling in a van. So compared to other tiny house owners, for us, it was an upsizing process rather than downsizing. The whole house outside measuring is 7,5m x 2,5m x 2,5m, with a total of 18 m2 and it weights 7 tons.
The best thing about this lifestyle is that we spend much more time outdoors, especially when the weather is good, and the most challenging thing is living off the grid when there is no sun for days or no rain for weeks. Both are related to the weather conditions. 😉
If we could start over again, we would build the house at a slower pace. Four months of nonstop building was very hard.
If you are really interested in going tiny – stop dreaming and start building.