“We are thankful for being on the same page with our dreams and what we want to do in the future. Living tiny is going to allow us to focus on the experiences we want to have in life and the future we want to build together.”
Hello, my name is January. I was born in Maryland. Since I was a teenager, I have always had the desire to travel. I traveled out of the country a lot as an adolescent, and it sparked my interest in learning about other cultures and ways of living. As a young adult, I moved around for college. When I was 20 years old, I moved to St. Petersburg, FL, and then some years later, to Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, I studied Music Business and Social Work. For the last semester of my undergrad, I lived in Lake Chapala, Mexico interning at an orphanage. While in Mexico, I was able to travel to several other places, such as Guadalajara and Sayulita. I really loved living in a different country. When I came back to MD in 2009, I soon moved to Baltimore City, MD, and I lived there for almost ten years. Mostly I have lived in a small one-bedroom or studio apartment, as I have always liked living in smaller spaces. In 2014 I decided to return to school to earn my MSW. Since then, I have been working for the same company as a licensed therapist traveling the city and surrounding counties to see my client base. I love being creative and using my imagination and energy, whether it is exploring the outdoors, writing, and playing music, or teaching/doing yoga. I guess I have always had the desire to be creative and move and travel!
Hello, my name is Peggy. I was born and raised in Titusville Fl. From a very early age, I always loved to be outside. I loved to spend time at the beach, in the Florida swamps, in the woods, and anywhere else I could enjoy nature. Along with the desire to be outdoors and explore, I have always wanted to travel and experience different cultures. Lacking a means to do so, I joined the United States Navy in 2008. Being a Naval officer, I was afforded the opportunity to travel all over the world – to Hawaii, Greece, and Italy, just to name a few. I was able to experience living in small spaces on different ships while in the Navy. Along with being comfortable with living in small spaces, I have always lived a fairly minimalist life. I have few material objects that I could live without aside from my rock and gem collection and art supplies. I prefer experiences over material things. Living tiny will give me the financial freedom as well as the physical freedom to create, explore, and spend time outdoors and travel.
About two years ago, my partner and I talked about the idea of renovating a bus. We liked the idea of being able to live in something mobile as we love to travel to be outdoors. For several months we watched videos and researched renovating buses and bus life in general. We were really on board with the idea and started looking for buses to purchase. After looking into purchasing buses and realizing we would have to rent space to work on the renovation and buy a lot of the equipment needed for the renovation, we switched gears. My partner and I knew that we still wanted to live in a small space and have a home to call our own. We no longer wanted to rent, and we were no longer interested in buying things to fill our time and space. We wanted to have the ability to travel more in the future, spend more time outdoors, and build on our dreams. We had been watching Tiny House Nation, and I had been following a lot of tiny house builders and owners on Instagram. We had also gone to a few tiny house expos and did some reading and research on tiny living. Eventually, we came across Liberation Tiny Homes, a tiny house company based in Leola, PA (not too far from Lancaster PA). We fell in love with their style and craftsmanship. After discussing the idea of buying a tiny home of our own, we scheduled to meet with Liberation, and at the initial meeting, we were set on the idea and put down our deposit. That was July 2019, and by January of this year, we were moved in!
We love the idea of living in a tiny space, and we wanted to have as much of our own ideas put into the house as possible. Liberation is a great company to work with. They gave us everything we wanted in our dream tiny home. We are both vegan and try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. We have a composting toilet and an energy-efficient heating/cooling system, and energy-efficient 2 in1 w/d system. Our tiny house is a piece but a very important part of our big dream. Eventually, we want to buy land and build an A-frame home that won’t be much bigger than our tiny home now. We want to live off of the land as much as possible by gardening, using a solar power system as our main power source, collecting rainwater to repurpose, and eventually starting a small animal sanctuary/rescue. Purchasing an affordable home that we can pay off in just several years will allow us to save money to accomplish our goals and dreams. Now January and I travel together. As a couple, we have taken several trips in the past few years, road-tripping to Colorado, Florida, and Maine and flying to Todos Santos, Mexico. We are currently planning several in-state road trips for this year and a trip to Costa Rica in 2021. Our shared desire to live tiny is directly linked to our desires not to be held back by finances and material things and instead to spend time traveling and exploring the outdoors.
Our house layout is a base model that Liberation had already designed-The Rumspringa. We were able to change a few things to customize the design to our own liking and add all the amenities that we wanted, which was awesome. So overall, the process was pretty streamlined and straightforward.
The toughest part of all this process was the waiting. The build only took about two months, but due to our overwhelming excitement, it felt like forever. Haha. Otherwise, it was a great process. Since we are relatively close to PA we were able to go visit the site and see the building process in person several times per month during the build. That was really great because we were literally able to see every step and ask any needed questions.
We wanted a space that would be roomy enough for both of us and our three cats and a small dog. We are both vegan, and we cook and bake a lot at home, so a must for us was a functional kitchen with a good amount of storage space and counter space. Another must was to have a lot of natural light in our home. We have double French doors that open out to extend our space during warmer months. We have five windows downstairs, 2 in our bedroom loft, and a skylight and double triangular window in our storage/creative loft. We wanted a sleek design that was simple yet beautiful, so we went with white walls and dark walnut accents throughout with acacia flooring. We also wanted a decent sized bedroom as I (Peggy) workout at home almost every day, and January sometimes likes to do yoga at home when she doesn’t go to the studio.
One of our favorite and most unique features is our hearth for our tiny wood stove. We built our own hearth for our tiny wood stove out of cement and stones/rocks that we have collected from all over the world. The stones/rocks in our hearth had been collected individually before we were together and collectively on our travels over the past two years. Also, our triangle picture window is really beautiful and brings in a lot of natural light. We also feel like our outside design makes our home unique or very beautiful, at least. Our house fits in perfectly outdoors as it is painted sage with pine shutters. We have a beautiful pergola over our double French doors and a cedar deck that we plan to use a lot this spring and summer.
One of our favorite space-saving features is the specially built pantry we have in our kitchen. There are three large pantry pull outdoors in our kitchen that allow us to store all of our dry goods. The pantry is really helpful as we cook almost every night at home, so we usually have a large stock of vegan food such as beans, rice, quinoa, pasta, oats, nuts, protein powders, yummy snacks, etc. We also have three kick drawers in our kitchen at the bottom of our cupboards, which are great for small storage. We have storage stairs, which are always a plus! We have a unique headboard in our bedroom that also serves as storage for our bedding and pajamas. Our second loft serves as a closet on one side, and the other side has room for seating/relaxing. We plan to use that space to make art as I (January) play acoustic guitar, sing and write, and Peggy draws, paints, and works with other art mediums.
So far, I (January) would say my favorite part is that we have a lot of windows. This past weekend was the first weekend we had some time to really slow down and enjoy our house. We put on some music, cleaned, chopped wood, and cooked lunch. We were able to open a few windows as it was above 50 degrees, and the cats really loved that. We also have loved lighting up a fire in our tiny woodstove on a cooler day/night.
We have a 28 ft. Square home that is the standard 8 1⁄2 feet wide. Our space is around 330 square feet, including the two lofts. As far as privacy goes, we don’t have a lot. One of us can be in the bedroom and the other in the living room and have some separation. Or we can utilize the other loft as a place to sit and relax.
We don’t really have space to accommodate guests. We have a small couch that drops into a small bed that sleeps, one person. There are no doors in our home other than the sliding barn door for the bathroom. So as far as privacy and space goes with guests, there really isn’t any.
However, it is an excellent amount of space for ourselves and our kitties and doggie.
The overall cost of our home with all of our additional add-ons and upgrades was around $70k. If we hadn’t gotten all of our upgrades indoors and outdoors, our home would have probably been around $60k. We plan to stay in our home for 5-6 years or longer, so we wanted it to be as comfortable and functional as possible. We are so happy with our home.
The location where we are now we came across by doing some research on areas in MD where we were already located, which was in the Baltimore City/Baltimore County area. We live outside of that area now in a more rural area. It is a big change for me (January) as I lived in the city for about ten years, and I really loved it. I still work in the city, and we frequent the city often to go out to eat, to go dancing and to see friends/socialize in general. We both love the outdoors, though, and we are living in the woods now. We are set up in a beautiful location! It is a compromise being further away from the city and living in a more remote area, but now we can step outside and be in nature immediately, so it is worth it most days.
There is a fee of around 700-800 dollars per month to rent the space. So it is definitely still a monthly cost that we have to factor in as far as land rent, electricity, etc. However, it is worth the price as now we are living in our own home that we designed, and we own. We were so tired of renting and it is truly a dream come true to be living in our tiny home.
For myself (January), the downsizing process has been a little complicated. I have been downsizing for the past year or more because we knew we were going to be living in a smaller space. I have donated a lot of clothes, shoes, furniture, pet items, etc. to local shelters near our former residence. I still have a little more downsizing to do, but it has gotten a lot easier to let go of material things as we focus on what is most important to us. Peggy did a great job at downsizing. For her, it seemed easier to let go of things, as I put more attachment on material objects, mostly ones that hold a memory. We have been able to keep material things that are most important to us, such as my guitar, her art materials, and our rock and gem collection.
As newbies, tiny living is still a wide-eyed, dreamy experience. We love our house so much. Every time we drive away, we look at it in awe because it was an idea we dreamt up that became a reality. With that said, there are definitely still challenges. Moving in, we had a lot to do as far as setting up the fresh and grey water lines, the propane, the deck and pergola, the tiny wood stove and chimney, etc. We were new to all of those things, so it was a little overwhelming at first. Now that we are moved in, and we have been living in our home for about a month, it has gotten easier. Washing clothes can be challenging because the 2 in 1 w/d takes longer to dry, but we have come up with a system now that works pretty well. We have to use the ladder to get up
to our closet for most clothes, but again we have a planned out system that has been working for us so far.
If we could start over and change something, one thing we didn’t think of was where our outdoor hook-ups/outlets would be located. The only thing that we can think of now is that we would have them moved to the back of the house. Only for the simple reason that we’d rather not look at them on the front of the house.
Peggy has been a homeowner previously in another state, but I have never owned a home before. It feels so wonderful to know that this home is ours. The small space allows us to focus on more important things. We have fewer things to clean and worry about and consequently, less space to clean and worry. We are thankful to be in a position where we can live the life that we want to live. Not everyone has that privilege, and we try to remind ourselves to be grateful as often as possible. We are thankful for being on the same page with our dreams and what we want to do in the future. Living tiny is going to allow us to focus on the experiences we want to have in life and the future we want to build together.
If you are interested in going tiny, do your research. We took a lot of time to do our research before making up our minds about going tiny and before deciding on the company that we chose to build our home. We watched videos, read articles, went to expos, talked to people who were already living tiny or wanting to go tiny as well, met with and talked to our builders before deciding on them, etc. As a couple, we had conversations about what tiny living would look like for the both of us. We made sure we were on the same page about the company, the design, our price range, where we would live, how we would live, future plans, etc. Make sure whether you are deciding to go tiny solo, as a couple or as a family that you know everything you need to do to make it work. Research, the company that you go with and know where you are going to park your tiny house before your build begins. Unfortunately, tiny living isn’t legal or popular everywhere yet, so making sure you have a secure location to park your tiny home is very important.
We are relatively tiny people living in a tiny house, and we are both vegan. If you are reading this, come by our page and say hello! We are always open to answering questions and providing any helpful insights. Everyone should have the opportunity to live out their dreams, and tiny living might be the answer in the dream equation for some people. You will find us on Instagram account @tinyveganlifestyle
Our home is 28 ft. Long and 8 1⁄2 feet wide. The inside of our tiny is around 330 square feet, including the lofts. Not exactly sure of the weight but possibly somewhere between 15, 000-20,000 lbs.