We both wanted to travel and work for ourselves, but neither one of us really like moving all our stuff around, so a tiny house seemed to be the perfect solution. We spent about a month drawing in CAD and making life-size chalk drawings and moving around in those and came up with our layout pretty quickly.
We are Scott (from Louisiana) and Marilyn (from Texas), and we have a 7-year-old dachshund named Cinnamon. We met while working at the same company when Scott came to training in Texas, and I (Marilyn) later moved to the company branch out of Louisiana, where we worked out of the same office for a couple of years. I then quit to pursue my own business ventures, and Scott started working remotely, and somewhere during that time, we decided to move into a tiny house!
We both liked the idea of living more simply and not having as much stuff weighing us down. We had heard about tiny houses from HGTV because Scott’s mom would watch that channel a lot, and we tossed the idea of building one around for about six months. We went to the Atlanta tiny home festival in Feb 2018 and decided after touring several houses there that tiny living was definitely for us!
We started the building process with a builder we found at the Atlanta tiny house festival, and that ended pretty badly. After jerking us around for six months with delays and empty promises about when the house would be done, he finally said he was not going to be finishing our home for us, and we ended up having to take him to court in order to get our money back. Good thing we had a contract in place. So at the end of all that mess, we were living with Scott’s parents and really needed to find a home but didn’t really want to restart the building process, so we decided to look for a pre-owned tiny house instead. We chose exactly this home because of the overall size (8×20’) and the bathroom which is located at the end of the house. There is also ample kitchen counter space and living area, and we also knew we wanted stairs vs. a ladder. We bought our home for $30,000 and afterward we made several additions to make it more unique. We pulled up all the stair tops and added hinges for below stair storage, which they did not have before. We also installed a mini-split, doing the labor ourselves and having an HVAC company come hook up the unit. We also added a fold-down table which we use for working on and for eating in the living area under the window and modified the wood bench in the living area by adding wheels and latches so it can be moved around easier and fastened to the wall when we travel. Our bathroom also has a nice 4’ tub that has come in handy!
The fold-down table in the living area is a very nice space-saving feature. It’s a 3×2’ stainless steel workbench table from Home Depot that is very easy to fold up or down. We also have cube storage next to our mattress in the loft where our clothes and books are stored. It utilizes the empty space next to the mattress and makes it usable. We have a magnetic knife strip and spice rack in the kitchen that’s really handy, and we also installed hanging jars underneath the stairs above the kitchen counter for things like flour, sugar, and dry oatmeal. Our bathroom mirror doubles as a small cabinet, and we have hooks everywhere, which help keep things (like towels and jackets) off the floor and furniture.
My favorite part of the house is the living room! It has Edison bulbs hanging along the perimeter of the ceiling and is so super cozy! We have our guitar handing on the sidewall and a normal-sized 3 seater couch that I took out of my previous house. We have Thursday night movie nights with our projector that comes down between our kitchen and living area, and it gets really snuggly in there. I also love our custom roll out porch that Scott’s dad built and added on to the house after we bought it. It’s so nice to be able to stow it away, and since we travel so much, it’s much easier than the normal built on addition that most people have.
We have a double door entry with blackout curtains, and our kitchen and living room windows have room darkening shades that we just recently installed. That gives us privacy. We can accommodate two guests on an air mattress or one guest on the couch.
We are currently parked in Tiny Estates in Elizabethtown. It’s is near Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. There are a lot of milk farms and rolling hills, and lately, we’ve had a good amount of snow. It’s a beautiful area. We found Tiny Estates online after searching in that area because Scott had a business opportunity nearby and we wanted to be in a tiny house community vs. an RV park or campground. We pay rent here, but I don’t consider that an additional cost because we would have to pay rent anywhere we park.
The downsizing process was a challenge for us. We had to look at what we had and decide if it was worth keeping or not. We had a big garage sale and sold a lot of items. That felt really good! Anything that was too big to take and we didn’t want to sell we store at our parent’s house, but that doesn’t amount to much stuff. We basically have all of our belongings in the tiny house or the back of Scott’s truck.
The best and the worst things about living in a tiny house, BEST – living closer together really makes you work at your relationship instead of running away from problems. I feel like being in a tiny house has brought us closer together, and I am thankful for that. We love being able to have our own space at so little a cost and with so much freedom! WORST – traveling in the tiny house is not fun. Hooking it up to the truck and driving it up to Pennsylvania from Texas was a LONG trip, and watching it get blown all in the lanes when big 18 wheelers fly by is gut-wrenching. It’s also physically and mentally draining to deal with. We have made five trips in our tiny house so far. The shortest one being an 8-hour ride and the longest one being a 32-hour ride, and we have pretty much decided that when we move it again for a trip any longer than 8 hours, we are going to let someone else do it to save ourselves the heartache.
If there were a chance to start from scratch, I would build my own. Scott probably doesn’t agree haha. But I wish we could have worked with a reputable builder or tried to build our own home so we could get the features we really wanted in the house and be more involved with choosing the layout. We are actually talking about buying a van and parking our home to air bnb it. Much easier to travel around in a van!
Now when we are living in a tiny house, we have way more freedom! I’m thankful that even though we had a rough start, we were able to find a cute little home and get out of the mainstream humdrum world to make our own paths in life. Realizing that relationships are so much more valuable than stuff is probably the best lesson I’ve had from this experience so far.
If you are considering to go tiny and you are going to find a builder, DO NOT go for the deal. Go for the reputable builder or someone who can provide a ton of references. If you’re going to build it yourself, take your time and know when you need to ask for help. Also, really go for it! It’s worth it, and even if it ends up not being for you, the experience alone will give you a valuable experience for the rest of your life!
Total house and trailer outside measuring is 8×20’
Weight Approx. 9,000 lbs
Inside floor space is 220 sqft (including loft)
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