I’m a 22-year-old living in the Los Angeles area. I’ve grown up in Los Angeles my whole life, and I really can’t think of a better place to live right now. I live in rocky mountains, and I’m about 25 minutes away from the beach. There’s a lifestyle here that’s seemingly always nostalgic, no matter at what point. That’s just something I can’t seem to give up. I went to a Waldorf School my whole life, meaning I was immersed in holistic learning from age 6 to 18 and was always taught to think outside of the box. I think a lot of my education has to do with the choice I made to go tiny at such a young age.
The idea about tiny Tiny Houses I came across a friend, who, in passing, brought up the idea of how cool it would be to have a tiny house village. A part of me held on to that and never let it go. It was even more of a novel idea back then, and people really thought I was crazy.
The tiny house was the option I needed. The home I was in was being sold, so I had to turn either to rent apartments at exorbitant rates, either put the money towards something that was long-lasting. Living Tiny seemed the best option for me as I’ve always loved to claim a space as being truly my own.
The layout wasn’t too difficult to figure out, as the company I worked with (Mint Tiny Homes) was extremely efficient and amazing with their communications with me. I started by finding a model with a style I liked the most, and then I tweaked just about everything. The floorplan, roof, windows, accessories, wall color, etc.. The house turned out totally different but still has a few things that remain the same from that original model (loft sizes, floor color, some accessories).
The building process was very far away from me (Mint Tiny Homes is located in Vancouver), but it was still very magical. I got weekly photo updates from them, and it was so so amazing to see something that I had been designing with them for around five months actually become a part of the real world.
It took around two months for the house to be built. Materials on the house were new. I’m sure if I had the sheer talent and time to build my own tiny I would try and source more items second hand, but I was in an extreme time crunch and simply needed a home quick.
The main idea behind the design was to make a space that still felt open and homey while still being on the smaller side (I have a 22 ft. trailer). My house has 15 windows, so I’d say that’s what makes it unique. I also painted the interior white so as to open up space and included a light blue ceiling to sort of copy the sky. A part of me hopes that subconsciously people’s minds see it as the sky.
The biggest space-saving feature in my house are my stairs. They’re filled with drawers and nooks to put things in. Plus, my dog has easy access to the loft! It was a win-win.
My favorite part of the house is the kitchen. It has a lower ceiling because the loft is over it, which makes it a bit more closed in and comfy. I have a full oven range, fridge, and all the cooking accessories you could ever need. Cooking is so fun for me, and I find a lot of the connections I make in my life revolve around it.
I have privacy simply because my location is secluded. I didn’t have as much before when I lived in a neighborhood, but that’s why we have curtains!
In the tiny alone, I’ve managed to squeeze in 14 people for a nice Friendsgiving. That was a true squeeze. Being in California, though, means it’s often warm, so I have a nice outdoor space right now where everyone can gather and eat together. That’s a big part of living tiny, is utilizing and taking advantage of your outdoor spaces.
The total cost of my home (with off-grid technologies, appliances, and paint being complete) was 50,000. I found the company when they were rather new, I believe, so they were still on the cheaper side, and the currency exchange between the US and Canada helped a lot.
I’m located in Simi Valley. I live up on a hill nestled in between rugged, rocky mountains. They used to shoot Wild West movies out here. Needless to say, it’s stunning. A friend knew a person with some land who was kind enough to let me move onto it. I’m up on a hill looking into the valley. To say I lucked out is an understatement.
The additional cost to live up here is 600 dollars a month for the land. Considering that’s my only payment to live here, with my own house and the view and my outdoor space in LA? Not bad at all.
The downsizing process was very easy because I had to move everything out of my house anyway. I don’t really have a problem letting go of items and the timeline of everything worked out so that I didn’t have many things to put into the house, either.
The best thing is that I can inspire other people. There’s a true joy when people enter my house, and I know I’ve sold them when they do “the nod,” followed by, “I could totally do this.” The worst thing is just the fact that the laws for living tiny don’t really exist yet, so you’re never really protected. Any space you’re in could have to change in a week, so that’s always a stress. I had to vacate my previous spot pretty quickly because of the city.
If I could, the only changes I would maybe do would be to make it 24 feet long instead of 22 and to extend my storage loft from 3 feet to 4. Other than that, I’m very happy with everything.
Living this way has changed my life because it has become a sort of Hallmark of my life. Now I’m no longer just Haley. I’m Haley, who lives in the Tiny House. That’s not to say it’s become my identity, but it’s something I’m very proud of. It’s opened me up to my community. Even more, as so many people want to come over and see it. On my Instagram, too, I’m able to help answer people’s questions and get them even more excited about the tiny movement. I think that’s pretty amazing.
If you want to go tiny, make sure you have at least two spaces where you could put your house. Three or more is ideal, and know the rules and regulations concerning RV living (still classified as that in many places). Other than that, make sure your finances permit it and take the leap!
Follow my Tiny House journey on my Instagram account @thehomeofhaley.