Drywall and venetian finish for a unique tiny house

“The idea of tiny living brought me a lot closer to being outside and living in a space that was in a relationship with it’s surroundings. It was exactly what I needed in my life, and I don’t regret the decision for a second.”

I grew up as a wild child in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. As an only child with a big imagination and a love for horses, I spent most of my days in the backcountry on horseback, getting (psychologically) lost among nature. My father was a backcountry guide, so the need to explore and wander was imprinted in my very being from early on. I was always very different and didn’t do well in school. I largely felt much more comfortable in relationships with the wild than I did with social expectations. Once I found my own way of being in the world, I went on to figure out ways to support others in doing so. I’m currently wrapping up my graduate degree in counseling psychology, and offer eco-psychology mentorship sessions. I’ve found great healing in nature and not from hiking’ Point A to Point B,’ or [insert outdoor sport here], but from simply wandering without a destination. My life always comes back to the mirrors and lessons found in the wild.

JESS (1 of 8)

Originally I wanted to build an Earthship after watching the 2007 film, ‘Garbage Warriors.’ The work of Mike Reynolds was hugely inspiring to me and seemed to fill a gap that I felt was missing- living closer to the land. Living closer to the land not only by homesteading but by the way the structure was built itself and how the home ‘lived’ in relationship to the land and solar cycles. I was only 20 years old when the documentary came out and was living in England at the time, so the idea to build my very own Earthship got shelved. While I still want to build an Earthship to this day, I’ve lived a very transient life, and the thought of building such a permanent structure hasn’t been a realistic one. When tiny homes started popping up, I was enamored with the concept. I originally started following Tumbleweed homes. What feels like forever ago, maybe 2008? I can’t believe I waited ten years to build my own, now that I reflect on it. 


To be honest, it was a big breakup that instigated my jump to building a tiny. I had been in this place of wanting to build a tiny for so long, and when I went through a big life transition, I sold my house and made the leap. The idea of tiny living brought me a lot closer to being outside and living in a space that was in a relationship with it’s surroundings. It was exactly what I needed in my life, and I don’t regret the decision for a second.


I knew the layout I wanted was small and simple, and working with a contractor really simplified things. As I was working with a new company, and waiting out the sale of my home, there were a few hiccups in my building process. The start to finish was about 18 months, although I think the actual building time was approx four months.


At the time of working through the main design of my home, I had just returned from Oaxaca and was heavily inspired by my time there. The home mimics a scene from my imagination- a whimsical dusty mezcal bar in the middle of nowhere Oaxaca. The home uses a special type of drywall that was formulated for tiny home movement and has a venetian finish, which is very unique for a tiny. The venetian finish gives it that natural material feeling that you find in cob structures or homes in Mexico. The home also has propane in-floor heat, which was quite the endeavor (according to my contractor), but so rewarding. This source of heat is extremely efficient and takes care of me and my water lines in freezing Canadian winters. 


For space-saving features, the staircase doubles as storage and hosts the washer/dryer as well as many cubbyholes and shelves. The built-in couch also hosts a ton of storage. 


It’s really difficult for me to say what my favorite part of the home is, the aesthetic design and the in-floor heat are certainly notable, but my true love is the kitchen. I love cooking and designing the kitchen to accommodate me being in the kitchen a lot, was really important. The built-in couch doubles as a guest bed. I think you could even sneak two people on there.


To build this house, it cost me a lot of unhealthy patterns I had unknowingly built up regarding complacency towards materialism and our natural resources. It also afforded me the ability to realign myself with what is most important in my life.


Currently, my tiny house is located in the North Okanagan of British Columbia. The home is perched on a hill above a meandering creek on the back end of a hobby farm. It’s pretty adorable, and the land hosts large gardens. Most land leases in the area go for $375 – $500 depending on the utilities and what’s included.
I was not resistant to purging and downsizing at all, but it felt like my life was spread across the province. Between my house selling and my tiny home being finished, I moved into a motorhome. The motorhome was definitely good training wheels for living in a tiny home, and I can confidently answer why living in a tiny is better than an RV x1000.
I love that everything in my home has a purpose and was brought into the home with intention. There is a real sense of calm in that.


The worst about living in a tiny house is to have a one-ton truck and a special driver’s license endorsement to move the home. There are some freedoms in the way that the home is on wheels, but there are also restrictions. I’ve also had some really unfortunate circumstances with land leasing. As it is illegal to live tiny in most regions of British Columbia, it seems there are some individuals leasing land for the wrong reasons. Not having a legal framework to fall back on for protection as a renter is risky.  

JESS (4 of 8)

I would add 2′ to my home and install a fireplace as a secondary source of heat. Although the in-floor heating is perfect, I really miss having a wood fire.
Living tiny has been an incredible reset for me. Being in a space I personally designed is truly inspiring, and I love that I am immersed in nature, whether I’m inside my home or step out of the front door. 


If you are planning to go tiny, sort out your land first. Especially if you’re in an area of the world where living tiny isn’t legal yet, I regret putting the cart before the horse in building my tiny before securing land. I’ve had to move three times because of it. Not the most fun.
The home is approx 240 sq.ft., and the trailer is rated for 14,000lbs. Dimensions are 22′ long, 13′ high and 8′ wide.

I have an Instagram account where you can follow my tiny house life @moderncourage 

And you can also find the eco-psychology mentorship I do through my website: moderncourage.com 

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