How big did you say that is?

From time to time I run into people who know me, and they say they’ve heard that I moved home.  Then they ask “have you built on your land?”, or  say “I heard that you were building a house.”

They are nearly always shocked when I explain that it is built, and I am now living half the year in a 9×12 space with four dogs (albeit small dogs and with a little bedroom loft).  Interestingly, there are only two reactions to this.  The first, is that people are so curious and interested that they swing by, or at least hope to swing by, at their earliest possible convenience.  The second reaction is the people who obviously and politely excuse themselves from me, being cautious not to agitate me, and while doing so they make it clear that they have assumed that I have gone quite insane in the time lapse between when they last saw me and this very moment.  This is the reaction that initially I find to be uproariously funny, but also a bit little sad.

When I get this reaction, I make assumptions too. I assume that they have never realized that if they decided to live with a significantly less stuff, then they would not have to spend so much time at a job.  Then naturally it follows, without the need for stuff, one has a lot more free time to do the things that they love to do; as well as see the people who they love.  Ever optimistic about people, I like to think that if they heard this alternate news then they too might want to at least consider life outside of the consumer lifestyle and living in (or hoping to live in) a McMansion.   When I heard about this, I myself had to sell my 4000 square foot McMansion and move to a small 900 square foot home.  I also built Tiny House Ontario, so I really only reduced my footprint by a quarter.  I am not yet ready to make the leap to living full time at Tiny House Ontario.  My husband still works, here in Hamilton, Ontario and frankly the Tiny House is not yet ready for full time living.  I hope to have it ready in a year or two.

As a sort of disclaimer, here I want to say that, I do know that living in the 98 square feet interior of this house is not for everyone.  I also know that living off grid is not for everyone.  Probably, it would also not be much of a leap to say that a bunch of second hand junk furniture is not for everyone.  Perhaps wearing a nose ring is also is not for everyone either, I don’t have one of those.  What I mean, is that I am aware that there are lots of personal choices that we make.  I really do get that.  Even so, I wanted to show that there are other choices in how we live.

I knew some things for sure.  I knew I wanted land at home; I also knew that I wanted to build.  Even more, I wanted to build small but the silly building codes forced me into another even smaller option with standard building materials and thus my choice was made.  I followed through, and stuck to this extreme because I wanted to prove that there are options outside of the box store and one can live very, comfortably.  OK, I admit that comfortably is still a sort of a stretch in Tiny House Ontario, because there are no conveniences, but it is moving toward having comforts.  Still, even without these conveniences there are lots of really comforting things about living small.

So, for any of you who are still here (at arms distance and reading from the safety of your home), I suspect that you may be curious about the space and be wondering what it is like to live TINY.  I knew that you would want to know, so I thought I would show you what the floor space actually looks like with a person in it. Here is my model (husband) standing (somewhat unwillingly) in the kitchen area of Tiny House Ontario while I take a photo from the highest point between floors.  One of the battery operated LED lights is just in front of him, hanging on its hook, if you are wondering what is is… just a part of off grid and Tiny House living, really.

What I really want you to notice is the bamboo floor mat.  This is 5×7 feet with a few inches around it on each side, which is the floor space remaining after the kitchen, storage shelving, entryway, ladder stairs and sofa go in.  Plus, notice too that I added a comfy rocking chair, a table and two chairs into that floor space, which essentially removes a lot of floor space from play.    I was careful to get the sort of chair that could tuck in when I was yard sailing and dumpster diving for the furnishings.  I considered a table that connects to the wall and drops down as well as hanging chairs, but I liked this option best.  It makes for a bit of a tight space for two people to pass through while going in and out of the cloth porch (garden doors upper left) but even so, the table is a functional surface which I need to use often so it is worth that little space pinch.  Even with our dogs, I have found that six people can very comfortably sit here and chat as long as no one is moving around too much.

Looking at it, you would never consider this a roomy space but even so when people come to visit they are surprised because the space moves outward when you come inside.  It grows larger when you sit down and look around.  The huge windows in the place make it feel like you are part of the world around you.  It is ironic really how coming inside of something so small can make you feel like you have entered into something really huge.  I don’t know, maybe you have?

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Categories: Dog, Environmentalism, Materialism, Readers, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “How big did you say that is?

  1. Laura Scrimgeour

    I’m so glad I found your blog! My fiance and I are talking about building/buying a tiny house (really, I’m talking, he’s still listening), but we have some concerns, mostly around sharing the space with dogs and a partner, but also around the cold winters (we’re in Ottawa), and it looks like you have experience with those issues. I will work my way through the rest of your blogs and see if I can find some answers, but we were wondering if we could meet with someone in their tiny house and cook them dinner to see what it’s like to move around the tiny space and see if it’s right for us before we invest. If you or any of your tiny friends would like us to cook dinner (I’m a good cook), please email me at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx at gmail.com. Thanks so much!
    Laura

    • Hi Laura,
      I am a very strict vegan with serious allergies to many things including food Thus I am not easy to cook for and or share a kitchen with. However, I am willing to meet you, if you want to run down to Kingston sometime. Weekdays or weekday evenings are most convenient for me because I am working every non-rainy Saturday and Sunday.
      An other Laura

      • Laura Scrimgeour

        It would be wonderful to meet you and see your house. Maybe some time in August or September? If you email me we can arrange the details.
        Cheers,
        One of many

  2. OMGSH i am sooo excited to find an Ontarian who is in a Tiny House! I had searched tirelessly for a while until I finally gave up! I am sooo interested in reading all the posts on your blog, which will probably take me until the children are over summer and back in school again this COMING September LOL! Life with Children. Anyways, I am a blogger here on WP as well and found your blog here through the Tiny House Newsletter email thingy. My life long dream is to build and own my own home A. 2nd, is now to make it a Tiny House; with extensions, for each of my kids–opposing ends of course LOL! here in our small town. I will venture more through your site and shares next week! Until then, thank you for being here and sharing your experience!
    J9;) … http://j9sopinion.com/

    • Hi J9,
      I am glad you found me. I don’t know how you find the time when you have little kids to raise on your own.
      You have a nice friendly chattiness in your writing. I bet you have a million friends.
      See you soon… oh BTW – I love the denim sofa on your front page! I would love to have a tiny one like this for THO.
      xo
      L

  3. You are hitting the nail right on the head here. Good for you!.

    I have a question about the OBC and the porch. Is there any reason you cannot build a covered porch where your cloth porch is?

    • Actually, it is funny that you ask this just now. I recently talked to an alternate builder D. B., who lives in this area. He says that you don’t need a permit for deck as long as the surface is below a foot high. Any size at all. I asked, can you cover it? He said well it is above a foot but he is going to try it.
      I decided I will do so as well. I plan, in October, to install some wood on here soon and cover the whole thing for winter with a tarp (that I already own). I am going to use 2×8 so that the snow will not snap the boards. Cost will be about $200, but will keep the porch safe and dry I believe.
      xo L

  4. Anonymous

    I want to build a tiny house on a trailer i bought, im just wondering where or how to start when it comes to finding a place to live and be left alone,

    • Your question is fully dependent on where you are located, how much money you have, how nosey your neighbours are, what you mean by being left alone and also how annoying you are too.
      So far, the good people around me, are great neighbours and friends.
      No one bothers me. Not even the oddball who smells like cat pee and keeps farm animals in the house is too much of a nuisance.

      • Tabatha

        The oddball who smells like pee and keeps animals in the house….now that raises the question in my mind “who is that and do I know them?”

  5. Tabatha

    I must tell you that I am really enjoying reading about Tiny House and your thinking around building it and living a simpler life off the grid, even it is only for half the year at this point. I often think of letting some of my “stuff” go, and taking some of the clutter out of my life, but find that I struggle with the thought of getting rid my things. I must say you inspire me. Now, that’s not to say I’m going to build a tiny house and move off the grid (there are days I’d like too), but I think that I shall start working on letting go of “stuff”.

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