So you’ve decided. You’re really, definitely, pretty sure (sorta) that a tiny house is right for you. Now what?
I started, first of all, by watching all the tv shows. When I tell people I live in a tiny home 95% of them ask "like the kind they build on tv?!" Yes. That kind. Any tiny house building show that was playing on any channel ended up on my DVR. Luckily at this point a lot of them are queued up somewhere on Netflix and all you have to do is hit play. Voila.
Next, and this part is important, I purchased a copy of Ethan Waldman’s Tiny House Decisions guide and workbook on his website at Thetinyhouse.net. Ethan built his house years ago, when there were not many resources on the subject. Based on that experience, he compiled a list of his own resources, blog posts, podcasts, you name it, on the subject of building and living tiny. This was my first step in understanding exactly what I was about to undertake. From the most basic questions of whether or not you’d like to build or buy, to the more difficult decision making tasks like where your water and heat will come from, this workbook will make you consider the gamut of the tiny house realities. In the years that have followed, Ethan has become a reliable contact for me whenever I’ve had questions and I’ve been happy to support his endeavors in return (you may find me on one of his podcasts coming up!).
While working through Ethan’s list I began to compile my own list of books and websites that I found inspirational and helpful. Some of them were:
Woodswoman - By Anne LaBastille
Perhaps my original inspiration about a woman on the fringe who built her own cabin on a remote Adirondack lake. I highly suggest this book not only for the story, but for anyone interested in a little bit of Adirondack history.
The Big Tiny - By Dee Williams
An inspirational story about a single woman and her drive to build her own tiny house without experience (much like myself).
The Humanure Handbook - By Joseph Jenkins
The absolute bible when it comes to properly building and using composting toilets.
Tiny Home : Simple Shelter - By Loyd Khan
This is a gorgeous collection of photos and stories about people living in all sorts of alternative housing situations.
Surf Shacks - By gestalten
Much like Simple Shelter, this big book is full of beachy homes built by artists and creatives all over the world. The design of my own home was first inspired by a small Hawaiian home in the beginning of this book. There's also a Volume 2!
Thetinyhouse.net - Home of Ethan Waldman and Tiny House Decisions
Tinyhomebuilders.com - I ended up purchasing a series of their building videos so I would have a means to “check my work” so to speak, against professional builders. This is all a great resource for trailers. I did an interview for them this past year in which they joked with me that I should’ve gone to through them when purchasing! :)
Tinyhousegiantjourney.com - Jenna’s page gave me all kinds of helpful insights when it came to planning out water/plumping systems etc.
Tinyhousemagazine.com - A compilation of articles from design, to building, to lifestyle. Read the stories of other tiny house enthusiasts around the world, and check out my own contribution in issue 86!
The resources above are just to name a few that have been good to me over the years. There are countless websites and books to satisfy every curiosity, not to mention the hours/days/weeks that could be spent (if you haven’t already), scrolling social media drooling over photos.
In my next post I’ll describe the beginnings of my (very crude) design process and how I decided what my final layout would look like. Remember research is just research. You don’t need to commit to anything at this stage, so let it be fun. Take note of ideas that you love but also things that you might see that are undesirable to you (so you’ll remember to avoid them down the line).
The most important thing I can tell you is this - Time spent researching is invaluable! I researched for almost a year and I wish I had done more! That being said, the best way to learn is just to jump in. So don’t worry too much. Again, dreaming up your plans is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process!
Click here to follow my lead and get started today!