Settling into Smalltopia

by Tammy Strobel on October 25, 2011

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sleep on Saturday night because I was so excited about the delivery of our little house on Sunday. Plus, I had an incredible amount of coffee on Saturday afternoon! Sisters Coffee Company celebrated their 6-month anniversary and they were giving away coffee, treats, and wine to all of their customers.

After getting high on coffee, Logan and I spent the last night in our apartment eating a simple dinner of soup, bread, vegetables, and cheese. Then we packed our kitchen and went to bed. Luckily I slept like a baby with two kittens snuggled up by my feet.

On Sunday morning, I woke up with butterfly’s in my stomach. To release some of my nervous energy, Logan sent me on an errand to Goodwill. After I dropped off lights, clothing, and an old laundry basket, Logan and I headed to the Portland Bagel Company for breakfast. As I was eating a bagel that tasted like french toast I received two photos from Katy, both of which contained pictures.

My favorite photo caption said: “Resting with the big boys.”

We couldn’t have asked for a better moving day. Katy and her dad, Steve, left Gig Harbor early Sunday morning and drove down to Portland with the little house in tow. There wasn’t much traffic and it was sunny!

Logan and I pedaled over to our new neighborhood with silly grins on our faces. Serendipitously, as we pulled up on the bikes the little house was being backed into the driveway and our friends Andrew and Michelle showed up at the same time. Talk about amazing timing!

Then the crew got to work. I stayed away from the electric power dolly and let Dee and Logan take over. They were able to navigate the house through a 90 degree turn into the yard, with a mere six inches to spare at the gate. Without the dolly, the house would not be in such a beautiful backyard.

Logan noted, “The electric dolly worked flawlessly and I think this will be an excellent tool that can help other tiny house folks park into small, beautiful places. We were able to aim the front of the house between two trees, so that we have a view of the sunset!”

We closed off the evening watching the sunset from our front porch. I’ve never seen the sunset from the numerous apartments I’ve lived in over the years. Watching the purple, pinks, and orange hues light up the sky was incredible. My eyes filled up with tears; tears of happiness and gratitude. I’m grateful for our new neighbors and all the kick-ass friends that showed up to help on Sunday.

Lessons from this wonderful experience:

Making a dream a reality takes longer than expected and I think that’s a good thing. For instance, we’ve spent the last 4 years dreaming, designing, and saving for this little house. I’m glad we didn’t charge the house on our credit card.

The culture of consumption makes it easy to buy now and pay later. I’ve often bought belongings in the moment because “I had to have it.” That type of process doesn’t offer a whole lot of time for reflection or planning. In the past, I seldom asked myself if an object would contribute to my life over the long-run, instead of just being a drain on my energy.

Our little house has already brought us an incredible amount of joy and we’ve only been in it for two days! I expect we’ll grow to love it even more in the long-run. Waiting and planning has made this process a whole lot sweeter and saner.

///

You probably won’t hear much from me this week. I’ll be working on my manuscript and settling into the little house. I captured a lot of video footage on Sunday, so I’ll be sure to share the tiny film once it’s been edited.

Also I don’t have Internet at the little house yet, so it might take me a while to approve comments. Please be patient.

1 Courtney Carver October 25, 2011

Tammy, I am so happy for you and Logan. Taking the time to realize your dream has been so inspiring to others. I can’t wait to sit on your porch next summer and toast to your new home and happy life.

xoxo,
Courtney

2 Tammy Strobel October 25, 2011

Thanks Courtney! I can’t wait to give you a tour. Once we have an Internet connection, let’s Skype and catch-up. Sending you big hugs from Portland. :)

3 Lorie October 25, 2011

your Tiny House is gorgeous….please do a tour in South Georgia. I so want to start a Tiny House community. Love it Love it!

4 Heather Rai October 25, 2011

Congrats on your new addtion, so happy for you! We too are (drinking too much coffee) about to move into our 10×20 barn home :-)

5 Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist October 25, 2011

This is so great! Congratulations for you two, it’s wonderful to see this dream come true… and, of course, without any credit card charges! :)
All the best from Vienna!

6 Audrey Addison October 25, 2011

Congratulations!! You’re new home looks beautiful and you and Logan look very happy! <3

7 Ethan October 25, 2011

Tammy, this is fantastic! I can feel your overwhelming excitement and joy coming through my computer screen! One question: Once you’ve picked a location for your house, how do you level off the trailer? I can’t imagine that any yard is perfectly flat.

8 Tammy Strobel October 27, 2011

@Ethan – We used wood planks. If you take a look at the pictures, you’ll see a photo of my friend laying them down. For more information read: Leveling a trailer > http://www.newrver.com/publish/rvlevelingtrailer.shtml

9 Sophia Mitchell October 25, 2011

Oh, this makes me so happy. I love seeing what goal planning and consistent work towards that goal can acheive. The house is so cute. Can’t wait until you share photos with you readers about how you “decorate” and store your things, and just get about living in the space. Hope the kitties enjoy their new space too. So, so cool!

10 Sunday October 25, 2011

I have been DYING for an update; thank you SO much!!! I’m so incredibly excited for you guys. Thank you so much for the photos and can’t wait for the video. You are such an inspiration for me, I can’t even tell you!

11 Laura M. LaVoie October 25, 2011

This is fantastic. It is great to see more people making their tiny house dreams come true. I can’t wait to read about your adventures in the little house.

12 Chris Long October 25, 2011

wow — this is great. i found your site from kent griswold’s tiny house blog. congratulations! if it turns out that you DON’T love this house and this lifestyle,
a) you’re nuts
b) email ME! i’ll buy it from you!
:-)

very best,
chris

13 Lisa October 25, 2011

How exciting! It’s been really fun reading about your tiny house. I know you guys will love your new home. I’m curious to see how your kitties like it. I bet it’s a hoot watching them explore!

14 Alicia October 25, 2011

I understand the feeling of realizing one’s dream. Before my car crash three years ago, I made my living as a Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Practitioner. I opened my own business for a short time, but due to accident injuries, I had to retire from the profession. A dream had become a reality; that is what mattered.

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to leave my rat-race job. The stress was too much. The administration was too demanding. And the constant gossip…ugh. Now I help with the care of an elderly woman and man and the upkeep of their home in a rural town. I have always preferred the country. I work with wild edibles and medicinals as a hobby. She and her husband are teaching me about the plants in the area. Though my pay is secondary to the work, the money is enough, and as of the end of December, one of my college loans will be paid off – yay!!!!! Another dream…

I am happy. Brigit, my cat, is living with me; that is something I would not compromise when setting my intention – something I had done before hearing about the position. My other cat passed at the end of September, so in a way, the timing is bittersweet.

15 anotherkindofdrew October 25, 2011

Congratulations Tammy. You and Logan deserve all the happiness your new home has to offer. I think you hit the nail on the head and I am going to post this to Facebook:

“Making a dream a reality takes longer than expected and I think that’s a good thing. For instance, we’ve spent the last 4 years dreaming, designing, and saving for this little house. I’m glad we didn’t charge the house on our credit card.”

Bless y’all!

16 Heather October 25, 2011

Congratulations to everyone involved in your Smalltopia! I’ve been following you for almost a year now and am so thrilled you’ve been able to make your dream come true! Enjoy!

17 Kane October 25, 2011

Brilliant well done you two. Much happiness in your new home.

By the way I love the picture of the two of you with Logan holding the hay fork a cool and amusing cultural reference to the Grants Wood painting though you guys look happy!-)

18 Laura October 25, 2011

Yay! The house is beautiful and what a lovely spot to wake up each morning. I am so happy for you both! :)

19 chesapeake October 25, 2011

The day has come! I feel like I’ve been on this journey with you in a small way. Congratulations to you both! This is so wonderful.

20 Karen October 25, 2011

Congratulations to you! I can’t wait to hear more of you living in your little house!

21 Roberta October 25, 2011

Love, love, love your lot and seeing you accomplish your dreams! We also downsized and took our time and I’m still purging my stuff and seeing this post inspires me even more…woo hoo! So darn happy for you both.

22 April October 25, 2011

Congratulations on your new home! It is beautiful! Can’t wait for a video tour!

23 Kairi October 25, 2011

Yay!! Tammy and Logan!!
I am so happy and excited for you guys!! You are our inspiration, and through your amazing achievements I know that we can build our own tiny home. We have always wanted to visit Portland, maybe we can take a tour? I’d love to stand in the space and get a feel for it’s dimensions.
My husband and I just finished reading ‘How to Live Well Without a Car’ by Chris Balish, and I must say, it changed our lives! We will be getting rid of our remaining car by the end of Nov., and my husband will be getting a scooter for his 8 mile commute to work each way, and I might get one too! We have bikes, and we try to ride as much as we can, but it will take a little conditioning to be able to tackle some of the hills here in Las Vegas. And when it gets hot in the summer we will run errands early, or have our groceries delivered, maybe.
I have started my de cluttering process as well, so that we can lead a simpler lifestyle, and it’s amazing how much stuff you hold on to for so long, and when you are in a mindset to let go, and donate to charity, how easy it is! It feels good to give my things away to those who may need it more than me. I value experiences more than things, and we’d like to travel and see more places, then to be tied down to “stuff”. I get it now, and I feel so much lighter now that I understand the concept of minimalism.
Best wishes! And I can’t wait to see the videos!

24 Joshua Becker October 25, 2011

Super-duper congratulations to you both Tammy and Logan! Such brilliant pictures to help us enjoy the moment with you. Enjoy your new home. It’s lovely.

25 Clara October 25, 2011

Congratulations! It has been amazing to watch you two on this journey and to see your dream finally become a reality is truly inspirational. Can’t wait to see more :)

26 Jonathan Blundell October 25, 2011

Very cool! Congrats to you and Logan!

27 DJ October 25, 2011

My heartiest congratulations! I take such inspiration from your blog and I’m so happy for both of you. I wish you every joy in your new, wonderful, tiny home.

28 Katie October 25, 2011

It is such a pleasure to see you and Logan living your dream – it inspires the rest of us to pursue ours. Thank you and congratulations on your new home!

29 matt picio October 25, 2011

Congratulations! I’m so happy for both of you! It’s been a long time coming, but such a rewarding experience.

30 Cheryl October 25, 2011

Oh, Tammy … it’s just wonderful! I’ve been clicking on your blog for two day hoping you would update us on how the move went! Congratulations to you and Logan for reaching this fabulous milestone!

31 Victoria October 25, 2011

Yay! So happy for you both!

I love this line: “Making a dream a reality takes longer than expected and I think that’s a good thing.”

It is so true.

People often credit other folks’ good fortune to “luck,” something they can point to that lets them off the hook for not obtaining their own dreams and goals (“Well I just wasn’t as lucky as they were.”) Your post reminds us that it takes a dream, goals, tasks, and a lot of hard work to get what you want – not merely “luck.”

Thanks for sharing your journey with us and inspiring us all to follow our own dreams!

32 John Smith October 25, 2011

Awesome! Congratulations!

~John

33 Bea October 25, 2011

I’m so happy for the two of you! I remember when you first started showing me pics of tiny homes way back when! How exciting that that dream is now your reality :)

I can’t wait to throw my tiny sleeping bag on your tiny floor :)

34 Logan October 25, 2011

Bea, we have a guest bed in this tiny house too! We won’t let you sleep on the floor. :)

35 Hillary October 25, 2011

I remember when you were so eager 4 years ago to get this started! I’m so happy to witness your tiny house process from beginning to end. Thanks so much for the energy you put into sharing your journey. I’m sure it’ll take time to settle in. Cheers! :)

36 Steven October 25, 2011

Absolutely awesome tiny house setup you have there! I saw where my friend Kent from Tiny House Blog will be running a blog post about your moving experience soon. Looking forward to reading on that as well! Nice work.

37 Foy Update: Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat. October 25, 2011

Tammy, I’ve been following your blog for a while now since someone told me you were in the process of building/buying a tiny house. I’ve enjoyed reading about your process and how you got to your tiny house. I love the idea of tiny houses! I realize for my family, as we plan on having two kids, that a tiny house doesn’t make sense. We are currently looking at small foreclosed houses that we can give a little TLC and make work for us. You have, and continue to be, a huge inspiration for me. Thank you sincerely.

38 James Schipper October 25, 2011

I’ve said it every step of the way, but it’s so great to see your dream finally come to fruition. Very happy for you!

39 Lucas October 25, 2011

Saw you guys had chose a 50 deg. roof angle for more headspace in loft. By my geometric calculations that adds about 8 in. of height to home. Did this create any problems for transport of home as far as clearance? Or perhaps you went back to 45 deg? Hard to tell from the photos. Really like the french doors on side and the clean lines you created throughout. Kudos to PAD for their work. I’m red w/ envy.

40 Logan October 27, 2011

Hey Lucas,

Yup it is a 50 degree roof and thus the house is 10′ wide from eave to eave. We chose wide eaves for a number of reasons both practical and aesthetic. It didn’t create problems but it did necessitate a wide load permit. At least in the western states, at 10′ or less you don’t need a big sign or a pilot car to transport. You just need to fill out a 1 page form and pay a small fee. There are special restrictions though to wide loads. Wide loads can’t be towed after dark (unless the eaves are lit), or on busy holiday weekends, etc.

We are happy with our choice as we won’t move the house very frequently. Plus, the extra loft space is wonderful! :)

41 TamV October 25, 2011

Oh! Oh! Oh! It’s beautiful. Congratulations to you both, and many happy years ahead in your new little nest.

42 Kathy Parker October 25, 2011

Yippee!!!! lol Much happiness and many blessings from Pa. If I were 30 year younger… :)) I’m thrilled that you both have realized a dream. ps. Love the pictures. xx

43 Becky Duggan October 25, 2011

Congratulations! You two will make your tiny house a warm & loving home. It is lovely; enjoy!

44 Meg October 25, 2011

Welcome home at last, Tammy :) It’s adorable!

45 Natalie October 25, 2011

Congratulations on your dream coming true! The house looks beautiful, especially in its new, green location. Kudos to you and your husband for achieving this major milestone together and living out your dream of simple living. You are an inspiration and I’m glad we got to share in this journey via your blog :)

Natalie

46 Stephanie Reiley October 25, 2011

Very happy for you guys! Congrats! Can’t wait to hear further tales from Smalltopia. :)

Steph

47 Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear October 25, 2011

Judging by the comments, it’s clear that many of us feel the same sense of celebration at seeing you and Logan realize your long-held dream! Congrats, Tammy! :)

48 Sherri Dunham | The Budding Lotus October 25, 2011

How exciting! It’s wonderful to have a dream come to fruition. I hope that it is all that you hoped it would be and more. Enjoy your new home!

49 Ryan October 25, 2011

Congratulations! The pics of the electric dolly caught my eye (cool!) and, as Kane mentioned earlier, the picture of you two standing there in that classic pose with the pitchfork. Haha, can’t believe the two of you were able to keep straight faces long enough to snap the picture. :)

The house looks wonderful and I enjoy this blog – it’s interesting! Well done.

50 sgl October 26, 2011

i also loved the “american gothic” picture!

while looking at the small preview pics, i thought “they should do an ‘american gothic’ take-off pic. then when i looked at each of the full size pics, i saw the one with the pitch fork and loved it. yeah for quirky senses of humor!!

–sgl

51 Holli October 25, 2011

Thank you for sharing your journey and joy! May you and Logan savor years or warmth in your tiny home:)

52 Jax October 25, 2011

It’s such a wonderful little “baby house” you’ve created! I am still amazed at the size, and my own tiny one room flat is probably big (306 sq feet) compared to this.

I was asked the other day if I ever felt the walls were creeping up on me? Well, I laughed and retorted “my walls are white, so…” but afterwards I came to think that living in a small house or apartment makes the world your living room instead.

53 Maria Almaguer October 26, 2011

Congratulations! It’s just beautiful!

54 Helen October 26, 2011

Congratulations! Love the traditional morose pitch fork pic! :-) I am so excited for you! A new journey is beginning.

55 Brooke October 26, 2011

Bit of a lurker, but I’ve been following this blog for over a year now. I’m so happy for you guys! Hope the kitties are adjusting well!

56 Nicole Marie October 26, 2011

I am so happy for you guys! I have been following your blog for a bit and seeing “the payoff” of you two achieving your own little house has been inspiring. Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations! I wish you an immense amount of joy in your new home and thank you for sharing your journey with everyone.

57 Tammy Strobel October 26, 2011

We don’t have Internet at the little house yet, so I’m at a little cafe. When I logged in to see 30 pending comments I was blown away! Thank you so much for all the well-wishes. I’ve got tears in my eyes. :) I’ll do my best to respond to questions later in the day! THANK YOU!

58 Kate October 26, 2011

My boyfriend and I passed your house on our way home from Tacoma Sunday…I had to explain to him why I was so excited! Good luck in your beautiful new digs!

59 Tabita Green October 26, 2011

Tammy, congratulations! How wonderful that another one of your dreams have come true. I’m assuming we can expect a walk-through video soon?? :) Yay for you and your beautiful tiny house!

60 Tammy Strobel October 27, 2011

@Tabita – Yes, you can expect a video tour and photos of the interior soon. :)

61 Meredith October 26, 2011

Congratulations! It’s an adorable little house, and I’m glad it was worth the wait. Enjoy your new home!

62 Cate October 26, 2011

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing..beautiful home and site…welcome home!! Small houses rock!!! I can envision a zen garden in the corner off your porch..enjoy many sunsets from your cozy sanctuary.

63 Daniel@TheMinimalistLife October 26, 2011

Congratulations for the new dream achieveng! I hope enjoy every moment in your new “small” house. I just random some posts to see some interior of the house. But there some divisions I seem I can’t find! I would love if you could share more photos from the inside, to have a better idea how is to live in such a place : ) Take Care, Daniel

64 TamV October 26, 2011

Just received my Peninsula Gateway paper today, and was thrilled to see an article about your little house included. The whole “tiny house” movement really speaks to my heart, and it’s wonderful to see evidence of it so close to my home. My wish is to live in one of these tiny dwellings someday; perhaps I will drop Katy and Dee an email sometime soon so I may get my dream started, too. Thank you for the constant inspiration, Tammy and Logan!

65 Alex October 26, 2011

How awesome! So glad you guys are now getting settled in. I’ve been waiting for this moment. You guys rock! So excited for you.

66 Frank October 26, 2011

Looks great Tammy, I’m jealous! :D The idea of moving from my apartment into a tiny house is rather appealing to me, just need to find the money. I’m single at the moment, but someday I’d love to have a family, preferably including kids, and the idea of raising kids in a tiny house sounds like quite an adventure. Anyone know of someone attempting it?

67 Tammy Strobel October 27, 2011

@Frank – Yup. Katy is working on a second little home for a woman who is planning on having a baby soon.

Also, read Little House on a Small Planet. Shay highlights stories of families who live in very small dwellings.

In addition, my friend Andrew just had a baby and he lives in a 200 square foot home! It can be done. :) Check out Andrew’s blog > http://www.tinyrevolution.us/

68 anotherkindofdrew October 27, 2011

Beyond attempting, we are doing, my friend. When my wife and I moved into our bungalow (260 sq.ft.) we had hoped to have our tiny house trailer (320 sq.ft.) built rather quickly. But as we all know, we got sidetracked by our desire to pay off all consumer debt, finish cultivating our land for a trailer, etc. So we are in the early building stages. Well, I say we are. We are actually 100% involved in our 1-month old baby girl who has put yet another roadblock – if you will – in the construction of our tiny house trailer. But we love living in our small house (a converted wood shop) and loving every second. I would say the trick is not having too many partitions or walls but having an open space and using furniture or even eyesight lines as partitions. We have a queen size bed, a pack ‘n play, a glider, and a kitchenette in our home and don’t ever feel cramped. At least 75% of our life is done outdoors which is also key. I know you can do it Frank. You are right. It is an adventure but it is a beautiful one and one I think most people would be surprised at how much they enjoy! Here are a few pictures if you are curious. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewodom/sets/72157627048141517/

We often change our layout though so it looks different even now. Cheers!

69 John Hayden October 26, 2011

Congrats! What an accomplishment!

70 Byronious October 26, 2011

Congratulations Tammy and Logan – cant wait to read your website updates :) I’m sooooo happy your dream are coming true! :)

71 Debbie October 27, 2011

Know you won’t be on the internet for awhile, but have been following your little house story and wanted to say..Congrats…such a wonderful thing to see someone’s dreams come to life. I wish you and your Logan much happiness in your new “tiny” home.
Debbie in Texas

72 Mike Simmons October 27, 2011

Dearest Tammy and Logan,

Thank you for sharing your dream. For being an inspiration to the rest us. For providing a place where less means more. Because you had the determination, willpower and follow through to see your dream to completion. The rest of us will have a role model to follow.

May you now nothing but love and happiness in yourself home.
Mike

73 Aditie Vaid October 27, 2011

Wow! there is a real person who has really done this that means the dream I ‘v ebeen dreaming since high school but never had the guts to make real can actually happen! how can I even begin.. what will people say.. who will be my friend if I live in that house. Where will I put up guest kids playmates.. would I be banished from the owrld..how how ..I wanna do this but how and where do I start??!

74 Jennifer | Modern Aspirations October 27, 2011

Hi Tammy. Your new home looks lovely. Congratulations on moving to your new home.

Best Wishes,

Jennifer

75 Sandra / Always Well Within October 27, 2011

Hi Tammy,

I’m so thrilled that your dream has come true and brought you so much joy! May your joy continue to unfold endlessly in your cozy, new space.

76 Brittany October 28, 2011

Yaaaaayyyyy!!! It’s so super cute! I’m wildly excited for you and your hubby that one of your dreams came true!

77 Caroline October 28, 2011

I’m totally excited for the photo/video tour of the interior of your wonderful new home, but I think you two deserve a few days to settle into it, so I can wait! So lovely to see this dream you’ve been writing about, and saving for, for so long become a reality! Congratulatons :)

78 Maggy October 28, 2011

I love the American Gothic style photo. :) This is so exciting. I can’t wait to see it all settled in and lived in. I adore this little house. Good for you guys!!

79 Derek | Cargo Biking October 30, 2011

Rad! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts after you’ve spent some time in it!

80 Thea | Write Change Grow October 31, 2011

Hi Tammy
Congratulations, that is wonderful news! Enjoy settling into your wonderful new home.
Cheers
Thea

81 heath cole November 1, 2011

tammy, the tiny house is gorgeous!…congrats to you and logan on your accomplishments…i watched the vid tour on youtube (w/ your parents)…the kitties are amazing & the daylight in there is just brilliant!…the decision to add the french doors on the side was a good one!…happy tiny house to both of you!…heath cole…:D

82 Tarris | Sunriver Real Estate November 1, 2011

Tammy I just wanted to give a big congratulations to you and your husband on your new home. I’ve helped people purchase their homes for over 16 years in the Bend/Sunriver area. It is always wonderful to see the joy in the eyes of those I’ve helped to buy the home that becomes their sanctuary…their refuge…their personal space…their retreat. I’ve had clients that have spent a million plus dollars on their home, but I am willing to bet that the joy you will experience with your brand new ‘little house’ will equal or exceed those who have spent far greater sums of money for their home.
You set a goal, and spent a modest amount of your life energy for something that will NOT cost you countless hours of additional life energy to upkeep, repair, and pay thousands of dollars of taxes on. Instead you have a home that will go wherever you go, be easy to maintain, provide inspiration to others, and not drain the environment of our precious natural resources. I applaud your courage and zeal for practicing what you preach. May you be blessed for your efforts!

83 Terry November 2, 2011

I think I saw a Bose Wave radio in the video if I did the tunes in the tiny house would be awesome!
Like the kitchen and storage …you both have a very nice home .
refrigerator?
heat I saw in the video on rollers . smart,

84 Tammy Strobel November 2, 2011

Terry – We don’t have a refrigerator, just a small cooler. You can read more about that here. :) And yes the Bose radio puts out some very good sound!

85 lizzy November 2, 2011

soooooo COOL :)

86 Rose Byrd November 29, 2011

My husband and I, both semi-retired(but I am a full-time writer, okay?) have been seriously looking at this type of housing on some land we plan to purchase (it’s a buyer’s market right now!) I had heard there was an organization of folks out there who lived/planned to live like this. So glad to have time to find out more about you!

87 Ani.B December 2, 2011

Hi-

I am in love with tiny houses and have been for a while. I probably read, “Boxcar Children” too many times as a child, but I could totally live in one. I just wanted to know who built yours and what plans were used, or is that one a standard model from said company? I love the double glass doors and the stove was also very cool.

Thanks, and enjoy your beautiful home!

Annie

Previous post:

Next post: