During 2011, our tiny house was designed and built by Portland Alternative Dwellings. Being part of the design and building process was fun and exciting, but it was also nerve-racking because we didn’t know where we were going to park our tiny house once it was finished. Thanks to our friend connections, we were able to rent a small yard in Portland, OR before we moved into the house. Knowing we had a place to park the house made everything a lot less stressful.
Prior to buying our tiny house, we knew about the challenges of finding a parking spot and the uncertain legal status of tiny homes on wheels. Knowing about these issues intellectually is one thing, but living with the uncertainty is a different experience.
Over the years, we’ve moved our tiny house multiple times, and we’ve lived in multiple cities. Overall, we’ve been fortunate because we haven’t had many issues with local planning departments. The one exception was in Chico, California, where we had to leave the city because of zoning issues. The folks at the city were nice, but we weren’t willing to make the changes they requested.
Our experience in Chico changed my view of tiny house living. Home is an important construct for me, and knowing that I could be uprooted from a community because of my housing choice didn’t make me feel happy or secure.
Moving away from Chico, with our tiny house in tow in September 2013, and back to Siskiyou County was the best option for us because we can legally camp on my in-law’s property. I am extremely grateful for my in-law’s support and help. However, we never intended to live in our tiny house in a rural area. Our intention was to live in a city so that we could access amenities like the local library, coffee shops, parks, the laundry mat, and more. When you’re 15 miles from town, accessing those amenities is challenging, hosting guests is hard and experiencing feelings of isolation isn’t fun.
Logan and I feel like we’ve outgrown the tiny house, not in the sense that we have tons of stuff, but in the sense that it’s time to begin a new chapter in our lives without full-time tiny house living. We are turning our tiny house into a tiny getaway retreat, and we moved into town. (“Town” is Yreka, CA, and it’s about 15 miles from our tiny house.)
Being in town gives us more flexibility during the work week. For example, Logan can easily walk or bike to his office, and when Logan has the car, I can walk or cycle around town. It’s also going to be nice to have extra space to host family and friends, and I’m stoked that we have an indoor shower, bathtub, washing machine, dryer, and a big refrigerator I can fill with fresh food.
How We Found Our New Place
A few months ago, I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned, and I was telling my dental hygienist, Abby, and my dentist, Michelle, that we were thinking of moving into town for the fall and winter. I also told them that we were thinking of turning our tiny house into a vacation cabin. They thought the move into town was a good idea, especially as the weather gets colder. Abby said she’d let us know if she spotted a cute rental in town, and I left the dentist office with clean teeth and a smile.
In mid-September, it was Logan’s turn to go to the dentist, and while Abby cleaned his teeth, she told Logan about a rental she saw on her drive to work. Logan checked it out, told me about the 400-square-foot apartment, and we called the landlords and took a tour. It felt like the perfect space for us, so we decided to rent it!
Last week, we moved into the apartment. The apartment is in a cute triplex that’s behind a big house in Yreka. Our landlords are sweet people, and Logan even went to high school with one of their sons. Small town connections are awesome!
Parting Words …
I don’t have everything figured out, but I do know this: My tiny house won’t protect me from injuries, illness, grief, or loneliness. In essence, my tiny house is just a house. It’s kept us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and we’ve taken wild adventures with the house in tow. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’m so fortunate we’ve been able to live in our wee abode for over three-and-a-half years.
Owning a tiny beautiful home isn’t something I take for granted. Shelter is a basic need, and I’m grateful we had the resources to build our small house. I also recognize that my definition of home will change as I change.
One of the beautiful things about living small and simply is that we have the freedom and flexibility to make changes as our lives and needs change. I’m so grateful that we have choices and options. It’s an incredible gift, and for me, that’s the whole point of living simply.
Please note: Readers have inquired about renting our tiny house for weekend getaways. We will not be renting our home. This will be a vacation retreat for Logan, myself, and family.