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Why We’re Turning Our Tiny House Into a Vacation Cabin

our tiny house

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.

With gratitude,
Tammy

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cynthia October 12, 2015, 10:37 am

    This sounds like a wonderful new chapter that you’re beginning! Your little apartment sounds lovely, and I’m sure you’ll be nice and cozy for the fall and winter!

    xo
    Cynthia

    • Tammy Strobel October 12, 2015, 11:33 am

      Thanks Cynthia! It’s going to be a cozy fall and winter. 😉

  • Lori Jane October 12, 2015, 11:01 am

    Be sure to post your advertisement/info about your tiny house rental as I would love to rent from you in the future!!! Thank you!
    Lori Jane

    • Tammy Strobel October 12, 2015, 11:32 am

      Hey Lori,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Sorry for the confusion. I should have been a little more clear in my essay. We will not be renting our home. This will be a vacation retreat for Logan, myself, and family. Thanks for reading!

      Cheers,
      Tammy

  • Sharle kinnear October 12, 2015, 11:23 am

    Wishing you joy and peace and good health in your new home! Ones definition of home changes shape throughout life, as you have shown. I envy your flexibility! Looking forward to photos of the new nest!

  • Heather October 12, 2015, 1:06 pm

    This post is exactly why I have been an avid follower of your writing and your journey. Your honesty allows your readers to explore their own reasons for simplification and tiny living. Thank you for this post Tammy. It is inspiring to read something so honest and heartfelt. I am looking forward to reading about what the future holds for you. Wishing you peace and joy on your path.

  • Joe3 October 12, 2015, 2:04 pm

    Good for you .. I have followed your journey since you got rid of the 2 bedroom apartment and 2 cars, and as we all go through life, circumstances change, we adapt, and life goes on…
    I’ll continue to follow, as I enjoy your writings & perspectives.

    Have Fun, work less, Play More 😉

  • Joyce October 12, 2015, 5:17 pm

    Love this! Blessings on your new adventure. Your posts inspire me! Take care!

  • Barry October 12, 2015, 6:13 pm

    You two remain my tiny heroes.

  • Cory Hagen October 12, 2015, 9:21 pm

    Tammy, thank you so much for sharing your journey and how you and Logan’s lifestyles have evolved. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I read my first rowdy kittens post when you sold your car and downsized to a studio apartment. So much has happened in the TIny Movement and (y)our lives since then…

  • Bette October 13, 2015, 7:30 am

    How exciting! And how wonderful to be able to walk and bike to so many places you enjoy.

  • Tracey Martin October 13, 2015, 7:33 am

    I am so happy for you and Logan. Life experiences never go away and the tiny house has taught you two so much. You still have her to enjoy on weekends 🙂 I’m glad you are doing what you feel is best for your family…..how exciting!

    Xo Tracey

  • Katie October 13, 2015, 8:14 am

    This is a great read Tammy! I wish you and Logan lots of fun times in your new apartment, and all your retreats to the tiny house in the country. It’s really nice to make some changes that make sense, but still keeping the main ingredients 🙂 XXX

  • Miranda October 13, 2015, 10:24 am

    This is exactly why I don’t have a tiny house. I love them, but I have more flexibility by not living in one. I started a new position recently, and was able to move close to work by renting an apartment. Tiny houses are not legal here, and I have no where to park one when not living in it.

    Thank you for your honesty about your journey. Nothing is ever easy or good all the time, and only by looking at the whole picture can we learn.

    Here’s to a great winter!

  • Bill K October 13, 2015, 11:16 am

    Good luck in the latest phase of your adventures! For the tiny house movement to get the traction required to thrive, we will all have to get our heads together for a solution to change the thinking of most towns and cities. I live in a community with many small downtown lots that have zoning issues for a stick built “normal” home, but would be perfect for a tiny home. I recently called the planning / zoning group in another area where I own land to see if we could do a family compound of park model RV’s / Tiny Houses and am still waiting for a return phone call. We are a sustainable group that will be model citizens if we can make strides to educate those that don’t understand the concept!

    Enjoy your new digs and continue to keep us posted!

  • Tim October 13, 2015, 11:19 am

    Good on you guys for trying the tiny house thing. Until the powers to be change the legalities of tiny house living, my wife and I, although we love the idea will probably not get a tiny house. Blessings to you both
    Tim.

  • Sandra Pawula, Always Well Within October 13, 2015, 11:57 am

    A big decision, but a clear one. I hope moving into town will help you feel more connected and satisfy your wishes for feel more secure at home.

  • Julie S October 13, 2015, 1:37 pm

    When I think about my home, I think more of the neighborhood and environment than I do about the structure or the stuff in it. It’s upsetting to me that there are so many legal issues with tiny houses. I definitely understand your position. I am a city dweller myself in a small home and being able to walk to restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, a bakery, movie theaters, etc is a huge factor in feeling secure as well as connected to the outside world.

  • Patricia Ann Chaffee October 13, 2015, 1:47 pm

    I look forward to seeing pics of your new tiny home. 🙂 Good luck with your move.

  • Stevie Ruiz October 13, 2015, 3:13 pm

    Can’t wait for the new home tour. We are looking into moving into town from our corner of the desert, too, and for many of the same reasons.

  • Marjorie Cooper October 13, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Tammy I am super proud of you!!! A decision like this is never an easy one to make!
    I have lived in the country and lived in the city.
    Currently I live in 600 square feet in an apartment in the city.
    It is perfect for myself, my girls, 2 puppies and my bf when he visits.
    Ty for sharing your decision with us and also the decision making process.

  • Cody H October 13, 2015, 4:35 pm

    I would love to hear about what you take with you as lessons from living in a tiny space and how you deal with any urges to fill the larger one.

    • Tammy Strobel October 13, 2015, 6:08 pm

      Hey Cody, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll work on an in-depth essay on the topic. Our new place is only 400 square-feet, so we can’t fill it with too much stuff. We did get a new bed and a used desk. Currently, we’re looking for a couch. Basically our motto is this: We only buy stuff we love and we try and buy used stuff first. More on this topic soon! Thanks for reading.

  • Christa from Australia October 13, 2015, 6:35 pm

    Hi Tammy,
    First of all, congratulations on your new adventure. Life is always about change.

    You might be like me a “city person”. A lot of people in Australia live in idyllic bush settings with kangaroos running around and beautiful birds or they have wonderful ocean views, but they are a long way from all amenities. I live in a pretty area, but I chose to live in a small country town. From my home I am able to walk to the public library, coffee shops, hospital, churches, cinemas and community places. I enjoy the picturesque countryside, but I know that I am a “city person” and it is important to me that I can reach of the town with all its amenities on foot. In this way I feel more connected to other people and events.

    Enjoy your new abode and your new “urban lifestyle”.

    Kind regards,
    Christa from Australia

  • Heidi October 13, 2015, 8:31 pm

    Welcome to Yreka, Tammy! I’m glad you found a place in town that is perfect for you. Your tiny house is darling, and I hope that you get some vacationers who want to try it out.

  • Diane October 14, 2015, 6:30 am

    Just I’m so glad you found a good place. It’s important to evaluate your needs and be flexible!

  • Nicole October 14, 2015, 6:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Your honesty in the challenges and rewards of your journey are inspiring.

  • Gary October 15, 2015, 8:06 pm

    Once you and Logan settle in with the cats, how about a house tour on youtube.

    • Tammy Strobel October 16, 2015, 10:39 am

      I’ll post a photo tour soon, Gary. Thanks for reading! 😉

  • Mary D. October 19, 2015, 8:46 pm

    Thank you for the explanation, not that you owe that to us, but it’s nice to know the thoughts behind the move. You’ll always have the experience to look back on with pride. Good luck!

  • doutre October 27, 2015, 2:53 am

    hello,
    always a great pleasure for me to hear about you from France…so please go on tell us about your new life in town…no regrets about your country ‘ life? what is your job exactly? For my part we live in a small village in Normandy, our house is very simple but sweet..it s a real wonderful pleasure to hear birds all the day long and sometimes see squirrels in the garden..and for our animals too… don’t your cats regret their last sweet life?
    big kisses to you both and cats…
    Annie…

    • Tammy Strobel October 27, 2015, 8:28 am

      Hi Annie,

      You can read about what I do over here. We don’t regret our move into town and we will use our little house in the country frequently. The cats are doing great!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best,
      Tammy

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