I discovered Fixer Upper a little late in the game, maybe around 2017? I wasn’t watching their show for too long and before they walked away a year later. I was a little bummed. Thank God for reruns. Is it just me or did a lot of the houses they renovated have the same farmhouse feel to it? To say that Joanna loved shiplap was an understatement of the universe.
But right around the time I discovered the Gaines’, I stumbled upon the FYI Channel and all the tiny house shows: Tiny House Nation, Tiny Luxury, Tiny House World, Tiny House Hunting, etc. Needless to say, I got REAL hooked on Tiny House Nation. I remember Mr. Ex catching an episode with me once and he’d said, “We could never do that.”
“Yeah, I know,” I’d replied.
And he would be right.
Because he had too many plastic bins full of Star Wars figurines.
And He-Man figurines. Old and new.
And Dragonball Z figurines.
And he didn’t believe in spring cleaning.
And he was a borderline Level 1 hoarder. I guess that’s what happens when you’re raised by a grandparent who doesn’t like to throw anything away.
But in my head, I was thinking, “You’re right. You wouldn’t be able to do that. But I would.” Read: I’m all in for doing this by myself.
When my sister and I were looking to get a place together, my Dad had suggested we buy a house. He thinks it’s a waste to rent. More than once, he’s said “For the amount of rent you’re paying, you could have your own place.”
He’s from the American Dream generation: Go to school, get a job, get married, raise a family, buy a house. It’s the American Dream!
But not everyone’s drinking that spiked Kool-Aid, including moi. <passes the cup to the next person>
While my sister and I do want to buy properties together (for additional income), neither one of us wants the 30 yr mortgage. Besides, we won’t be around long enough to pay it off. Bwaha.
Before my marriage ended, I was thinking about the whole tiny house movement.
A year and six months into this Life After Divorce thing, I know I want to do it.
After attending the first ever Online Global Tiny House Community Event at the end of April, I got even more fired up about it. It was a weekend of information overload, but it was SO cool because one of the speakers was Zack Giffen, co-host of Tiny House Nation!
So, here’s what I need to keep in mind when designing a floor plan:
1) Attend a Tiny House Expo - They have Home and Garden shows here in my hometown and the one I attended last year showcased tiny homes for the first time. The show this year had tiny homes as well. Lines were hella long, as usual, as I imagine they would be at an expo that was just #alltinyhomes. But if I attend, at least I’ll be able to see a finished shipping container in person.
2) Where will I spend most of my time? This will help me see where my priorities should lie to optimize square footage to my lifestyle. I hate to cook. I’ll be saying that a lot in this journal because it’s true. And it’s something worth pointing out numerous times. But I love to read, and will be on my laptop writing entries for this journal. So, instead of my priority being a big kitchen, I should focus on the bedroom (my preferred reading space) and an office space/area.
3) What areas or functions are essential to my lifestyle? Basically, what are my must-haves: single level, one-bedroom, office space/area, soaking tub, etc.
4) Space, Time, and Money. What’s the best use of my money? Money is always the most limited resource, so it stands to reason that I should focus that resource on the most important areas of my home. For instance, I’d like a soaking tub/shower option. I understand that creating a space for that may in turn allocate less square footage for, say, bathroom storage or something. While I’m not worried about the length of time it takes to build my home, I want to use natural materials in my home, and it may take time to find (and possibly build) those materials.
5) No right design, but there’s definitely a wrong design - Make sure to think far enough ahead to avoid costly mistakes and/or an uncomfortable floor plan. Don’t be a lemming and choose the same design as everyone else. Take features that I like from other houses (like this incineration toilet) and make them my own.
So, why a tiny home?
1) I’ve done apartment living. And I hate it. Especially when someone is living above you. I don’t mind having neighbors, I just don’t want to hear them clogging (ye, I’m referring to that Geico commercial). It’s the ultimate tiny home, but I’d still be paying rent.
2) I’ve done condo living. And I’m not a fan. It’s just like apartment living and what’s more utterly annoying than hearing your neighbor hock a loogie every. Single. Fucking. Time they cough? I dunno, but I’ve been enduring it for two fucking years and I’m done.
3) I don’t want to buy a traditional house. That would be too much space for me. I moved in with Mr. Ex when he bought a house with his grandmother. The grandmother eventually ended up moving back to Springfield and I moved in with him to help pay the mortgage. I quickly learned that he hated doing yard work, and well, homegirl here hates it just as much as cooking. During our time there, we got a few letters from the city due to the jungle growing in our backyard. Our cat loved it because she got to portray Simba and act out her own version of the Lion King everyday. She would pout at us when the nearly-cornstalk-high weeds would get cut down. Just kidding.They weren’t really that high, but it probably seemed like that to her.
4) If I can get a tiny home built for the price of a Tesla Model S, I’m doin’ it! Yes, tiny homes can cost more than that, but you’re paying for quality. And a tinier footprint.
But, why a shipping container home?
1) Inexpensive - Rumor has it 20-foot shipping containers for sale run from about $1,500 to $3,000 and a 40-foot container can cost up to $4,500.
2) Strong - They’re manufactured to be tough and durable, designed to carry cargo though extreme weather both on land and at sea. Unbolted, the containers can handle winds up to 100 mph. When properly secured to a foundation,they can take wind speeds of up to 175 mph. This is great if I end up retreating from the States (something I’d like to do) to an island in the Hurricane Belt or Tornado Alley.
3) Pest Proof - Since the main building material on a converted shipping container is steel, they are highly resistant to bugs and pests.
4) Eco-friendly - As someone who’s striving to become a more sustainably-conscious human, I’m all about being friendly to our planet. If a used shipping container is bought to build my container home, with each 40-foot container I am repurposing 2,500 kg of steel. And since most shipping containers are only used one time before being sent to the container graveyards, it’s a no-brainer to use them for something else.
5) Quick build time - I could potentially have a finished shipping container home within 8 weeks. Depending on all that needs to be done, of course. Building a traditional home can take up to 4-6 months. The majority of the exterior structure is already built (roof, walls, ceiling); all that’s needed are the interior details. Y’know, like doors and windows. Additionally, container homes are built off-site; no travel to and from the site, no transport of supplies and equipment.
6) Ship anywhere - Once my home is built, it can be shipped anywhere in the world. Like maybe that island in the Caribbean or something.
I have much to learn when it comes to the tiny house movement, not to mention the whole shipping container thing. But I’m looking forward to talking about that journey on here and adding another tab to the category section.
Black goddess musings on life and becoming a sustainably-conscious human being.