There’s a blog-fest going on in my family, and I want to be a part of it! Not because I want to be read; rather, blogs capture the author’s thinking, feeling, and interpretation in a way that speaks to me. Kind of like a “realer” version of social media, where the writer has more than a fleeting, glorified snapshot moment to share a piece of his or herself. Then again, there are many-a-crafty writer who use words to paint ideal images. In many ways, I suppose, I am one of them, having devoted my career – educational fundraising – to the art of using words to engage, pacify, solicit, thank, and instruct…and so much more.
Here, though, I want to write for me.
Now on the precipice of some really big life stuff, I’m feeling as though I want to document the journey. That’s not to say that there haven’t been and won’t be many more big life changes that have merited or merit exploration, but planning to move into a tiny house on an 8.5 acre parcel of pastureland in Laupāhoehoe, HI likely will inspire me to reflect on many of my choices over the last 51 years. That certainly will be true, since I do believe that those steps have built the foundation from which this adventure is taking flight.
The details of how I got to this juncture in my life notwithstanding, suffice it to say we are in the throes of planning avlate fall move into a 160 square foot house, which is in the final stages of being designed (see image below). Jim and I have been dreaming of tiny house living for a number of years now. Why? A simple answer isn’t really possible, but I’m certain it’s a sum total of a range of reasons…for sure old age, stuff-exhaustion, financial pressure, and environmental righteousness (okay, him more than me).
But if I were to be totally honest about my motivation, I would have to say it has more to do with wanting to be a form of myself that does not yet exist. Not entirely anyway.
The gift of life deserves more attention than the management of the accoutrements of living it, doesn’t it? It just has to be. Before I die, I want to know what it really feels like to have a full heart.
So, next step…tiny house.
We’re working with a local tiny house designer and builder (surprisingly, there aren’t many on the Big Island),vJohanna, who is co-owner of Habitats Hawaii. We’ve completed the basic design and are moving into the purchasing phase. Because what’s available on island can be limited, we have to get orders in to allow items to arrive for the start of construction in early August – 8’x20‘ trailer, windows, refrigerator, etc.
And just for kicks, we thought we’d throw our story into the mix of Tiny House Nation, just in case someone wants to bring a crew just to lend a hand (just fantasy, and we mean no offense to Johanna’s good work). In fact, to close out this already too-long first blog, here are the answers we provided on the application. They’ll give a good overview of where we are.
I’ll keep you posted!
What’s motivating you to live in a tiny house? What drives you nuts about your current living situation?
I am a recovering capitalist, and Jim is a recovering hippie. Somewhere in between is our vision of living a simpler, off-grid life on the Big Island of Hawaii. We’ve learned, since (separately) moving here from the east coast, that here the world is kinder and gentler, people are connected to place, and limited island resources are treated with respect and reverence. Our TRUE needs are becoming more and more evident: to have a place where we can be physically comfortable, where our adult children can visit to escape the chaos of their young lives, and where the nature around us takes center stage.
Do you remember the moment you decided to take on the tiny house lifestyle?
In the early stage of our romance (we met five years ago and got married in December), we said over and over that being with each other was enough. Food, a bed, a fridge, basic technology, and a roof over our heads would (mostly) cover it and keep us free of the “stuff” that can distract people from really BEING with one another. When we found the absolutely perfect piece of property along the Hamakua Coast on the Big Island, with sweeping views of the big sky, majestic Pacific Ocean, and nothing but pastures as far as the eye can see, we just knew the time was right to put our tiny house dream into motion.
We want a home that feels modern in its simplicity and one that is comfortable, and we want one that is in harmony with this piece of nature’s paradise.
What about tiny living is appealing to you?
In addition to simplifying our surroundings to just what we need to live happily, we find the natural efficiencies
appealing (of course) and the design engineering fascinating. We both enjoy space planning and like thinking about how to achieve attractive, functional design in creative and well-constructed ways. Above all else, tiny house living for two people requires the kind of collaborative thinking and behaving that we believe is at the core of a deep and fulfilling partnership in life.
How far into the build are you?
We have worked up a basic design with a local tiny house builder, to be constructed on an 8’x20′ trailer. She has built 10 houses so far, and has developed a strong sense – and opinion! – of what appears to work best here.
What makes you most excited about your tiny house?
Having a tiny carbon footprint is really exciting – although admittedly more so to Jim. 🙂 Then again, we both want to make sure that we leave the planet without having overstayed our welcome.
Are there any unique engineering feats in your tiny house? (i.e. a roof top deck, a small hot tub, a spiral staircase)
As mentioned above, the design is pretty basic, and we are trying to being as creative as possible for the loft bedroom, because a comfy bed is a MUST, and we are not tiny people (both nearly 6′ tall).
We’d love a rooftop deck but have no idea how to make that possible when we want the house to be transportable.
Rather than a TV, we have opted to have a mini-projector and small, portable screen to use with our devices. We’re using this set-up in our pop-up camper, and it’s clear that it can only work well with the right geometry, lighting, etc., to get the picture lined up without having the projector obstruct our line of site. Not a crisis, of course, but it would be nice just to sit down to watch an episode of Tiny House Nation (naturally), without all of the gymnastics.
Where will your new tiny home be? What is your dream destination?
The tiny house will be at our dream location in Laupāhoehoe, HI – elevation 1000 feet.
What sets your tiny house build apart from other builds out there?
there is a limited number of people living the tiny house lifestyle here on the Big Island – despite its being an ideal climate and environment for one – and we relish the opportunity to be among the pioneers in the area!
Note: For the complete chronicling of our tiny house build, visit the main menu and click on “Tiny House: Start to Finish.”