Since we’re coming into a new year, and getting close to 9 months of living in a tiny house with a toddler, we’ve been doing a little reflecting on how we feel about the tiny house. Now that it’s daily life and totally normal, it’s easier to notice the small details that either make or break it. So here’s our take:
Cheap cost of living is still a major win. We installed a ceiling fan, and even with running all of our appliances and fan, our electricity bill is super low. Of course, rent is basically zero as well. This has allowed us greater flexibility in our time and work, which we’re thankful for!
Living in a house built by us has been BOTH rewarding and frustrating. It’s been great to enjoy some of the design features we wanted, and it’s great to know we can add a shelf, or paint a wall when we feel like it. It’s also frustrating when the kitchen sink leaks, or we have a GIANT rain storm and have water seeping onto the floor and there’s no one else to blame (or fix it!) but David. I have way less stress than David does, since I did hardly anything construction-wise. But in giant storms or small issues, David carries a lot more emotional (and time) responsibility than I do.
Easy to clean, but quick to messy: I love that I spend basically no time cleaning my house. On the flip side, when you have a toddler whose constantly in and out with muddy shoes (and it’s too difficult to teach him to take them off inside yet!) it also means our blue couch now has a “natural mud-colored distressed look”. It also means when toys (and there really aren’t that many of them) or cooking supplies are lying around, it can immediately look messy. Of course, it also only takes 3 minutes to put everything away again. But you really have to stay on top of it. I like that it forces us to stay on top of dishes and other house work (since otherwise we might put it off), but there are times when I’m feeling lazy that I think, “In a bigger house, this wouldn’t even look like clutter!”
Best kitchen design: Sometimes it would be nice to have a teensy bit more pantry space (but some of that is also my lack of organization… if I re-organized I think I’d have more!) But everything else about the kitchen is amazing. We have GREAT counter space, a full-sized stove and washing machine, and fridge. After living in so many apartments with technically more counter space but terrible design (including a recent air bnb on vacation)– I am SO pleased with the kitchen area. The spot lighting over the work area is perfect (and the spot lighting works great when toddler is sleeping as well, we can still clean up), and it’s just the right amount of storage space.
Kid in eyesight: There have been a few times when I wished I had a door to shut to hide from the toddler (bathroom is our only one!) But I can honestly say 99% of the time, the open-plan small space is PERFECT for having a toddler. If he’s outside I can hear him even if I can’t see him, and if he’s inside, I can see him anywhere. David does night routine, and he often washes dishes while Bram is taking his bath– because he can see Bram from the kitchen sink just fine. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I had to watch my toddler to make sure he didn’t drown in the bath while David did the dishes in another room…. and it sounds horrible. It’s might seem like a small thing, but sometimes when you’re working all day and parenting all the time at home, you and your partner can become like ships passing in the night. The fact that when we’re home we can always carry on a conversation from anywhere in the house, while we’re doing anything is awesome! Or, the fact that David can double up on house-work tasks (like night routine) while I have a few minutes to myself is great.
Everything in reach: That thing where your phone is all the way on the other side of the house, or your book is all the way upstairs, or someone is at the gate but your keys are on the other side of the room? DOESN’T HAPPEN. I love that.
Forcing us outside: Our toddler spends probably 70% – 80% of his waking time outside. We go to the park, but he also plays around the yard. I wish the grass by our plot would grow 😦 but he loves the mud and the rocks anyway. The weather is warm enough to be outside year round, but rainy weather in the Spring can be depressing. We can go to the library, or my parents house, or a friends house (and we usually do!) So maybe they are sick of us. But it’s really the rainy days that are the worst. Those are the only days I feel “trapped”. However, they are not too often, so most of the time, being forced outside is a plus.
Entertaining: We finally got an outdoor table, and that really helped with family meals as well as entertaining in the Spring… however now that it is summer it’s super hot (since our house faces west, the sun just beats down on the picnic table in the afternoons/evenings). So our Christmas present this year is building a covered outdoor eating/entertaining area (with a pallet couch! Yay!) I am REALLY looking forward to seeing how that changes our eating as well as entertaining options. Also- we have had 5 college students + our family in our house for supper. It was a little tight, but it worked! We even played cards afterwards. So… it’s possible! The problem with evening entertaining is if we are not outside, then toddler won’t sleep. We’ve tried putting him down in our loft, and it’s worked a couple of times, but a lot of times it doesn’t work because he is too excited by the new people to wind down, and he can still hear them.
Great view: Still love the view. And it’s great we can both walk to work, the park, and the library if we want to.
Insulation/Sun/Cold: We survived winter in SA just fine, but we’re a little more concerned to see how summer goes. We don’t often get lots of hot days in a row here, and we do have a ceiling fan, but since our house faces due west, the afternoon sun comes right in the windows and turns us into a little green house. We haven’t figured out blinds or curtains (except in our loft) and we think that would really help… so we’ll try that before moving to AC. Most people here don’t have AC, and we’d like to avoid it if we can. So far we have handled it by going to swim in a neighbour’s pool between 2-4pm, and coming home when the house is cooler.
Any other tiny house questions?? 🙂