As you know I have been happily living in my tiny house for nearly a year and a half.
Matt and I started this project a very long time ago and I thought maybe I would go back to the beginning to share some of my own tiny house building advice.
If I were to talk to the 2007 me who had barely touched a hammer in her life, what would I say? This post covers the top 3 tips I think you should know before building tiny.
1. Throw away your time expectations.
I realize that our tiny house experience was different than most. We were building on a fixed location that happened to be over three hours from where we lived.
This meant that we were only able to work on the house for a very short amount of time each visit. With the exception of a few week long vacations most of the construction was done on weekends.
We would arrive around noon on Saturday and work as long as we could before we had to leave sometime in the afternoon on Sunday to make it back to Atlanta. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.
When we started construction in 2009 we had an expectation that we might be done by winter of that same year. Having never built anything before, we quickly realized that it was best if we slow down and be more cautious about the process.
In the end it took us three years to complete the house. Even for someone building a tiny house on a trailer in their yard I would suggest that you not adhere to some dogmatic time estimate. Instead concentrate on doing an exceptional job and the house will be finished when it is finished.
I encourage you to read my other 2 tips if you’re thinking of building tiny below:
2. Don’t be afraid to change your design.
Before we built our tiny house we took some painters tape and measured out the footprint in our suburban living room. I highly recommend this exercise.
We evaluated the space and thought about the furniture placement. We thought we had it all figured out.
As it turns out, 120 square feet is actually as small as you imagine it would be. Even though we measured the space once it was actually built we realized that our initial plan wasn’t going to work.
Rather than panic we took some time to consider other options. It is okay to design and redesign as you go along. You will end up with a layout that is perfectly tailored to your lifestyle.
3. Always think about safety.
Matt is a big risk taker and I am not. This sometimes led to me screaming for him to get down off the top of the unfinished wall.
Just because you are doing the work yourself don’t neglect safety. Just remember the cautionary tale of Macy Miller. In a recent Tiny House Chat, Macy shared that her medical bills for her fall have cost her more than the construction of the tiny house.
In our case, our tiny house is in the woods without road access to the building site. One wrong move and there could have been serious trouble.
- Use safety glasses and gloves,
- be cautious around power tools,
- never use ladders in an unsafe manner,
- and always have someone with you.
Or at least know where you are and when they should hear from you. And don’t leave safety behind once the house is finished.
Be sure to install the right:
- smoke detectors,
- oxygen sensors,
- fire extinguishers,
- and anything else that makes sense to keep your tiny home safe.
What other things are important to keep in mind for building a tiny house? Share your most relevant tips on building based on your knowledge & experience in the comments below!
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