When Chris and Malissa Tack built their 140-square foot tiny home on wheels three years ago, blogs and resources on the subject were few and far between. At the time, they only knew of one couple building a tiny house – most were single individuals. Some people aren’t sure they could share a small space with another person, but Chris and Malissa have made it work, and even enjoyed the way it’s shaped their relationship.
They both need to spend significant time at home – Malissa works from home full-time, and Chris does freelance photography and videography in his spare time. They both know their way around little house design, having created two sets of plans for tiny homes and a wide variety of 3-D renderings of small space layouts. They found they needed to make a few adjustments to their behavior and to their original space design to make it work as a live/work/work space for two people, but now they don’t feel constrained by their home’s size.
Chris: My coworker has been in our house, he knows what size it is. He was like, “I could do that for myself, but definitely not for two people.” That’s the response we get a lot.
Malissa: And definitely not a married couple, because you’d drive yourself crazy. But I think our relationship has grown so much since living in this space, and having to work so close with each other all the time. You can’t run off to another room to avoid somebody. You’re always going to be there. It has made us communicate so much better.
Chris: It makes you very respectful of personal space and what you’re doing. As I’m sitting here three feet away from Malissa working on my video project, I keep having to hear the same audio over and over again to get the exact spot where I need to cut it. So I’ll put headphones on and spare her having to listen to the same audio 15 times in a row.
Malissa: When we only had the one computer we were working on, we had to adjust our schedules – I would work during the day, he would work during the night. But we started becoming overwhelmed with projects, and needed another workspace for Christopher. We’re much more mindful of how we can help each other out. Even filling our water tank, we do it as a team job. We could do it by ourselves, but we make it an “us” experience. It’s connected us a lot more than our last living experience. It turned out to work out perfectly for us.
Another consideration that couples face is whether a tiny house can accommodate a growing family. Chris and Malissa made smart decisions during construction that keep their future options open:
Malissa: We designed the house to grow with us. We’re a married couple, we’re planning on having a family down the road. We designed our house so that we could take out our bench and cabinet – we laid flooring underneath all of it. We can even add a smaller loft up there, or have the child sleep up with us for a couple years. We worked with the understanding that our life is going to change, and our house has to change with us.
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