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Catching up with Brian & Alexis: 3 Years in their Tiny Home


Just about three years ago we interviewed Brian and Alexis, the owners of the Juniper THOW they built with help from Backcountry Tiny Homes. The couple (and their dog) had just finished up the house at the time, but now they’ve been tiny-housing it for more than three years! We decided to get back in touch and see how tiny life has lived up to their expectations and changed their lives for the better.

While magazine-ready photos of THOWs are fun to look at, it’s great to see all of Brian and Alexis’ Instagram pictures (follow them @living_the_tiny_dream) showing what real life in a tiny house looks like. Because of choosing to live tiny, Brian has successfully paid off all his student loans (Congratulations!) and the couple pays less than $12 a quarter in electricity. That’s impressive!

Check out their real-life pictures in the photo tour below, and then find our Q&A with the couple at the end of this post.

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Brian & Alexis Reflect on Three Years of Tiny House Living

Could they have a more perfect setting for this tiny house? They’re in Roy, Washington.

Here’s a close-up of the master loft, where Alexis says they spend the majority of their time.

To get to the guest loft you climb the ladder on the bathroom door, which is super creative!

Look at the beetle kill pine ceilings! Absolutely gorgeous.

Like many of us in March 2020, Brian and Alexis are both working from home now due to COVID-19. They’re rocking quarantine in a tiny house!

Alexis said it was really important to them to have a relatively “huge” tiny house kitchen, and this one is envy-worthy.

Yes, those are fresh eggs from their 5 chickens (who have their own tee-tiny house).

Their dog, Cooper, finding a comfy spot in the kitchen. Love that they included that washer/dryer in the design.

Wow that little plaque really speaks to the current toilet paper shortage, right? Here’s their Separett waterless toilet.

And their farmhouse sink with an adorable faucet.

Alexis enjoying a meal on their couch. The closed storage in this THOW is awesome!

The chickens making an appearance at the door. Great idea to have a large window to allow extra sunlight into the home.

Cooper and the chickens in the yard. Love their tiny coop!

Here’s a great glimpse of the guest loft. Such awesome windows throughout the home.

Once again, I can’t really think of anyplace else I’d rather live the tiny life.

And finally, here are some plant babies on the porch with the fur baby, soaking in some sunshine.

Want to see more? Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow at 4 p.m. PST for their home tour on Instagram!

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for: Here’s our interview with Brian and Alexis. Find out why they went tiny and how tiny house living is meeting their expectations right here.

Brian & Alexis Tell All About Tiny House Living

What are your name(s)?

Brian and Alexis

How many people (and animals) will are living in your tiny house?

We have 2 humans, one dog, and one cat. With 5 chickens in their own house.

Where do you live?

Roy, WA

How long have you been living tiny?

We have been living in our tiny house 3 years this May.

Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

We decided to go tiny for environmental sustainability and financial reasons, as well as as intentional living. By living tiny we have made substantial progress on our debt free journey, reduction of our carbon footprint, and living more with less.

Has reality met your expectations?

Mostly, yes. Some things are harder than expected. Living tiny through winters has been a learning process for us. Frozen pipes, cold floors, inconsistent propane intake can make things complicated. Each year we get better at dealing with the cold temperatures, dark skies, and gloomy weather.

How did you first learn about tiny houses?

Watching tiny house nation was maybe our first introduction. But going to stay in a tiny house through Airbnb was the first time we really thought about living in one.

How long did it take to finish your tiny house?

It took about 3 months for us to finish our tiny house. We had some personal problems come up during the build process which slowed it down.

How did you build your tiny house? Did you have any help? Did you do it yourselves?

We did a build assist program with Backcountry Tiny Homes. Tina and Luke helped us through all of the building processes. They were great supervisors and we could not have had a better experience building our house.

How did you find a place to park and live in your tiny house? Have you had to move around?

We originally parked our house at a location where a family friend owned property that happened to have RV hook ups. The property was just sitting there, so I offered him some help with his property taxes and offered to be a caretaker for the property as he lived a few hours away. Recently we moved to another spot after looking around a bit on Facebook tiny house groups, and Craigslist.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

Before the tiny life, we were living “The American Dream.” We owned a foundation home with a 30 year mortgage, commuted an hour to work, had more stuff and furniture than necessary, and lived paycheck to paycheck. It was stressful and just not worth it for us.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

We are saving money on housing, utilities, and other excess subscriptions. We are living more intentionally because we don’t have unnecessary things to clutter our thoughts and space.

What about some challenges?

Winter is challenging. With winter limiting our access to outdoor space and complicating our activities, it can be hard to stay inside and not waste time watching too much Netflix. We also have to commute pretty far to work due to the lack of tiny house parking availability closer to town.

What makes your tiny house special?

Our tiny house truly feels like our house. We designed it and built it to fit our specific needs and priorities. Our kitchen is HUGE for a tiny house because we enjoy cooking, baking, and we love having a lot of counter-space. What gives our house a unique look however, is our beautiful beetle kill pine ceiling. It just makes the whole space feel artistic and special.

What is your favorite part of your tiny house?

We spend most of our time in our “master loft.” It was the first room to feel complete and we made it special to us with twinkly lights, and custom animal pillows. Without a lot of living space, we use that space as our bedroom, living room, library and office!

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

Living tiny is a big commitment. Go to Airbnb or another tiny house hotel option and stay in a tiny house for a night or two. Reach out to people who do live tiny and ask questions, or read wonderful blog posts and interviews like this one!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your years in a tiny house?

Our tiny house is not our forever home, but a great transitional home. With the flexibility and freedom, we are able to achieve other goals while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

Do you have a website, blog, or social media page where we can follow along?

Follow us on Instagram at @Living_the_tiny_dream!

Learn more

Our big thanks to Alexis & Brian for sharing!🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Stephan of Arkansas
    March 27, 2020, 4:44 pm

    Charming tiny house. Well done. Good for U two! But what really made my day….. if not my week…. was the photo of Cooper-the-dog relaxing outside with chickens happily perched on top of him, and everyone was happily at peace. Oh dear God, if only people could get along so well! My best wishes to U two. Stephan of Arkansas

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      March 30, 2020, 3:09 pm

      I completely agree! That’s why I had to include it. So perfect.

  • Avatar Dawna
    March 28, 2020, 5:29 pm

    Hi I am in Ontario and just starting the process to get my own tiny home. It will be built out of Shipping Containers and will be 480 sq ft . It’s really hard to get financing though because it will be on my daughters property .Dawna

  • Avatar Steveinsandiego
    March 29, 2020, 6:17 pm

    Dawna, will it be built on a permanent foundation or will it be transportable? Must you obtain a permit and build it to local codes, and have it inspected by the local bldg dept? This Inquiring mind wants to know 😉 tyvm

    • Avatar Dawna
      March 30, 2020, 10:14 am

      It will not be a foundation and it would be moveable if required the company I am dealing with are obtaining all the variances and permits for me. We are allowed coach homes here in Ottawa. Just not many around

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