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Building a Dream on Wheels: The Incredible DIY Box Truck Tiny House Built for Just £30K


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Catherine and Chris have been living nomadically in their lorry (box truck) conversion for four years and are loving the freedom and functionality it offers them.

“Florry the Lorry” is quite spacious (for a tiny house), and is covered in honey-colored wood that gives it a warm cottage feel. They have a wet bath, fixed double bed, L-shaped couch for lounging, and a comfortable-sized kitchen with a double oven!

Make sure you read our Q&A with them after the photo tour to hear all about what led them to live tiny and what their favorite — and hardest — parts about the lifestyle are.

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The Ultimate Empty Nest Adventure: How This Couple Built Their Dream Tiny House on Wheels

The happy couple on the road!

I love the crates under the bed.

It feels so open inside!

They have a nice L-shaped couch.

They have an L-shaped kitchen as well.

I love their little wood stove.

It took them 18 months to complete the build.

They have a skylight over the bed.

I love the twigs creating a visual barrier.

Their bathroom is behind the door.

They have a nice, simple exterior.

Here’s their adorable dog, Rolo.

A look at their wet bath.


Interview

What got you into tiny living?

We’ve been motorhoming for over 25 years. I (Cat) lived in a motorhome for a year over 26 years ago with my ex husband’s and our two girls who were then, 4 months and 3 years old, travelling around NZ. Motorhoming has been in my blood for a long time. Chris and I have had campers and motorhomes for over 15 years and used to always spend the school holidays going off on an adventure before we moved into Florry full time 4 years ago. We are a blended family if 7 and with our kids grown up and parents still healthy we decided it was time to downsize and live a simpler life in our tiny home on wheels.

Did you build your home or buy it? How long did the process take?

We built Florry ourselves with hard work and determination., It took us about 18 months to build as we did it part-time while we were working. It’s an ongoing process, that adapts she changes as we go along.

How has tiny living changed your life (for better or worse)?

For better. Simpler life, less materialistic things to go wrong, new gardens every few days because we move every few days, having our home with us whether we go. Easier to clean and quick but negative it has to be done every day as it a acumulates dust very easily from being on the road. We get to meet so many people wherever we go and make new friends along the way. The flip side is we also miss friends when we leave too. Not tied to one place, if weather is bad we can move. If you don’t like your neighbours you can leave 🤣

No electricity bills, although there is the expense of buying the solar panels and batteries but long term, we save on electricity. Have to be tolerant of each other and have had to learn to communicate better and respect each others space in such a small place. Feel cosy inside wherever we are. We could be in a horrible car park but inside is always home. The journey and keeping our home a safe and comfortable place to live has taught us many skills and given us experiences we will remember. We make memories and we are feel rich in life with most the time having nature around us.

Negatives are a flip side of positives. Can get tired having to move everyday, miss friends when we move, when the weather is bad and if we can’t move it’s a small place to be cooped in and that can get more difficult . Miss a bath, but we have a shower. We always have to think about where we will get our water from.

The ultimate thing that differs from living in a motorhome not being static is the fact we have met so many interesting and amazing people on our journey which we would never have done if we had stayed in hotels or B & B’s. Life in lorry has meant we have made some very good friends all over Europe. It’s hard when we leave a place but so very lovely to have good friends we have met along our journey. Importantly our family has been so supportive of us and our lifestyle change which has been invaluable.

A new garden every few days and exploring places unknown and new leading a simple life. We love to travel and have a passion for Scuba Diving so we always like to get to Menorca where we like to dive. It’s also a simple life living in a lorry, and we get to be outside a lot whilst exploring. We have the bare essentials and are not laden down with materialistic things. We have just what we need. It’s environmentally friendly in terms of having a composting/separating toilet, using very little water compared to living in a house and our power comes from solar panels on the roof. Meeting new people all the time.

How do you make money on the road?

Chris works in IT. He’s a senior system administrator and works remotely, all he needs is good reception a phone and data. We have a booster installed in the lorry to make sure we always have a good reception

What’s the hardest part of tiny living?

We get road fatigue at times and also miss family and friends too, but always make sure we get to see them as much as we can.

The only real thing I miss is a long hot soak in a bath with bubbles from time to time and in winter having a full size washing machine. We have a little twin tub, but it only fits in some clothes, it’s great for summer but in winter when you have more layers it’s not ideal, so we have had to go to friends to do washing.

What’s the most rewarding part?

Meeting new friends and new gardens to explore and the simpler life with nature

Any advice for people looking to go tiny?

The lorry cost us £15,000 to buy, and we probably have spent between £10,000 and £15,000 on building her. We would never have been able to buy a motorhome for that cost that would actually be a nice size home from home like we have now with Florry. I still wake up every morning looking around thinking … wow! We built this. Still can’t believe we did it. It was such hard work, blood sweat and many tears. We worked so hard on the build and it’s been worth every minute.

At times, it is hard on the road and shouldn’t be over glamorised either, We have to always think about where our next water supply will come from, where to park, packing up every time we have to move on which is every few days. It’s a lot more physically tiring than living in a house where you don’t think about a running tap, a flushing loo and worry about running out of water or climbing up and down out of bed.

We have stayed in some gorgeous places and had wonderful views, but have to always be aware of being considerate to the locals when choosing a place to stay and park. Sometimes parking has been on a garage forecourt because we have broken down or a shopping supermarket car park because we haven’t found a place we feel comfortable to stay at. Recently I had a knee injury and it was really hard trying to get up and down from the bed in the first few weeks of recovery.

When someone asks us what it’s like to live in a lorry in such a small space we say, go live in your bathroom for a week and take a stove and food you need and use limited water only going out to go outside. It’s hard being in a confined space in winter and we have to respect each other, work hard at our relationship and communication more than most couples because we are with each, together for many hours of the day in a confined space during winter. Summer is always easier but even in winter we always get out for walks and take turns in walking the dog too so we get our own space too. We also have a car which gives us time to be on our own as every couple needs time apart too. It gives us independence and if I need to go to see someone or take some photographs for our social media without Chris, I have the freedom to do so. So far, it’s worked and we are enjoying our lives and experiences.

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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 three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Liz
    March 1, 2023, 5:56 pm

    Only one thing I would change. If I’m viewing the bathroom correctly, it looks like to use the sink one has to stoop over the box in front of it. That would be uncomfortable. Otherwise, this home is PHENOM!! Love all the wood and decor.

  • Marsha Cowan
    March 1, 2023, 8:59 pm

    I love everything about this home!!

  • Donny
    July 11, 2023, 10:37 pm

    I love nothing about this home. It looks, to me, to be a mish mash of styles and just really does not work. Yeah, I know, different strokes for different folks. Which is why “I” don’t like it.

  • Randy
    May 25, 2024, 12:37 pm

    “Florry the Lorry” is incredible! Really nice job!

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