We all love admiring staged tiny houses, captured by professional photography in ambient light, but have you ever wondered what these tiny houses look like after they’ve been lived in for a while? Or what they look like once the staging furniture is gone and your stuff is inside?
Andy Bretz over at THoW – Economic Hippie shared a whole album of pictures showing his lived-in THOW. We featured the builder’s pictures last month, so go check those out first and compare it to the sampling shown below! Plus on the last page you can read our interview with Andy about his tiny life, including his love of cooking and the challenges tiny living brings.
Want to see even more pictures? Check out the rest of his album here.
Lived-In Tiny House: Andy’s Life in his Westbury THOW
Interview with Andy Bretz
What are your name(s)?
How many people (and animals) are currently living in your tiny house?
At the moment 1 person and 1 dog – Pete is a 13 yr old Porkie (3/4 pit 1/4 yorkie) but taking applications for another human. I’m not sure how much Pete’s on board with the THoW (he used to have a doggie door and fenced in yard)
Where do you live?
Currently – Charleston SC
Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?
I realized how much of my monthly income went toward my traditional house/bills (where I also had not been in the majority of the rooms in over a year). Economic Freedom… Travel, living in a social economic responsible manner, meaning also financial planning for the future.
How did you first learn about tiny houses?
I don’t really remember… either tv or internet. But the final decision was when I was visiting my folks in their fairly large house and seeing the house that I wanted to build in a realtor magazine there. It was an article featuring the hOMe model (Andrew and Gabriella Morrison) and their design made so much sense to me. Now when I took that to my builder and we started tweaking it for my ideas, I can out with something completely different but I love my house.
How long did it take to finish your tiny house?
Just a few months, using a professional builder with a professional crew really helps move things along really fast. In fact I went out of town for a week during the build process and I was amazed how much warden in 5 working days.
How did you build your tiny house? Did you have any help? Did you do it yourselves?
I chose a professional RVIA builder. 1.) I knew things like insurance/parking would be available/easier, and 2.) I wouldn’t trust my craftsmanship with the house going down the road and/or living in anything that I built myself. With the professional craftsmanship I rode out Hurricane Matthew in my THoW, and the only issue was where I kept all the “supplies” I bought in case we lost power for an extended time.
How did you find a place to park and live in your tiny house?
I didn’t (wouldn’t) start on this adventure without having a place to park, and I had started working on a community plan in Florida, however the day the trailer was delivered to the builders I got a phone call about a job in another city. Taking the position was dependent on parking options in Charleston and while it isn’t nearly as cool as where I had intended on starting my THoW life it isn’t as bad as I presumed. I am in a RV mobile home community and it really is a great option. It seems that a lot of people in the THoW community are against mobile home RV communities but I would suggest examining each persons concerns with that option while we work at the grass roots opportunities to get more choices.
Before going tiny, what was life like?
Life was good, different issues with different obstacles…
What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?
The biggest benefit is economic freedom… Currently the bank owes me money on my only credit card.
Also the house is somewhat of a B list (ok probably D list) celebrity. It’s all over pinterest, was used in an episode of tiny house nation, and here in Charleston we have a lot of celebrity sightings but not a single one has knocked on the door yet (Bill Murray especially – here’s an open invite).
What about some challenges?
People. Doing something different scares some people. I was actually on a date and as soon as this particular woman found out I lived in a tiny house she immediately said “Yeah, this isn’t going to work out”… never even saw a picture of my house… and the flip side where people just want to connect to see one in real life.
Parking – Its’ not bad but I would like more choices and more of a community.
Buying bulky things or stores that do buy one get one deals… and then where do you keep the two bags of dog food or the big package of toilet paper…
What makes your tiny house special?
Every inch of it is “Me”, I have a ton of storage for camping/festival gear and tools for projects. Its truly amazing how much stuff (by this I mean I don’t feel that I am living without anything) you can still have even in a small space when you prioritize what you have.
Structurally though: 7 ft. rainfall shower; Crawl-in closet (and downstairs closet for professional clothes); Living room (gooseneck) that I can stand in; Gourmet Kitchen
What is your favorite part of your tiny house?
The kitchen especially the countertops, the living room, the shower, my bookcase.
What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?
Get involved in the local movements, talk to people that are already doing it, don’t stress people/family that don’t get. (Just explain to them that you’re not asking for their permission, and they can either be supportive or be quiet) and start figuring out whats important to you. For me I am NOT a minimalist and I cook A LOT, and so space for all the kitchen toys was important to me. The only thing I don’t currently have in the kitchen is garbage disposal and a sous vide machine.
Do you have a website, blog, or social media page where we can follow along?
Facebook (here), and I feel it’s only fair to mention the builder, Cornerstone Tiny Homes – RVIA Certified Builder of Tiny Homes. I wouldn’t be as happy with my space and I would have made irreparable mistakes even on the design parts without their knowledge and expertise.
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Natalie C. McKee
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