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Netherlands Tiny House Built with Her Dad


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Meet Leonie, and her gorgeous DIY tiny house that she built with her father! She lives on a special lot of land the local council set aside for tiny homes for the next decade, and because she’s stationary she can have a “typical” job with an affordable rent!

We had the privilege of interviewing her this week, and she shared about the 2.5-year process of building her home and securing land, as well as the difficulties that can arise with some neighbors. Enjoy hearing her story and touring her beautiful home below!

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Gorgeous THOW in Small Tiny Village

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 3

Images via @leoniegoestiny

I’m Leonie, 29 years old, living in Dordrecht in The Netherlands with my cat. My house is 3,5m x 7,5m x 4,1m and I move it with a low loader. I’m on a temporary location (10 years, on-grid) and I pay 250 euros per month to the city counsel as rent.
The total cost of my house was around 80,000 euros. I paid roughly half of it with savings and the other 40k is a loan from my parents, which I pay back with 2% interest.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 4

Images via @leoniegoestiny

So, I lived in an apartment for 2 years, but it wasn’t great. It was directly above a bar, with no balcony, no garden, no direct sunlight and no real contact with the neighbours.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 5

Images via @leoniegoestiny

When my job also went downhill, I both quit my job and my house at the same time and went to Australia for 6 months. When I got back, I moved back into my parents’ place. So, I needed a new place to live, but I didn’t want to go back to another apartment.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 16

Images via @leoniegoestiny

I thought about the things I really wanted to have in my dream house: a fireplace, a garden and a bathtub. Not too big, because it’s just me, and also affordable.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 7

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Then I suddenly remembered the tiny houses in the village next to mine. I got super excited, but my parents needed some time to let it sink in. After a few weeks, my dad said he thought it was a brilliant idea. My mom kind of liked the idea, but she probably thought we were a bit naive. (Unfortunately, I had to give up the fireplace in the end.)

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 6

Images via @leoniegoestiny

I built the house with my father. Finding a location is — by far – the hardest part in the Netherlands. I started in July 2019, searched for 1 year and finally found a small, on-grid plot of land, in a city on the other side of the country. It’s a temporary location, I can stay here for 10 years, and then I need to move.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 9

Images via @leoniegoestiny

After I got the location, it was another 6 months of just doing research. Talking to builders, making floor plans, deciding what materials to use, apply for a permit, sort out the transportation, stuff like that.

Leonie Goes Tiny House

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Then we started building in December 2020. We had some help from a carpenter for the first 4 months, but he was… a bit crappy. We thought we could do it better ourselves. So we ended up doing a lot more than what we originally planned to do.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 13

Images via @leoniegoestiny

The house became this amazing father-daughter project. We both learned that we’re capable of much more than we think. I moved 1 year later, in December 2021. So the whole process took 2,5 years. That’s how long I stayed with my parents, after I came back from Australia. The fact that I moved back with my parents for so long, thankfully allowed me to save the money for the house.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 14

Images via @leoniegoestiny

One of the most unique features of the home is the wall with books, plants and memorabilia. It’s is a real eye-catcher. I love reading, and I’m actually not very good at decluttering, so it’s nice to put some items on display.

The golden art piece in the middle is a collection of all the materials we used in the house (wood, screws, pipes, cables, etc.). I’d say that is a very unique feature.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 11

Images via @leoniegoestiny

My house can stay in the same place for 10 years, so I have an ordinary office job as a graphic designer. It’s 36 hours a week. I don’t see myself freelancing or working abroad any time soon.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 12

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Hands down, it’s the best decision I ever made. In the beginning, I wasn’t looking forward to moving so far away from my friends and family, but the other tiny house neighbours were so welcoming. We’ve grown into a real community.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 10

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Other than that, I learned SO much about construction and gardening. I like the idea that I can take care of my own house, knowing where to drill and where not. I’m also much more thoughtful about where my water and electricity comes from, now that I’ve done my own plumbing for instance.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 17

Images via @leoniegoestiny

There sure are some downsides; not everything is as great as you see on Instagram. First of all, my location in a very poor area of town. We’re surrounded by very old, ugly flats, not somewhere in lushful greenery with amazing views. But after 1 year of searching, I was pretty desperate and just happy I found a location.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad 8

Images via @leoniegoestiny

The other thing I really didn’t see coming, were the fights with the neighbours. Long story short: the city counsel organised a lottery for the plots of land, to give everybody a fair chance of winning. So we’re just a bunch of random people put together. It means that some of us aren’t very… like-minded. 

Leonie goes tiny 45

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Me (and most of the others) wanted to keep the terrain open and accessible. So when two of my neighbours suddenly put up a fence, it caused a massive fight in our tiny house community. It took 6 months to convince those neighbours to replace it for an hedge. They now keep to themselves; we don’t really talk to them anymore, unless we have to. It’s a shame, but this is probably for the best.

Leonie Goes Tiny House 66

Images via @leoniegoestiny

The open house events are the most fun. We organise them once or twice a year, and it’s just 3 hours of people admiring your house. Everybody ooh-ing and aah-ing over every single detail, receiving so many compliments… Yeah, that’s the best part 😊

If you can’t find a location, don’t be afraid to move further away. Once you move into a community, you won’t miss your friends and family all that much. I often say it feels like I’m permanently on holiday, or it’s like living on a camping. I talk to my neighbours every day (the ones that are nice), we have dinners together, we share food, we have parties in the summer… it’ll all be worth it. As the Dutch expression goes: a good neighbour is better than a distant friend.

Her DIY THOW in the Netherlands Built w: Her Dad

Images via @leoniegoestiny

Highlights:

  • Leonie had been living over a bar in a not-so-great apartment and finally quit her job, spent 6 months in Australia and then moved home and in with her parents.
  • She was pining for her own space, however, and remembered tiny homes! Then started the tricky process of finding a spot to park her home.
  • It took her over a year to secure a spot, and she only has a guarantee of staying there for 10 years. That said, it’s worked out and she had gotten rather desperate!
  • She got help from her parents to purchase the THOW, and pays them back with interest. Her rent is only about $250/month.

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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.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • e.a.f.
    March 26, 2024, 2:51 am

    The design is great. Looks very livable and the shelves, yes is my style. Yes the Netherlands is a tad short on land, but with inovative ideas such as your home, its all manageble. the garden looks lovely and natural. Not having fences up gives a neighbourhood more visual space. Fences are just more use for things we don’t need, well unless you have 6 teenagers. using plants, trees, mini vegatable gardens all work. The best part: looks easy to clean. Its so much easier with one bedroom, one bathroom.

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