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Right now I’m excited to show you Laura & Matt’s 120 sq. ft. tiny house that they built themselves in Asheville, North Carolina thanks to Tiny House Giant Journey. Laura LaVoie is the author of 120 Ideas for Tiny Living.

They live and work in this 120 sq. ft. cabin in the mountains of Asheville. Inside you’ll find a storage loft, sleeping loft, open living/dining area, bathroom with composting toilet and manual pump shower, and a kitchen.

The entire cabin is designed and built to be completely off-the-grid so there’s no running water and no plumbing in the entire home. Please enjoy and re-share below.

Laura and Matt’s 120 Sq. Ft. Tiny House in Asheville

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Asheville NC, just experienced its rainiest summer on record. I recall last year being a bit wet as well. Both seasons included a few days where we needed run our generator to supplement the solar power and recharge our batteries until the sun decided to make its reappearance.

I’ll be honest; a rainy day in our tiny house is not our favorite kind of day. We designed our home to make use of the outdoor space by building an outdoor kitchen and a deck so we could enjoy our mountain and our woods. When it rains for several days straight it can become quite frustrating. So, we needed to be good at figuring out ways to keep ourselves from experiencing extreme cabin fever. Here are the top 5 things we do on rainy days in our tiny house.

Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

Play table top games. Other people not as nerdy as we are would just refer to these as board games, but we are that kind of nerdy. They key with games in the tiny house is that they should be small and easy to store. Large game boards and boxes are not as conducive to the tiny life as a deck of cards. Games we enjoy are Fluxx, Munchkin, Gloom, Apples to Apples and the not-safe-for-work-or-children Cards Against Humanity. Many of these require at least three players but there are lots of two player games that only require a traditional deck of cards or even a digital chess board.

I encourage you to click below to read more ideas.

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For 15 years I worked in a career that I was good at but wasn’t feeding my spirit. I knew I needed to make a change but I felt stuck in a rut of increasing expenses.

What I didn’t realize for a long time was that my desire to live in a conventional home was the very thing that was holding me back. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I ever thought that lifestyle was right for me.

Our 2700 square foot suburban home in Atlanta was fun for a little while as we hosted parties and decorated the many rooms but the glamour faded as we dealt with never ending yard work and repairs.

Backyard of our Atlanta house in the fall.

Backyard of our Atlanta house in the fall.

I had always dreamed of being a writer but there was something inside holding me back. I made excuses, I did other things, and I didn’t write. I told myself that I would have an opportunity one day but didn’t realize I was fooling myself. An opportunity doesn’t knock on your door one day and say “Poof, you’re a writer!” You have to make your opportunities.

During this same time, my partner Matt was also feeling restless. He wanted a change and, more importantly, he wanted to build a house with his own hands. I recognized that this was the opportunity I had been looking for. We discovered the tiny house concept and got started.

I really did work on the tiny house.

I really did work on the tiny house.

I encourage you to click below to read more about how I followed my dreams and how you can start.

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Another question I get asked about our tiny house is how we handle storage for things big and small. Clearly when your home is the size of a parking space this sort of thing needs special consideration. I thought I might take you on a short tour of our tiny house storage.

Before talking about where we put things in the tiny house I thought I might mention something about our downsizing process. When we decided that we wanted to build a 120 square foot home we were living in a 2700 square foot house in suburban Atlanta. It was a really nice house and we did like it when we bought it but we quickly realized that having a large house was not something that we needed or wanted any more. When we started to explore alternative housing and decided on the tiny house we began to downsize our lives.

Our house in Atlanta. Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

Our house in Atlanta. Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

I learned an exercise from the book Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Salomon. Take a post-it note and place it at the doorway to every room in the house. Every time you go into the room write down why you’re there. After a week compare the notes and determine if there are any activities that can be consolidated into other spaces or if there are rooms you’re not using at all. We found that we were using our bedroom, our kitchen, and our entertainment space the most. We almost never sat in the living room and there were two whole bedrooms that were completely unused.

Click below to read more about our storage solutions.

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When we first decided we wanted to build our own house we were always interested in some type of alternative living situation. The reasons for this are varied and some are probably rather unexplainable. The best way to articulate it is that we wanted to prove to ourselves that we could live comfortably and inexpensively at the same time.

Before we decided on building an early Tumbleweed Tiny House model we considered some other alternative building solutions like a Cordwood Masonry structure or an Earthship. Our experiences with both of these types of building were based on off the grid systems.

By going off the grid we could reduce our dependency of resources and essentially eliminate our monthly utilities payments. There were some added benefits of being more environmentally conscious but to be perfectly honest these considerations were secondary. The first priority was to build our own home and be able to quit our conventional jobs and not have the expenses that traditional housing requires.

Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

Photo by Laura M. LaVoie

We wanted to live off the grid to prove we could do it.

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In the tiny house community we are often talking about the various building codes around the country, and the world, and how they affect tiny spaces. Tiny house bloggers often get asked the question “do you know the building codes in [my city]?

Building codes are so location specific that they can vary greatly mile by mile. The only way to know for sure about the building codes in your area is to talk to the local government. Unfortunately, you can’t be surprised when they tell you that you can’t live in a tiny house where you want.

Fixing Tiny House Codes and Zoning

Tiny house builders do many things to get around this issue. Some will pick a location because of the friendly nature of the building codes. Some will build on wheels so the house can be moved if it ever becomes a problem. Some will build on unincorporated country land that isn’t likely to strictly enforce codes.

There is one more option that I’m not sure any of us have really considered.

Running for local government.

photo credit: Will Merydith via photopin cc

photo credit: Will Merydith via photopin cc

Click below to read more about my crazy ideas for extreme tiny house code reform.
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