It's been a weird few months to say the least. As we all grapple with this new reality that the pandemic has brought with it, I've come to a few realizations that I wasn't fully aware of before.
1) Tiny houses are even more versatile than I thought - When I first built my own tiny house for my daughter and I, it was slated as a weekend getaway. I fulfilled that role swimmingly and it was always fun to head up here to the Catskills on the weekends and spend some time in nature. I could never have imagined that the tiny house would serve a more important role than just a place to spend a few days at. Due to the pandemic and because my other 'home' is right outside of NYC, I have been spending all my time up here at the tiny house.
2) Living in a tiny house is not a hardship (I suspected as much, but now it's been confirmed) - Since I've been in the tiny house more non-stop for the last few months, I can now definitively state that living in a tiny house is not terribly hard to do. That said, there are a number of things that are very different from my 2 bedroom condo in NJ. Changing the sheets in a loft bedroom is really hard to do and a core workout. Sometimes the lack of space gets a bit frustrating since you wind up shuffling some items back and forth between spots so that you can work, clean the dishes, etc. All in all though it's been fine. You get your routine. You realize that you don't have the luxury to just leave the pour over coffee maker out all day on the kitchen counter. That sort of thing. On the positive side, being in nature and yet comfortably cocooned in a small house is very soothing and good for my mental well being. It's hard to be stressed out when you are surrounded by nothing but trees and critters. When I go back to NJ/NYC, I feel way more stressed and you sense a certain tension in the air that just simply is missing up here in the Catskill region of NY.
Conclusion - Covid 19 sucks. What really sucks though is that many people don't have any options regarding where they are. In that sense my tiny house is really a tiny luxury at this point in time. I'm grateful and humble to have it and it's been a wonderful place to spend a time during this pandemic. I'm not a rich man, but a tiny house as a primary or even secondary residence is not that lofty an ambition.
It's also nice to be able to now say with some authority that I can/could live in a tiny house full time since that's exactly what I've been doing. I can finally check that box and not feel like a tiny house community imposter anymore due to my previous 'part time only' tiny house living arrangement.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.
I get asked a lot about where and how people can see what I build. Since I generally build purely to customer specifications and demand, it's hard to know what I have on hand at any given time. I definitely do not keep an 'inventory'...that would be nice. Thankfully I now have a better response to this issue. One of my customers has started renting out the tiny house I built for them. It's located in the Catskills region of upstate NY. It's the best way to see what I build up close and see if it works for you.
This build is the Oculus model and is the full off-grid version. It's located on a lovely quiet multi acre patch of wooded land and blends in nicely to its stunning surroundings.
Check out the listing here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/37811251
If you're reading this, you are either someone I know or someone that's into tiny houses. Tiny houses. are great on so many different levels and I push and promote the virtues of tiny living at any and every opportunity that I get. As you mull your options and try to figure out if a tiny house is right for you, I want to encourage you to do some or all of the following things to move further down the road towards arming yourself with as much knowledge and insight to allow you to move beyond simply seeing tiny houses as a 'someday' sort of thing:
This seems to be the time of year that all of us reflect on the past year and contemplate the new year. Depending on what kind of 2018 you had and what kind of 2019 you anticipate, this can either be a good or bad experience. Tiny houses played a huge role in 2018 for me. I was fortunate to have been able to build and provide several of them to my customers. I got the satisfaction of creating something with my hands and putting that out there for people to enjoy. That's already leaps and bounds better than a few years ago when reflecting on my 9 to 5 existence held no such inspiration.
I enter into 2019 looking to share more, build more and above all enjoy the process of doing so. I'm beyond fortunate to be doing something that I really draw personal satisfaction from. In fact, it is my enjoyment of what I do that I hope to instill in others. Tiny living, minimalism and everything that comes with it is something that I embrace more and more everyday. That process of being grateful and thankful for what we have so often gets lost in our busy lives. It's when I live in the moment and consciously that I enjoy the most peace and inspiration.
My hope for 2019 is to use that inspiration and push harder and further than my comfort zone. I never thought that I could be an author, yet I have 3 books coming out this year. I will not allow self limiting beliefs to restrain me anymore. As scary as life can be when you take that approach, it is also at its most rewarding when you swim upstream. I encourage you to do the same and find fulfillment and happiness wherever it manifests itself in your life. If that fulfillment happens to include a tiny house for yourself...let me know. :)
When I first started building tiny houses I could not imagine the sense of community that prevails amongst tiny house dwellers. Since then I have met so many nice people that I share a bond with. When I go to tiny house shows to exhibit the houses I build, I do so for that purpose, but it is also to a large extent to see my friends in the community and to get to spend some time with them. I know this is true because when I don't go to one of the larger shows, it makes me sad on some level. Case in point, there is a large show taking place outside of New Orleans this weekend. I would love to be there, but the logistics of going to that show after having just been to the one in FL are just not possible.
Social media of course makes all of that worse since people will be posting pictures and videos and all that serves as a constant reminder that I'm not there. <sigh>
What's my point in telling you all this? I want you to know that it may seem like you are going it alone when you first set out to go tiny. What I want you to realize is that there is a whole community out there that is willing to assist you with advice and guidance. Many people (like myself) only discover that after they start building their tiny house. I think that it makes more sense to know this before you take the step towards building or buying your own tiny house.
Pre-order is now live! - Click here to check it out!
I'm thrilled to say that my first book is done and now in the hands of my publisher. The book focuses on what it takes to live small and all the steps you need to navigate in order to do so. They have done the first pass of editing and are now producing the first draft for me to look at. It will go through a few of those iterations and if all goes according to plan, the book will be on the shelves in Spring of 2019.
Since my work on the first book is effectively done, the publisher has asked me to write a second book. This book was my initial proposal to the publisher and is more of a how to book on building a Gypsy Wagon Custom Camper Caravan. I've been documenting my current build and that will become the basis of the book. There will likely be a companion video that comes with the book that I'm also producing which will give the reader the option to pull up specific video content to assist with their personal build process.
This is all really exciting for me and I can wait to share this stuff with you. There is a bit of a knowledge gap and it can be hard and time consuming to piece some of this info on tiny houses together. To that end I have enlisted the help of some of my tiny house community folks and they offer their own insights by way of interviews which are being included in the first book.
Look for further updates here. I'll be sure to relay when the dates around the book are announced. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date (@tinyindustrial)
Starting down that path to a tiny house is hard. I can tell because I get a lot of questions from folks asking me about all sorts of things. I'm happy to answer them all since I love tiny houses and want to do my part in promoting them further. Here are some examples of popular misconceptions and questions I get:
Ability to tow - Tiny houses are heavy and most people don't have a suitable vehicle to tow most tiny houses. Sure some houses can be small (like the gypsy wagons I build) and they can be towed by standard SUVs. After that though you quickly wind up in a situation where you are not able to tow without needing a rather hefty truck.
The takeaway should be that you need to find that tradeoff between size and mobility. Perhaps mobility is not an issue since you really don't intend to move the house once every couple of years or so. In that case, go big and hire someone to move the house if and when needed. If you plan to do a lot of traveling with the tiny house, you will be better off going as small as you can go. This is not only important from a towability perspective, but also from the standpoint of fuel consumption since those costs can add up quickly as well.
Features - Tiny by name implies 'limited space'. I get a lot of questions from people who want to have a rather long list of amenities in a small space. There will be tradeoff you have to make. There is only so much you can fit into a 14' or 16' (easily towable) tiny house. Keep an open mind and only add the things you truly need. Realize what you are giving up by having something in the house. Bigger kitchen means less living space and so on. If you are on a really tight budget, consider doing some things external of the house (i.e. cooking, shower, bathroom, etc.).
Pricing - Labor is expensive and building a tiny house is labor intensive. As a builder I can't sell you a house for simply the sum of the costs of the parts I assemble into a house. I get the question "How much does it cost to build one of these?" There are always two answers to this question. There is what it costs me to build it and there is what it would cost for me to build it for you. I always clarify that point with the person asking the question. On a rough scale you can expect to pay 50% for labor costs. A $40K house will have a $20K labor component. A $12K house will have a $6K labor component, and so on. You get the idea. Bottom line is you can always do it cheaper yourself, but the same is true in all aspects of life. Ever change the oil on your car yourself? If you have, you'll know it doesn't cost as much as when you take it in to be done by someone else.
I hope these examples give you some food for thought. I've actually written a book on the entire process of decisions you need to make when looking to build, or have a tiny house built. That book will be published in 2019 and there will surely be links on my site pointing to it. That will be the definitively list of boxes to check off to get you from wanting a tiny house to owning a tiny house. Until then...I'm here if you have questions.
When I ponder what motivates me, drives me and gets me moving, there is really only one good answer: Momentum. It sounds a bit counterintuitive since momentum is the thing that you get when you are already on your way. I see it a bit different. You just need to start something. The act of simply starting creates the momentum for me and then I want to keep it moving and that in turn feeds the motivation.
There are times when I feel a bit directionless and have to figure out my next move. As long as I start something which is really not much more than simply picking a direction to go in, that get's things moving. The way that I keep the momentum going is to set achievable goals...better yet, put a process in place to maintain and even accelerate the momentum.
It's amazing how doing those simple things can really undo the logjams in my life. The worst thing for me to do is think things to death. I'm so good at overthinking and I've done it many times in my life. Whenever I look back on those times, I clearly see the ineffectiveness of it.
It doesn't matter what you want to do. Maybe you want a new job. Maybe you want out of a relationship. Take a step in that direction and let momentum take you where you want to go.
If you want to tiny house then get started down that path. Look at trailers. Reach out to someone like me for advice. Do something. That's what will create the forward motion. Then all you have to do is just keep it going. Momentum...
New month. Late summer. New ambitions. Here's what' cooking the moment.
I'm wrapping up work on my tiny house book that will be coming out in 2019 via Fox Chapel. It's going to be about all the things you need to consider and think about when you think that tiny living might be right for you.
I'm also in the process of putting together video tutorial on building a tiny house...well more of a gypsy wagon camper really. I get a good number of inquiries around that and if I have 'plans' available. I think that doing a video course will be better and more fun, so that's the plan. I'll make that available via this site as well when the time comes.
Beyond that, I just completed a new customer build that turned out really nice. It's an off grid AirBnB rental in upstate NY. It will likely come online later this year and there'll be links to that as well.
Lots going on...stay tuned. Please reach out if I can be of any assistance in your tiny house ambitions.