What’s most important to me in a tiny house

  • A bed that doesn’t require a ladder to reach, where I don’t have to perform acrobatics to change the sheets, and where I can comfortably sit up.
  • Japanese-style bathroom – handheld shower (with wall mount) takes up most of the space, the whole floor is the drain pan, no need for a soaking tub but I wouldn’t complain.
  • A toilet that doesn’t smell (I need to take a composting toilet for a test run because I find it hard to believe there are no odour problems).
  • Small kitchen (I don’t really like cooking — I just want the basics).
  • Some way to wash clothes without going to the laundromat (preferably a washing machine, but a scrubba washbag might do in a pinch).
  • Hardwood floors (I’m allergic to dust).
  • Practicality — easy to clean, maintain and operate.
  • A little space to sit outside, like a porch or fold-down deck.
  • Probably some kind of low-ceiling nook areas, e.g. a living area above the bedroom area or something like that.
  • A place to sit at a desk and use a computer.
  • A comfy place to sit and relax while knitting, reading, watching TV, whatever.
  • Aesthetically pleasing in a way that suits my personality — quirky, bold, a bit weird, not too safe, not too fussy.
  • Okay not safe in terms of aesthetic, but definitely safe in terms of feeling sturdy, secure, non-slip, hand-holds all over the place and no awkward corners to bang one’s head upon. (This becomes more important the older I get and the more wobbly I get.)
  • Built-in storage and features everywhere.
  • Hanging space for clothes (I prefer hangers to folded clothes in drawers).
  • Super-insulated walls and double-glazed windows to minimize heating and cooling costs.
  • Good air circulation — I especially like fans.
  • I’d love to have a wood-burning rocket stove, even if it’s not strictly necessary from a practical standpoint.
  • Storage for craft supplies, travel gear, tools, a few books and papers.
  • A dog door.
  • Space for two small dog crates and some doggy supplies.
  • Some rainwater collection and storage (not necessarily full off-grid).
  • Some electricity generation and storage (ditto).
  • A way to deal with grey water (and possibly black water if I decide the composting toilet is a no-go).
  • A secure place for bike storage (even if it’s just something I can lock the bike onto).
  • Everything I own has a designated place that makes sense in terms of the item’s purpose and typical use.
  • There’s not a lot of space allocated for things I might use someday, or I’m keeping as back-ups, or whatever.
  • General design principle — think of everything I need and want for my home, and plan how I’m going to use it and store it within the home. Form follows function.
  • If the function is not that important, can I find a way to outsource or do without? e.g. I like baths, but I might only have a bath once a week. If I live near friends and family members who have baths, can I arrange to bring them a cooked meal and spend time with them and also use their bath?

Tiny house commitment

After years of dreaming about it, I’ve finally made up my mind that I’m going to live in a tiny house after Eris leaves home. (Might be 3 years or 10 years – who knows? – but I’m sure it will happen sooner or later.)

I think I want it to be on wheels (so that I can move it to a new location if needed) but not necessarily lightweight (because I won’t want to move that often). Or possibly built into the framework of a shipping container so that it could be transported to a new location fairly easily on the back of a truck.

So over the next couple of years I’ll start designing how it will look, the materials, the timelines, the budget, and all those logistics.

Then I’ll need to start thinking about where to locate it. Ideally I’d like to find a small piece of land somewhere near a train station, between Williamstown and Lara. With an owner who’d be happy to receive a bit of rent in return for space, and perhaps hook-ups to power, water, and sewage or septic. Securely fenced or at least owned by someone who doesn’t mind me constructing a fence, so my dogs can live there too.

If I can save money and materials and get started on this project within the next 3 to 5 years, it’ll be pretty sweet.

If my long-term goal of eventually joining an intentional community in this region ever happens, then I can pick up my tiny house and relocate it to be part of that community. But if the community I want never materialises (and I’ve come to realise that I’m not the sort of person who can lead a project like that), then I’ll be content on my own I think.

Permaculture transformation

A few weeks ago I started learning about permaculture.

It made sense of so many things that have caught my attention over the last 20 years. There is a framework for thinking about the world and my place in it, and what I can do to make a meaningful contribution to the world.

I have absorbed a lot of information in the last few weeks and started to move my life towards actions that align with my values.

So much more to do. This journey is just starting. Lots of ideas to translate into actions and realities. Lots of mistakes to make and things to learn.