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  • Writer's picturehawaiichocolate

The Home Ahead

Well the time has come to take the plunge and order a tiny home. I’ve been saving money and it seems the more I save the more the prices go up. The Pandemic has created a lot of shortages in the building industry. It’s not just lumber, it’s windows, and appliances, I guess because they come from China, are in short supply with long ordering lead times. A park model normally takes 6- 8 weeks to build. Mine will come in December at the earliest and it may be January. The manufacturing has a lot of homes stacked up, waiting for windows. If that log jam gets solved, the houses will move must faster through production.

I started with a basic model home from Platinum Cottages, one of the best park model builders in the U.S. and evaluated what I could live with or not live with, and what I might want to do myself. The dealer went through the details, line by line so I could upgrade or change what I wanted. There were a lot of details, from extra electrical outlets and hose bibbs outside, to the color and style of your front door. I’m going to have a blue house with white trim and a red door.

I’ve taken a look at my lifestyle habits, like shopping for mostly fresh food at farmers markets. I prefer not to packrat too many pantry items although the pandemic had me storing enough food for a month, I found it annoying to have so much. So a big refrigerator was really overkill for just me, however it was part of the base price, so I took it.

I’ve decided to source the rest of my appliances myself except the range hood. That’s standard with the model. If necessary, I can buy used or scratch and dent appliances which can always be replaced down the road if necessary. I don’t need a new $2000 HE stack washer dryer for just myself, nor a dishwasher. I hand wash my pans anyway so doing a couple of dishes is not a big deal. I don’t want to collect a lot of dishes and it would take that to fill the dishwasher!. Service for 4 is more than adequate. The one thing I will spend money on is a good stove. I may need to buy a cheap scratch and dent stove to get by, but a better one will be on the horizon.

I love to cook and bake and there is a real difference in ranges and how the burners work. I have been cooking on electric for the last 6 months and it is PAINFUL! The house came with an electric cooktop and microwave so that was an item of no compromise. The best ranges in my opinion are dual fuel- gas burners and electric ovens. I am also not a fan of microwaves. They can be a time saver but its just not an appliance I use often and a toaster oven will suffice for reheats and take up less space. So the kitchen for me is the most important room in the house and big empty counters to work on most important.

This tiny home has no separate pantry but I found with my last home that I enjoy putting most of my bulk foods in glass jars. Rice, sugar, flour, seeds, nuts, macaroni. Its easy to store on a couple open shelves leaving the ugly stuff like canned tomatoes and tuna to occupy one cabinet behind a closed door. With minimal dishes I also have the option to store those on shelves, and all the pantry items in the cabinets. In either case, a handful of base and upper cabinets stores what I have. I can utilize the storage drawer of the range and the rest of the cabinets for pots and pans. I will replace my knife block which takes up counter space with a magnetic wall strip.

Pinterest has lots of great small space storage ideas. With a tiny house its critical to both reduce your “stuff”, and store it efficiently.

I enjoy watching all the tiny house videos on You Tube and the trend is for barn type doors on closets. I think they look nice, however a simple bi-fold door has vent spaces and can keep clothes fresher and still adds a nice wood accent to the room.

With a tiny house you get to pick out cabinets, flooring, tile, backsplashes, shower style, decking, paint colors and cabinet hardware. Eventually I’d like to screen in the porch so it can be a comfortable 4 season room. This model was shown with a fireplace on the deck, however t $4k for that, I can live without it for now. I have a 10x15’ deck which is spacious and will make the small house feel much larger.

Hopefully in a year or so, I can screen in the deck and keep out the Texas critters. For now citronella candles in my Clay Chimenea will create ambiance and keep away bugs.

I’m also leaving off a door to the bedroom to have some more creative curtain there, and the washer/dryer will need something similar to hide it.

The living room of the tiny house has enough room for a regular sofa or small sectional, a chair, and a small entertainment center. I’ll likely create my “entertainment” center with bookshelves since I don’t play video games. I will mount a TV, however I watch a minimal amt of TV. And for a couch it may be a futon for now, so a guest can stay over. I have to start from scratch with furniture having only a large cottonwood Taos drum as a coffee table, a bookcase and a small tiled bistro table and 2 chairs. Half the fun will be hunting for suitable items at the many antique barns, fairs and garage sales.

Tiny houses have to be skirted like mobile homes to hide the wheels they are on. I’ve seen everything from plywood to galvanized metal and vinyl that looks like rock. I’ll probably choose the rock look to add some interest. The vinyl panels have air pockets for ventilation as well.

Windows, windows everywhere. Tiny homes use a lot of high ceilings and windows to let in light, making the space feel much larger. Positioning the house south/east should take advantage of light, especially in the winter, and eliminate some of the summer heat. I will need to be in the space to follow the light and see what kind of window coverings I will actually need.

Hopefully not too much.

I lived tiny once, in Hawaii. I had a 200 sf shed with an outdoor kitchen and shower. It was rustic and simple but remains a happy time in my memory. I’m sure in this 400 sf palace of modern conveniences and a spacious porch, I’ll do just fine.

I’ve committed to my new lifestyle! I notified the community and can save and plan the next 6 months for my move.

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