Stories from the inside — Part I

Alek has offered such a stellar description of the practical and structural components of building and living in a tiny house over the life of this grand blog. I couldn’t help but title my own contribution: “stories from the inside,” given that I will be exposing a bit more of the “inner life” of tiny house living (not to mention I’m in graduate school for counseling psychology, and have a boundless interest in the ‘inside experience’ of human beings in general).

There is so much I could say, but to begin, I’ll tell you that living in this beautiful house has been incredibly enjoyable! For the most part, transitioning to this lifestyle has been easy and even…graceful. The house truly does feel like a home. Because Alek (and helpers) designed and built it so consciously and carefully, it has what we need as a couple.

I was able to make suggestions and requests along the way, and we have found ways to meet nearly all the needs I could think to have. I needed a desk (and had always wanted a standing desk), so I asked if we could make it happen. We could! I had a vision for maximum storage space (so we added thoughtful shelving). I realized last minute that I would need to hang longer clothing items, e.g. one nice dress (I really wanted to have everything I needed within the home, rather than relying on having family members ship specialty items on an as-needed basis) – and it could be done! The list goes on. Together, we carefully thought through each of our needs and found ways to meet them. I feel very grateful to have been able to participate in designing a living space at my age.

My childhood neighbors and best friends!

My childhood neighbors and best friends!

Entertaining

We both have had the privilege of having visits from some of our closest friends (and even family in my case). Though we spent most of these visits outside of the house, we also entertained inside the narrow walls without feeling too cramped! I plan to write further blog posts on hosting visitors as we develop friendships here in Sebastopol.

Our Hosts

I don’t believe I could write such a glowing review of tiny house living if we didn’t have a terrific relationship with our hosts. I am a sensitive and empathic person, and go pretty darn nuts when unacknowledged tension and resentment exists between people living in close proximity. I couldn’t feel happier about the lovely family we share property with. They are kind, unendingly generous, community gatherers, and inspirational on many levels.

Challenges

Floor space: I have had a hard time coming to terms with not having space for yoga (inside, that is). I really, really miss having a spot on the floor to roll out my mat — and space to stretch my body in all directions! I have also long been a fan of impromptu dance parties, and this isn’t so possible anymore (by the time the table is tucked away, the ladder is hung, doo-dads are stashed, the spontaneity is gone).

A door to a room of my own: This is a biggie. I try to plan my meditation and relaxation time around Alek’s schedule, but more often than not, he’ll be working downstairs (which means he’s really just 15 ft. away in the same room). Authentic alone time is obviously hard to come by. I must say, however, that we have become pretty skilled at meeting each other’s needs for space. We certainly have a lot more adjustments to make to find a rhythm that satisfies both of us (but what would total satisfaction really look like anyway? Living with other people is inherently a dance of compromise).

This being said, I am well aware that these are all pretty minor inconveniences. I feel entirely blessed to be living such a cozy life.

An Observation

Living in the tiny house itself, as a whole, hasn’t felt like a struggle. I want to underline this. The reduction in square footage feels like a non-issue (I would say that floor space for yoga and dancing would fall in another category). How radical is that? I didn’t know what to expect prior to moving in, but I certainly didn’t anticipate that would be the case. Perhaps it’s because we already lived a simple lifestyle as a young couple with not-too-many possessions… My hunch though is that we are all much more adaptable than we think. We weren’t especially eco-conscious folks from the start (though we have both shared a love of sustainable practices, adore the great outdoors, and don’t think twice when we have to pee in the woods on a hike). This has made me realize that almost anyone could live in a tiny (or tinier) house! What a wonderful notion! Living in a tiny house can be a wonderful way to reduce one’s carbon footprint substantially while still indulging in many modern comforts.

Look for more stories and strategies of Tiny House living … from a woman’s perspective … in future posts (coming whenever they come)!


Author: Alek Lisefski