Annelise and Jake live in an 8x21ft tiny house on a trailer. They’re US graduate students renting land, using about $50 USD worth of electric in winter and about $10 USD electric in summer. They have a mini-fridge to store their food instead of a full-size. Climbing a ladder is required to get to their bed in a loft. Sounds tiny, but why live this way?
Planning in Asia
After graduating from university, Jake and Annelise were married. For their honeymoon they flew to Sri Lanka and taught English, leaving everything behind except the contents of two suit cases. While in Sri Lanka they were accepted to the same graduate school back in the US, but housing at their next location was limited and expensive. This caused a re-visit to a run-in with tiny houses Jake had while in university. They designed their tiny house and ordered building materials while in Sri Lanka. Their homecoming party served as a building party with friends and family pitching in to get their tiny house started.
Since Annelise and Jake had jumped to South Asia right after university, they had very little to begin with. Parents gave furniture to fill the new tiny house and wedding gifts were waiting in storage to head to their new home. The only area these two needed to downsize was clothing, which was discarded via donations.
With only two boxes in storage with a family member, Annelise and Jake have room in their place to display sentimental items that aren’t typically found in tiny houses. They have wedding photos, decorative plates and travel treasures for all to see.
As you can imagine, storage is going to be tight in a tiny house. However, when you have few possessions, the space a tiny house allows for storage should be plenty. Annelise and Jake have two Rubbermaid containers inside the skirting under their house for outdoor supplies. They also have a storage loft above their entry door.
Although their kitchen in small, it meets their needs. A mini-fridge has been tight, so the couple picked up a small 1-sqft chest for things like ice cream. The pair also has great pull-out storage in their pantry, which was built specifically for the goods they purchase. Being mindful of the things they purchase, and the shapes and sizes of the packages, the shelves were spaced specifically for those items. The only problem they’d encountered with their kitchen was overlooking food container storage. In Sri Lanka, Jake and Annelise didn’t need food containers for leftovers. Thus, it was overlooked in the original design. Later, they were able to add the storage they needed by adding a shelf with enough room to also house family cook books.
Entertaining is still feasible in this space, with guests often proclaiming “it’s bigger than I thought!” According to Annelise, the tiny house comfortably fits 6 people inside for dinner, potlucks, or game nights. Although, the couple has had 31 people inside their place for a school party and group photo.
Although they love the space, Annelise and Jake can’t see themselves living in a space this small long-term as theirs was constructed as a grad-school plan in order to save up money for building their own small home. The couple anticipates living in their tiny house for at least three more years, with plans to construct a 500 sqft house.
Annelise confessed the choice to live tiny was made for a lot of reasons, but mostly for environmental and economical reasons. Choosing to live tiny was a lifestyle choice, about choosing to be aware of how they lived their daily lives, the choices they made and the things they owned. “For me living tiny means living consciously,” she said. “Living tiny, you become hyper aware of what you consume and normalize consuming less. You begin to buy less because you need less and you use less energy.”
If you find her lifestyle fascinating, or even tempting, Annelise recommends you visit a tiny space. Whether it is a tiny house or tiny apartment, you should try to spend some time in multiple spaces of the size you’re interested in. You’ll see living in a tiny space isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
Brevard Tiny House Company
If you aren’t too handy, or find the task of building your own tiny house overwhelming, never fear. Brevard Tiny House Company is a contractor service that will help you select a plan, customize the plan and build you’re tiny home.
In Brevard, NC Brevard Tiny House is working with their local chapter of United Way in order to help provide low-income housing for individuals that are in need. The proposed units would be 300sqft and up, with utilities provided by the city. This project is still in the works and is neither finalized, nor approved at this time. To help show some support, or learn more information about their efforts, check out the links I’ve provided at the end of this post.
Learn More About Brevard Tiny House
I was so thankful to have the opportunity to meet and interview Annelise. Since speaking with her I’ve lived a much more conscious lifestyle in an attempt to be mindful of the impact my daily doings have on my community, country, and globe. You don’t have to live inside of a tiny house to maintain a tiny (and mindful) lifestyle, but I’m sure the tiny house helps!