Unbelievable! One woman and 5 dogs in a camper battling Canadian winter

Carla has taken tiny to the next level. She lives in 90 square feet with her five pups Kinnea, Natook, Peach, Bella, and Jacks. The little family lives in in southern Ontario in the Lake Erie area.

After ending a bad relationship, Carla needed somewhere to be independent with her dogs. She had always been drawn to tiny living, with vast knowledge dating back to the origins of the movement. She was originally inspired by the Martin House which emerged from the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Later, she followed the original tumbleweed home by Jay Shafer for further inspiration. “The doing without all the trappings of modern life drew me, I love camping and I could camp for the rest of my life quite happily” Carla says. She noted how the original focus of minimalism and functionality drew her into tiny living as she strived for a softer environmental footprint.

Carla had paid for her trailer before it was time to move in. She made the first step by working full time and staying at her parents while gutting the trailer during her off hours. Life took its toll however, and between emergency vet bills and a broken down vehicle she worked on the trailer as her budget permitted. The build began in Septemeber 2014 and she moved in mid Novemember of that year.

Renos beginning Trailer bed

Carla is aware of how radical her lifestyle may look to some, but she fully embraces it regardless of what others think. When a friend from her old home town visited and was completely unphased by the uniqueness of her living situation, Carla knew she was a keeper! She has chosen to surround herself with understanding people. Her family had their doubts but remained supportive. They reminded her that if she was freezing their doors was always open. Unfortunately, her dogs weren’t part of the offer so she stuck it out so her and her fuzzy family could stick together. Her sister welcomed her to her rural property and has let her in a nifty spot out of view from the neighbors.

Trailer shelves Trailer shelf door

Power is supplied to her little home with an extension cord, while she saves up to go off grid. She currently runs a fridge, dehumidifier, and heater. Carla will be learning how to run electrical on her own and is saving up for someone to install a breaker box. She is still looking around, as it has been a challenge to track down and electrician that will work on a dwelling such as her own.

Carla uses a communal bathroom space for toilet use and some showering. She utilizes her own shower during the warmer months and the shared one over the winter. The steam causes too much condensation during the colder seasons to permit showering inside. Three 10L jugs of water are used for drinking and cooking and are filled in town.

The front of the home has a deck and the other three sides are insulated with straw bales to trap interior heat. An oil filled radiant heater is used sparingly as it drains a lot of electricity. She has purchased the Envi which is the worlds first and only 100% pure convection heater, to heat her home as much as possible.

Kitchen Trailer wall The finished bed

Her future holds several projects. She plans to use a small cargo trailer for storage, as there are some things she does not want to risk getting damaged or cannot fit into her home. There is still lots of downsizing to do, but she is proud of how much she has let go of. As an outdoor enthusiast, her patio furniture, bicycle, canoe, and camp furniture will be getting saved. She will not be parting with her tools for good reason and has decided to hold onto her books.

Carla would like to remind those interested in living tiny that research is important and urges you to thoroughly assess if you think you can handle living tiny. It may look easy, but realistically there are many challenges that come with the territory. Carla points out that she needs to find a new place to park this coming fall and she doesn’t have a clue how to start looking. Aesthetics aren’t what is important, she says, she is achieving what she wants to do and that is what is important!


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