Just over a year ago we made a fantastic purchase. We decided to buy a little home on wheels from a seller in Northern Ontario. The previous owner was a contractor who had designed the home for his father in law who quickly lost interest. We made the purchase knowing that the home needed a lot of work. We re-gutted the interior which was comprised of three small boxed rooms and redid the electrical and plumbing. Essentials such as ventilation, a stove, a shower, and outdoor water tank have been added. In time, we learned that our roof needed repairs and the siding was not properly sealed.
Quite often I reflect on what our tiny house would look like if we were to build from scratch. Living in our current home has taught us a lot about our preferences when it comes to tiny living.
Our home has been designed with a slope in the front. This downward angle limits square footage that could otherwise be incorporated into the design. Instead, many THOWs have lofts in this same area providing more storage space. Because of this narrow design, we have a triangular seating area in the front fitted with bench seats. These bench seats are similar to the designs often seen in campers. Beneath the seat cushions are plenty of storage. Unfortunately, these storage bins are hard to access on a daily basis.
After buying the house, we modified the table so that it can convert into a bed. We can easily switch out the table legs for smaller ones and the table drops down creating a space for guests to spend the night. I love this detail about our home. Unfortunately, our fitted table is an awkward triangular shape. Each day I think to myself, “What I wouldn’t give to have a a larger kitchen table!” Playing card games or board games on the tiny surface is quite challenging. On the bright side, we can make room for our coffee cups on one of the dangerously pointy corners.
Another detail that the original designers missed was electrical access. The total lack of electrical in the front bench area can be a little frustrating. The closest outlet is on the counter which is a long way to run a charge cord for our laptops. We have to jump the cord when sliding into the benches. The dog also needs to be untangled regularly to prevent him from snagging himself and sliding our laptops off the table. When given the chance, I will reroute some electrical to the floor level within the benches. My goal us to mimic the electrical outlet placement commonly seen in coffee shops with access a few feet off the ground. No cords to trip over, no problem!
If building from scratch, we would replicate our current kitchen which features plenty of cupboard space. The kitchen is one of the most commonly used areas of the house so it makes sense that the space would be large and open. Another great feature is our “hardwood floor” which is water resistant rubber panels with a wood grain print. Oddly enough, our home did not come with a marine stove. Instead we are armed with a miniature wood burning cabin stove. At first we debated replacing the cast iron unit and thank goodness we didn’t. Once our first winter hit, we were grateful to have a stove that would burn wood long into the night. Unfortunately, the central placement of the wood stove can make our home appear a little cramped. The chimney can block our view making the space appear smaller. If given the choice, we would have installed the stove on the far end of our house, leaving us with a clear line of sight.
All complaints aside, we would not turn back the clock if given the choice. We are proud of our decision and very confident that tiny living is for us. I am grateful that our home meets our needs and that the changes we dream about are non essential. Now that we understand our specific requirements, we can begin to incorporate this wisdom into a future build. Perhaps someday this home will be passed along to another young couple looking to embark on a new chapter of their lives.