Tiny House Photo

Tiny House Photo

Friday, September 20, 2013

Arachnophobics beware!

My favorite time to see the wild life is in the morning. All the animals seem so happy. The birds are chirping. There is usually no one outside and the weather is cool. Often the deer and turkey will be right next to my tiny house though I don't have a picture to prove this. I have also seen silver fox, bobcats and a couple mountain lions! So far, no bear or rattle snakes. Which is ok with me!

A couple days ago I was walking Tilly when we noticed that we had company. Meet Harry! He was about the size of my entire hand. His hair was a very handsome auburn color. He did enjoy getting his picture taken and would stop walking whenever I brought out my cell to take a picture of him. September and October is when they are usually seen. It's the time of year they are out looking for a new mate. As Harry is a handsome tarantula I don't think he will have trouble with the ladies.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's a heat wave!

The last few weeks we have had a heat wave on the ranch. Usually, this doesn't happen until August. There have been too many days to count that the heat has been over 100!  Luckily, I have a small window ac unit that has been able to keep up with it. I planned for ac during the build by having this window large enough to hold the smallest unit available at the local big box store. This window is a single hung while the others are awning style. I purchased a Frigidaire unit and it does a great job keeping the lower level very cool. For the loft I place a 6" fan at the edge pulling up the cool air from below. Even with the heat over 100 I can sleep comfortably in the loft.

Does your tiny house design cover all weather conditions?

This hot dry weather has been hard on the old trees here as well. This one split during the night and another fell in the tent camping area. It fell between two tents! Fortunately no one was hurt. Two tents, one air mattress and a sleeping bag were damaged. I can bet the young man who was sleeping on the air mattress was a bit freaked out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mr. Green Jean's

One of the perks at the ranch is that we have a garden expert here. He has taken the initiative to start an organic garden in a unused patch of dirt near the picnic area of the campground. It is fenced from the unhappy deer however the squirrels and raccoons are still visiting.

This year I was able to get involved in the planting which was fun except when I bumped into a cactus! Yeah, now I know why they have a reputation. I am still picking out the tiny porcupine like hairs from my left arm and leg. And now my right hand! I tried to remove them only to relocate them in my finger tips.

I will refer to our gardener extrordinaire as Mr. Green Jean's not that he wears green jeans. Here he is talking about gardening.

Those that know me will look at this garden and question my role as I am an organized person who would have everything labeled, have stakes to indicate planted areas, walking areas would be covered in mulch, mounds would be in uniform rows & I would have a map indicating the location of all planted items. However, this is Mr. Green Jean's garden and I am but a serf to his project. My lesson here is to go with the flow and let it be. A seed does not care whether it is in a row or not, nor that there is a stake to indicate what and where it is planted, only that it has good soil, water and sun.

I can't wait for the bountiful vegies to come! Yum, yum. Now if I can only get those pickers out of my arm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Solstice Celebration

The summer solstice, the longest day of the year. What better way to celebrate than with a parade and festival! This is the craziest parade we have in Santa Barbara and has been called the "Santa Barbara's Mardi Gras". The festival started back in 1974 as a birthday celebration with a group of street performers dancing down State Street. It now is a 3 day event with a parade, street fair, concerts, stage performances, floats, costumes and dancers.

Photos of Robert Bernstein by: Bob Debris, Carlos Cuellar, Mark McDonald, Peter Price, Ronald Williams, Scott London, Virgil Elings



Santa Barbarians sure know how to have fun!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I just hate to wait, don't you?

Patience is not a virtue of mine. I hate to be late or to wait, so I apologize to you for not getting out my post on time. I guess that life somehow keeps sputtering along even when we are sidetracked by all of lives obligations. Because my obligations have nothing to do with living tiny I will not bore you with them.

So...I'm back! A couple weeks ago I had a chance to see the "I Madonnari" chalk art festival which is held at the Santa Barbara Mission. This was the 27th annual festival and it drew over 150 artists from master Italian street painters to kids. The artists use only chalk to create beautiful images that will be washed away at the first rain. If you are ever in Santa Barbara during the festival this is a great event to see.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mornings chillin with the chickens

The ranch has several chickens and two roosters which I hear every morning while walking Tilly. I have never been so relaxed as I am living on the ranch. There is something about being outside communing with nature that is soothing to the soul. Every day feels like a vacation.

Mornings are my favorite time to see and hear nature. Most people are still snoozing away while I am checking up on the morning rituals of all the local animal inhabitants. Tilly doesn't bark so we can walk along without scaring the wild animals or even the not so wild ones. Actually the chickens are more skittish than the deer or turkey!

This morning a few of the horses were a bit eager to receive breakfast. They were lined up along the fence waiting for the wranglers to come.

This cute paint horse is a newcomer to the ranch, he was sequestered for a couple days until the rest of the gang had a chance to meet him. This morning was his first day out and you can see he is still standing apart from the others. I hope he finds a buddy soon.

I am so grateful that I have a tiny house on this property. It's really beautiful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's hard to be a recluse in a tiny house

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a recluse. Not a "Howard Hughes" type, more the woman who lives with her cat or in my case her little dog and parrot. This makes me sound really crazy. I am not crazy! Really!

I have always been one who likes to stay at home. No matter what size the home is, 2000 square feet or 136 square feet. With the notoriety I experience in my tiny house, it is overwhelming at times. Don't get me wrong, I love to discuss tiny living with people, but the vast number of people I encounter here on the ranch can monopolize my entire day. So I recently had to put restrictions on my open house visits to the weekends. This allows me to be a bit of a slob during the week. I can come home from work, do my laundry and hang it in the bathroom or let the dishes pile up in the sink. I can work on bills or even a hobby. The dust can coat every surface for a couple days (until I freak out & clean it). I can even curl up on my little storage bench and take a nap with Tilly or Abby. Ahhh, life is good in my little Ynez.

Laundry day

New desk I put together last weekend. Still need to paint or stain.

Nap time! Tilly & Abby last Christmas Eve (dreaming of Santa).

I had to include the last picture even though it is a bit old. They are just so cute when they sleep. You may notice this is before Abby was downsized to a smaller cage (or as I call it Abby & Tilly's bunk beds).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6th - One year in my Ynez tiny house!!!

Wow, I can't believe it has already been a whole year! I think the experiment was a success. I feel confident that I will continue living in my tiny cottage for many years to come. Looking back a lot of things have changed.

Downsized a tremendous amount of "stuff" out of my life
Reduced work hours to 28 hours a week
Paid off 70% of my debt
Got a cute little dog (and still have my cute not-so-little parrot)
Had a shed built and got rid of rental storage
Met tons of great people at the ranch
Lived through a fire and earthquake!
Saw lots of animals including: mountain lions, bobcats, silver foxes, deer, turkeys, horses, long horn bulls and long horn cows to name a few. Oh and Bob the pig!

Life is good in my Ynez!

Some of my new neighbors. Aren't the babies cute!

What's for next year? So far I have just a few things on the list.

Pay off balance of debt
Re-stain or paint exterior (the sun is very hard on the finish here)
Maybe add skirting of some sort
Take a little vacation (there are so many local things I haven't seen yet)

How would I change my tiny house if I were starting it now?

I have often been asked this question. Even at the beginning of the process I questioned whether I should add an extra couple of feet to the length to have a space for an office/single bed, murphy-style but I didn't want to exceed a set price and had to forgo the extra length. The 20 feet that I have is the minimum I felt would work for me and I use every inch of the space. One thing I would change is to have sliding closet doors. I opted for regular doors so I could utilized the inside of the doors to hang things on, but I find it irritating to constantly have to walk around them. And as I said before the blinds are a dirt magnets (perhaps I will change these for roller blinds in an easy to wash finish or stick blinds with a lining that can be removed for cleaning).

Suggestions for want-ta-be tiny houser's?

Be clear on what your needs are and choose multi-functional pieces. Get rid of everything else. Use apartment sized furniture that has a non-bulky style. Open legs on furniture will give the feel of more space. Folding tables and chairs can be removed or stored when not in use. Mobile furniture instead of built-in's will give you the most flexibility. Leave as much open space a possible. Less is more with a tiny house.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Traffic Jams - Ranch style

Living away from the city has its perks. One of them is that the traffic jams are a bit more interesting. This road didn't have an easy on-ramp or off-ramp so I and the the cars behind me had to follow until this flock of 5 wild turkeys could exit. It's a lot more fun to wait on the turkey, quail and deer traffic jams then on the human ones!

Morning turkey traffic jam

Once there was a traffic jam right on my lot! I took Tilly for a walk and came home just as it was getting dark. I startled 5 deer milling around my deck. Likely they were disappointed that I didn't replace the tomatoes, cilantro and pepper plants they had eaten a few days prior. Tilly doesn't bark at them so we were quite close, just a few feet away before they decided they should move on. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it.

Another high traffic time will be in October when it's tarantula mating season. I hear they migrate right through the ranch. The other day I noticed at least 8 tarantula burrows just a couple feet in front of my car!

Tarantula burrow (one of many). Not a good traffic jam to be in!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

White fire at the ranch

This week has been very exciting. On Memorial Day a fire broke out at the Sage Hill campground off of Paradise Road just north of the fire ranger station. The fire quickly engulfed the campground and moved east toward the ranch. VERY quickly the mountains were on fire. In just 15 minutes the fire hopped from one mountain to the next and burned all the way to the top! Our only exit was blocked. Soon all the surrounding communities were involved to put out the fire. There were trucks, air tankers, helicopters and ground crews. With the winds gusting to 60 mph what started as a camp fire became a 2000 acre wild fire. Luckily, this area is a national forest so it is not densely populated and no one was hurt.

Then, on Wednesday May 29th I was jolted awake by a 4.6 earthquake! I immediately thought that Abby, Tilly and I were going to flip over and slide down into the ravine. This was the biggest quake I have felt since moving to California.

Happily, I can say that we survived both the fire and quake with no casualties.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Embracing my dusty lifestyle

One thing I really didn't consider was the dirt factor! Living on the ranch with Tilly can certainly be challenging especially when the rainy season hits. I did have gravel put down on my lot to minimize the mud and Tilly is good about sitting at the door when we come in so I can wipe off her feet but her whole "under carriage" (yes, I am from the auto capitol of the world) becomes a wet muddy mess.

There hasn't been much of a rainy season for the last few years and instead of rain what I am usually dealing with is dirt. As I previously discussed the afternoon winds blow the hot air out of the canyon making the evenings nice and cool. It also creates dirt clouds whipping through the ranch. I no longer open the windows on west side of my cottage (except in the mornings when the air is calm) but I still have to clean the blinds EVERY weekend! And with 12 windows and 11 blinds this does not make me a happy camper. If I had to do it again I would invest in windows with built-in blinds (the blinds are encased between 2 layers of glass, therefore never need to be cleaned). Whoever designed them was a genius!

The consensus among my fellow full-timers is that I must "let it go". Dust is a fact of life in this style of living. Unless, I want to spend time every day just dusting and cleaning blinds. So, if you come by for a visit know, there will be dust.

This is a picture of the "dirty thirties".

OK, not as much as this, but close!

My new mantra: I will embrace my new dusty lifestyle and suppress my urge to constantly try to eliminate it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life, love and coffee

Recently I received an email from a friend about life and coffee. I don't know the author but it was too good not to pass along. Let me know what you think.

Life is like a cup of coffee.  Click on the link below.


Monday, May 13, 2013

High wind advisory!

Recently we had high wind advisories. Because I am located in a canyon area the winds are high every day, usually in the afternoon around 4:00. They are referred to as Santa Ana winds or Sun Downer winds. The winds blow out the hot air and "no-see-ums" for the evening making it nice and cool. Great for sleeping in the loft. So when I heard about the high wind advisory I wasn't really concerned until the howling started. I'm from Michigan and to me it sounded like a tornado. This could be bad, very very bad.

I had been told when I moved in that there had been an incident a few years back where a couple of RVs had flipped over in the wind. I have a steep ravine just a couple feet to the east side of my tiny house and a large gust of wind could topple me right down it, as the winds always come from the west.  I also have a new neighbor to the west in a light-weight 5th wheel that could tumble over into my tiny house. Operative word being "light-weight" (it says so, right on the side of it). For 48 hours I watched and listened to the howling winds. The news said that the gusts were reaching 80-100 mph! That's a category 1 tornado!

I am glad to report that all is well in my Ynez. The minor shaking I did get from the winds were actually less than when the dryer spins. I did talk with a couple neighbors who were staying in their RV's, they said they were "rockin-n-rollin". Not me, I was just on the "spin cycle"!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What if I build it & can't find a place to put it?

Finding a place to park my tiny house was a huge concern and finding the right place not just any place seemed daunting. They say location is everything. I needed more than just a parking spot I needed a place to call home. As you already know, the laws about this are varied. You can park in many places but living in your tiny house is another matter.

My Ynez all ready for delivery. The deck is tucked inside.

This was the most stressful part of the whole process. What if I built it and couldn't find a place to put it? Financially this could be a very big issue! I lost a lot of sleep thinking about it. I wanted a place that had: a nice view from the windows, was safe, not more than 1/2 hour from work, near my current location, where I could stay long-term and a place I could meet like minded people.

I talked to everyone I came in contact with: work associates, people at the farmers market, neighbors, bank tellers, grocery store clerks, everyone. I listed it on Craigslist. I made a flyer with a picture of a similar tiny house and handed them out. I also put some in mailboxes of homes in rural areas near where I was living. I framed another flyer and took it to a party. This all happened prior to the start of the "Tiny House Listings" site.

Some opportunities that came up were to live in the city and park it in driveways or backyards and one on a sliver of land between two very large homes with a beautiful ocean view. My fear in these locations were that I would get all settled in and then a neighbor would complain and I would have to quickly move off the site. For this reason I decided to go with the ranch. It had all my "Have To's" except one. It was not near my current location. 

The ranch has over 300 acres and a campground on the property. They were familiar with RV's, trailers, 5th wheels, coaches and park models but were not familiar with "tiny houses". So...I brought them up to speed. I spoke with the manager a few times, I brought up the plans for him to review and we went online to see the in-progress pictures the builder had posted (that was very helpful). I got the ok from the ranch and made the final arrangements with the builder.

Now if you are like me, you don't own a large truck to bring your cottage to it's final resting spot. I knew no one I trusted to bring my house to me.  I didn't want to rent a U-haul and try to drive it over Mt.Shasta (remember these houses are not aerodynamic) and the cost to rent a truck, take time off work and get a pet sitter made it impractical. So...I started calling RV dealers in the area and asked who they used to bring coaches and RV's from the manufacturers to the dealer locations. They all used the same people. Perfect! I called them to arrange for the pickup and delivery to the ranch. They also plated the tiny house and insured it! A huge plus.

Where are you parking your tiny cottage? And how did you find the location?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

RV or Tiny House?

I recently had a neighbor move in next to my cottage. They purchased a new 28' 5th wheel with 2 slides. The floor plan, finishes and storage make it a very comfortable living space for 2 with enough room to sleep 2 more overnight. The price they paid for their 5th wheel is the same as I paid for my tiny house and for an extra $7,000.00 they could have gone from a 28' to a 40'!

Here are some of the differences.

5th wheel:
More square footage & slides make it even larger
All interior furnishing supplied & built-in
Lots of storage spaces
All plumbing systems built-in (i.e. black & grey water tanks)
Propane & a/c built-in
Some options to upgrade or change finishes
Off-gasing from plastics & adhesives
Lightweight & aerodynamic
Need to buy a truck to pull it or pay to have it relocated
Street legal
No wait to purchase & financing is available
Exterior maintenance is minimal
Cottage cute factor "not-so-much"

Tiny House:

Less space but you can customize to your needs
Having minimal built-ins will allow for future changes
Customizing plumbing & energy use can be more efficient
Minimal storage (at least in mine)
Propane & a/c can be built-in if you choose
Every choice is custom
You can be as green as you want & therefore no off-gasing
House is heavy & not aerodynamic
Walls have more insulation so will save on heating & cooling
Standard house windows will do the same
Need to buy a truck to pull it or pay to have it relocated
Street legal
4 months or more to build & limited financing options
Exterior maintenance is wood & needs upkeep (mine to be re-stained this summer)
Cottage cute factor high!


So...the best bang for the buck is definitely the 5th wheel. You won't have any problems with campgrounds and you can travel all around the country. But if your dream is a cute little cottage that is going to stay relative stationary I highly recommend a tiny house.

What is your pick?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Money, money, money, monnneee, money (just like that song)

Money, money, money, monnneee....money. Just like the song says, "some people got to have it, some people really need it". Whether you are building or purchasing your tiny house, you can't do without it.

I found out that banks were not very open minded about financing tiny houses. I went to several banks and credit institutions but the loans they were willing to give me had a higher interest rate than if I used a credit card! So, I called my credit card peeps and asked about low interest rates or 0% rates. I ended up saving part of the money and putting the rest on credit cards. This was not ideal, but I had a deadline (I'll talk about that later). I knew that once I was in my new little cottage I could pay off the balances quickly.

Or so I thought! Just one month prior to moving in, my income was suddenly cut by 20% and my health insurance by another 50%. What was going to take 12 months to pay off, now became 24 months. At least I have a job. So many people are in such dire circumstances I consider myself very lucky. And just 10 months in my tiny house and I have paid off 60% of my debt! Living tiny definitely has its perks.

According to a recent study, 60% of people will never see their house paid off but mine should be paid off in another year! I think I will need to celebrate by doing something fun. Hmmm? Maybe you can give me some suggestions on this?

Whether you are in a financial crisis, an educational debt hole, scaling down for retirement or just want a new simpler life, tiny house living can be the answer. If you choose to "go tiny" for 2 years or 20 the benefits can be huge. You can payoff debt, finance travel or save for property, purchase a vacation home or large family home. Maybe you want to further your education or start a business. Your imagination is the limit. For me, I doubt that I will ever return to a more traditional sized home.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

So many decisions

Now that you have lived with your house fort for a few weeks, how do you like it? At this point in the process I was a bit concerned for my mental well being. Just seeing how tiny my little house was caused my stomach to hurt! Have faith, it feels bigger once you are actually in it.

I had the whole tiny house taped out on my living room floor. With my blue tape and furniture in place I realized that even though several pieces if furniture would fit, it felt way too cramped. So I took out half and it felt a lot bigger. All the pieces I did decide to keep are multi functional and can be moved in or out as my needs change. Below is the setup I am using now that I need a space for writing this blog. Next to the green folding chair is a very small folding table and next to the front door is a wooden bench for extra seating.

FYI - I had my tiny house built without ever seeing an actual tiny house!

It's time to think about the floor plan. If you check online, there are a lot people who have published their plans. You can get some great ideas from them, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Consider your hobbies and day-to-day activities. Make sure the things you do daily are easy to accomplish in your space. Consider making the furniture in the living room not built-in, this way you will be able to change out the pieces as needed.

Remember to keep in mind your "Have To's". One of my "Have To's" was a view.

To build or not to build? If you chose to build, will you have the patience and skills to complete the job? The money to redo errors? The space to build? The tools and friends to help? Remember it will take longer and cost more than you think. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You could have a builder take care of the shell, electric and plumbing. Then you could finish out the interior yourself. At least this way you will be assured that that your house won't fall off the trailer while moving down the road and take out some people along with it!

As you know, I chose to have mine built. I know enough about myself to hand over this type of work to someone who knows what they are doing. But I did want to be involved in the process and choosing the right builder is important.

While I continued to live in my house fort and purge my stuff, I begin to look for a builder. I started canvasing locally and checking with friends about contractors they knew. What I found was that I needed someone with "tiny house" experience. Someone who was passionate about them and as picky as I am about the details.

It took me about 6 months to find Todd Miller of the Oregon Cottage Company.  This is Todd. Check out his site. It features my Ynez cottage! Tell him I sent you. :)

We talked a few times, I emailed him my rough sketch and he sent me a quote. His schedule was booked for several months which gave me more time to save cash and continue my purging. I met with him prior to his ordering of the custom trailer. I gave him a deposit and signed the contract. While there I was also able to see the beautiful home that he built.

House designed & built by Todd Miller.

Take your time with this step. Make sure you are comfortable with your decision. Even if you are just buying plans from the builder you will want a relationship with him in case you have questions or concerns. You want this to be an enjoyable process, not a stressful one.

Next, what everyone wants to know - financing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"O" is for O-ring

Being a bit picky about the water I drink, I use 2 water filters on the water coming into my tiny house. One to remove larger particles and one to remove odors and bacteria etc. I had noticed in the recent weeks that the water wasn't looking as clear, so I purchased new filters and decided to install them over the weekend.

The weekend was here and my daughter came over to visit. Thinking I may need her muscles I asked for her help to change out the filters. I turned on the water faucet to release the pressure, grabbed the new filters and the "loosen the canister thing-a-ma-jig" and headed for the water hookup. My specially purchased "RV reinforced drinking water hose" had a large bulge in it! Yikes, this is a problem.

Here on the ranch the water is gravity fed down a mountain side to the campground area. The water pressure can often exceed 100 psi. Which to this city gal meant "wow, what great water pressure I have"!  ha ha.. What it really means is you will need to add a pressure regulator to decrease the water pressure to an acceptable amount like 40-45 psi. I had purchased one of these prior to receiving my tiny house but had been advised that it was not needed.

Back to changing out the filters. I turned off the water at the hookup. Then using the "loosen the canister thing-a-ma-jig" my daughter removed the outer canisters. By the way "righty tighty - lefty loosey" did not apply unless you were standing on your head! Then I dumped out the old icky filters, rinsed the canisters, placed new filters in and handed the canisters back to my daughter to screw into place. Simple, no problem...until I turned the water back on. One canister had a huge gusher of a leak. Try as we did, we just couldn't get it to stop. Finally, I asked one of my neighbors for a hand. He also tried unsucessfully to stop the flood. This went on for perhaps 20 minutes with my neighbor sweetly telling me SEVERAL TIMES that "usually there is a O-ring to provide a tight seal". By this time there were 6 of us and 1 dog gathered around scratching our heads trying to figure out why I had such a huge leak. Suddenly my neighbor noticed the O-ring lying in the dirt just inches from my feet! Life is so simple when you have an O-ring. For those that don't know, an O-ring is a black rubber gasket.

Now that the filters are in place and nothing is leaking I move on to the pressure regulator which I had stored in my shed. I screwed it in place and planned on replacing my bulging hose the next weekend when I could get to the RV store (about an 1 1/2 hours away). After all, I did have the reducer on so the pressure was a lot lower, right?

Not right. Two days later while at work I received a call from one of the rangers that my hose burst and water was flooding the street. They turned off the hose but I would need to get a new one. He informed me that the campground general store did carry a hose but the store closes at 4:00. He kindly offered to pick it up for me and I could pay him back when I got home. All the way home I was thinking about having to climb under the trailer in the mud to remove the old hose and replace with a new one. Initially I had a leak at that connection and had to borrow a large wrench to tighten it enough to stop the leak. I was hoping that this ranger had a large wrench I could borrow.

I got home to find that the ranger not only purchased the new hose but attached it! And no leaks! I was so happy. Life is good at the ranch.  :)

Lessons learned: O-rings and neighbors are important. And rangers save the day!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Organizing (it's not a 4-letter word) ...

Ok, so most people do not like to organize. It's much easier to just shove stuff in a drawer or closet. I happen to love organizing. Call me "disturbed" if you want, but I organize all my storage spaces every weekend. Mostly because I have people coming by to visit every weekend and I just like a tidy space. Below is a pre-weekend pic.

Every time I move to a new home, large or small, there is a transition period while I am sorting out just what goes where. It usually takes me about 6 months. It was no different in the Ynez. As much as I had my floor plan and knew what items were going to be stored in each drawer and closet, it wasn't until I was living in the space that I figured it all out.

For instance, originally I had some clothing in the loft but this wasn't efficient since I was getting dressed on the main floor. Then I had some tools in the clothes closet, this took up too much valuable real-estate. So, out they went to my car (until I had the shed built). There was a time when I had my shoes in neatly stacked plastic boxes. The boxes and several pair of shoes had to go as well. Now I have a shoe-hanger against the wall of the closet, it works much better. The dirty clothes were another issue. I finally found a narrow laundry basket that fits behind a curtain in the bathroom that works perfectly.

Even my parrot (Abby) needed to downsize her big 5' cage. First I tried just removing the legs and placing a small IKEA table with wheels under it. Then she was downsized to a travel cage which is still large enough considering she is able to get out and sit on the door for much of the day. Bird lovers please don't get upset, Abby only has one leg and doesn't really use much of the cage for playing and climbing around. She would rather sit with me or to rest on a comfy towel inside her cage. My little dog (Tilly) also has a crate that sits under Abby's cage. It's like they have bunk beds!  Neither animal seems to mind that they share the same area of the room and this configuration has freed up much needed floor space.

Organizing in my big house would have taken the whole weekend but in my tiny house it is a matter of minutes. With just a few drawers and closets, I am done in no time. Then I am on to the fun stuff.

My son-in-law & I at the Santa Barbara zoo.

Next, I will share my exciting water adventures!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lofty views

Initially I was concerned about climbing a ladder and sleeping in a loft. But it was the most efficient use of space so I forged ahead, confident I could make it work and after just a couple days I stopped banging my shins on the ladder. Soon the bruises healed and I am happy to say I am now a skilled climber and can go up and down the ladder, even in the dark! Do not be put off by the ladder. On the other hand if you have health issues you could always work in a stationary set of narrow steps or eleminate the loft all together. There are several companies that make "murphy style" bed/desk or bed/sofa furniture.

I find sleeping in the loft comfortable and cozy. In fact, the bed is the largest space for me to spread out in, so I often use it to work on projects. I am writing this blog while sitting on my bed. The dormers give me plenty of head room and a ton of light. With 4 windows I get a great cross breeze and in the winter when I don't want to open the windows I have a small 4" fan to push around the air. Many people close off their loft to gain some extra clothing storage or build little storage boxes next to the bed but I think this only makes it feel claustrophobic. And making a bed while lying in the middle is incredibly difficult! You can see from the picture below that I have extra space around my bed.

I am so glad I had the porch built! My deck is the width of my tiny house and 5' deep, which is large enough to set a small 30" table and 2 chairs on. Because I live in Southern California, the weather is good all year around and I will often sit outside to eat, read or visit with neighbors. The angle of my Ynez Cottage gives me afternoon shade (very nice in August when it can get over 100 degrees).

My utility room is another add on. Instead of giving up valuable storage space under the sink for the hot water tank I had the builder OregonCottageCompany.net place it in the utility room (which isn't really a room as much as a little bump out on the tongue of the trailer). The area is large enough to house the 20 gallon hot water tank, a small amount of storage and litter for the bucket style compost toilet.

The window above this area is a single hung window (not an awning style window like the rest) so that I can have a small a/c unit. The cool air is pushed in a straight line from the back of my tiny house to the front. In August when it gets very hot, an additional little fan is used to push the cool air up into the loft.

Next let's talk about the constant need to organize.