Once upon a time

 | 3 min

I've wanted to live in a small space for as long as I can remember. The house I grew up in was a fairly average 3 bedroom house of about 80 square metres. I grew increasingly frustrated sharing a bedroom with my messy sister, so when I was about 12, my parents walled off a small section of the living room to make a cozy new bedroom for me. At 2.5x2.4m it was less than half the size of the room that was now to become my sister's, but there was no question that I wanted the new small room.

From there, over the next 20 years, I lived in four different 2 bedroom properties (one house and three apartments) ranging from 60 to 80 square metres, all with plenty of space for two people. In two of them, there was an entire room that was never used. The home I enjoyed most was a 1 bedroom apartment that I had all to myself. I loved coming home to my 39 square metre haven. Although others thought it was small, to me it was luxuriously spacious.

As a child, my family used to take day trips on a 10 metre yacht. I loved the built in kitchen, the bunk beds, the tiny desk built into a niche opposite the toilet, and most of all, all the little odd-shaped storage cupboards and pockets dotted around in all the available space. We also used to spend summers in a caravan. I was fascinated by the table that folded down to a bed, the built in storage cupboards under the seats, above the windows, under the bed and under the floor.

I several times considered living in either a boat or a caravan, but each time, I found an apartment convenient to my work and went with that option instead. I never amassed too much stuff, and each time I moved apartments, I took the opportunity to clear out everything I no longer needed. My last move was to another country, and so I rid myself of my almost everything I didn't need. My entire worldly possessions now fit in two suitcases and three boxes, so I certainly have no need of a large house to store my stuff.

I do actually own a house, but as I'm living overseas, it is currently rented out. It is a pretty spacious house by my standards: 3 bedrooms in 100 square metres, with a 30 square metre garage underneath. It's actually far too big for us - I have no idea what people do with these 200-300 square metre houses. It's a nice solid timber house with a decent view, but I don't have a burning desire to live there. It's good to have it there as a safety net, so that if I wasn't able to work, I don't have to worry about where to live, but I'd rather live somewhere smaller. Much, much smaller.

Before the bought the house, I had seriously considered building. But I was quite shocked at the high prices, especially the costs involved in building permits and consents. Even the smallest houses I could find quotes on were around 100 square metres and were several hundred thousand to build. I decided it was uneconomical and looked for an older house to buy instead.

I had never heard of tiny houses until a few months ago. I'm not even sure how I came across it, but I saw pictures of Lucy, a tiny house built here in New Zealand.

tinyhouse-lucy-exterior Built in New Zealand! www.diyhousebuilding.com

So many things about it appealed to me:

  • Just the right size for 1 or 2 people
  • It's an actual solid wood house, not a flimsy caravan
  • I could design one exactly how I wanted it
  • Not spending tens of thousands of dollars on permits and consents
  • I don't have to find and buy land first Since then, I've been scouring the web looking at tiny houses, and starting to sketch out what my own tiny house could look like. I don't have a timeframe yet, and I don't yet know what the future holds for me, but one thing I do know: I really really want to design and build a tiny house of my very own.