Ever since I was a child, I always thought that I would design and build my own house. Well, the time has come. Unexpected changes in our circumstances have meant that Mary-Ann and I are without a home, without fixed-employment, and not really tied to any location. Reluctant to settle into a 9-to-5 / rental existence, and keen to look for new horizons, we are contemplating experimenting with a semi-nomadic lifestyle. We know though that having a small place of our own would be desirable.
With very little capital, low mortgage-worthiness, and no land, our options are severely constrained. But this has not stopped us dreaming and researching. We have never been very materialistic and are attracted by simple, small and soulful designs, and this has led us to the world of tiny houses. Could we design and build our own on a shoestring? As we are between two chapters of our lives, we do not yet know where our search for community and meaningful occupation will take us. What is clear is that our future is unpredictable and will require flexibility.
A tiny house on wheels is what we need. With no mortgage or rent, it would allow us to be more mobile, join like-minded people and open up opportunities. Such a home would offer us more freedom. Living simply would free us to pursue our life passions and focus on what matters most for ‘planet and people’. Living in a tiny home requires less energy, limits the accumulation of materialistic items and brings awareness to responsible environmental sourcing. All in all, it lowers one’s ecological footprint.
Designing and building our own tiny home would be an opportunity to promote more modest and environmentally responsible lifestyles. Barely ten-years-old, the tiny house movement is still in its infancy, and it would seem that it is not as developed in Europe as it is in the United States. Given that I have a background in architecture and sustainability, we could create a low-impact ecological design worth sharing. In fact, we are seriously considering documenting the design and building process to communicate the lessons we learn and benefit others who are ready to take the plunge.
The time for designing our tiny house is now. Even though we do not know what our next move is going to be, nothing is stopping us from getting more familiar with the world of tiny houses and take the tiny step of starting.
Photo by Daniel McCullough