We’ve been busy adjusting to tiny home life in a tiny home community in a town that we previously had only briefly visited. It’s a good thing I always quickly forget how much energy, flexibility, and fortitude it takes to make radical life changes.
Moving Into A Tiny House Rental
On May 8th, we moved into a tiny home in the community where we’re building our home. It’s cute and clean. And it feels really small. Uh-oh.
Living in this house is giving us some good ideas about what we do and don’t want. We are not going to have a loft, which will make our living area feel more spacious. Some people love having a loft, but we decided we prefer having high ceilings. We’ve chosen light interior finishes, which we think will also add to the feeling of spaciousness. (Who are we kidding? This is a tiny house!)
Mostly, this tiny house is a fine rental. But after four months of Airbnbs, I’m growing weary. As with any rental, there are some slightly annoying things about this tiny house, including poor lighting in the kitchen. Most egregious is the refrigerator that makes a constant loud ticking noise.
When I told the owners about it, their response was, “Oh, the last two long-term renters complained about that. The sound is coming from the defunct ice maker, and we aren’t going to have it fixed. We’re going to wait until the refrigerator dies.”
The screened porch overlooking the pond is absolutely delightful, though. Magnolia is thrilled to have a porch again, as you can imagine.
I spent some time plotting the refrigerator’s demise, but haven’t figured out a way where I wouldn’t be the prime suspect. Instead of engaging in criminal behavior, I spend a lot of time on the porch.
A Rocky Beginning
We were originally told that our house would close on June 15th. One week after we arrived in Flat Rock, we were informed that we wouldn’t be closing until the end of July, at earliest. We spent several anxious days wondering where we were going to live for the month of July. Believe me, it is not easy to find a rental in North Carolina in the summer. Fortunately, the owners of our current rental kindly extended our lease to the middle of August. I need to make peace with the stupid refrigerator.
As far as our build, the main portion of our home was constructed in Alabama and trucked here. (The opening photo is of our home arriving in Flat Rock at the end of April.)
That big wide-ass load traveled unscathed for hundreds of miles, including along twisty mountain roads. Upon arrival, just one-quarter mile from our homesite, the trucker cut the corner short and ripped off the back corner of our house on a stone entry column.
We were assured the damage was merely cosmetic and easily fixed. And we were promised that they weren’t just going to slap on a big duct tape bandaid (I asked).
Despite the fact that the major part of our house was built off-site, there’s still a lot of construction that will be done on-site.
We’re having a second bedroom (which we will use as an office/library/art room) and a covered, screened deck added. That extra space will add enormously to our enjoyment of tiny house living. We’re also screening the front porch. In total, we will have 500 square feet of living space, plus the two screened porches. We should be fine with that, right? After all, we co-existed happily for seven-and-a-half years in just over 200 square feet in our RV.
As of last week, a crew started work on the construction.
Our Outside Space
We are closer to our neighbors on one side than we would prefer. I remind myself that this is a tiny home community, and that many large homes are built closer together than our tiny houses.
Fortunately, that’s the side of the house that only has the kitchen window and a privacy bath window, plus several high transom windows that look out at the sky. On the front screened porch, we’re adding decorative privacy panels on one side and will be landscaping with privacy in mind.
Nonetheless, this is going to be an adjustment. After all, we’re coming from two acres on the bay with no neighbors in sight.
We are very lucky that on the opposite side, where we have large banks of windows, we have a good amount of space. The dirt road in the photo will not be there—it will go away after construction.
We are delighted that our front porch looks out onto two large oak trees and a horse pasture. Behind our house is a seasonal creek, and our closest neighbor in the back will be about 150 feet away.
Although we’re generally happy with the quality of the construction and the layout of the house, we’re doing a lot of custom work on the interior.
For example, we had the choice of quartz countertops, but wanted to do something different. The house arrived with “placeholder” formica countertops, which we are replacing with quartzite. We’re also doing our own tile work, kitchen and bath fixtures, lighting, appliances, and window treatments. We’re replacing the ceiling fans with sleeker models. Anything that we remove we will donate to Habitat for Humanity.
We didn’t plan to do our own flooring, but the house arrived with the wrong flooring, which worked in our favor. We’ve chosen flooring that will look much better with the furniture that we’re having made.
We have to wait until after closing to do all of the custom work, which is why we are staying in our rental until mid-August. Can you imagine trying to live in a tiny house with construction going on? No way! We’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out details and scheduling sub-contractors—and hoping that everything will proceed as planned. (Don’t remind us how unlikely that is—we need to be delusional for a while.) To help things along, we are checking on our home daily and plying the construction crew with cookies and muffins. We are grateful for the hard work they are doing in building our house.
Meanwhile, we’re settling into life in our new community, finding our way around, making friends in our new neighborhood, and enjoying visits from long-time friends. Despite how disruptive it is to make yet another enormous life change, we’re delighted that we made the decision to uproot ourselves and move here!