Moving On

Travel Trailer

It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly to this blog or YouTube, and here’s what’s gone on.

We moved into a travel trailer and out of Texas.

It was a very hectic journey, traveling 2,500 miles to pick up the trailer, 2,500 miles back to register it, and then another 1,000 miles to our current home.  We’ll probably move every month, and we’ll continue to live the full-time travel trailer life until we want something else.

Although I do still think about the Tiny House sometimes, we’ve both really moved on mentally at this point.  That stressful, exhausting, awkward chapter of our lives is over, and we’re moving on to the next.  There’s no guarantee this one will last long, but it’s really fun, and we’re both enjoying the freedom of living wherever we want.

I’m getting some 4k video ready for a YouTube update soon, so stay tuned!

Travel Trailer

Apartment Living; How it’s Going

Apartment Living in San Antonio - 7

After deciding to go a different route than Tiny House, we moved into an apartment. We were sure to get the apartment exactly how we wanted when we first moved in, because we didn’t want to feel like we were “living out of a suitcase” like we often did over the course of the past four years. So we headed up to IKEA and got some nice stuff, combined with some stuff that we already had from previous purchases, and we got all set up.

We really like how our set up apartment looks, but to be honest, we just really hate San Antonio, so it doesn’t feel like “home” should. I’ve worked at a standup desk since my USAA job, starting in 2005. Although I really enjoy my standing desk here, sometimes I just wish I could sit down and work for a couple minutes. If my back ever starts to get sore from standing up and working, sitting down means not working, since I work with a stationary desktop computer.

Obviously having a laptop would make the transition easier, but I don’t have a laptop right now (currently looking for one to replace the desktop). This isn’t something I could have predicted before setting up my standing workstation, as I’ve enjoyed standing stations for over 10 years now. It’s a small niggle, but it’s a niggle nonetheless.

The Great Stuff About Apartment Living, Compared to Rural Tiny

The apartment has running water. The apartment has electricity. The apartment is hooked up for internet. If anything breaks, one maintenance request on the website, and the crew will be here to fix it within 48 hours.

Where we were going to be living – in Spring Branch – there was no running water. We would have had to put in a couple 1,000gal water tanks and a water pressure pump. If that thing broke, I would be sweating my ass off trying to fix it for who knows how long. It’s just really nice to be in an apartment that already has all of this stuff set up.

The location in Spring Branch also had fiber internet, but the gigabit connection cost $300/month. Seriously, THREE HUNDRED dollars per month, for internet. The top-tier Time Warner connection is “only” 300mbps, but it comes with promo pricing of $65/month. We dropped that connection down to 50/5, and we’re now paying $35/month, but with the occasional outages that I call in about, we’re honestly getting the internet for free. 😀

Another great thing about apartment living is the fridge and dishwasher. We would not have as big a fridge as we do here in a tiny house, and it’s really nice to be able to load it up with two weeks worth of food, so that we don’t have to go out as often as we would have had to in the Tiny House. The dishwasher is great because we’ve washed dishes by hand before, and not only does a dishwasher use less water – it’s LESS WORK. I can’t emphasize enough how little I care to be a “Pioneer Man” and act like technology doesn’t exits.

Dishwashers are great, and I’m stoked to have one in our apartment.

Our apartment is probably smaller than most, at around 690 sq ft. That’s three times bigger than our tiny house, but it’s a very nice layout. We definitely make the most of the space, and we don’t feel like there are any areas that are wasted.

Full Size Washer and Dryer

We would have been using either a laundromat or the Wonder Wash and Mini Spinner for our laundry, but if I’m being completely honest, I fucking love having a full size washer and dryer. Seriously, they work incredibly well, and they save so much extra time. It also helps that I got a slick deal on both of them that brought a sale price of $490 each down to $350 each. Expensive overall, but such a nice convenience to have.

Wii U and Gaming

We haven’t played the Wii U a lot lately, but it’s been really nice when we have felt like playing it to be able to just pop it on my 27″ computer display, and get in some Super Mario 3D World or Mario Kart 8. I also get some Titanfall play in on the PC partition of my desktop, which is a nice stress-reliever.

Another surprise benefit of this somewhat small apartment is that the WiFi coverage is fantastic. We’re on the third floor, and when we go outside with @sammy_bichon behind our apartment, we still get WiFi down there on the ground. Since we don’t have data plans on our phones, this works out great.

We use a TP Link Archer C7 WiFi AC router, and being able to be so close to it with an AC-equipped laptop (Jess’ MacBook Air) makes throughput speeds fantastic, even when she’s only browsing a 50mbps limited internet connection. Our phones don’t need to max out an AC connection, but it’s nice to have such a strong WiFi connection throughout the apartment. I also got quite lucky in that the Archer C7 is one of the most stable routers I’ve ever used. I have only restarted it to apply firmware updates, but it has never crashed on its own. It’s a fantastic router.

Sleeping

We got an awesome bed, that was shipped to our apartment in a small box that fit through the door easily, if you can believe that. The bed is a Tuft & Needle 10″ King mattress, and it feels absolutely awesome. We have it situated in an IKEA Malm bed frame, and that frame is crazy solid.

We’ve only had as large as a Queen bed before, and this King bed is incredible. We both like to sprawl, so it’s really nice to be able to throw ourselves in whatever position we want, and still both be comfortable throughout the night. I really like our bed setup.

So That’s It!

There are some really great aspects to apartment living, but the main thing we don’t like about our apartment is the city it’s located in. We just wish there were more to do in San Antonio, but that’s not the case. The city seems to expand in such a way to encourage people to either stay in their houses, or only go as short a distance as possible to get to the nearest food chain, because let’s face it: the only thing to do in San Antonio is eat yourself to death.

We’re more complacent in this apartment than we are super happy with it. It’s doing its job for now, but it’s really just a reminder of where we sit while we deal with all the stress of the past four years. I know this isn’t the kitschy, cutesy blog post you see on apartment therapy about how fantastic apartment living is, but the fact of the matter is that after having our Tiny House stolen by meth heads, there was no way we would simply fall into place in the next step of our life journey. We have a better idea of what to do to make our lives better, and now we’re just working on implementing it.

An Update from Casey

Update from Casey

It’s been a while since I’ve written an honest-to-goodness actual post on here, so here’s an update on what’s going on in Friday-world.

Tiny House

The Tiny House has been listed at Tiny House Listings for a while now.  I’ve dropped the price from $27,500 down to $19,500.  With that $8,000 shaved off – and my selling it for less than the materials cost – I’ve been seeing a healthy level of interest in it.  As luck would have it (our luck is really terrible), when one woman came from out of town to see the house, we forgot the keys at home (40 minutes round trip from the house).  These sort of things seem to keep happening regularly.

At this point, I don’t really ever expect the house to sell; but it is definitely at the right price.  I’ll keep waiting for the right buyer to come along, and as soon as they do, I’ll make the purchase as easy for them as I possibly can.  I’m really, really looking forward to not having the Tiny House in my possession any more.

We’ve also listed our property in Spring Branch with a realtor, so hopefully we’ll get some leads from that very soon.  We’ll be taking approximately a $15,000 bath on that purchase, so although it’s a very tough pill to swallow, we also just want to be rid of it.

Side Note on Tiny Houses

It’s very unfortunate for me to read from multiple sources online about how fantastic and trouble-free tiny house living is, including from people who have previously spoken about the problems they’ve faced (now speaking as if those never happened).  I realize that Jessica and I have probably had the worst experience of any Tiny Housers ever, but it’s downright disingenuous for people to say things like, “I built it for less than $8,000 easily!” or “If you build the Tiny House, the Land will come after.”  Yeah, and hopefully it’s not littered with meth head criminals.

Although a lot of news stations across the country wanted to interview me about the Tiny House theft (I said no to all of them except one), I’ve only found two references to the theft in prolific Tiny Housers’ websites.  One was in a podcast with a woman who spoke very frankly about the difficulties of living in a Tiny House, but the other was on Tiny House Talk, where my story was posted simply so that the author could earn money through affiliate sales of Amazon Products (theft prevention products).  I left a comment on that site saying it was unfortunate that he though it was okay to profit off of our tragedy without even telling me about it.  The comment was deleted by the author.

I’m very happy to read the multiple comments on this site and Jessica’s about the number of people whose eyes are being opened to the harsh realities of trying to live in a Tiny House in this day and age where it’s not widely accepted.  I simply hope more people start telling the truth about it.

Web Development Business

About 1.5 weeks ago I thought to myself, Why don’t I redesign my Web Development website to match my new business focus?  I thought it would take an afternoon, max.  1.5 weeks later, I’ve finished the redesign and uploaded the changes to Friday Next online.  I’m very excited about these changes, as they much more closely reflect the things I’m really good at, and I want to provide services to my clients the best I can.

I’m basically taking all the variables out of my business, so when people come to my website, they see exactly what they’re going to get; decide if it’s worth it to them or not; and then I provide the service.  It’s a much simpler model than what I’ve been using for the past three years, which has involved quite a few instances of my spending a lot of (unpaid) time putting together quotes for people who never write back.  Since I will no longer work for free, this new model is going to be great for not only conversions, but also my general mental health.

Personal Life

Life has been really tough for the past four years.  Like, really tough.  At the end of our tenure in Utah, we thought it would be fun to rent a warehouse as a “Build a Tiny House” slash “Live in It” space.  We started tearing the drywall down in the residential part of the warehouse (turns out the wiring in it was bare, and a high-heat fire hazard).  When we decided that it wasn’t going to work out, the landlord tried to make us pay for the entire year (we had just signed the lease 4 days prior).  We ended up losing about $1,000 there.  That sucked.

Then when we left our apartment early in Utah, we were charged something ridiculous like $2,500.  We came back to Texas and decided to have Scott Stewart build our Tiny House.  Remember how that turned out?  Thank FSM we actually got our money back on that one, but it was a huge emotional setback.  Then my family went crazy, and they all decided to defend my pedophile, child-molesting biological father.  So I disowned all of them in November of 2013 and won’t ever talk to them again.

Then we spent 2.5 years trying to build a Tiny House while my business was crawling to just over the poverty-level of income earning.  The stress we went through during that time was incredible.  Of course after that, the Tiny House was stolen, we ended up paying over $600 in impound fees and all the storage fees from then to now, and we found out we’d be losing $15,000 on the land we purchased.

The only thing I’ve actually been happy to spend money on was Jessica’s Endometriosis surgery in California, earlier this year. She’s already doing better than she has been in years, but that surgery was almost $16,000 out of pocket, and we’ll likely be fighting the insurance company for years to get a gap exception, so that we can get even a fraction of that money back. (We both really wish we lived in a country with universal healthcare for this exact reason. Higher taxes? No problem. If we had the money I paid for my college degree and this surgery, we’d be doing just fine.)

And then after all that, I forget the keys when we’re going to show the house to a potential seller.  It’s stuff like this that just really gets me.  It’s just Murphy-town here (whatever can go wrong, will).  I’ve even had issues with some of my business clients trying to take advantage of me.

Suffice it to say, we’re taking massive action to change our lives so that we don’t have to suffer through this misery any more.  I’ve already accepted the fact that we will never have boat loads of money in any bank or mutual fund account – we’ll probably live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of our lives, but I would be totally fine with that if there weren’t so many other negative factors at play.

I’ve stopped telling myself that things will absolutely be better in the future, but my realistic goal is that by 2016, we will be in a place emotionally and physically better for both of our well-beings.  Jessica published her first novella, and she has plenty more in the works.  I’ve changed my business’ business model, and I have plans to change what I do for income completely.  We’re both working desperately hard towards having a life that we can both be satisfied with.

I know this doesn’t end with a happy note, but that’s really the point here.   There’s not always a happy point to end on.  Hopefully there will be one in the future, but for now, we’re just working our asses off towards that goal.

*SOLD* 22′ Tiny House For Sale – $20,000

Tiny House For Sale - Texas Quality Craftsmanship

The house is now sold.

Tiny House for Sale

That’s right, folks.  As discussed in a prior post, we’ve decided to sell our house and move on to the next chapter of our lives.  I want to be completely transparent with exactly how much we’re selling for, and how much has been invested in the house / how much more work needs to be done.  Let’s get to it!

Current Costs Invested

I’ve finished the spreadsheet I started in 2012 to completely sum up almost every single cost we’ve incurred on this Tiny House journey.  I have elected to keep the things that aren’t currently in the house out of the list.  These items include:

  1. Interior light fixtures not yet installed
  2. LG Mini Split Air Conditioner / Heater
  3. Kitchen Faucet / Bathroom Faucet & IKEA Sink
  4. Tub Faucet
  5. 50 AMP RV plug / cable
  6. And a couple more…

These are items that are pretty personal to each individual homeowner, so I’m leaving it up to the potential buyer whether or not they want to pick those out themselves, or buy them from me at a bulk discount, after making an offer on the house.

I have embedded the Google Spreadsheet showing all the costs I’ve incurred, but you can also view the spreadsheet in a full-screen browser tab at this link:

Tiny House Expenses @ Google Docs

I’ve almost certainly left out some (possibly a lot) of the expenses from this project, as I only recorded Lowe’s and Amazon purchases.  I made a couple purchases at Home Depot and from other independent websites online, and I couldn’t find those receipts to add to this list.

I’ll estimate my total costs right around $21,000 at this point.

What’s Left to Be Done?

Outlets

I’ve wired the house to take 50 amps (45, technically) to run.  The A/C takes 220V, and is run on a 15 amp breaker.  If you decided to plug your A/C in outside the house on a pole outlet (or something not attached to the house), you’ll only need 20 amps to run the house’s other two 10 amp circuits.

I have all of the outlets, and I’ve labeled all the Romex going into the electrical boxes, but you can also have an electrician come in to plug in all the outlets.  (Or you can break out the multimeter and DIY it! – Disclaimer: I recommend you hire an electrician to install the remaining outlets).

Aesthetic

The siding needs a couple final pieces of Hardie plank installed up at the top of each wall, and if you want a fascia board, you’ll need to install that too.  My bird’s notches are pretty skinny, so you’ll have to drill a pilot hole up the 2×4 roof rafters’ shafts to properly screw in your fascia.  Long ago, I installed netting at all the wall-to-roof openings (except the porch roof) to keep birds/insects/animals out.

The paint is not finished yet (obviously) – we’ll include the paint with the sale, unless you want to paint it a different color than charcoal gray.

The porch ceiling needs two more pieces of Southern Yellow Pine T&G to be completely closed in.  Lowe’s item# 338435.

The exterior wall area where the loft dormer section starts needs to be sided with whatever you choose.

Interior

The drywall needs to be finished being taped/floated.  You’ll need to come up with a cabinet design scheme and build those (I’ll supply my Google Sketchup file so you can model the cabinets off of my design, if you want).

I’ll included the pieces of wood I’ve already cut for the Ofuro Soaking Tub (all of them), and you can decided to either Fiberglas them or have a metal shop build a stainless steel insert.  I suggest the stainless steel route.  You’ll also need to drill a drain hole through the trailer floor for the tub.

You’ll need to install underlayment and flooring – you can choose tile for the bathroom (for water), or hardwood / laminate everywhere; the choice is yours.

Extras for Sale

If you’re interested in purchasing these extras that I purchased for the house (but never used), they will add $1,500 to the cost of the house, taking the total to $21,500.  You can also just purchase these items yourself – please let me know what you decide.

LG LS090HEV Mini Split A/C with Heat Pump – I bought it when it was $1,055, so not sure if this is a newer different model, but it’s the same number.
Summit 24″ Recirculating Vent Hood
Pfister Jaida Bathroom Faucet
IKEA LILLÅNGEN Bathroom Sink Basin – with separate mounting brackets
Delta Shower Handle – This one works with the Delta diverter valve installed in the shower area.
Eccotemp Propane Water Heater
2 x Grenoble Brushed Nickel Living Room Light Housings

Current Photos

I took these photos after dropping the house off at the storage facility where it’s currently parked.

Price

The asking price is $27,500 26,500 $24,000 $20,000.  You can rest assured that I have over-engineered the living daylights out of this house.  If you want to see pictures documenting the build process, either browse the Tiny House section of this site, or visit my Flickr page, which shows every single Tiny House photo I’ve ever taken.

You’ll need to arrange shipping, or rent a truck to drive the Tiny House to your location.  I suggest at least a 2500-level truck.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask, either in the comments section on this page, or via the contact form on this site.

I’d ask that you please only contact me with serious offers.  I’ll allow comments on this post, but if the comments diverge into a discussion about how Tiny Houses are too expensive, I’ll moderate the comments.

Trimble (Google) Sketchup File

If you’d like to see our intended cabinet / kitchen / bathroom setup, feel free to take a look at this Sketchup File.  (This is by no means a set of floor plans – it’s just the Sketchup file I made to move things around.)  Be sure to open the ‘Layers’ window, and remove the sheathing and drywall layers to see inside the house more easily.

Casey Friday’s Tiny House Sketchup

Why We Won’t Be Living in Our Tiny House

Standing Seam Roof - Tiny House

Original Post at Jessica’s Blog – Why We Won’t Be Living in Our Tiny House – iamchesapeake
Written by Jessica Friday

It’s been a strange few weeks, to say the least.

I’ve had to remind myself more than once that I owe nothing of myself or the details of my life to anyone on the Internet – nice people or mean people. You all leave comments, and then go about your business not thinking much of my own life. And nor should you! I don’t spend a lot of time thinking of other people’s decisions in my own day-to-day business. I have my own life to lead.

I still feel compelled to write down and publish the long list of reasons we won’t be living in our tiny house. For posterity, for my own sake, and really for anyone who has a genuine, sincere interest in our continued story. And maybe some of these points might help some of you in your own tiny house journey.

Many people think we’re selling our tiny house because it was stolen from us, and that we’re letting fear dictate our lives. (Anyone who knows us in real life finds the idea that Casey and I let fear controls our lives endlessly humorous). In reality, the theft was more of a tipping point than some singular catastrophic event that upturned everything.

1) We just can’t do this anymore. People who haven’t been through the process of building anything, even a so-called “tiny house”, simply do not understand the realities of construction. I only half-joke that the thing that makes tiny building so difficult is that there is just enough space to finally get a partial handle on whatever step of the process you are undertaking – and then that step is over. You never build up any momentum to carry the task out faster and better. Because the space is so small, it’s time to start from square one on the next step of the process before you even reap the benefits of having mastered the previous step. It’s not very satisfying to work this way. People say: “Oh, you’ve come so far! You’re so close to finishing!” No, we really, really aren’t. We’ve been “so close” to finishing nearly every month for the last two and a half years.

2) Where would we put the house now? There are many indications that the area in which we live had to do with the theft. I won’t go into details, but despite some VERY lovely neighbors, we also have some not-so-lovely neighbors, and to put the house back where it was parked seems to only invite the theft or damage once again. Some idiot asked me on Facebook if my apartment was broken into, would I just break my lease and move somewhere else? And the answer is: absolutely I would, if I thought the location of my apartment had something to do with the theft itself. This is so bleeding obvious I can’t believe he asked it. Welcome to the Internet.

We spent a long time looking for land that would allow a tiny house to be parked on it, and I have no desire to go back through that process again. Also, now that we have an apartment very close to all the places we need to be, it’s made me realize how nice it is not to face a 50 minute commute each way just to get to civilization. The unfortunate part of tiny houses is that the one place you can be relatively assured* no one will call the local zoning boards on you is the countryside. And living in the countryside means you have to enjoy driving unless you plan to spend all your time at home.

*I say “relatively assured” because Jonathan had issues even in the countryside. He ended up not living in tiny house, either. A lot of people (people who stand to make money off the tiny house movement itself) say things like “If you build it, the parking space will come.” This was the cavalier attitude I took at the start of the process. Once we started the build, we began to look for a place to park it. We looked at RV parks and were turned away (no homemade trailers allowed), we looked at unrestricted land that was way too big and too expensive, then we finally found a small rural neighborhood that seemed fine just to have it turn out that our house was stolen…all this to say that if you are thinking of building a tiny house on wheels, weigh the risks. If you can afford to build a tiny house and like being adventurous with the idea that you’ll find a place to put it “later,” by all means, do so. Otherwise, sincerely do your research before jumping in feet first to an expensive, time-consuming build.

3) The potential for theft. This is a small reason, but a reason nonetheless. I just can’t live wondering if my tiny house and its contents is going to be there when I get home from work or from play. Despite the new anti-theft measures we’ve put in (boots on the trailer, and a mega hitch lock), I just can’t. Once I had a stomach bug and happened to eat chili and noodles right before the symptoms started. Cue vomiting up chili and noodles all night. Despite the fact that technically the chili and noodles did not cause my illness, it put me off chili and noodles for life. All this to say: I’m not blaming the tiny house. But I still associate it with theft. For anyone reading this deciding on their own build, I’d say the only location I’d feel comfortable parking my house is in the suburbs somewhere: in someone’s backyard, behind a fence, with many, many neighbors around, and preferably some large trees that grow back over the tow-path. But then I’d have to live in the suburbs, and that’s just not for me. Also, finding a suburb like that is easier said than done. Dee Williams, in her super-progressive, liberal, Washington state town STILL had to get a special variance that allowed her and only her to be parked there, in that very particular space. If you have the stomach to go through a process like that, more power to you.

4) Our lifestyle has changed. The build was initially going to be 4-6 months in length. It’s taken 2.5 years, for various reasons that aren’t anyone’s business, but really came down to time and money. Since it’s taken so long, our lives have changed. We simply need more space – not for living, but for our businesses and creative endeavors. Our property had a little cabin on it that we were going to use as a studio. We can’t live on that land any longer for safety reasons, so the thought of having to come up with a solution to another accessory building in a new location is just too much. It’s ludicrous, when we could just have a larger apartment (650 s.f.) that’s already constructed (!!!!!) with plenty of space for our needs.

5) Our priorities have changed. Our main goal has always been to live in a place where we can be car-lite or car-free. Coincidentally, the week before the tiny house was stolen, we came up with a solid plan of where we want to live (next, anyway) without a car. The plan was three to four years more living in the tiny house, then moving elsewhere to a city where we can be active without a car. The house was stolen, and suddenly it looked like our plan could be moved up on the timeline.

6) I’ve spent the last 18 months trying to decide if I’m a country person or a city person. The answer appears so obvious to me now, I feel a little silly even asking the question. I hate driving and I love museums, libraries, public transit, good food, biking trails, parks, and concerts. Period. That makes me a city person at this point in my life. I realize now that I was actually spending the last 18 months trying to convince myself that I was okay living out in the middle of nowhere. I’m not okay with it at this point in my life.

7) I don’t want to compress my expectations any longer. Some people live in a tiny house because it truly makes their lives more simple, yet it gives them space to do the things they want to do. I realize now that the tiny house had reached a point that it was restricting our lives and our expectations. Again: it took us further away from city living and honestly, it put me in a mindset of not just extreme frugality (which is great!) but of extremely low income-making. Maybe I’ll expound on this another day, but essentially I convinced myself that making an exceedingly small amount of money was good enough for me, and it isn’t. I was trying to shrink my life and my goals. I was feeling a little suffocated. I’m not saying having a tiny house does this to everyone – it was just doing it for me.

8) A tiny house is not the only answer. Some people seem to think that not living in a stick-built, tiny house on wheels means “giving up the tiny lifestyle.” I realize now how silly I was to think a tiny house was the only way to live simply. It’s not. I don’t even know what living simply means, to be honest with you. Building a tiny house and trying to live in one in 2015 means you are a pioneer. There aren’t enough of them yet to have changed public perception, zoning laws, or local codes. There is huge risk in living in mostly uncharted territory. And we need people trying to do it! I just can’t be one of them. My energy needs to be spent elsewhere. Fighting the tide is not simple. It is easier to have a mortgage and a 9-5 job than it is to live in a tiny house and be self-employed. Depending on how you look at it, the former is the real “simple life” in 2015. A case can be made for both sides.

To “not fight the tide” doesn’t mean we are off to live in a 6,000 s.f. house in the suburbs (though there is NOTHING WRONG with that if you do; it simply doesn’t fit for us). It means we are channeling our energy elsewhere, toward goals that mean more to us.

We are not giving up. We are not fickle people. I think giving up would look like staying with our build even though we know it can’t work for us any longer. For us to say: “Okay, we came this far, even though every fiber of our being is telling us this is no longer the direction we want to go, we need to see it through no matter the cost” would be giving up in my book.

We are constantly re-examining where we are going and what we are doing, and I think that’s what makes us awesome. So many people continue to commit to things that are no longer working for them, and end up on their deathbed wishing they’d taken more risks. Even though this process has been almost nothing but stress and pain, I’d rather be sitting where I am now, having tried to build a tiny house and deciding it wasn’t for me after all, than to have never tried at all and be sitting around the rest of my life doodling floor plans in the margins and wondering if I was ever going to take the leap.

ADDENDUM: I just went back to read Jonathan’s post (mentioned above) from years ago, and the similarities in our situations are eerie in many ways. This sums it all up for me, almost to the letter:

“Even if I win, I will still be next to a neighbor who hates me. Even if I win, I will be 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store. Even if I win, I will be both physically and socially isolated, far enough away from everyone nearby to where visiting me is inconvenient, but not far enough away to where I’ll be compelled to seek out new things. I’ll be in an area in which the population is politically and ideologically at odds with my own morals and values. I will, in essence, become a hermit here.”

***

Original Post at Jessica’s Blog – Why We Won’t Be Living in Our Tiny House – iamchesapeake

Some Tiny Clarifications

As the story of the theft of our house has made it to more corners of the internet, the story has become less accurate with every news outlet it hits.  I want to clarify a couple points.

Why Did We Even Want a Tiny House?

The main reason we wanted a tiny house was:

So we could build it with cash and be mortgage-free when it’s done, giving us the ability to save massive amounts of money.

There were other smaller reasons, such as the desire to have a space designed by us, completely for us.  We also liked that if we ever got tired of a place (after a couple years), we could just move it somewhere else.

To be completely clear, although we are not global warming deniers, our initial motivation to build this house had almost nothing to do with environmentalism.  I admit that I don’t know everything about the environment, but I’ve read enough on climate change to know that if we as a planet at least attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change, it can only result in a positive change for everyone.  (See Hippie Wastefulness section below)

Price of Materials

I wrote in my first post that we probably put about $35,000 in parts into this tiny house.  I told the first reporter I spoke to that it was $25-35,000, but they went with the $35,000 – likely because I wrote it myself.

Since writing that, I’ve tried to go over all the expenses in my mind, and it’s incredibly likely I put out too high of a number as that initial estimate.  I tracked all of my purchases with myLowes, and I’ll be going through every single one of those purchases and adding it to the initial spreadsheet I created, to find out exactly how much I’ve spent on this house.

I’m guessing the number will be closer to, or less than, $25,000 – but give me a couple days, and I’ll actually add it all up to see what the grand total is.

Duration of Theft

Some people have been surprised that it “only took 24 hours to recover the house.”  We reported the house stolen on December 20, 2015, and it was recovered on January 2, 2015.  It was gone for about two weeks.

Why We’re “Quitting”

The Police are just about finished with their investigation, but it’s not clear yet if anyone in the neighborhood our house was stolen from will be arrested.  I’ve spoken with other people from the same neighborhood who’ve said they have also had multiple thefts over the past couple years.  We can’t continue to build up our Tiny House just to have it vandalized or stolen from on a regular basis.

As Jessica said in her blog post, over the past 2.5 years, we’ve realized that everything we’ve been working towards has been put off by the building of this house.  Meeting with friends, having a garden, having a lower electric bill – all of these things can be accomplished in shared housing (apartment).

We don’t have it in us to find another location (and do all the proper vetting) to put our house at now, so I’ll simply be finishing it out while it’s stored at a secure storage facility.  We’re not quitting the Tiny lifestyle, we’re just not going to live in this house right now any more.

Why it has Taken 2.5 Years So Far

Although the commentary has been 99% supportive, I’ve received criticism at the 2.5 years it’s taken to get the build as far as it is now.  For the past three years, I have been building my business from scratch.  I’m an entrepreneur with a specialty in web development and e-commerce business management.  I have had to juggle multiple jobs while building this house, and it was often difficult to make the decision between working toward another gig or going out to the house to work on it.

I’m not playing the victim at all, with regard to my employment.  I love being self-employed, and I love the challenges these three years have brought me.  It’s been incredibly difficult to build my business up to a sustainable level, but I have, and I got a damn large portion of a Tiny House built during that time too.

There have been multiple-month long periods during this process where we made no progress because I had to earn more money.  If we had all the money we needed and at least half of each week free, I might have been able to finish it in 6-9 months.

Hippie Wastefulness

I fully accept that the building stage of a Tiny House is incredibly wasteful.  Any new construction is incredibly wasteful.  Living 40 minutes from a major city will likely cause you to drive more than you normally would, which is also wasteful (although I am self-employed, and I work from home).  So yes, I fully understand how wasteful this build has been thus far.

I also bought the majority of my materials from Lowe’s or Amazon.  I’ve read that I made an amateur move by doing that, but I haven’t gotten any recommendations of where I should have gone, and I still don’t know.  I only used those sources because I know them.

Our end goal is to live somewhere in a big city with fantastic public transportation, where we don’t need a car.  The residents of New York are some of the most environmentally friendly people in the US – even if they don’t want to be – because of all the shared housing, public transit, etc.  We will eventually live in a city like that (anywhere in the world) so that we can get rid of our car and have shared walls for more efficient heating/cooling.

I try to be as eco-responsible as I can, which is nowhere near perfect.  I drive a diesel car that gets 48mpg, so I use less fuel.  Does it still burn fuel?  Sure does.  I am still contributing to pollution, but I’m doing my best to contribute less.

The Future of the Tiny House

Edit: Our plan now is to sell the tiny house in its current condition. I’ll have another post up soon with more details (about the house, and explaining why we’re selling).

At this point, my plan is to continue building the house until it’s completely finished.  No, that two-tone paint scheme was not planned – it’s just not finished being painted yet.  Once it’s finished, perhaps the neighborhood our property is in will be safe again, and we can put it back there (assuming arrests have been made).

If that doesn’t work out, perhaps we’ll find another place to put it, where we can rent it out on Airbnb.  We also might just sell it when it’s completely finished.  The thing about tiny houses is, they’re incredibly customized to the person who designed them, so this design might not work for someone else.

The main point is, we don’t know what the future of our Tiny House is.  The only thing I do know is, it will not go to waste.

Conscious Incompetence

I was recently told that one of my defining factors is that I go into things being consciously incompetent.  I had no idea how to build a house before I started this, and now I have a much better idea.  Learning new things is my number one, favorite hobby.  I didn’t know how to change the oil in my car before I did.  Same with brakes, suspension, fuel injectors, thermostat, on and on.  I didn’t know how to set up an Ubuntu email server before I did it.

I always want to learn how to do more and more things, and the simple fact that I always start out consciously incompetent explains completely why I probably spent more money than I should have for the parts on this Tiny House.  Even if I did, though, I did it to learn how to do something, and that’s what makes me happy.

Questions

I will try to answer some of the comments on this post, so please post any questions you have.