At this point, I’m assuming I don’t need to educate any of you on what a tiny house is. We’ve all seen the TV shows and documentaries, and consequently wondered to ourselves if we could ever live in a tiny home… but if I’m being honest, I’ve never personally known someone who adopted a tiny lifestyle. That is, until our photographer friend Kelly Christine took the plunge.
Knowing that she’s the talented shutterbug responsible for so many of our favorite features on the blog, we knew what to expect from Kelly: something bright, well-designed, friendly. And that’s exactly what we got. Keep reading for all the thoughtful details that make up Kelly and Canaan’s 300 square foot home.
We’re loving the idea of simple living. Tell us about your tiny house.
We started building our home in mid-July of 2016 and moved in that October. Our home is 312 square feet and we currently have it parked on a beautiful piece of family property in the piney woods about 80 miles east of Dallas.
So why a tiny home, and how has it changed your lifestyle?
A few years ago we lived in a pretty big house with our roommate and had accumulated a lot of “stuff.” It made us feel a little weighed down. We started to feel that urge to downsize, not only our material possessions, but also our carbon footprint and the amount of money thrown away on rent and bills each month.
We started the downsizing process by selling a bunch of our things and moving into a 700 square foot apartment. This was a good way to test out tiny living before we went all in. We felt like we could definitely go smaller, so we did!
How would you describe your interior design style?
My husband Canaan and I are both strongly opinionated about interior design and our interior tastes have slowly evolved together. We both love bright, open, and clean spaces that still feel very cozy, warm, and eclectic. We got to design our house from the ground up and chose every little detail. It was so fun and such a learning experience.
Have you experienced any design challenges in this home?
We are still figuring out ways to make better use of our storage spaces. I’m actually really happy with our layout and the amount of cabinets and closets we have. Although, if an extra shoe cabinet magically appeared, I wouldn’t complain!
One thing that I used to do that’s impossible in a tiny home is rearrange furniture. I would get the urge to move everything around for a fresh perspective a few times a year, but now, nothing moves. Each thing is where it was designed to be. To combat these urges, I still move little things around like plants and art.
Is there anything you miss about “normal-sized” living?
Though the space is smaller than what most people are used to, you quickly adapt to living with less if you’re open to it. To us, living in a tiny house hasn’t taken away anything from our life. It has given us more freedom, less financial obligation, and a more environmentally conscious outlook.
How sustainable is your home? Do you have solar panels or a rainwater system?
No, but that would be awesome. Solar panels cost a lot and our electric bills do not. We couldn’t justify the cost right now but we would love to have them someday. We’d also love to have a rainwater system, but that can get tricky with dry Texas summers.
We can’t help but ask… how much did all of this cost?
I’m totally fine sharing this information because it’s the second most asked question I receive. Our budget was $65,000 and we stuck to it very well. We took what we had in our savings and added it to what we would spend in rent over the next 3 years and that was our magic number. Now we spend the same amount paying back our loan per month as we did paying rent. However, the house will be completely paid off within the next 3 years. Cue happy dance!
Has living in a tiny house affected your relationship?
Nothing has changed in that regard. If anything, I think my husband and I are even closer. We’ve always been best friends and very happy sharing a small space together. Both of our families and all of our friends love coming over to visit.
If you could describe this house in one word, what would it be?
Happy. That’s the first word that comes to mind. When someone new comes over they always say our home has a good energy. Our friends and their kids love coming over to hang out. We always have a good time here.
Can you share some of the sources you used when building and decorating your home?
Our house was custom built by American Tiny House. We got our couch, barstools, and media cabinet from IKEA. Our living room rug and outdoor swings are from Joss & Main. Almost everything else was thrifted or found at estate sales.
Your favorite thing about your house, go!
I really love our living room. We love watching movies together and it’s so cozy, especially at night if it’s storming. The sound of rain on our tin roof is amazing. The couch we chose has a section hidden underneath that we can pop out so we can put our feet up.
And your least favorite thing?
There isn’t really anything that I don’t love about our home. It does make me a little sad to think about how we will outgrow it at some point. We won’t always live here, but I hope we will always have it nearby for guests.
What’s the next big change or addition you want to make to your home?
We’ve actually finished most of the home projects that were on our list. Since our home was custom built, then moved to this property, not much had to be done inside except decorate. Pretty much all of our projects had to do with the outside area and making it inviting. We love entertaining our friends and family so we wanted our outside space to be really fun.
Any tips or words of wisdom for someone interested in living in a tiny house?
I would advise not to jump straight in overnight. It’s easy to get caught up looking at all the cute homes online without actually picturing your daily life in a smaller space. Downsize slowly so you don’t regret your decision. We really took our time with it and I’m so glad we did. About a year and a half passed from the moment we first considered it to when we actually moved in.