Why Build? : “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

After a few days off from construction around the 4th of July, I am back at it again. I did enjoy my down time visiting old friends and spending time on my sailboat. It was a much needed mental and physical break from the numerous tasks that are involved in building a house, even a very tiny one.

The last few days have not seen a lot of physical changes in my house. I did the final preparations before the spray foam insulation is applied to the structure on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Beyond that it has been more mental work in the form of decision making and planning. We, my contractor (dad) and me, did run errands today and purchased the shower and metal roofing for the house. Beyond that we did preliminary plans for the electrical system and breaker boxes, which I’ll discuss in detail in a future post.

My reasons for building instead of renting were many and varied. I want to live mortgage free and as debt free as possible. I wanted the freedom of owning my own tiny home verses being tied into a year long lease and paying rent. I also wanted a place of my own that I could modify and make it just perfect to fit my needs. Another reason for building was to allow me flexibility in future plans and choices such as moving somewhere else or adjusting as life changes. I suppose a lot of these wishes for freedom stem from my recent life experiences, and the realization that life can change in an instant so it is best to be ready. Lastly I wanted to build because I dislike conformity and have always longed for a lifestyle that was different in some way. Living tiny will be a challenge and very different from the mainstream. I will enjoy the challenges and plan to report how it all goes.

I knew building would be a major challenge and a lot of work. One major surprise of the building process was that beyond the physical labor of construction, which I was mentally prepared for, there is the mental aspect of making untold numbers of decision. I really hadn’t thought about all the choices I’d need to make from simple, like the color of the metal for the roof, to the more complex like which heating system to choose, appliances to buy, and how to fit everything into such a small footprint. The hardest part is that there is no “correct” answer to these questions and a lot is based on my needs, wants, and requirements for my house. Everyone will have different reasons for the choices they would make. This is both wonderful and tough because I am making decisions that effect my lifestyle, and dare I say “happiness” for the foreseeable future.

My motto has been to choose options that give me the most freedom, comfort, and independence. I am striving to make this home comfortable for me while also not breaking the bank. I want a house that I enjoy living in, that is efficient, as well as cozy.

The trick in all this is balancing the trade-offs so that I’m content living in the home for an extended period of time after the construction is complete. I hope everyone checks back after the construction is completed for my future updates on living tiny and the realities of my choices while building.

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5 thoughts on “Why Build? : “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

  1. love your posts so far but I have one question…shouldnt you have all of your electric, plumbing and in wall stuff done before you insulate? otherwise you’ll be removing insulation to install these items and defeat the purpose.

    • Good question Clancy. I am not following the conventional wisdom out there of building in my plumbing and wiring in the house walls. The reason I’m trying another approach is I feel that drilling holes in my 2×4 framing will weaken the structure as a whole. I couldn’t see putting many holes into my framework so I’m trying a different approach. The plan is to raise the bathroom floor a little in order to hide the plumbing and the rest will be hidden by cabinets. My plumbing is a bit unconventional also as I want to be able to be independent, for a time, of a sewer system so I will have a small holding tank (black water tank). Raising the floor will help me have this tank in the interior and hidden.

      The electric will run in channels down both sides of the house just below the dormer windows. The outlets will be installed into the built in cabinets and couch, as well as the floors of the lofts. I also plan to hide my breaker boxes in the bottom side of the lofts and have my battery system housed on the small storage loft opposite the sleeping loft. Some lighting will be built into the bottom of the lofts also, probably recessed lighting. The remaining lights will have simple pull string on/off switches. Once the build is closer to finished and the electrical is done, I will have a more complete post on my solar electric system and how we pieced it together. I have the benefit of having my contractor’s (dad’s) expertise in this area as my parents have lived with ONLY wind and solar power, with a battery system, for over 30 years now.

      • That’s awesome. I have the same plans as you do. Dan has a great set. Got the videos also. I’m separated as well. I plan on starting mine soon. I have been in residential and commercial construction sin 1983….when I got out of the Marine Corp. Trim carpenter by trade…..I am familiar with all of the systems and am in the process of learning about hybrid wind / solar. I’m planning on making mine totally off-grid. I will have a grey water tank but a composting toilet instead of a black water tank. 2 30 gallon water tanks in the loft so gravity fed water / 12 volt pump. found a great on demand tankless water heater on AdventureRV.com….add in a rain catchment system and a big Berkey water filter and I’ll be set. You look like you know what your doing. I’ll enjoy watching and start posting my own blog when I get started.

      • Clancy, it seems like you have planned things out a lot already. When do you hope to start building? Good luck with your build and I look forward to watching your progress via your posts. I did look at your blog during my planning this winter and loved the links to all the tiny house blogs/builders out there. I’d seen some of them before but many were new to me then, so thank you for collecting them all. I appreciate you adding my blog to the list. Thanks!

        I’m a teacher but have some building experience. My dad has built a lot so he helps guide me. I think diving in and just building is the way to go once you have a plan. I’ve found a lot of decisions have to be made along the way but have enjoyed the challenge. I especially like the idea of my own place that I built. A place for me! Probably a focus due to my divorce but freedom feels good.

      • It seems like you have planned things out a lot already, Clancy. When do you hope to start building? Good luck with your build and I look forward to watching your progress via your posts. I did look at your blog during my planning this winter and loved the links to all the tiny house blogs/builders out there. I’d seen some of them before but many were new to me then, so thank you for collecting them all. I appreciate you adding my blog to the list. Thanks!

        I’m a teacher but have some building experience. My dad has built a lot so he helps guide me. I think diving in and just building is the way to go once you have a plan. I’ve found a lot of decisions have to be made along the way but have enjoyed the challenge. I especially like the idea of my own place that I built. A place for me! Probably a focus due to my divorce but freedom feels good.

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