Back in June of 2019, I began a conversation with Arlin at Forever Tiny Homes. At the time, everything was just “an idea”…”a thought”…”a dream”…
Fast-forward a little over a year later. The world flipped on itself. Nothing made sense and dreams seemed the least important over just surviving. Yet for us, the dream had become the reality. On August 15th, 2020, Arlin and Dominic delivered our Tiny Mouse House.
And now we’re here, August 15th, 2021 – a year living full-time in our tiny house. I’d like to relate a few highs and lows from the past year, and perhaps share some insights into what such a dramatic change moving from 1800 square feet into less than 300 can be…and how it really wasn’t that dramatic after all.
A large part of the lack of drama or rather the ease of adapting was due to living in a smaller trailer during the build time. As a reminder to those who haven’t read all of our blog posts, when our house sold in January ’20, we had found a location to live, but the tiny house was just beginning to be constructed, design decisions still being made and the early impact of the pandemic being felt by our wonderful builders as they furiously sourced material and manpower. So where do we live? We didn’t want to lose our spot, but fortunately a good friend came to our rescue and let us live in his 26’ trailer for 8 months while our house was completed. From the end of January until August 15th, Mona and I moved from a two story 4 bedroom 2-1/2 bathroom house into this little trailer.
It was a shock to the system to say the least. Just us and two little yorkies and a whole lotta understanding, patience and routine to get us through. I no longer had my den to retreat to at the end of the day. Mona didn’t have her huge living room, kitchen and dining room to run her business. The trailer was awesome for what it was, but we had to deal with grey and black tanks, a tiny 5 gallon hot water heater, and honestly a trailer that was made for weekend getaways. Not full time living. We have the greatest respect and understanding for those we’ve met who do this year after year. Wow.
But time passes and as slow as it did – again, the world was busy FORCING us to remain inside this little lack-of-elbow-room abode – it was soon time for delivery. The trailer was cleaned and returned to our friend who I still can’t thank enough. And suddenly Mona and I – after one of the hottest days in August spent working with Arlin and Dominic and our son to get the house situated and hooked up – were standing in our home.
Our Tiny Mouse House. Oh, we still had a TON of interior decorating to do. Through a gazillion back-and-forth emails with Arlin (she has the patience and enthusiasm of a saint – good lord, go buy a house from her already people! 😊), they had created our dream home….with all the actual DREAMS realized. The infrastructure was all there. The skeleton ready for us to fill out, to dress up, to make the dream even more vibrant and wonderful and Disney.
We spent that evening with my mom and dad at the house. My mom…I can’t ever thank her enough for sewing all of our curtains. Not just any curtains, no. There are different colors and patterns for each room, each “land” in our home. Red and polka-dot-black-&-white for the kitchen and living room, purple and green for “Dopey’s Mine”, Yellow and Orange for “Pooh Corner” and so much more. Curtains and valances, lovingly sewn and never a penny asked. I love my parents. Indulging the Disney fandom they had fostered and supported among myself, Mona and our kids. My brothers have not followed that specific infatuation, but that’s alright. More for us.
Later that year, we braved this strange new world and ventured south to Downtown Disney in September after it had reopened for shopping. We spent WAY too much money but came home with a car-full of this and that, all perfectly matching our vision. Etsy became my second home as we either found perfect pieces or engaged some amazing artisans who brought our ideas to life.
By the end of 2020, as the holidays approached and we found how easy it was to decorate a much tinier house, we truly felt our visions had been realized. All the pieces were in place, even pieces we hadn’t thought about. I encourage you to watch the second video I have posted on our website, which takes you on a tour of the interior of our home.
There HAVE been changes, of course. Some heart-breaking – we lost our two little puppies at the age of 16 just a few weeks ago. Like the close brothers they were, when we had to put one down the other followed two days later. They were inseparable and chose not to be apart for long. They now live in memoriam in our home and our memories are slowly moving to happy ones of the unconditional love and friendship they blessed us with for over 16 years.
Overall, though, the changes have been happy. We are SO thankful for the results of original design decisions, such as direct sewer hook ups – no tanks to clean or flush, no clogs or smells. And a stackable washer and dryer, though they will shake the house better than those old coin-operated hotel massage beds – we have learned to mount things very carefully so they are shake-proof. And oh man the on-demand tankless hot water heater? Halle-frickin’-lujah. No 5 minute turn-off-the-water-to-save-it showers. And that shower is of the rainfall variety. And it’s in a jacuzzi tub with its own heater. Need I say more? And being a tech-head, I continually enjoy our smart house and 55” 4K TVs with Dolby Atmos and my consoles and my Hue Sync lighting in my loft and and and….
You get the idea.
What we have found is that there really was ZERO adapting when we moved in. Living in that 26’ trailer for 8 months made this house a mansion. And it has remained so to this day. But with the added bonus of, generally (not always), limiting our collection habits. Oh, we collected a LOT of stuff back in our home days. My collection of Funko Pops and BluRays and die-cast Disney models and containers of this and that…don’t get me started on my Harry Potter wand collection (though to be honest I still have that in storage and it’s not going anywhere don’t ask…) We have learned to really THINK about what we’re about to buy, to caution anyone who wants to buy us a gift, to reign in the impulse buying that ran rampant for many a-year.
Now, I won’t lie and say that has completely disappeared. No, it still happens. But we try to stay “on brand” and make sure it fits. For example, take a look at this latest resident of our “Happiest House on Earth”.
Yeah…you know, he was a lot bigger than I expected… 😉
So here we are. One year in the Tiny Mouse House. It has been overall an amazing, wonderful experience. And every day we try to remind ourselves of what it took to get here, appreciate the conveniences – thank GOD we over-planned-at-the-time and included TWO mini-split Air Conditioning units! – and be mindful of the limitations it presents…of which there are very few.
Living in our Tiny Mouse House continues to be a joy and we are so very thankful of everyone who has helped us get to where we are today. But remember: this house has wheels. We will move someday on to more exciting adventures. No idea what those might be, but we can’t wait to find out.