The second half of 2019 was rapidly approaching. The house was up for sale...or was it? We had a trip planned for September and we would be in Europe with our son. We put on the brakes and told our agent let's wait until we get back. The agent's pictures were ready, the listing prepped for posting... 3 weeks later we pulled that particular trigger and the process began. On the tiny house front, we proceeded towards two important decisions: we started touring possible locations to park the THOW (Tiny House On Wheels), and we discovered Forever Homes.
Forever Homes is owned by Arlin and Dominic and they have an amazing website that lets you put all their pieces together and get a quote online. No other builder in Northern California - at that time - had that available. But it wasn't just the site that impressed me. It was the fact that within hours of creating the quote, Arlin contacted me. We hit it off immediately, chatting like we had been friends forever. As I described our custom design, now pretty fleshed out in my mind but not on paper, she reacted opposite of what I had expected; not with a "well, we only customize our pre-set designs" but rather "That sounds amazing! Let's talk more about it!"
And talk we did. Over the coming months, through back and forth, we hashed out all the pieces, from overall size (36' L) to exactly where specific electrical plug types go. Below is just ONE version of many documents we emailed and texted back and forth.
Absolute controlled chaos. And Arlin and Dominic always stayed positive and excited throughout the entire process, encouraging us not with "no, we can't do that", but instead with "Yeah! That sounds awesome! Let's find a way to make that happen!" Home theater recliners in the living room? "Sure!" A full-size jacuzzi bathtub with rainfall shower and custom tiling with hidden Mickeys? "Of course we can do that!" We love them to death and consider them close friend we would do anything for. They certainly did everything for us!
Now location was a complete different - and less enjoyable - experience. I give 100% credit to Mona for this one. While I was working on the design with Forever Homes, Mona was calling everyone and anyone for places we could LEGALLY park our home. Our real estate agent gave it a shot at first, bless her heart, but realized quickly this was a morass of legal quicksand she did NOT want to step foot near. From antiquated zoning ordinances written decades ago to un-budging commissions more interested in the increased property tax from a large house on a property rather than one holding just a Tiny House...which they haven't (yet) figured out how to get their share from. It was a nightmare.
Mona found the known locations, most notably Delta Bay which we definitely want to give a shout out (and link) to, because they were the first legal tiny house community in Northern California, formed within the Delta Bay RV Park. And while we decided against moving there - for many reasons, including challenging driving conditions along the Delta levee roads and the awesomeness that are Delta Mosquitos - the location really is beautiful and a great spot for many in the valley and the bay area.
What she kept hitting her head against were RV Park owners and managers that simply didn't understand what a Tiny House was. They argued with her that they only accepted RVs - our Tiny House is fully RVIA-certified and registered as a recreational vehicle in the State of California, license plates and all. Or they thoughts, as I mentioned before, that we were in a rundown-camper or poorly-remodeled school bus, some of which are beautiful I want to point out; love to the Schoolies out there. Or they didn't take "full-timers", which was a deal-breaker for us because we already knew we could have the house delivered to our parking location, with two regular cars, we couldn't easily move it. And way too many places who would allow a tiny house, insisted we either move it every 6 months, or even LEAVE for at least 2 to 4 weeks before returning IF they had space.
Mona persevered and we found a spot, one that, per request of the owners, I will keep private and ask that others who know us do as well. Thank you. They were friendly and even eager to have us come join them, having had a positive tiny house experience the year prior with a home owned by two local police officers.
We had the builders and design locked in, the location set, and we even found a surprising option for full insurance for our home while living in it full time - thank you Progressive Insurance! The date was early December 2019....
The house sold. Suddenly down-sizing became critically urgent. We had to find a storage unit that was affordable AND near our new location. We had to finalize the design and be ready to get Forever Homes the deposit to start building as soon as the money from escrow hit our account in January. The timing was all coming together. It was happening! And....oh no....oh no no no...why didn't we think about this earlier?!
Our tiny house would take 5 to 6 months to build. It couldn't start until we sold our house and received the funds....
Where the heck are we going to live for the next 6 months?????
Next: 2020. What could have been a nightmare is saved by an unexpected and wonderful act of kindness.