Sean and Tam, a Canadian couple, have recently started on a new adventure: residence in a tiny home. As part of their plan to live more and own less, they’ve chosen have quality, beautiful items that work hard while taking up as little space as possible. Fr their bed, they chose an unnapped Pendleton blanket in the Los Ojos pattern, and agreed to share their photos and perspectives on tiny home living with us.
When did you decide to try tiny home living?
About 4 years ago we stumbled upon a tiny cabin being sold on Craigslist by a company called Driftwood Campers. Something about that little camper sparked a light in us about alternative ways of living. We discussed buying the camper, but decided that we just didn’t have anywhere to store it as we owned a small apartment with one parking stall.
The conversation died down a bit until we saw the documentary “Tiny”. As we watched we kept looking at each other saying “we should do that!” Something just made sense about this style of living. That was the turning point for us; we had made up our minds.
We started researching tiny houses, and over the course of two years, we sold off almost everything we owned. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but definitely became a freeing change. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate that in some way or another starts to defines us.
Is there anything about who you are as people, as a couple, that made you think that this was the perfect solution for you?
Sean and I have never really felt at home anywhere we have lived. For us, having the ability to move around seems very normal and somewhat comforting. Sean spent a lot of time moving around when he was young. His parents were semi-hippies and they lived in a RV in Florida when he was a kid.
I think what makes this work so well is that we love adventure and things that are out of the normal routine of life. We didn’t just want to spend our lives living pay cheque to pay cheque. Life is so short; we want to make the most of it. Living tiny has allowed us to actually start experiencing all the things we once only dreamed of. It’s almost as if a weight has been lifted off out shoulders. For the first time in our lives we finally feel at home.
Can you tell us a little about the type of house you chose to build, and where it is sited?
Sean and I designed the layout and look of our house. We spent countless hours in shipping containers, taping out floor plans and moving things around, and visiting numerous tiny houses to see how different spaces worked for us. Since neither of us have building experience, we decided it was best for us to have the house built by a company that specializes in tiny houses. It was important to us to have a house that was as nontoxic as possible and built using some reclaimed materials. We wanted the look and feel of the house to reflect us and our fun and quirky personalities.
How long did it take to bring your plans to fruition?
It took about 3 years from when we decided that building a tiny house was the right move for us to selling off all of our stuff, including our apartment. We officially moved into our tiny house in October of 2016. Currently we are parked just outside Vancouver B.C. Canada.
The tiny house builder that we chose to work with is located on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada. They stated it would take approximately 2-3 months to complete the build of our tiny house. It took us about 6 months to finally get the house from them and then another 7 months for us to fix all of the deficiencies/problems the house had. It was a total nightmare. All in all it was just over a year for the house to be done from start to finish.
Your décor is beautiful! We are proud that you used our Los Ojos blanket. Did you have a concept or theme in mind? How did Pendleton work in with that?
Thank you! I am a bit obsessed with interior design and knew what feel I wanted for the house from the very start of the build. We did a lot of work sourcing things out to give to our builder.
It was really important for use to use some reclaimed product with a bit of a rustic feel. Our floor is actually from an old barn that was torn down in Philadelphia. Our live-edge kitchen counters are from a Black Walnut tree that was ethically removed from a heritage house in New Westminster B.C.
I think it’s the small details of decor that really make a space special and in the end it was well worth all the time and effort.
I have always loved Pendleton and the rich history the company embodies. It was something we knew we really wanted to incorporate into the house. I am inspired by Navajo art and prints so when we thought about the décor of our bedroom, we immediately thought of Pendleton. We didn’t just want to go out and get a blanket; we wanted something high quality that would last for decades. Everyone who comes into our house always says, “That blanket is gorgeous! Where did you get it?”
Do you see this as a long term, sustainable lifestyle for you?
The plan for us is 7-10 years. We are saving too hopefully by a small piece of land in Tofino, B.C. Canada. We would like to build a small eco-friendly house. We will keep the tiny house for road trips and for friends and family to stay in when they visit. Spending our days surfing, cooking and riding motorbikes!
So many people are drawn to tiny home living, but struggle with the idea of such a major downsize in space. Has anything disappointed you about your choice?
Nothing about living here has disappointed us, but we were most disappointed by the experience we had with our builder. The whole process was very disheartening. We hope that no one has to go through what we went through. I think if we could do it all over again we would have just built the house ourselves and hired help as we needed it.
What has surprised you about tiny home living?
The most surprising thing is how comfortable we are in the house. We have just what we need and know where everything is, which is a really nice feeling. We spend a lot more time outdoors living life than inside watching T.V. or on the computer.
What has delighted you about tiny home living?
I think that fact that we are doing this together is the best part. It’s been an adventure with a lot of adjustments and things to get used to but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s definitely brought us closer together. If you can live with your partner in a tiny house you can do anything together. We are in it together for the good, bad and the tiny!
We want to thank Tam for answering our questions, and both Sean and Tam for sharing their life with us in words and photos. Photo credit: @irisandbloomphoto
Follow @tinyhouseholisticliving for more from Tam and Sean.