[More interior photos of our recent progress at bottom of the post]
Today we transition from tiny house builders to tiny house dwellers. Today our lease for our 665 square foot apartment expires at midnight and we officially move into our 204 square foot tiny house on wheels and the process does not look like how we envisioned it when we started this journey in November of 2014. But then again, our past has not been without unique transitions, and they have never been ‘easy’ because of our love of the spaces we have lived in and the chaotic timelines and travel goals that often accompany these transitional periods.
In 2008, Samantha and I completed our undergraduate degrees from our respective universities and made a big leap to start living together in Buffalo, NY. We submitted our security deposit and began renting (more like reserving) the apartment on July 1st while we simultaneously drove through Iowa on our way to a lifelong dream trip around the United States in our tiny Honda Civic. For 29 days we slept in the car and in a tent in parking lots and camp grounds seeing incredible things that we only knew about through pictures growing up while covering 10,000 miles, 25 states, and 13 national parks. We returned back to Buffalo, seasoned small space counterparts and confident in our compatibility.
In fall of 2012, we combined the planning and execution of our wedding, the resignation of our jobs, physical interviews for new employment on the other side of the country and preparation for a 6 week trip Patagonia with mental preparation to leave everything that we knew and loved in Buffalo. We rushed to move all of our belongings into my parent’s basement 30 minutes away and erase any trace of our 4 year occupation of an apartment that we loved while trying to not forget any crucial items before getting on a flight the following morning.
For 6 weeks of winter 2012 (Summer in the southern Hemisphere) we lived out of backpacks, covering much of the distance on foot and also borrowing transport from cars, buses, and container ships as we covered over 16,000 miles on our way from San Carlos DE Bariloche, Argentina to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the Americas. We elevated our ability to cope with and embrace the unknown, as we tried to find a place to lay our head each night and our upcoming move to the west coast with no place to live lay in the back of our minds.
Our homecoming to Buffalo was short lived and our time was mostly spent saying a few more goodbyes and loading up the 16’ box truck with our things from my parent’s basement before leaving at dawn the next morning on the three day cross country trip. I drove; Samantha scoured craigslist for places to live. Options seemed slim until I heard excitement in her voice somewhere around Chicago, Illinois. The next day I drove as Samantha made phone calls and got us on the waiting list for the apartment which had just been promised to another, pending approval. At this point I felt pretty good about my foresight to place our mattress on TOP of everything in the back of the box truck and it seemed like that decision might pay off if we had to spend a couple days apartment searching in our new city of Yakima, WA. As we approached Spokane Washington, we learned that the previous renters fell through, our application was approved and the apartment was ours if we were interested. We committed site-unseen and signed the 1 year lease upon our arrival.
We really grew to love this little apartment, its great location and the little city it resides in. Similar to our past experiences, it is a bitter sweet experience to remove the character we have added to a space that we have lived in for so long. To move out, cover up and paint over the touches that made a house, OUR home. By the end of today this space will show no memory of us.
But with the end of our tenure in this rental space comes the beginning of our story in our PERFECT space. A space that we are proud of, that we own outright, that we co-designed and co-built with our bare hands. A space that has a memory in every detail and that will support and encourage the things we love to do. Our new home still shows many traces of construction debris and missing pieces, trim, storage doors, etc. SHED still resides inside the large barn we have built it in and will remain there for another week or so while we simultaneously live in it and finish working on it and take care of some logistics pertaining to our next location to live. We will have electricity, heat, propane, but we will not have water. I guess we are camping in luxury for the time being? 🙂
In the last 14 months we have DESIGNED AND BUILT our own home while making time to fulfill our urge to wander[LOVE] & Explore. It has been amazing, unique and invigorating experience, and something tells me that this is just beginning.
Robert & Samantha- [Day 1, Official tiny house dwellers.]