Our tiny house still isn’t done. It’s getting closer every day, but it’s not finished. I wanted to take a second to write about some of the realities of this experience.
- Everything about it has been harder than we thought. For instance, when we bought the kit for our cabin, it said it could be assembled in 2-3 days by two reasonably skilled adults. It took about… 2 months. I don’t think we’ve said “that was easy” once in the last six months.
- Everything costs more than you think it will. We’ve price shopped a ton and still spent so much more than we (perhaps naively) thought this was going to cost. I can’t think of a time we’ve gotten to say, “How cheap!” or “That is exactly what we’d budgeted!” this entire time.
- No body cares about your project as much as you do. Most ridiculous experiences: the roofers took over a month to install our roof. Our plumber put a vent pipe through the middle of what I many times explained to them was a sleeping loft. Our drywall guy has taken a over a month for a job that very clearly shouldn’t have taken longer than a week. Hiller – a huge company – messed up how much voltage the sent our mini-split (hvac alternative) and it EXPLODED (and is being rebuilt). I think the message here is: if you want something done right, do it yourself. Even if that means it will take you so, so much longer than hiring someone with more experience.
- That said, making mistakes is bound to happen. Be forgiving of yourself and each other. One of the hardest moments of my life is when I looked at a house full of expensive siding we’d just painstakingly installed (upside down and inside-out) and realized we would have to take it all off carefully and then reinstall it.
- Patience. Patience. Patience. Things like this take time. So many times we’ve taken one step forward and two steps back and that is the nature of this sort of project. And we’ve learned that the minute you hire someone you put your timeline in their hands. And stomping your foot doesn’t help. And crying doesn’t help. This project has brought out the toddler in me a dozen times. I’ve complained and whined and said crap like, “that’s not fair.” I’m not proud of it.
- We have not had the right amount of time to work on this project. It was a huge miscalculation on our parts. We thought we would get 75% or so done before Jonathan started back to work and that we would then work on it nights and weekends to finish. The reality of Jonathan’s job is such that he works 60 hours a week and has no energy to work on it at night. Since August, we have worked on the tiny house mostly during Edmond’s naps on weekends – that’s like 5 hours per weekend if we’re lucky. Family has pitched in to watch Edmond a ton, and that has been very helpful, but we have still been so limited with what time we could spend on this.
Then there’s all these times:
Jonathan on some stairs we built. Before we figured out that we had to have a 3×3 landing in front of the door.
We recently re-watched the documentary Tiny, and it confirmed so much of the above. That this is just a hard process. A costly process. One not to go into if you’re not committed to it 110%. Check out tinyhouselistings.com — there are a lot of half finished tiny homes on there.
So despite these last six months beings arguably the most stressful, I’m proud that we haven’t given up. That we’ve kept working. That we took on this really hard work to make the future more secure for our family.
And that we’re. almost. done.