Brittany and Her Tiny House

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How tiny is Brittany Yunker’s tiny house?

Not as tiny as her mortgage payment on her tiny house — which is zero. We recently took a field trip north to Olympia Washington to visit a tiny house perched on the edge of the south sound, Puget Sound that is.

The tiny house movement has been afoot for some time now, and it seems to show no signs of slowing down. More and more, tiny houses are appearing on facebook, in magazines (other magazines), in the news, under shamrocks, in backyards, and even an old high school friend’s sister is building a tiny house in her bid to flee the South, and move back to the Monterey Peninsula where we all came of age — talk about a mortgage payment problem, take a look at real estate prices in Carmel. If you aren’t Clint Eastwood — forget it, “get off my lawn.”

So how appealing is a tiny house? Here’s some compelling information: Say, for example, a person was to buy a house for $240,000. In 30 years when that mortgage is paid off at a pretty standard interest rate of 6.5% that will net the bank a cool $648,000, or a profit of $408,000. “Homeowner” works for 30 years to make payments, and the bank doesn’t have to do a damn thing. Pretty sweet deal for the bank. And when the “homeowner” actually IS the owner, it’s time to check out of the house, and into the rest home, or die from 30 years of mortgage payment stress.

Alternate scenario: tiny living lifestyle adoptee builds a tiny house for about $18,000 (like Brittany did) — that’s equal to about 10 house payments by the above mentioned “homeowner.” And that’s it. Done. Then, with the money that would have been donated to the bank, alternate dweller invests the same amount at a modest 7% rate of return for 30 years, with an annual inflation rate of 3% and a tax rate of 25%. Any guesses how much that works out to be? How about $1,906,674. So instead of the rest home, it’s time to party on the shuffleboard cruise to Alaska! Heck yeah!

So, why aren’t we all doing this? There are a few drawbacks, like trying to release our death grip on our tons of “stuff.” We all need a ton of lamps, flat screen TV’s, Kitchen gizmos, sports equipment, boats, lawn furniture… etc, etc, etc. How else would the bank be able to keep the credit card industry afloat? We wouldn’t want the big four to lose money! Heaven forbid! Of course there are other considerations, like some municipalities are less friendly to the concept than others. Living in a tiny house is considered to be the same as living in a camper or RV, so there is the grey / black water situation, and living in a mobile house is not kosher in some areas.

So, you’re kind of an outlaw, in a sense, but it’s like “good outlaw.” The thing with the tiny house is, it’s fun! Like when you go camping, or take a vacation, you’re suddenly in a better mood right away.

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Brittany is lucky in that her family has a sweet spot of land that suits her tiny house just right. Brittany is very knowledgeable in the tiny house world, she conducts workshops to teach others how to build their own tiny houses. She conducts workshops for “The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.” Located in California, Tumbleweed kind of invented the whole concept, and they are a great resource for everything you ever wanted to know about tiny houses.

Wondering about the possibility of being “asked to leave” we asked Brittany where the most likely spot to successfully park in a tiny house would be, and she said… “Portland.” Great news! She also told us about her friend in the tiny house world Dee Williams who is the driving force behind “PAD” which is an acronym for “Portland Alternative Dwellings” – another source for all things tiny.

We asked about the process of moving into the tiny house, and if it was hard adjusting to the tiny part, Brittany said she’d always shared spaces with others in college, and before that she’d lived at home, so she’d never really had a space to herself. When she moved into her tiny home, it didn’t even seem tiny, it seemed nice to have “all that space” to herself.

We stood outside and talked about the whole thing for a while, and then we went in — all 5 of us, and it was surprising. Once inside the tiny house didn’t seem tiny at all! All of the areas of the house were so nice, that they seemed pleasing and inviting, tiny was about the last thing that came to mind. The kitchen was not exactly the giant granite island and stainless steel appliances some look for in a home. It was just what one needs to prepare a meal, or some coffee. What else do you need, really. The bathroom (which did include a shower) was great, even with the composting toilet. The warm wood and Cape Cod-esque paneling made it seem like a much bigger space. Rich, and inviting.

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All through the house were fun “built-ins” like hooks placed cleverly above the heater to dry towels, slats to fit wine glasses perfectly, little shelves for spices, bowls and glasses.

We’re sold on tiny.

Join Brittany for her upcoming Portland workshop on Nov. 1 & 2. See
www.tumbleweedhouses.com for info.

[podcast]

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