My Tiny House Story
My interest in living tiny wasn't sparked by something specific; I think it's always been a part of who I am.
I was born and grew up in rural Idaho and Wyoming (Wydaho) on the West side of the Teton Range - literally, the three houses I remember from my childhood are on the road that is the stateline between Idaho and Wyoming.
My family is large. I'm the oldest of nine - six girls and three boys, and my parents are amazing. We never knew how little we had and how much they struggled. But, somehow, they managed to make us all feel important with their constant love and support.
My childhood memories with my siblings are full of imagination and creativity. The forests and pastures were our playground. Horses were our playmates. Unusual pets made frequent appearances. We slept under the stars in the summer. We built snow caves and skated on the frozen creek in the winter.
We made tiny homes out of everything - old chicken coops, trees, tee-pees made out of sticks, hay bales, snow. I loved using things we scavenged to build and furnish our simple abodes.
It wasn't until I was an adult and saw a Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) did know I found my dream house. I was enamored with the tiny house movement. The thought of living simply in a small space made my soul sing. A tiny house was in my future. About ten years later, it was.
A Dream Actualized
As happens, I was at the end of a long-term relationship. We had grown apart, and he took a new job and was moving to Florida. We moved to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area together five years prior. I wanted to stay, but the ongoing housing-crisis keeps supply low and prices high. On my income, without picking up another job or two, it didn't seem possible to stay.
With this, I decided to make my tiny house dream a reality. I called my realtor to list my conventional house on the Idaho side of the Tetons in hopes I could get the cash I needed. However, these things take time, and I needed a place to live ASAP, so my son and I moved in with my parents back in Idaho.
I had been drawing tiny house plans for years. I had a must-have list, which included two bedrooms, a full-size bathtub, an office, a place to oil paint, and plenty of kitchen counter space. My notebook of grid paper had every plan iteration I could think of sketched out. Finally, I had a plan that checked all of my needs.
I was banking on a wing and a prayer, and even though I didn't have the money or a place to park yet, I sent my plans to a tiny house builder in Utah, fired them (long story), then sent them to a builder in Fort Collins, Colorado - Mitchcraft Tiny Homes. We ironed out some details and he sent me a quote - all I needed was a deposit.
In March 2018, I listed my conventional house, that same day I had an offer. I had my money. I sent the deposit. Things got real...
Working with Mitch at Mitchcraft was amazing. He walked me through every step and explained everything so thoroughly. With images I provided for inspiration and some creative freedom, he created a beautiful masterpiece.
While I waited on construction, I prepared for tiny house living.
I had WAY too much stuff. It's interesting the perspective you have when all your belongings are in one spot. How did I get so much? And what the heck was it all anyway?
I took out my must-have list I used when designing the tiny house and used it as a guide to decide what to keep. I'm not sure how much I got rid of, but it was a lot. And truth be told, I couldn't tell you ONE specific thing I got rid of; it shows how important that stuff was.
Finding a Place to Park
My next task was to figure out where to park the tiny house. I had my heart set on living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I love the easy access to nature, the arts, the music, the country dance culture, my friends, and the great public schools for my son. I knew I could park at my parent's house in Idaho as a last resort, but I wanted to exhaust all my options first. I put the word out on social media and called leads but kept hitting dead ends.
Then, one night while together with a group of friends, as I was lamenting over my bad luck, one of them mentioned a tiny house used to be parked near her house in Kelly, WY (a small town north of Jackson). She said she'd ask her landlord if that space was available. She asked him and put us in contact with each other. He agreed.
I was prepared. I downsized my belongings and had a beautiful place to park under the Tetons. All I needed was the house.
A Tiny House Dream Come True
On the morning of July 25, 2018, I received a text I will never forget. It was from my builder. A photo of my tiny house hooked to a truck along with a message announcing she was on her way. My eyes filled with tears. This dream of mine was coming true. I made it come true. My dream house had become a reality.
With all my things and a bunch of family members, I headed over the mountain pass to the little community I would call home. That evening, as the sun was setting over the Tetons, my tiny house rolled in. It was more beautiful than the pictures. When I took that first step inside, I was home.