How Our Tiny House Allowed Us To Create Our Dream Life

How Our Tiny House Allowed Us To Create Our Dream Life

how our tiny house allowed us to live our dream life

Andrew hard at work in our hOMe office

This morning we woke up at 9:30am. It’s a Monday. Yup, a typical work day in the lives of most. I guess it’s a typical day for us too. Morning snuggles with the dogs will be followed with eating a full breakfast which will be followed by opening our laptops and getting to work. We are self employed, work from home, and frankly it’s hard to imagine a life any different than this. A couple hours of email will be followed by a healthy lunch, some more email/blogging/writing and then it will be time for our afternoon run. Or to go the lake with the dogs. Or to go to town to meet some friends. Our day to day living pace is relaxed and we have more availability to say “Yes” to the things we want than ever before.

Our lives weren’t always so idyllic though. Trust me, we put in our time in that hamster wheel. There was a long period in which we believed the propaganda that surrounded us and we bought into the consumerism chain. Expensive cars. Expensive house. Expensive clothes. Expensive vacations. Were we any happier? No, of course not. We were caught in a cycle and kept making the same mistakes over and over again. We just didn’t know any better.

We paid very high costs during that time: our family dynamic suffered, our marital relationship was less than ideal, our savings dwindled, our stress levels were high, and our general state of well being was very low. Fortunately, some pioneers in the tiny house movement (Jay Shafer and Kent Griswold) were busy laying out new options for families like ours and once we discovered the tiny house movement, we finally understood why we had been so miserable during those long decades: we hadn’t been living consciously and had been making purchasing decisions outside our means.

How Our Tiny House Allowed Us To Create Our Dream Life

5 months on the beaches of Baja living in our tent trailer gave us best perspective on what’s important

A funny thing happens when you start to live within your means: money and time free up, relationships benefit, health improves, stress decreases, joy goes way up, energy for exercise and self care increases. We now own our home outright and have no housing payments. We make wise purchasing decisions. We are smart about how we spend our time. We prioritize joy and health. We are reaping the benefits of some very good decisions we made four years ago. Life is better than ever!

Making the move to tiny is typically not an overnight event. If you are frustrated by the life you have created, start thinking about what steps you need to take today to invent the life you want in the future. Get super honest and challenge your relationship with material possessions. Dare to think outside the box and to find your own truth; not the one others told you to believe. Be a warrior in your downsizing process and fight for your right to live a sane and happy life. If we could do it, anyone else can too. Start today and before you know it, the life you’d only dreamed about will be your reality.

Want to learn more about tiny house living and how to build a tiny house? Want to do so for FREE? Sign up for our totally free 7 Day Tiny House eCourse! Find out more HERE.

26 Responses to How Our Tiny House Allowed Us To Create Our Dream Life

  1. Bill H. November 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    I enjoy reading about your adventures…albeit, some are a bit difficult maybe at the time.

    • Gabriella November 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

      Thanks Bill! Yes, no shortage of challenges along the way! 🙂

  2. Daniel Ferris November 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    My wife Holly and I and our 2 year old Daughter are just starting finally. Well we started a year ago when we bought your plans then revamped them to adjust for our personal likes and needs and started to build. We are finally doing the finish work and moved in 2 days ago. Still a lot to do, but we are loving it. It has been a tough year working every day after work but very rewarding to build our own home. A thank you is in order to both you and Andrew for your blogs and dedication to helping anyone with interest in thinking outside of the box. Holly brought up the idea of building a tiny house a little over a year ago to me and I was quite adverse to the idea until I saw your place. The videos, blog and stories inspired me to change my thinking and helped to plant a seed. Well that seed has grown and is close to maturity. Keep posting and thank you.

    • Gabriella November 9, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

      This is SOOOO great to hear!! I am beaming with happiness! Congrats to you guys. I can’t wait to see photos 🙂

    • Kristy Osborn November 11, 2015 at 6:20 am #

      We have made the change from a 1600 sq ft home to tiny living. We reached out to to Tiny House Build because we were interested in building the model that Gabriella and her husband advertises. After about 2 months of trying to get a response, we heard nothing and had to choose another builder. Not a single response from Tiny House after filling out the request form for a build.

      The tiny home we had built was a complete bust. Nothing worked, the plumbing was plumbed in a loop, the appliances that we had sent even the composting toilet was put into another home by the builder. We could not live in this home after having 2 different contractors tell us that they couldn’t fix this tiny home and it would be easier to start over.
      Gabriella, if you are responsible for writing information on tiny homes and “inspiring” people please be aware that it does not always turn out better. I am personally tired of seeing the propaganda of “everything is rainbows and your life will improve if you go tiny” from websites and tv shows in order to make tiny homes. Yes, we even worked with Tiny House Nation.
      I am not blaming you for what happened to us. But I believe there needs to be stronger communication on regulations of builders and zoning laws if you want to park a tiny home. Tiny homes are not RV’s, so insurance companies will not cover them in our experience.
      Please be aware that there are good and bad experiences with going tiny and share BOTH.
      Thank you, Kristy – Colorado

      • /bob November 11, 2015 at 7:17 am #

        Sorry to hear of the problems you encountered. What you describe is almost the same as many experience with *ANY* sized house. Many years ago (before I found the small house movement and tiny houses) my own house was nearly a disaster worthy of bulldozing to the ground and starting over. And my current house is bigger than the national average. Sounds like you found a few bad contractors who don’t know how to follow up on their subs. Only reason my house turned out is that I am familiar with how things should be in construction even though I have barely a fraction of the experience Andrew has. I would agree that it is sad that we each have to be our own advocates for so many things… but that is actually how it has always been even hundreds of years ago. Trusting others to do things for us, and do those things the way we need, is a relatively recent idea so of like big houses themselves! I was able to work with my contractor to “force” the subs to fix electrical fire hazards that they initially left us with, and to fix putting a bathroom drain stub in the middle of a hallway the day before the concrete floor was poured, and other things simply because *I* was at the house almost every day with the blue prints checking on its progress. Even so, I wasn’t able to get a few things, fortunately relatively minor things, corrected as it is. I think your contractor just didn’t want to fix the problems and maybe didn’t see enough profit in it for himself or his subs to do so. They did it wrong to start with and refused to take the cost of fixing it. I’d be really surprised if the problems you mentioned could not have been resolved, it would just take the contractor soaking up the extra expense for his own mistakes. As to placement, it is very clearly stated in a great many posts on various tiny house blogs how it is difficult to find a legal place to put or build a tiny house. This is not something that is hidden from all the reading I’ve done on it in the last 5 years. I’ve found it rather common to include the struggle to find somewhere to put a tiny house in almost all the blogs I’ve read (many many hundreds of blogs) and even a few where the builder of a tiny house was evicted due to neighbor complaints filed when they tried to live “under the radar” as it were (something I don’t recommend anyway). There are places that now do allow a tiny house to be a primary residence on a lot or even in a community. But those places are relatively few still. But change is happening and more places are considering changing codes to allow this. The modern version of this movement is still in it’s infancy so there will be struggles on many fronts.

      • Gabriella November 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

        Hi Kristy. I am very sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with your builder. In regards to your comment “Not a single response from Tiny House after filling out the request form for a build” I am completely confused.

        Firstly because I take great pride in answering EVERY single email that comes in, generally within 24 hours. The majority of my work time is spent answering people’s questions not just about hOMe but all things tiny. I did a thorough search on my email account and there is no record of you contacting us at any point in the past (until now).

        Secondly, we state on our website that we don’t build tiny houses for others (we sell our plans and a how to DVD) so it wouldn’t have made sense for you to contact us with that question anyways (though of course I would have responded if I had received an email and I would have recommended some builders and options).

        Are you sure that you contacted us? Perhaps it was another business. There are so many and many of our names are similar. If there has been a mistake made in who you thought you contacted, we would greatly appreciate it if you could clear that up. It’s hard to hear (after being so committed to the mission of responding to every email) that we didn’t respond.

        Again, I am sorry to hear that this has not been an easy journey for you. We hope that the future is much brighter.

  3. Manu November 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    I love your home and your TED(x) talk about tiny living, but I’m sad due to legal issues in Austria it is not that easy. I think it is better to go for an RV first…

    • Gabriella November 9, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

      Hi Manu! Thanks for writing in. Is it difficult legally to live in an RV in Austria or do they allow for that there?

      • Manu November 10, 2015 at 12:20 am #

        I guess it is more legal than in a self built tiny house! Especially if u want to move around and idk how camping places would treat a tiny home. 😀

        • Gabriella November 10, 2015 at 10:55 am #

          Manu, I just took a look for tiny houses in Austria on and there are actually two registered people who are right now building tiny houses! See if you can get a hold of them and figure out what they are doing in terms of legalities. Let us know how it all goes for you!

          • Manu November 10, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

            Wow thank you for your response and sorry to spam this post! ^-^
            I didn’t know about such map and other people with the same idea in my country.

        • Gabriella November 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

          Manu! Look at the comment from Stephen below! He said there is someone in Austria building a hOMe. Let me know if you find them!

  4. Edward November 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Bill, thank you for your continued reporting on the issue of Tiny house building and living. That said I love the concept but have found in my research that you just can’t live where you want to.

    Many cities and municipalities prohibit or restrict these tiny house communities or have ordinance to prevent them. How is one supposed to overcome this?

    If indeed you/we are fortunate to secure a nice location that give the tiny house access to services without driving excessive distances to a town how do you avoid excessive space rent?

    It seems that the tiny house concept is great but a damper on its success is space to put it without violating city ordinance or being gouged. Cities want their property tax but I don’t want to give it to them anymore and that’s an attractive feature in going small.


  5. Shannon Nix November 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Are both you and your husband writers full-time? I’m constantly looking for ways to work from home. I do realize that if we didn’t have as much debt, I could probably find one. We are in the process of selling our home in order to transition into tiny house living 🙂 Super excited!!!

    • Gabriella November 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

      HI Shannon! Yes, we are both writers/bloggers but also teachers. Andrew teaches workshops and has since 2006. That has afforded us the ability to be totally self employed. Keep us posted on your transition!! It’s an exciting time for you guys!

  6. Stephen Nash November 10, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Any posts w/recollections on your 5 mo’s in the Baja? Would love to read more about that! Great post.

    • Gabriella November 11, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

      Hi Stephen! Thank you! Yes, for sure. If you look at our first blog posts they are nearly all about our trip to Baja

    • /bob November 12, 2015 at 5:13 am #

      Also if you are reading this in a computer browser like Firefox or IE or Chrome (I haven’t looked on a mobile device how this web site shows) there is a list of Blog Categories in the right hand column. The very first item in that list is “Baja” that will take you to at least 3 pages of blog posts on this. That is how I found it and read every one 🙂

      Made me want to take a trip to the lower west coast south of the border 🙂

      • /bob November 12, 2015 at 6:39 am #

        Just an additional note… I decided to re-read the journey. Fun stuff. Makes me wish for a joint desire to do the same.
        Noticed there are a lot of posts that lead up to the move to Baja at the beginning of the “Downsizing” category at the very beginning (page 13). If you really want the whole scoop on it. 🙂

  7. Bernie November 11, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    What a wonderful article Gabriella, thank you so much for this!

    Just as you are stating Jay Shafer or Kent Grisworld as pioneers, many are already referring to you and Andrew in the same way. Numerous people around the US and the rest of the world are inspired by the way of live you and your husband are promoting – just the other day I saw a version of hOMe being built in Austria! Can you believe that?!

    I have recently started gathering European TH enthusiasts in order to also get the movement started over here, and it’s going really well – what a wonderful life we are all living!

    Sending lots of good energie to you from the Netherlands,

    • Gabriella November 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

      Thank you Bernie! So awesome to read this! And love hearing that a hOMe is being built in Austria! There is a reader in an above comment who is from Austria that will be very interested in hearing this 🙂

  8. Doug November 25, 2015 at 11:46 am #


    I’m not sure you can call our converted cargo trailer a tiny house in the true sense, but it is to us.

    When we sold our house to move back to British Columbia last year, we knew we didn’t want to buy another house. We also knew that we wanted to travel. But our Golden Retriever “Mattie” kinda kept us “grounded” so we decided to convert our cargo trailer into a travel trailer. The conversion took 5 months.

    Starting in May, we toured northern BC, the Yukon, and the US states of WA, OR, and northern/central CA before we had to return “home” to Vancouver Island unexpectedly. We’ve rented a 2 bedroom condo for the winter.

    The condo is nice, the gas fireplace is nice, but we can’t wait to get back into our travel trailer and explore more of North America. Hopefully we will start again next May.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say “Hi” and also to say that it’s amazing how little one needs to be comfortable and happy.



    • Gabriella November 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

      Hi Doug! Great to hear from you! It sounds lovely. Keep in touch! 🙂

  9. Jimmy December 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I love reading about other adventures and dreams. My wife and I have lived in a yurt for about two years and it is amazing. There are downsides and it is tough, but we wouldn’t give it up for a huge mansion. 🙂

    It’s exciting to see this movement grow. More people need to live within their means, not only for the planet, but for themselves, like you highlighted above.

  10. Brucemii February 23, 2021 at 2:46 pm #

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    The next year, Francine “nickle” Patterson, then a graduate student university understanding developmental therapy at Stanford, premiered training in Koko manifestation appropriate language included in a dissertation enterprise. when the ex browse progressed, you acquired custodianship with all the gorilla also started out the Gorilla basic.

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