When my husband and I moved into this tiny home with our two daughters and dogs, we told ourselves it wasn’t going to be long-term. This was a way to save up, pay off debt, and downsize so that we can move to our dream home in the near future. Truthfully, we were excited to live tiny, and even had dreams of building a more mobile tiny home and finding a large plot of land to park on while we built a cob house. We saw our goal ahead, and felt confident in our abilities to grab it! Then Vancouver real estate blew up, and our hearts sank as time went on and housing costs rose. We knew affording land wasn’t going to be possible, so we adjusted our goals to a traditional house to start with. Then that became unaffordable, and since we live on a beautiful plot of land with family and dogs, we couldn’t settle for a townhouse with its limited (or lack of) yard. Then townhouses became unaffordable, so it didn’t even matter. After awhile, it’s become apparent to us: we are not going to be buying a home any time soon.
Coming to terms with that was really difficult for us, because when you have a dream, it can be hard to adjust and then watch it become unreachable entirely. We wanted that forever home, with thin lines and dates on the door frame where we’d chronicle our daughters’ growth, and a kitchen and dining room to host numerous holidays down the year, and the comfort of a large garden cultivated over many seasons to nourish us. When we realized our dream wasn’t happening for a long time, our tiny home became stifling. What started out as a fun adventure became a struggle. We panicked and felt the 400 square feet close in much tighter than they had when this was all temporary. I remember us lying awake at night and feeling anxious about the future, forgetting that our job is to take it day by day and trust in God’s plan for us. I’m ashamed to say we’ve spent a lot of time lamenting our situation instead of feeling thankful. WHY did we let that happen?!
400 square feet is hard, especially with large-breed dogs and two young children. Having lived in NYC for a long time, I am not a stranger to living small, but with a family? That much has been new to me. For the past year and a half, we would point to our unfinished paint jobs, our very thrifted/hack job furniture, or giant, unused balcony and tell our friends, “We aren’t going to bother putting money into it since we aren’t here forever.” It made sense at the time, but in doing that, we neglected the home we have to live in daily. We made ourselves more stressed, more hostile toward tiny living, and as the future slowly crept beyond reach, it took our peace with it. We forgot that the future is the present. Our future is what we invest now! I wake up every day in this bedroom, not the one in my dream home, so why hadn’t I been cultivating joy in this room?
Sometimes we focus so hard on our future plans, we forget to nourish the present. Grow where you are planted, I had to remind myself. Tiny living is frickin’ cool! This is a unique time in our lives and an experience that gives us perspective, and it’s an awesome environment to raise our kids in. Tiny living has set me on the path toward ethical, sustainable living. It has taught me the value of less is more. It has helped my relationships with my family grow, because smaller quarters means necessary conversations, honesty, and dialogue. It has made us all more aware of the space we share with others, and to be considerate of what we say and do, or where we place things. It means my husband and I can walk into a small space and see infinite potential; we can watch House Hunters and rather than feel mournful over houses we can’t buy, laugh at the people who complain about 2,000 square feet being too small. Each of us has a quiet space in case we need time to ourselves, and when I think about all of my happiest times, many of them took place here.
Strangely enough, I’ve already spent a lot of time and love on our bedroom, as if none of my other rooms mattered as much – and some images in this post are all some of my favorite parts of this room. While we do have a beautiful home with some furniture I love, so many small, yet impactful things have been neglected in favor of overlooking the now. So recently, my husband and I made some plans! Our kitchen cabinets that are an awful shade of fake-pine are being redone to a beautiful, darker shade. We’re finishing our wall paint jobs, and investing in a new furniture and storage solutions that make more sense for our space. My curtains have been swapped for lighter linen that I love, and I’m bringing more plants inside. Most excitingly, our big balcony is being turned into an enclosed sunroom, giving us much more room and the ability to enjoy our beautiful yard and mountain-view. We feel invigorated, and our tiny lifestyle has become so fun again!
We are abundantly blessed to share property with loving family, and it boasts a greenhouse, garden beds, countless fruit trees, mountain views, and ample space for our pets and kids. I built much of these things by hand with my in-laws, and have more projects lined up, and these projects have not only helped our home, but have made me feel strong and capable. We have a happy little homestead here, and the only thing that can make it better is gratitude. We have been given the tools for joy, and have a home with so much potential to be bright and beautiful.
Our dream house is out there! But until then, this can be a dream, too. Our tiny dream.