Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!
Like many of you, I have a lot on my plate. So when it came time to build my tiny house,
I started to wonder when I’d fit it time in to actually finish my house. Right now I am juggling three jobs, running
my blog over at The Tiny Life, writing a book and on top of it, building this
Tiny House. For many of you, children
are part of the equation, but there are plenty of people building homes with
kids. So the question in your mind right
now might be: how can I juggle everything in my life and build a tiny
The answer is actually part of what I call The Tiny Life;
building a tiny house isn’t fix-all cure that some wish to believe. In fact, in some regards building a tiny
house is the simple part. In a way it
plays into our consumer culture, why go out and buy something in an attempt to
fix something. It is the lifestyle that
many find difficult to adopt. We all
know you have to reduce the amount of stuff we have, but along with the small
house and the sparse possessions we must bring focus to the life we wish to
live in that house.
It was at the point where I had decided to build my house
that I sat down and wrote what was truly important to me, these were things
that I felt were worthy of my time. From
there I ordered them in terms of importance.
It was this list that I then took and considered where I spend my energy
Through this process I realized that some things simply
couldn’t be achieved right now because other things were more important to me;
it meant that I had to say no to some things, which isn’t a word often in our
vocabulary in modern society. It was
surprising to see how things that were a lower priority for me seemed to sneak
into time that would be better used for more important things.
So take a few moments, even if it is on the back of a
napkin on a coffee break, to write down your top 10 things that are most
important to you and then consider how a shift if your time and energy might be
needed. With this you will have to learn
to say no to various activities. In this
list you can begin to see where building your Tiny House will fit in and what
things have to go in order to make the time.
You might find that building your house is lower on the list, which
means it will take a few years to complete, and that is okay because you are
intentional about it. In the long run
you are able to focus on what is truly important in your life and begin living
The Tiny Life.
Katie Butterfield recently graduated from UC Merced with a degree in political science. While finishing her degree, she discovered her passion for sustainability. She also loves food! These two passions led her to create her own blog about the food movement. Her goal is to educate people about the problems in our current food system and give examples of how to make it more sustainable- check out her awesome recipe tips!
I learned to cook in a large kitchen with ample counter
space, multiple ovens, and perhaps the largest, fully stocked pantry you've
ever seen. When I went to college, this
changed dramatically. First I lived in
the dorms, then in a house with six people sharing a kitchen. Now my husband and I live in an apartment
with a limited kitchen.
We have found that the best way to make cooking dinner easy
is to perfect the base meal that we cook. By base meal I mean that one dish
that we make whenever we just can't think of anything else to cook. Changing our base meal to fresh vegetables
and rice was not only beneficial for the size of our kitchen, it was also a
step toward eating more sustainably. We
found that it is simple and quick to make and turns out a little different
every time because we use different vegetables and sauces.
Rice and Veggies:
- Cook some
rice (we use about ½ Cup of dry rice per person). Follow the directions that came with your
rice to make sure that it cooks properly.
Different types of rice have different cooking times. We use a rice
cooker because we make this meal so often.
- Next chop
up your vegetables and sauté them in a pan with a little oil and a pinch of
vegetables over rice with salt, soy sauce, or other sauce.
Often we eat this with cheese sauce. Changing the sauce is another way to make
this simple meal different every time.
My husband and I both love peanut butter, so we have created a peanut
butter cheese sauce. If you'd like to
get creative with this meal and you like peanut butter, here is the
Peanut Butter Cheese Sauce:
to taste (optional)
slices of cheese (we like cheddar best), cut into small cubes
- In a bowl,
whisk together the peanut butter, water, salt, hot sauce, and honey.
- Once fully combined, the mixture should be smooth. Transfer to a small pot and place on medium
high heat on the stovetop. Once the
mixture is simmering, mix in the cheese, stirring constantly.
- When all of the cheese is melted, pour this sauce over your
rice and veggies and enjoy!
I don't know too many people who have been brave enough to
try this, so if you are one of them, don't worry! You can make this with out
the cheese and have a nice Asian-style peanut sauce.
Or make your own wacky sauce, or normal sauce if you prefer. It is important that you cook food that you
like the taste of so that you want to keep cooking- no reason living in a tiny house should make this difficult! Get creative and find something that you
Our home is our sanctuary for rest and pleasure, and its design is most likely a reflection of our lifestyle and personality. If the look of your home hasn't changed for decades, you may be stuck in a rut. Do you play it safe with neutral colors and low-key decor? Perhaps you're the type of person who prefers to stay within a comfort zone. Invite excitement and unpredictability into your life by starting with some home improvements and design updates. Similar to our wardrobe and hobbies, updating our home can have a positive effect on our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Take risks and stay fresh by adopting any of the following interior-design ideas:
Transforming the energy of your home doesn't have to be an expensive renovation project, and your walls don't have to be the only source of bright and stylish color. Accent a subdued wall with bold and colorful accents. Grommet curtains in colors jonquil, azalea or currant add character to white or beige walls. You can also play up your drapery with fun patterns and prints. Home decor store Z Gallerie offers Venetian Blue and Citrus Grey panels in a variety of geometric shapes that create a contemporary appearance. Minor room accents in bold hues can also instantly and easily give a home personality. Pair couches, sofas and sitting chairs with throw pillows in an orange geometric pattern or grey, orange and turquoise contemporary print available on Etsy.com.
Unexpected design choices and pairings can create an interior space that's anything but ordinary. Live life outside the rules and make life more interesting by marrying two unlikely design elements into a contrasting, yet stunning interior-design theme. Envision a modernistic style with retro accents. Pair antique furnishings with luxury furniture. Imagine an elegant design theme decorated with DIY crafts.
MiamiHerald.com recommends the design advice of Emily Chalmers, author of "Contemporary Country" and "Modern Vintage Style." In "Modern Vintage Style," Chalmers is an advocate of mixing old and new elements as well as looking for opportunities to "restore, reinvent and rescue."
As you juxtapose design contrasts, strive for balance. Chalmers suggests using artifacts and old-fashion pieces in conjunction with more modern and refined elements. Light fixtures and textiles are excellent options for adding dimension to the design of a room. From mid-century modern floor lamps and Victorian wall sconces to Oriental floor rugs and elaborate tablecloths, a wide variety of lighting and textile options can serve as excellent contrasting design accessories.
Home remodeling and design platform Houzz.com suggests designing your home by following your heart and speaking to your soul. Most importantly, don't be afraid to execute a design theme or decorative idea because it's too outrageous or eccentric. Design theme rooms to reflect your interests and passions. Are you a sentimental person? Create a nostalgic room adorned with family photos, achievements and heirlooms. Do you enjoy the tranquility of being at the beach? Transform a special space into a beachy nook with picturesque outdoor wall art and sea-inspired ornaments. With a little introspection, you can explore your inner creativity and then approach your interior space as a blank canvas for personal, aesthetic self-expression.
Storage, Odds and Ends
Storage set in to the wall is a great option. Enclose the
lower portion of the cabinet and leave the upper cabinet open to create the
feel of a larger space. Using glass shelving helps keep the feeling of the room
Repurposing furniture is a great way to create more storage
and allows you to find something that specifically meets your needs. We
recommend using a marine varnish on wood furniture to protect it from moisture.
Keep your window treatments simple. If you can, avoid
curtains completely. Frosted glass provides privacy without clutter. If you
decide to use a window treatment choose a fabric that allows light to pass
through and cover only the bottom half of the window.
Proper ventilation of a small bathroom is a must! To save
energy and still remove moisture install a ventilation system with a timer. To
remove the heat and moisture the vent may need to be on for as much as an hour.
A timer allows you to leave it and not waste energy.
Create the illusion of more space by leading the eyes up.
Vertical lines on the walls or simple molding at the ceiling draws the eye
upward and creates the feeling of a larger space.
Fight clutter! Take your assessment of your storage needs
seriously and plan accordingly. Avoid busy or large patterns in your space.
Instead, accent a neutral pallet with bold color.
Brittany did an amazing job designing her Fencl's bathroom
See more images of Brittany's Fencl
Design your lighting with your needs in mind. Florescent
lighting is energy efficient but can completely wash out natural color. Invest
in full spectrum florescent lighting to get the color and the environmental
benefit. Install both ambient lighting and task specific lighting. That task
might require a good strong light above the sink for shaving or applying
make-up or it might require warm lights with a dimmer for long leisurely baths.
Again, keep your needs in mind and design around them.
Pocket doors are incredibly handy in small spaces. The space
saved where the door would normally swing can be used for storage or simply
open space which is a luxury in itself.
Read our other bathroom design tips on siniks, showers, baths and toilets
Sinks and all the trimmings...
JT went with a Pedestal sink in his modified Walden
See more images of JT's modified Walden
Opinions on sinks are surprisingly strong among designers and there are so many variables
to consider. For the sake of this discussion we are going to look at a bathroom
that needs storage. Pedestal sinks are beautiful and keep a space open but when
storage is an issue they do not provide a solution.
Sink and vanity sets are available that are narrower than
the standard 21 inches. Some are as narrow as 16 inches. This allows you to
open up your space a little and still provides a place to store your towels.
Another model to consider would be a sink and counter
supported by four legs. This allows you to store baskets and towels while still
keeping your space open. Many manufacturers offer a “best of both worlds”
design with drawers below the counter top and open space below.
If space for the swing of doors in a below counter vanity is
an issue fabric curtains require almost no space and still hide your
The countertop is a fun area to splurge if you can fit it in
your budget and you get a lot of bang for your buck. A beautiful marble
countertop can transform a room and it doesn’t care if it is mounted on a less
expensive cabinet system.
The vanity mirror can do a lot to extend your space. It
opens up your room and creates the illusion of a larger space. If possible,
keep your mirror close to flush with the wall. If storage is a consideration
the cabinet behind your vanity mirror can be built in to the wall.
Read our other bathroom design tips on showers, baths and toilets