Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Only in Dreams

Not too long ago, I was sitting in the living room of my guy’s parents’ house in Aromas, California. I had come to hang out for a few days and get my grading done in the peace and quiet. His parents were at a graduation in SoCal and before I left and took my laptop with me, Tyson needed to get his tiny-house fix. The first thing you should know is that Tyson and I met on the internet, via match.com. Neither of us are people who expected to find ourselves on an online dating service, but he got drunk one night and joined, and I decided to do the same in November, after a couple of girlfriends had begun the process and convinced me.

We hit it off instantly and had a ridiculous rapport via e-mail. I figured it was too good to be true, but it turned out not to be. We broke a lot of the normal dating rules, beginning with me suggesting he pick me up at my house before our date, despite having never met before. He came in, was bowled over by my teeny playhouse (273-square-feet including the outdoor bathroom) and serenaded me with “Take on Me” before we went out. That was December 1st. Since then, we’ve been through quite a bit—job changes, moves, emotional and hormonal imbalances—but we seem to have ended up exactly where we want to be.

So as I was saying, Tyson was using my laptop to get his tiny-house fix. He does this through the website Tumbleweed Houses, run by Jay Shafer, the creator of extremely small, efficient, and beautiful houses, no wider than a flat-bed trailer, that are made to be moved. Tyson’s parents came home and I commented that Tyson was keeping me late so he could look at the houses. His mom asked why they were so important and, as he didn’t seem to have words, I tried to explain it to her. The tiny house was his dream, his ideal, perfection for someone who believes in smart design and utility, in reducing your negative impact on the space around you. Less than a month ago, Tyson’s dad called him to say that he had found a small building for sale in a guy’s backyard for a ridiculously cheap price. He sent pics of the building through his phone and we glanced at it mostly thinking “umm?”

Over the next few days, it began to seem like a real possibility. Tyson called the owner on the next Monday morning and that afternoon we met where the house was. We looked it over for a while, discussed moving and living options and decided to go ahead with it. The next day, Tyson went to meet the guy selling the house and along with one of the owner’s friends, they strapped the house down onto a trailer and moved it about 20 miles to Tyson’s parents’ land in Aromas. I won’t go into detail on the move, but suffice it to say that many hours were spent, fishtailing occurred, the house easily could have ended up in splinters on the highway, and by some miracle, sweat, and many trimmed tree branches, the house now rests at the base of the hill we plan to inhabit (note: not yet in its final resting place, see first picture for that).

One of the main issues with the house, as it can almost be called, is that it doesn’t have any facilities. A sink is installed near the front door, but besides that, there is no kitchen or bathroom. This is the main reason that Tyson was able to buy it for a mere $3,000. It’s 12x18 feet plus a sleeping loft. Fortunately, for the last year I have been living in extremely small spaces, with Tyson taking up quite a bit of them when he’s over. Both of us believe we can exist fairly easily in tight quarters. The house is already insulated, wired, and is structurally sound. We nailed down the layout a couple of weeks ago, and are very excited to begin work. I am still in Santa Cruz and am currently packing to move out to Aromas. At the moment, Tyson is working on stripping and sanding the rafters, as we thought it made the most sense to start at the top and work down.

I have little idea where this project will take us, probably to considerable frustration, money and time. We both enjoy design and using space efficiently. I have long wanted to have the opportunity to do home renovation, as I'm excellent at seeing the potential in something and trying to bring it to the surface. And we both love a challenge. Considering how high rents are in California and the volatility of the market right now, I think we've made a great decision. This blog is the documentation of our journey.


Anonymous said...

This is awesome! Congratulations guys!

Anonymous said...

You guys are nuts! It's wonderful! I truly can't wait for your next post. Thinking: okay your excellent eye for design/composition/space + your savvy writing skills + surely a brilliant list of qualities that Tyson must have to render you so smitten. Wow. Congrats you two!

hidingoutinthehillcountry said...

Smiling, a great big one for you!

Aunt Fabricant said...

wow amanda! crazy stuff... i am very excited for you two and can't wait to see where this project goes! xo dorothy

Yomama said...

Pretty cool!! Can't wait to watch the progression! Hi, Tyson!!

amanda said...

thanks everyone! and one request, if you're commenting, let me know who you are!

Nancy S said...

Amanda thank you for sharing this journey with us, you have done a wonderful job. I hope this adventure will exceed your hopes and dreams.
I look forward to your next entry!

Ironhors said...

Very cool blog,Nice work Manda!
I like the Greenaerie name too, better'n the Rooster's Roost Ty and good enough to share the vistas & billing with the Boar's Nest.
Regardless of how we get it up there, the photos of that undertaking will be priceless.
Hard to believe but I was cutting a fallen willow branch and suddenly realized it's inherent potential as a furniture component.
Dream on!