How my partner and I came to live in a tiny house on wheels

Letting out a sudden, defeatist sigh, I put my forehead down on my keyboard. Michael found me that way a few moments later. I felt him lean over my shoulder and focus on the computer screen.

“Looking for houses in Ghhhffrrghh? I haven’t heard of that town in Maine. Is that in the County?”

I lifted my head, a few squares lightly outlined on my forehead from where it had been pressing down a few of the keys. I blinked and then deleted the search inquiry from the house-hunting website I had been perusing with increasingly diminished optimism for the past several weeks. We weren’t looking for much, just a small home or cottage to buy. It didn’t need to be fancy. We had just spent the better half of the past year thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Our standards were not what you would call “refined.”

Yet, in spite of our low expectations, we were continuously stymied by one goldilocks-style factor after another: this house is too big, this one is too expensive, too remote, too suburban, too much on acres of sunken swampland rife with spring mosquitos. Strangely enough, the thing that was getting in our way most of all was our desire for a small home. Every home we found that was the right size was inevitably a lakeside cabin, which meant that it was invariably far beyond our price range. Less expensive homes, contrary to what I would have assumed, were usually quite large.

We briefly considered caving and just getting one of the homes in our price range that was much larger than we would have wanted. However, the previous 5 years Michael and I had lived in tiny apartments, and so my brain had a very hard time wrapping itself around what the heck two people would do with all of that extra square footage. This isn’t to say that there is anything inherently wrong with living in a large home. Every family has different needs, and every family nests in a different way. Michael and I have just never needed a lot of space, so it felt silly to us to buy something big. We would have to spend the next three years at arcades, saving tickets and getting those gigantic stuffed animals just to have something to put in those extra rooms, and really, there are only so many stuffed animals that grown people should own.

A big house was out.

The other big problem was that we really weren’t sure where in Maine we should put our roots. We had been half-hoping that we would find the perfect home, and that would tell us where we were supposed to live.

“Alright,” I said definitively, turning away from the computer and rubbing my vaguely sore forehead. “All we want is a small house that can magically move around. Does that even exist?”

Michael shrugged and shivered, “I also want a home that doesn’t cost very much to heat. I’m tired of keeping this apartment at 50 degrees just to keep from pouring our entire paychecks directly into the propane tank.”

“I know what you mean,” I nodded, pulling the enormous down comforter cocoon I’d made for myself closer around my shoulders. “You know,” I thought for a moment, “My sister mentioned something to me called ‘tiny houses’. I’d never heard about them. What about you?”

“Are those like, fairy houses in the woods? As adorable as that would be, I think I might be too tall for that.”

A few moments of curious googling later, and we found our way to a website called “Tiny House Listings.” It was like Zillow for tiny homes. I had one of those bizarre and exciting experiences where I went from not knowing something existed to needing it in less than five seconds. It’s like antiquing with your aunt and stumbling upon an accordion with scenes from E.T. painstakingly painted on the bellows. Like, this is the weirdest thing of all time, and everyone will probably think I’m a freak for owning it, but I HAVE NEVER KNOWN LOVE UNTIL THIS MOMENT. With every listing I saw I became more and more over the moon with happiness and anticipation.

Looking to my right, I saw my own excitement reflected in Michael’s eyes. We grinned at each other like a pair of idiots who have just discovered chocolate for the first time in their lives. These little houses weren’t RVs, and they weren’t giant homes. We had found our goldilocks porridge. Homes that looked like homes, but that could move around from place to place. The gypsy spirit inside me rejoiced.

The next step was to find the perfect one for us, to learn all the ins-and-outs of tiny house living, and finally have a permanent place that we could call home – even if it moved around.

This blog will chronicle our process of picking our home, all the work we did on the inside to make it a functional, livable space, everything we have learned from living sustainably, and all that we continue to learn. I’ll be as clear as I can with all of the specifics for how each part of our home functions, how we have troubleshot difficult conundrums, and what it’s like to be the resident of a tiny house! Thank you for following along; I’m sure it’ll be an adventure!

Kit McCann

About Kit McCann

Kit McCann bought a tiny house in the spring of 2014, did a lot of work to build up the inside to make it in a permanent home, and have been living here there and everywhere in Maine ever since.