Episode 3 of Tiny House Nation features a couple from Rochester, NY—Tim and Shannon—as they downsize from their current home of 1,600 square feet to a tiny house in their backyard which measures whopping 210 square feet. The couple decided to downsize in order to become debt free. They plan to have their tiny house built off-site and moved into their current backyard. Tim and Shannon will rent out their current home while they look for land to purchase. This episode aired on July 23, 2014.
Downsizing is challenging
Downsizing is always difficult. Shannon and Tim have to make very difficult decisions about what can stay and what they must part with. Both work full-time. Pets are part of the downsizing equation. The couple must get rid of most of their possessions in order to fit into 210 square feet.
Difficult decisions were made regarding the pets. Two adult, two cats, and a large dog cannot all live together in 210 square feet of space. The fact that the cats and the dog cannot be together in the same room adds to the challenges. Shannon made the difficult decision to rehome her cats that have been part of her life for the past eight years. The dog, Juno can stay, but she must be crated at night and when the couple is not home. Where to put a crate large enough for Juno becomes a design challenge for co-host Jack Giffin.
Tim has to make difficult decisions too. Home brewing is part of Tim’s family tradition. Every year, on his deceased father’s birthday, he brews a beer that Tim feels his father would have wanted to brew. The problem is that brewing equipment takes up a tremendous amount of room. Tim begrudgingly decides to find a new home for his equipment.
Clothes and other personal items were sold or given away. Shannon decided to use a clothing rental service for when she needs dresses and other items that will not be used often.
A tiny house for Tim and Shannon
The house is a single story home on wheels. Building the homes on a trailer base make them easier to move. In many municipalities, putting the tiny house on wheels allows home owners to be in compliance with zoning regulations.
The design challenges were many. Tim is over six-feet tall and refused to sleep in a loft. This meant that the living area had to accommodate a bed. Prior to the move, the couple slept in a large, king-size bed. Tiny houses do not have room for large beds. To give the couple sleeping space, Zack Giffin built a custom slide out bed underneath the office space. The downside to the bed—it is full-sized.
Juno the dog got her crate. Giffin turned a kitchen island into a multi-purpose machine. The island expands into a kitchen table. Juno’s crate is the base of the island, complete with a metal grate door. A drawer slides underneath the island. This drawer holds Juno’s food and water dishes. Finally, the entire unit is on locking wheels, enabling it to be moved around to maximize space.
Co-hosts John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin tried to get Tim on board for the downsizing by having him help with building the cabinetry. Tim worked with Giffin on a cabinet that would slide open to reveal a makeup station for Shannon. When not in use, the cabinet slid shut, leaving a simple set of shelves behind.
About Tiny House Nation
Tiny House Nation airs on the FYI Channel on Wednesday nights. The first season is scheduled for ten episodes. Tiny house fanatics, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, co-host the show. Depending on your cable or satellite provider, you might be able to see full episodes online. As Weisbarth put it, “tiny houses are the next big thing.”
Lynda Altman lives with her husband, two college age kids, and a teenager in a small home on a fifth of an acre. She is turning the tiny lot into a homestead that will produce most of the family’s food. Her goal is to build a tiny home on a lot she owns in a nearby town. You can read about her homesteading adventures at The City Chick goes Country blog.