Heather, Tiny and ZERO Debt
Heather Myers started building her tiny house about a year ago with the intention of moving in there with her dog and two cats. Nonetheless, during the process of the build her pets were adopted/stolen by her parents, so it is just her and her living in her home “Tiny”. Her home was livable in six months but she is still tinkering with it and thus like many other tiny housers she feels the house is not yet complete.
Tiny was built by Heather with the help of her dad who was a carpenter and an electrician was hired to do the wiring. So far, she estimates that Tiny has cost her only about $11,000. The house is chic; clearly influenced by cool mid century modern design: sparse, with clean lines and lots of smooth wooden surfaces. Unlike so many who live in large houses Heather evaluated her former large home in terms what she was actually doing with the space and admitted to herself that she had rooms shut off simply so they would not get cat hair in them. Consequently she decided to go tiny, pretty much as soon as she heard of tiny houses.
Heather did not purchase plans. They were in her head, and constantly evolved based on changing tastes, found materials, size of things etc. She adds, “I hate planning. It’s not rocket science and I’m pretty handy. And as my dad says, “remember heather, we’re not building the Taj Mahal”.”
She has the house on a rural property in Manitoba. It is family owned so there is no cost associated with her living there. Too she owns the house outright so the payments on this are zilch. The only outside cost she has now are about $300 a year on utilities and money to run her vehicle. Given that she is living outside of the city fuel costs to run her vehicle are more than they once were. In other words in her 30’s Heather is 100% financially secure and needs to earn only enough money to pay for her car, utilities and to eat. Talk about the sweet life! Recognizing that others might find this type of freedom inspiring I asked her if she had any advice. She does. It is to “stop talking about it and clicking ‘like’ on Facebook. Just get outside and go it. Building a house is just like arts and crafts but with wood and screws. It’s not rocket science. Don’t read too much, just start. Owning a home outright is a glorious feeling. No debt. None. More people should believe that they are capable of this. Being in debt, for me, is such a stressor.” Good advice, no?
Living tiny really suits Heather’s lifestyle. She explains that her, “situation is unique in that I’m a professional pet-sitter so I was finding that when I had a 1500 square foot house by myself I was only there to dust and vacuum. I spend a lot of time at client’s houses playing and napping with their dogs. So a tiny house works for me in that there’s not a ton of real estate to be paying for and not using. I would say that I live there year round but in reality I get there probably only 30% of the time.” This year she will change her business model and also do some pet sitting out of her tiny home. No large packs of Great Danes, I hope.
Tiny is on grid and has electricity running into her. Heather’s kitchen has a beverage centre type fridge, toaster oven, single burner induction cooktop but she plans to build a deck so that she can do a lot more cooking outside on a BBQ. The rest of her infrastructure is as follows. An Envi wall heater and this normally does the trick even in Canadian winters; however, on really cold days she does plug in another heater. She carries in water but planning on a gravity fed kitchen or pump from an interior tank. The house has no shower or bath and she chose the Thetford Curve chemical toilet.
Heather’s house is very unique in it’s style and layout and you can tell that she is the sort of woman who gets on with things, but still I had to ask if she has any regrets about her home. She says “the beauty of a tiny house is that if you have regrets, you can change things pretty easily. For instance, I don’t like the size and the wall material I used for my bathroom, so I’ll probably change it eventually.”
Her house has one really unique feature and some great repurposed items too. She put in a low window so that her pets can sit and look out. She says “I bring a lot of client dogs into tiny and it’s the first place they go. They just sit and watch deer, birds, or wild turkeys walk by. They love it. Another thing that I love is that I used a lot of repurposed material. Don’t get my wrong, I bought a lot too but for instance, most of my windows are Backlane or Kijiji finds and my metal siding was taken off the old McDonalds restaurants when they were renovating. mmmm, french fries…”
To read more about Heather and Tiny, please visit her blog
Laura Moreland is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings. She lives in a tiny woodland cottage near Kingston Ontario with a pack of dwarf dogs. Her woodsman ensures that she never accept apples from old ladies. You can learn more about Laura through her website “Tiny House Ontario” here.
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