09/25 Tiny house life: what it’s like for a couple

Davie and Ann's tiny house

Davie and Ann’s tiny house

What’s it like to build and live in a 230-square-foot home on wheels with your romantic partner? For some, it’s a nightmarish concept under any circumstances. In reality—for Ann Armstrong and her boyfriend, Davie, anyway—it can be pretty great.

Last month, we took a video tour of Armstrong’s tiny house, which she designed (she’s an architect) and built (she’s also a metal fabricator and posses many other construction skills) with Davie.

The house measures 20 by 8.5 feet and, in addition to its many ingenious space-saving elements, features a gray-water collection tank (collected from sink and shower water and used on the garden), an on-demand hot-water heater, a composting toilet, and an air-conditioning/heating unit. It’s also lovely looking and modern, with well-placed windows that bring in lots of light while maintaining privacy. Armstrong noted during the tour that she chose materials carefully to make sure the home was as light—and therefore as movable—as possible (it weighs 8,000 pounds).

During our recent Micro Week, we decided to check in with Ann and find out more about the experience of tiny-house living—she and Davie lived have now been there for nine months—and in particular what it’s like day-to-day for a couple taking the small road…

What great lessons (or just lessons, if any) about yourselves, each other, and relationships in general has living together in the tiny house taught you?

Building a house together—piece by piece—is a great test of the relationship. You need patience and tenacity. You really have to be partners and equally on board. You navigate a ton of questions/decisions. You have to get through long days of physical labor—on blazing hot days and freezing cold days—when you’d rather be sleeping in or hanging out with friends. You can spend hours on a project and then make a mistake, and have to start from scratch. You’re often pushed to your physical limit. If you can invest all that time together, and make it through those hurdles, I think that bodes well for your ability to live in the house and continue to stay happy together. But that would apply to any house, I think. However, the amount of personal space in a tiny house is small, so if you’re not getting along, I suppose the small space could amplify that.

What do you wish you could fit in your house that you can’t?

Davie would say a drum kit. We can’t fit all the art we own on the walls, so sometimes I miss that.

What’s the most unexpected thing about living there?

Falling in love with the compost toilet.

Read more and see all the photos – http://austin.curbed.com/2016/9/25/13051002/austin-tiny-house-living-together

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Elaine Walker

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