Bitty Burhans

9:36 PM Jackie Be 1 Comments

Burhans Tiny House Jamboree

If you know us, you probably would not describe Dave and I as "conventional". However, even I have to admit our next adventure is pretty out there. We will be spending the next 8-10 months building a tiny house.

If you're unfamiliar with the "Tiny House Movement", it has been described simply as "a social movement where people are downsizing the space that they live in" (1). A tiny home is generally defined by the community as less than 400 sq ft and many are built on trailers for mobility. The idea has gained popularity with many different groups: young couples, empty nesters, retirees, recent college graduates and temporary housing for displaced families post natural disaster. Its a solution for anyone looking to simplify their lives, downsize their possessions, live more sustainable or simply avoid a mortgage. Personally, I have always wanted to be nomadic.

Last weekend, Team Burhans attended the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs where the community gathered to educate and inspire through informative talks by professionals and experienced tiny house dwellers, vendors providing services catering to tiny houses and real tiny homes to walk through and experience first hand. The Jamboree expected a big turnout but the 40,000 total people who attended greatly exceeded their expectations and confirmed that this is real.

Before you start listing the drawbacks of 200 square feet, I want to list some of the advantages that attracted us to this idea that outweighed our reservations:

The Price is Right
Having spent most of our money since graduation on student loans, we are very familiar with the burden of long-term debt. Tiny houses can be built for as little at $10,000. We have some more expensive plans (like solar panels, a Tesla Power Wall for battery power and full custom digital control over all electronics in the house) which puts our budget a little higher. When all is said and done, we are aiming for a 200 square foot house for under $40,000. In the interest of transparency and inspiration, we will be sharing our costs throughout this project.

Sustainable Housing
Tiny houses naturally use less energy and their small footprint forces creative innovation to make small spaces work. Challenges like limited storage and energy can lead to less waste and less consumption. We are designing our home with sustainability in mind with solar panels, alternative heating and cooling, natural lighting, rainwater collection capabilities, water conservative appliances and recycled materials where appropriate.

Our tiny house foundation will be a trailer that we can take anywhere. We are looking for land in Colorado to build on, but we hope to purchase a second piece of land in Wisconsin to park when we are *home*. We are excited about the possibility of working remotely in our home today in Colorado, tomorrow in California and next week in Oregon. With the invention of self driving cars, we're holding our breath for the day we can go to sleep and wake up, in our home in with a new horizon whenever our wanderlust demands.

To design and build our own home is exciting and  means we know everything about it, inside and out. The idea of being able to build my own shelter and source my own food (more on that later!) is very attractive for some reason.

The more I learn about tiny houses and the community, the more right it feels. We will use this blog to show you some of our progress and our struggles. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or want to chat or visit our build site, please reach out!