We've heard a lot of hype about tiny homes, but what's it like to actually live in one? According to Shane and Carrie Caverly, who live in a tiny home in Santa Fe, N.M. -- as well as design and build them -- it's positively peachy.
Though the couple lives in a truly elfin, 204-square-foot house-on-wheels -- the size of a regular walk-in closet -- they wouldn't have it any other way. Instead of the $1,500 monthly mortgage payments that they used to dread paying, the couple's land rent, electricity and water bills only add up to a mere $350 each month. (In fact, the Caverly's utility bill only amounts to $130 a year!).
"The best thing about living in a tiny home is definitely the financial freedom it affords," Carrie told AOL Real Estate. "We haven't found any other form of housing with such a low initial investment and such low monthly costs! In today's economy we don't have the chance to do what our parents did: buy low and small, sell high and buy bigger."
Carrie admits that they were motivated to downsize due to the mortgage crisis, their own foreclosed home and the rising cost of living. ("I think the mortgage crisis forced people to think smarter about their housing and we're realizing it kind of sucks to clean, heat and cool 2,000 square feet," Carrie added). It took the couple only 2½ months to design and build their tiny home, perched atop a gooseneck trailer, which they drove from Prescott, Ariz. to Santa Fe in May last year. (They've been living in the home full-time ever since.)
The Caverlys also had a desire to live simpler and reduce their carbon footprint. Consequently, their tiny house boasts a wealth of green-home features, including a low-water-use incinerating toilet, a greywater collection tank, passive solar design, a recycled and recyclable steel roof and closed-cell, rigid-foam insulation.
But the Caverlys love their energy-efficient and cost-effective way of living, though the couple sometimes craves traditional housing: Carrie admits that she occasionally misses high ceilings and spacious rooms. However, the home was designed with full-height windows so they are able to appreciate the views of the outdoors -- which has become an extension of their living space. "It will be weird to live somewhere larger," Carrie told AOL Real Estate. "I've gotten accustomed to the convenience of having everything at hand!"
Though the Caverlys concede that tiny-house living is not for everyone, they say that they can build one for those willing to give it a try. The couple launched a tiny-house design and custom construction firm called Clothesline Tiny Homes. (They can also replicate a fully-built model of their own home for $48,000.) So far, the couple say that they have received plenty of interest and support in their lifestyle choice -- and they hope to see more people if not choosing the tiny-home lifestyle, at least shunning excessive McMansions for smaller, more efficient spaces.
"I hope that we are finally outgrowing the housing obesity in America," said Carrie. "A bigger house does not mean that you are a better person."
See more on tiny homes:
Tiny House for Sale in Arkansas Has Everything but Room
NYC's Amazing 'Transformer' Apartment Puts 6 Rooms in 1
5 Tiny Model Homes Hint at Future of Urban Housing
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