How We Got Here

Chris and I married young and spent our first four years together living in a tiny studio apartment belonging to our university. We were basically living on love and the little income we made working part time while going to school.

At the beginning of our senior year, Chris had a major health event that pretty much upended our world. He was unable to work for four months, and we exhausted our meager savings paying for rent and food. We ate a lot of ramen and boxed mac and cheese during those days! But somehow we pulled through. Chris went back to work, and we finished out our final year of college with a much more mature understanding of life.

As we contemplated our future living situation, we knew that we preferred to own our own home, but this was 2008. The economy was imploding, and we had a newfound appreciation for health insurance. With Chris's ongoing medical issues and the lack of other employment opportunities, we didn't dare give up the benefits Chris's job provided, even though it was not full time.

Without much money in the bank and no idea what to do next, we did what so many other people from our generation have done and moved in with my parents. We spent a few months checking out the local real estate market and looked at a few empty lots to potentially build a house, but nothing really seemed right.

Our bank account slowly grew as the months passed, and we started to consider other options to get us back out on our own. My talented dad offered to build us a home on their five acres, but the county shot down that idea. At the time, there was no allowance for accessory dwelling units on single family properties, and while that rule changed a few years ago, it was too late to benefit us.

It was during this time that I discovered the tiny house movement and became intrigued by the idea. Was this the answer to us being able to put a home on my parents’ land?  Could we really live long-term in such small quarters?

It seemed that we had little to lose. We had already spent four years in a tiny apartment, so we wouldn't really have to downsize. Anything would be an improvement over living in my childhood bedroom, and unless we wanted to go back to an apartment, we didn't have many other options that we could afford.

We started looking at park models that day.