Summertime and the Living is Easy

Sunday was the official start of summer and typically living in Portland means a sense of desperation by the time June roles around.  The rain and clouds sometimes make their way into what should be the summer and it makes a person ready for some much needed sunshine. This was one of our dilemmas when considering life in a very small space. We moved in at the end of July last year and wondered if the first few months were so enjoyable simply because we spent so much time outside. Picturing the weather changing and the use of outdoor space declining made me wonder how it would change our feelings for the house. We will be coming up on a full year soon and I am happy to report the weather never gave us cabin fever.  There is nothing like a cozy space with lots of windows that has everything you need or want.  We have actually had an unusually nice year in Portland and it has felt like summer has been brewing since February. But…I won’t say I am not excited for the gloriousness, the magic, the pure bliss of summer in Portland, OR.

FullSizeRender (8)IMG_4330I have a passion for summer, I put summer on a pedestal.  Summer represents all things fun, amazing, and carefree.  I get a thrill from seeing rhubarb in the store because to me nothing says summer is coming like rhubarb for sale.  Before the start of summer I like to make a list of things I want to do while the weather is nice, things like berry picking, backpacking trip, Brew-cycle, sunset picnics, paddle boarding, and the list goes on.  Often it is too much to accomplish in one summer but it inspires us to take advantage of any free time we do have.

Our plan has been to live in the tiny house for at least a year before purchasing a house, then use the tiny house in our future backyard to rent on Airbnb.  Adam will be done with Academy in July and we have decided that a couple months of good old-fashioned summer fun are much needed.  Last summer Adam built this house while working full time and with our current plans of buying a house to re-model, it would be nice for him to have some time between Academy and home renovations.  Plus, we love it here and can’t think of a better place to spend the summer.  We live next to a 90 acre park so it feels like we are surrounded by nature, on the other side of us we have a lively neighborhood with restaurants and bars that we love walking to on summer evenings.  

This year has gone by so fast, but it feels like we really lived it to the fullest.  Looking back at pictures from this year I realized how many new things we did or became interested in.  Adam is really into fly fishing, and I mean REALLY.  I climbed my first mountain with my dad.  I think the tiny house has a lot to do with it.  Its amazing how fast a year can go by, and when you reflect on it nothing out of the ordinary happened, it just got filled with the day-to-day busyness that all seems to blur together.  That still happens occasionally and in no way am I suggesting I have unlocked the secret to living life.  I just think we have had the opportunity to be less in our own world and more out in the world.  Without being surrounded by a larger house filled with our belongings that remind us “I really need to finish that project” or “why did I buy that” we can focus more on the moment and how we ultimately want to be spending our time.

I hope you all have a memorable summer!

Adam & Chelsea

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The garden beds Adam built
This was in the Spring, BLOOMS out every window!
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Our resident fireman
Our resident porch sitter

I Married a Cabinet Maker

You know when you are really busy in life and you still find time to build cabinets all by hand? Me either…but I live with a mythical creature who did just that. _IGP4794 There were a few things that didn’t get finished in the house before Adam started Academy, the biggest was the kitchen cabinets.  Until now we just had open shelves beneath the countertop, which worked fine, just didn’t look as nice as finished cabinets.  I didn’t think Adam would have the time to try his hand at custom cabinetry, but a couple of months ago he decided to start working on them.  He likes having projects to work on and it seemed to be a nice break from studying and thinking about work.  Though he has never built cabinets he did an amazing job!  He added some great features that we couldn’t have had when purchasing pre-made cabinets.

IMG_0883 I would give the cabinet-maker 6 stars out of 5 on yelp
They are the same color as the exterior of the house
Countertop is birch butcher block from ikea
The bottom drawer is designed for dog bowls, they will be recessed in and out-of-the-way when needed.
Leaving the drawer half-open for access to the water dish will be much better than having it on the floor and constantly kicking it over!

Another update we did recently was to paint the exposed plywood walls. Originally we had white washed the plywood and really liked the look of seeing the wood grain, but after a few months it seemed like the walls looked more yellow than white. We realized that we probably should have put a stain-blocker on first to seal the wood and prevent any oils in the wood from bleeding through. We ended up putting on a coat of stain-blocker and then painting all the walls the same color (Designer White). I really liked the wood walls but this made a big difference visually, it looks more finished and brighter overall.

I recently discovered Stikwood and think this will be the next addition to the back wall in the house.  If you haven’t seen this stuff check it out, I recently discovered it and wish I had known all along! It is real wood but cut super thin, it has adhesive backing so you can create accent walls, headboards, anything really!


This pullout is great for stool seating
I think its safe to say Jesse has fully adjusted and is enjoying her small domain

What it does to you

Would you like to know what happens to somebody after living in a tiny house for  over seven months?  Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought spending over half a year in under 200 sq. ft had to either send your body into adaptation mode and you would shrink a little bit, or it would shift your perspective so much that you would see the world differently.

Adam and I have talked about some of the things we have noticed throughout our seven months here, often it comes up when we ask each other “why do we like it here so much?” Although part of that question remains to be answered we have come to a few conclusions and revelations about life in the tiny house.  Yeah things are going to get deep…

1. We like each other

We knew we liked each other and didn’t expect that to change but living here has made it clearer than ever.  If we didn’t like each other this definitely wouldn’t be going so smoothly!

2. When you follow your heart and take risks good things happen

This blog got its name because in the end the good that can come from taking a chance to achieve a goal will ALWAYS outweigh the potential risk of it failing.

3. Maybe we are laid back

We like to think of ourselves this way but who really knows?  Living here for the last 7 months has been surprisingly easy.  Yes there are inconveniences, frustrations, and all of that but we have embraced the good with the not so convenient.  I often have people tell me about how they would handle living in a tiny house “it’s not for me” “that’s cool, but I could never do that” “I like my space too much” “I would kill my spouse.”  After hearing these dramatic declarations I find myself wondering if I’m missing something, or if my breaking point is yet to come.  I have since realized maybe we have a quality that allows us to easily and happily live in a place that many couldn’t.  Both of us have always adapted to new environments easily and living in a tiny house has been no different.

4. The root of happiness 

This isn’t a new revelation of course.  My family never placed importance on having nice cars or a huge house.  While studying abroad in Ghana I learned this valuable lesson . Ghanaians are some of the most joyful people I have ever met and many of them had few material possessions.  What they did have was a close family and the basics needed to live.

The mechanic shop near our house, maybe they would accept hugs as payment?
The mechanic shop near our house, maybe they would accept hugs as payment?

5. Though stuff is nice, you feel pretty free when you aren’t surrounded by it

I will be the first to admit I am not a minimalist but I have enjoyed the feeling of having everything you need and not much else.   Adam isn’t exactly high maintenance,  the only thing I can remember him saying he wanted in the house was a cool bottle opener.  Luckily we have space elsewhere to keep our camping and outdoor gear otherwise it may be different but he is a man of few necessities.

6. Its BETTER than we imagined

The fact that Adam and I are very optimistic people combined with the fact that we dive into things quite quickly should have guaranteed this tiny house thing to either not work out or be far less enjoyable than we thought.  We are delighted that this has been one of those cases where the reality of the situation is actually better than what we had pictured.  We had decided that if we hated living in the tiny house then we would just move out, but we don’t so we’ll stay.

7. Perfect 

Now, don’t get the idea that life in the Redmond Estate is always rainbows and butterflies.  We love it here but that doesn’t mean things are always perfect.  It is harder to entertain, hard to use a foam roller inside, impossible to get a running start and slide across the floor in socks, harder to bake and cook elaborate meals, hard to slam a door for dramatic effect if Adam and I are having a fight (but not impossible).  Though there are small sacrifices we have had to make they have all been easy to do without or work around.  We may not see the world totally differently and haven’t had any shrinking happen, but we have found a better understanding of what is important to us and what we need to be happy.

Lots to Love

When we first set our minds on building this house we didn’t want to lose excitement or give up on the idea so we became very focused…for me this came in the form of finding small things and exclaiming “This would be PERFECT for the tiny house” like the small utensils pictured below.  Adam’s method was simply saying “Tiny House” at random points throughout the day to keep us on the right track and avoid any fading enthusiasm. It seemed to have worked!

useful equipment: only smaller
Very first purchase for the house: mini tongs and spatula

A Few of the Things We Love:

  • Tiny House Jokes– Adam and I don’t take ourselves too seriously, and if we did we would have to stop immediately because living in a tiny house is hilarious, not only is everything in general more humorous when done in a tiny house but there are naturally situations that occur that are pretty darn ridiculous and we love to entertain our friends and ourselves whenever possible.
  • Delighting curious strangers with a tour– Our house faces the park which attracts lots of pedestrians, I’ll never forget the first morning waking up in the house… realizing that two cars and a small gathering of people had formed on the edge of the lawn. It was odd feeling on display at first but we learned to embrace it, or at-least laugh at it. We get questions like: “That’s a garden shed right?” or “Is that one of those IKEA houses?” Once in a while we meet strangers that we are especially fond of and we invite them in to see the house (which never takes too long).  
  • Company: One of the biggest challenges of living here is not having the freedom to have as many people over as we would like.  We reach our capacity pretty quick around here but having people over has been one of the highlights in the house so far.  It’s always our closest friends, the ones up for an adventure.  I love being a gracious host as much as the next person but some luxuries just aren’t possible when you are working within these dimensions.  Our conversion rate is solid with 2 of the 4 visitors on their way to building their own tiny houses.
Garret, Carlee and Cooper
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My sister Katie and her boyfriend Alex
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Playing Games Taking Names
  • Laying with our heads out of the window in the loft- We haven’t installed the skylight yet so this is the next best stargazing option and it’s awesome!
  • Watching sunsets from the deck– Nothing makes an Excel report seem more enjoyable than this view.


  • Watching our dog find the most plush places in the house to plant herself:
If there is a cozy blanket or soft surface this dog can find it and work her way under it!
If there is a cozy blanket or soft surface this dog can find it and work her way under it!
  • Turkish Bath Towels– These things were made for tiny houses.  I’ve actually always wanted these, tiny house or not, they look awesome and the colors are far superior to any normal towel I have seen.  They are very light and don’t take up as much space.  They are made from a curly cotton that is extra absorbent and quick drying.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular towels even if I had a bathroom the size of two tiny houses.  http://www.indigotraders.comTurkish TowelsTurkish Towels

The Interior

Welcome to our house….Get comfortable, this tour may take awhile, I plan to cover all 176 square feet! I didn’t go into depth on each photo so feel free to ask us questions.  I didn’t show the loft in this set but will do that in the near future…

Though we started to joke that we may end up in a Wal-Mart parking lot, that is definitely not the case! Our house sits on a 1/2 acre lot that looks out onto a huge park in SW Portland, we are very fortunate to have such an ideal location in the neighborhood we love.
We Just installed our little fireplace, the Dickinson P9000 propane marine stove
This is a salvaged RV stove/oven that we found on craigslist. So far it has worked great!
The pop-out we built over the trailer tongue allowed us to have a washer/dryer and some extra counter space in the bathroom. The Splendide 2100XC: a vented washer/dryer miracle machine.
Another Craigslist find was our ‘apartment size’ refrigerator. So glad we went with something this size rather than a mini-fridge, it always feels like we have plenty of space.
Our original shower was a galvanized stock tank for the basin, full of rustic charm but an epic failure. We realized the base was leaking and decided not to risk it. This new basin definitely makes the shower bigger which is great.
You don’t always know if your decisions make sense until you live in a space and realize what works and what doesn’t. I am so happy we went with a good sized single basin sink in the kitchen. The faucet, is from a recycled building supply store, sink is from ikea.
_IGP3483_IGP3514 It took awhile to find the right couch, one that converts into a bed, is comfortable, small, and looks good. This one has the option to have the arms at 3 different levels so it becomes more compact when needed.

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