Sunday, January 19, 2020

Teeny-tiny house madness.

As alert hearth/myth readers know, I am planning to retire from the day job this year (in 168 days, according to the countdown app on my phone). And after much touring of parts of the American Southwest and much weighing of the pros and cons, I have decided to settle in Santa Fe, NM.

I don't think I've shared that here before. I know I've talked about my location scouting, particularly in this post from June 2018. The ending of that post threw some people off; I guess it sounded like I was going to put down roots in Back of Beyond, Colorado. Yeah, no. I have lived in cities for too long -- I need my amenities. Restaurants and grocery stores, movie theaters and museums, musical venues and yarn shops -- all of these things make for a well-rounded life for me, and all of them were hours from Back of Beyond, CO.

But Santa Fe has it all, plus history, intriguing architecture, and amazing sunsets. It's also a lot smaller than DC -- about 85,000 people, compared to about 160,000 in my current city. Comparing metropolitan areas, Albuquerque-Santa Fe has about 1.2 million people, while metro DC has 6 million or so. (This is not necessarily a drawback. Living cheek-by-jowl with 6 million other people can get stressful, especially when we all need to get to work at once.)

Alas, like nearly all cities of any size, there's really nowhere in Santa Fe to park a tiny house. So I am planning to rent an apartment to start with, and then maybe buy a condo. Or keep renting. I've been a renter for most of my adult life and it's worked out okay. (Your realtor will tell you that's nuts, but there are a number of advantages -- from yardwork-free weekends, to not having a plumber on speed dial, to moving without having to paint/repair/declutter/sell your old place first.)

But every now and then, I get those ol' kozmic tiny house blues again, mama. And I start to think that maybe I'll need a retreat. Someplace quiet, with a teeny-tiny house where I can hole up and write for a week or so. That would be the best of both worlds, y'know?

That's how I discovered the people who make the Escape Traveler series (the tiny houses I toured at a dealership in southwestern Virginia three years ago) have begun offering teeny-tiny houses that aren't on wheels. You can get just the shell, or you can kit it out fully with a kitchen and bath. They even have a solar setup for life off the grid. They start at $12,000. And they deliver.

I was pretty excited -- but then I did the math. A fully outfitted EscapeSpace would cost me $30,000. That seems a little steep for a 96-square-foot shed, even if it does come with solar power and indoor plumbing.

It's a crazy idea. But still I'm intrigued. I wonder if there's a cheaper way to do it...

These moments of teeny-tiny-house blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

No comments: