The long awaited update… thank you for your patience

One of my biggest fears was that we’d finish the house and I would stop writing because I wouldn’t have the same push or motivation to share our latest building progress. I guess that fear manifested. So, here I am, eh-um, yes, 7 months later, ready to give you an update on Tiny House (non)living.

Since we were obviously not getting anywhere with Code Enforcement, we decided to take it up the ladder of City Officials and found 2 individuals who were respectful, kind and very reasonable to talk to. It was a 180 degree turn from the Code Enforcement officer who was rude, dismissive and avoided answering any questions by talking himself in “because I said so” circles.¬† So, with a little help from our friends (yep, it really is all in who you know…) we were able to get our story in front of the City Manager & the Director of Community Development. They found nothing illegal with parking the Tiny House in the driveway, apologized for the hassle we had experienced with Code Enforcement and closed the case. Yay!

A big thank you to all who helped to decipher city code, offered legal advice, suggested people we should talk to in gathering more information, those who spoke to city officials & those in the public sector who practice open communication with their residents in hopes of building a better community. Also, a big thank you to all of you who are following our progress and are putting good vibes out into the universe for us! We couldn’t have done this without your words of wisdom & support. Time for a group hug!

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The catch is, although it’s legal for us to park the trailer in the driveway indefinitely, city code makes it illegal for us to live in it. So, our dear friend Mr. Krug, who has been gracious enough to offer us his driveway for the Tiny House, has also opened up his home and rented us a bedroom with complete use of the kitchen and bathroom in the front house. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity as it has given us a soft place to land after our first confrontation in the evolving experience of ‘Where can I legally park my Tiny House’? If we were in a situation where we were forced to park on the street and needed to move every 3 days, I don’t think I’d function well from day to day. Being at Chip’s has offered us a reprieve from the year & a half of building, gave us security of place for the time being and a sense of home we were looking for (without actually living in our tiny home). Thank you Chip!!

So, what are we doing with the Tiny House?

In order to tame the withdrawals of not being in the house every day, I started using it as my office/yoga studio/walk-in closet. I enjoy reading in the loft, meditating, and turning up the spacer heater, lighting candles & stretching (which I don’t do often enough). Aaron & I watch movies in there too. It’s a great hide-out space; like the cushion fort you built in the living room of your childhood home (only this is a bit more structurally sound). Lu, our tiny cat, likes hanging out in there too. It’s perfect for a temperamental creature who loves dark, enclosed spaces, especially when she has access to all the nooks and crannies. She’s even learned to use her litter box in the closet & crawl out through her own little porthole.

I was pretty bummed that I’d have to wait to use the kitchen in our house; in protest (and curiosity to see if it would fit) I moved all of our “pantry food” into the Tiny House. I’ve spent the last 7 months slowly moving it back to the main house, piece by piece. I’ve really enjoyed using the kitchen in Chip’s house. It’s beautiful… the tile is from the 50′s, there’s an old-school gas stove with a grill-top between the burners (great for quesadillas!) and a large ceramic sink to do the dishes. Having the kitchen to ourselves has been awesome; I spend many of my days off in there and have been thoroughly enjoying it! And there are bonuses!

Bonus #1: there’s a record player in the next room with shelves full of albums from the 70′s. Sweet!! Bonus #2: the large double-sided fridge/freezer¬†doesn’t work, so we moved our Tiny House fridge into his kitchen. We’ve been honing our grocery-shopping skills and practicing for the big time, folks! For me, the most exciting part about Tiny House (non)living has been watching us eat all the left-overs before they are pushed to the back of the fridge and lost in the depths of “eww… do I really want to open this container” land. I’ve struggled with this (ashamedly) for years and so happy that the solution to this awful & wasteful habit was to buy a smaller fridge! Composting also helps with the guilt.

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So, that’s the basics. Other than working, we’ve been gardening, spending time at home tinkering with projects and helping Chip out with odds and ends, creating art, cooking, cleaning and organizing our artist space at Whole House Building Supply. We saw Garrison Keillor with friends at the Mountain Winery and traveled to see family and friends in Oregon, South Dakota & Wisconsin; trips which included 2 weddings and a family reunion. Now that we’re back home for the time-being and after my half-year hiatus, I’m relived – and a bit nervous- to be slowly working my way back to the blogosphere. It’s been nice to take a break and catch up with myself again but hope to get back on track with regular updates and thoughts of Tiny House (non)living.

Best wishes to you all as we head into colder temperatures and longer nights! Thank you for your continued love and support!

 

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3 Responses to The long awaited update… thank you for your patience

  1. Thanks for bringing us up to date on your story, Candace. I hope that you’re found the respite that you needed and feel ready for whatever the next leg of your journey will bring. I’m grateful that you found more humane city officials to work with, the generosity of Mr. Krug, the simple pleasures of nesting in your hard-won tiny house, and the support of friends. May it always be so!

    Take care,

    Thomas

  2. Mitchell says:

    Hooray for updates! It’s been a while for us too. Extra time is slim, and there’s so much to share. Hope you guys are well.

    Mitchell and Nicholette

  3. Carol Steinfeld says:

    Congrats on finishing the house! I met you guys at a dumpster-diving Meetup awhile back. Today, I ran into a woman I met at that—at the dumpster at Molly Stone’s.

    I’m writing an article about some folks in El Sobrante (northern end of the East Bay) who have permits to build and dwell in tiny houses they built there. You might point to that city when dealing with Redwood City. I’d like to hear more about your experience with Redwood City and its specific objections.

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