Making the switch to tiny home living can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. We can certainly attest to this! When we decided to make the move to tiny home living, we made several mistakes along the way. In this blog post, we will share with you the three biggest mistakes we made when transitioning to tiny home living. Hopefully, you can learn from our mistakes and avoid them as you make the switch to a tiny home lifestyle.
We're your Canadian tiny home builders who 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk'!
1) "Saving money" in the wrong places
When we changed to tiny home living, we were eager to save money where we could. We cut a few corners where we didn't think it would matter. This ended up being a bad idea!
We counted pennies when it came to selecting our fold-down sleeper couch. Turns out, when you have one key piece of furniture in your living space that EVERYONE in the home is using constantly, you actually want it to be well-padded and comfortable. We should have invested more in a couch that was of higher quality because it very quickly lost padding and is really uncomfortable. You can feel every bar and spring in it when you sit down now. In saving money on the initial purchase, it's going to cost time and money to replace it now and so soon.
We also thought it would be a great idea to use drywall for our walls because it was cheaper than other materials. This ended up being a baaaad idea because as it turns out, drywall doesn't travel well and tiny houses flex and move more than a standard house. The drywall cracks and pops and the house quickly stops looking as nice. We've done numerous 'bandaid' repairs after moving our house around. This is not an easy thing to replace, so spending the money on better materials upfront would have been worth it. Chalk this one up to lack of experience at the time!
For future Canadian tiny home builders, remember that while it's important to save money, it's more important to invest in the right places. Investing in higher-quality furniture and materials upfront will ultimately save you time and money down the road!
2) Not budgeting for the design we really wanted
When we moved into our tiny house, we quickly realized that design was much more important in a tiny space. What you see is always present - there's no place to hide - and so we had to make sure everything looked good and felt visually appealing to us. We decided to splurge on some kitchen tile that we fell in love with and it was so worth it! But it also put us over budget - something we hadn't accounted for.
We learned from this mistake and now, as a Canadian tiny home builder, Acorn has a designer on the team who will spend hours with clients to help them find the perfect design they love while still giving them realistic budget expectations. It is important to us that you absolutely love your space and that you don't break the bank to achieve that goal!
3) Not having enough lived experience
As Canadian tiny home builders who 'walk the walk', we can look back and recognize that while certain design features 'seemed' like a great idea at the time, they weren't always practical. For example, we initially installed a (beautiful) glass atrium shower and tons of windows around our home. While giving us the look and light we wanted, this let in too much cold air during the winter. Our in-floor heating just couldn't keep up! We now use heavy curtains to counter the drafts and have learned from our experiences. We also now offer the option of running hydronic heating through walls in areas where you'd like to maximize your heating (think closets, bedroom walls, etc).
Similarly, while trying to be sleek and modern, we opted to go handleless on our kitchen cabinets, which gave us a clean look, but made it difficult to open them! Again, we unknowingly traded practicality for visual appeal.
Our years of experience with building tiny houses have enabled us to come up with more efficient and effective solutions for our customers. We want to give you the benefit of our wisdom!
Bonus: "Nailed It" (the things we got right)
When making the transition to tiny home living, we definitely “nailed it” in some areas. To prepare ourselves for the mental shift, we discussed our goals with friends and family while in advance and they helped support us throughout the process. We also began to minimize our things well before our move and overlapped our move-in with our move-out so we could go slow and give ourselves time to adjust (and de-clutter even more!).
In terms of our tiny house build itself, there are a few things we did objectively really well. We used vacuum insulation which offers R-70 per inch, allowing us to build into our rafters giving more head space and that beautiful exposed rafter look. Additionally, the painstakingly placed fiber optics used to create the starry night effect in the baby's bedroom give off a warm, inviting glow and create an environment to boost play and imagination. That is a definite 'would do again'!
In the end, we are proud of all the decisions we made that enabled us to create a beautiful and functional tiny home. We are proud to call ourselves homeowners while living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. And ultimately, the mistakes we made were pieces of wisdom we earned along the way that we now offer to you. We're your Canadian tiny home builders who 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk'!
Contact us when you're ready to take advantage of our lived experience and start discussing your dream tiny home or click below to get start on your dream tiny house designs today!