Why On Earth Are We Doing This?

It’s an obvious question, if wordy: Why would Tom and I shed our books and microwave and 50-inch TV along with most of our possessions and our connection to modern sewerage in order to live in a 23-square-metre house-on-wheels in a New Zealand paddock?

IMG_5818One reason why I haven’t explained this yet is that I thought you, my 19 gentle readers, would prefer to see pictures of the house. Another reason is that I lost track, because for at least a year, I have NOT asked myself this question.

I’ve been signed up to the plan, certain through all the unpredictabilities that this was a good and smart thing to do. I’ve done the thinking, made my peace with it and put all my heart into it.

So to explain our motivations, I have to step back and remember the reasons. Here they are, in no reliable kind of order. (more…)

Our House Comes Home

Yesterday I waited by State Highway 1 at the entrance to Makahuri for a special moment: my first glimpse of our tiny house on the move, and its arrival at its (and our) new home.

The house and its towing Mazda BT-50, with Jack at the wheel, left Carterton at 2.30pm. At the foot of the Rimutaka range, Jack stopped for a safety check before crossing the mountains…

Mustard house safety stop Abbots Creek

Then he followed this route — the blue line from Carterton but then the route that’s marked as 1 minute faster (the alternative would have been impossibly narrow and winding)…

Route map


How Our House Looks Now

In my first and second posts on this blog, I showed you what our house looks like. Most of the photos were months old, and the house has progressed. So today, here are my latest photos, taken a few days ago at the builder’s yard where the house is being finished.

Let’s start with the “front” of the house — the bit that’ll face north into the sun.

TH northeast

See how the wheels are at each end of the house, unlike a lot of tiny houses, which have the wheels in the middle. We think this makes the house more stable and steerable. (more…)

We Have Land

On Saturday we signed to rent a site for our tiny house. Finally, after two handshake agreements fell through in the space of a month, we have land.

The land is what we New Zealanders call a “paddock” — a rectangle of flat grassland with an east-to-west row of trees at the north, breaking the prevailing wind…

Site looking north… and a derelict building just beyond the southern border…

Site looking south

“Derelict,” you say, eyes wide and concerned about our wellbeing. And yes, it’s very run-down and robbed out, with pigeons roosting in its joists. But this building has quite a history; if walls could talk, these ones would shout, cry, curse, and sing hymns in unison. (more…)

Adaptability Is A Muscle, And I’m Working It

Lego-man-working-outIn a few weeks Tom and I will move into our tiny house on wheels. What will it be like? I think it will be like one of those thought experiments that physicists dream up to show how bizarre the universe is at those rare moments when things are all squeezed or travelling unbelievably fast.

Our wok might not turn square and our shampoo might not start reciting poetry, but things are going to be weird. In that tiny, mustard-coloured, squished-up singularity, I expect space, time and space-time to behave differently from how it has in the universe we’ve known.

What will fail to fit in our house that we really, really need? Which simple action — like walking past each other — will be impossible? Which habits will we have to lose?

We don’t know. But living in 23 square metres is bound to be one of the biggest adjustments either of us will ever make.

We will have to adapt, adjust, and evolve. (more…)

A Bump In The Road, And Awesome News

Our tiny-house plan was looking perfect — too perfect, as we found out last night. For the second time this month, a deal to rent a site for our tiny house fell through. It’s a bump in the road, but fear not, I have some nice news too.

PotholeFirst, that bump in the road. Here’s the situation: Tom and I are staying in a rental holiday house with the dogs, and doing pretty well. We had agreed orally with a landowner to rent part of his rural block, along with a powered and plumbed studio but not the garage it is connected to.

For us it was a “wow” deal. Electricity, wow. A toilet, wow. Lockable storage space, wow. A place where Tom could set up his massage table, wow.

But then the bitch-goddess of broken relationships interceded. (more…)

Welcome To Our Empty House

How’s everyone? Welcome back. In my first post the other day I let you know about the plan Tom and I have for living a different kind of life — in a tiny home on wheels.

To tell you everything about our plan in one go would mean a massive information dump that would spin your heads! So I’ll let you in on it bit by bit.

Today, let’s meet The Mustard Yellow House.

Tiny house north


Going Small

Two weeks ago, Tom and I became homeless. That’s “homeless” in the statistical sense, in that we don’t rent or own what the census takers in New Zealand call a “home”. But we own a house, and soon we’ll live in it.

Here it is:

North side

Cute, isn’t it? This is the Mustard Yellow House of the blog title. It stands in a builder’s yard. And the vigilant among you will have noticed that this house has wheels.

It’s a Tiny Home On Wheels, or THOW as tiny-home enthusiasts call it. To me and my husband Tom the important word in that title is “home”. Because that’s where we’re about to live in the coming few weeks. Along with our dogs.  (more…)