I would have thought it would feel the other way around: more restrictive in winter than in summer. For me, in my specific tiny house in its newest location, summer has left me feeling cramped in it for my first time.
The following factors have adjusted my experience of my 450 sq foot home (one adult, one tween):
1. Ambient noise. Fall through spring, my space sits all alone amongst nature. In summer, approximately 100 people fill in all the space immediately surrounding mine. People in cabins, tents, RVs. When I get to know any of them, they seem awesome. I enjoy them as individuals very much. But to hear one person’s chronic cough, another opening and closing her cupboards, at least one baby every week crying from 7am and a toddler shrieking with glee til 10 at night, to “meet the new neighbours” again every week, and to know that within feet in every direction there are people, that’s taking its toll on the hermit that is me!
2. Air conditioning. I actually use not a true A/C but a relatively eco-friendly evaporative cooler, which works phenomenally in our semi-arid climate. But it’s one more object taking up a percentage of the floor space, and I feel it.
3. Shoes. Fall through spring = one pair of boots each. Summer means one pair of runners and a pair of sandals each. So little, yet so much in a tiny home!
4. Loss of rooms. The sun beats strongly, heating the house rather dramatically. When I close the back rooms, the heat is contained to those and the rest of the house stays very cool. But in doing so we lose one-third of the usable space in the house. Now, a normal person would install a window air conditioner even in the window facing the hottest stream, potentially opening up all rooms. If I find my current space is my best option, maybe I will, weighing environmental impact against my craziness factor and determining in favour of the latter.
5. The yard space and patio. In summer, these become walkways and play areas from 7am to 11pm. Sitting outside means chatting—or ignoring in a curmudgeonly way—neither of which I necessarily wish to do in a moment, so I’m inside much more.
6. Door closed – Ideally, the door would be open in the late evening to let the cool air in. Summer’s visitors, though, read this as, “Hi! I’m home! Please stop in!” That’s not what I meant. Alternatively, it’s taken as, “We’re wide awake and eager for life! Please feel free to party in front!” Again, a miscommunication.
7. Internet – The internet is suddenly shared with hundreds of people, so the landowner put streaming limits in place. Ironically, the time I need to escape via the portal of the web is the very time my access is reduced.
For a highly social, extroverted person? Such summers might be paradise! For curmudgeonly me, who loves two hours of rich conversation daily then to retreat to her monastery, not so much.
Granted, were I not such a weird, awkward person in a weird, awkward parenting situation, I could just hop up in the morning, put my pack on my back, call out a “heighdyho” to each neighbour, and head into the bush til nightfall. Alas, I am in fact a weird, awkward person in a weird, awkward parenting situation, both of which factors put the kabosh on that approach.
And so it is that I begin my brainstorming for, “Where next?”
Here, I’ve learned or been reminded of several things:
1. I adore silence.
2. While I truly love people, I need space from them, too—a wide berth, such that our contact is intentional, not piled onto each other moment by moment by force of circumstance.
3. For me, the only square footage that counts is that which is (i) empty and (ii) silent.
4. I’m addicted to nature.
5. I love cheap, but some things are worth paying for. I am willing to increase my shelter budget for the next perfect space.
I’m actively exploring where our next home will be. Will I build my own tiny home on a farmer’s land, despite that being declared illegal? Will I purchase an existing detached home, matching the vision I had last night? Will I rent a well-built condo in a rural complex?
What will be the space that is silent, roomy, beautiful, and surrounded by nature, that also allows my extroverted child’s needs to be met? I don’t know yet, but I’m having fun brainstorming.
In the meantime, I’m tickled pink that I had two gorgeous, silent, peaceful years in my dream location and saved an estimated $36,000 over market rent! Boy, does that chunk of change give me options now!