Late last year, Alek Lisefski and his partner downsized in a dramatic way. Inspired to simplify their lives, cut down on expenses and reconnect with nature, the couple moved into a tiny house built on the back of a 8×20 foot trailer.
With less living and storage space, the pair believed they would be forced to own less, consume less and spend more time outdoors. The property – if you can call it that – has most of the comforts of your average home packed into its pint-size quarters. It was designed with the environment in mind, with features like a homemade composting toilet and fold-up roof overhangs to shade windows from the sun.
A web designer by trade, US-based Alek has been documenting the Tiny Project online in the hope of inspiring others to build their own miniature home. Today he chats to Lamudi about how the project has changed his life for the better.
How long have you been living in the tiny house now? How’s it going?
We’ve been living in it full time since December 2013. It’s going very well. We got used to the smaller space very quickly, and have all our essential needs met where we are currently parked. We found a great couple to host us in their backyard, and do yard work in exchange for the place to park,
You predicted that inhabiting a small space would force you to live in “a simpler, more organized and efficient way”. Has that been the case?
I do think this is true. My life is not all that different to how it was before – I still have everything I need, but I do feel I’ve gotten rid of some of the things I don’t need. It’s made me think more about what really is necessary in life and where I most want to put my attention moving forward.
What other effects has the project had on your life?
It’s exacerbated some issues, not all good. For example, it intensifies relationships being in a small space all the time. There is no where to hide, which is actually a great blessing because it forces you to deal with anything that comes up in the moment. To help find balance, my girlfriend and I have had to be smart about planning time for each of us to be away from the house at certain times, to give the other one some more privacy and quiet space to themselves. We both work at home for part of the day, so sharing the space is one of the challenges.
Does it feel like the tiny house trend is catching on?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many, many people are interested in our tiny house, and in tiny houses in general. I think it is taking off big time! I believe tiny houses will definitely play some role in creating more sustainable and affordable housing in the future.
Where do you see the project going from here?
So far I have started selling plans for the house on my website as well as a photo book. I plan to continue to add to the website as an ever-growing resource for others interested in tiny houses. On my own house, I will soon be adding a fold-up deck to one side of the house, to add an outdoor living area. Someday I also plan to add solar panels to the house to move more in the direction of complete self-sufficiency. I want to continue to be involved in some way in assisting others with similar projects, and with learning to live a more simple, sustainable life; one that supports the people around me, and the planet as a whole.