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  • Writer's pictureAlino

After a long-distance relationship, Couple dive right into close living in DIY Tiny Home.

After a long-distance relationship, Jon and Christina dove right into close living quarters by downsizing to a tiny home just shy of 400sq ft. Their quaint house is 32’ long, 8.5’ wide, 13.5’ tall, and designed with an open layout. Storage is abundant as they've made space in the stairs, the couch, above the washer/dryer, and in both lofts. The beautiful bedroom occupies one loft, and the other is dedicated to books, art, and crafts. Jon created a convenient homemade mobile ladder that allows full access to either loft and secures safely when not in use.

Walking into the bathroom, you'd never guess it's a tiny home with a full-size bathtub and shower, large vanity, and a mirror that opens for more storage. This gorgeous tiny home is just right for them, their pup Sammy and bird Peter.

I (Christina) grew up in North Carolina in a small town my whole life, until I met Jon in the summer of 2015. He was doing an internship a few hours drive from me, and we started talking and hit it off pretty instantly; fast forward to him moving back home to Florida two weeks after we met. We had a long-distance relationship for three years while we were both in school. I finished my undergrad and half of my Masters, while Jon finished his undergrad as well.

We always knew that one of us would move to the other, and it was easier for me to move down to Florida since he started law school in 2018. So, in the summer of 2018, I sold the house I had bought at 20 and renovated (my late great aunt’s house from the 1950s) and moved down with a lot of my stuff.

I had first started seeing Tiny Houses on Pinterest. And I thought that it was such an amazing idea for people who wanted to save money, have a home of their own that is movable, and not have to pay an outrageous amount for an apartment or “normal” size home. I started watching a TON of youtube tours and fell in love with the idea of a Tiny House on Wheels. In the beginning, my friends and family (and Jon) wasn’t sold on the idea since the whole building process was a lot of work, and I let it go for almost a year until the idea came up again. Then, Jon and his dad began to think of the advantages of a Tiny House and how we could build it ourselves, which started our Tiny House Journey.

The layout of the Tiny House went through several different plans, starting when I first started researching more about them up until a month or two when we were “done” building. I wouldn’t say that the layout was hard; I think the hardest thing to work around when you’re building on a trailer is the wheel wells. We had to work around them and ended up putting the cabinets and stairs over them in the end.

The building process went really well! Jon’s dad had a relatively new idea for the house by using Structurally Insulated Panels (or SIPs), which come in panels that you put together, and they are already painted, insulated, textured. They have a great R-value (25, I believe) in terms of insulation. The walls and roof were up in a day or two thanks to the SIPs! Overall, the build took around seven or eight months from start to move in. Jon, his dad, and I were the ones building it, and other than having a little help putting the SIPs up,

we did the build ourselves using all new materials. While I do love the idea of using used and repurposed materials, we wanted the house to last, so we used all new materials.

The design of the house was designed to fit us and our family (me, Jon, our dog (Sammy), and our bird (Peter)). We knew that we would both be in school, so we wanted a two-person desk (that also acts as a kitchen table when we eat). The desk was just about the only thing that Jon wanted in the Tiny House, and I knew I wanted a bathtub, two lofts, and a real couch. One of the unique parts of the house is that the SIPs let us have more space inside, using up only 3 inches of wall. We also used steel beams for the lofts, which Jon’s dad welded together; this gave us so much more space in the lofts then you generally see in a Tiny House.

Our house is 32’ long, 8.5’ wide, and 13.5’ tall. We had the house weighed before furniture and appliances and it weighed 9,800 lbs, so I would guess that it is around 13 or 14k lbs now. Including the lofts, we have 395 sq ft.

Some advice for fellow Tiny House dreamers is to do your research and try to stay in one even if it’s for a few days (we stayed in a Tiny House in Tampa, Florida for two nights before building). Attend Tiny House festivals, and talk to people who own and are living in Tiny Homes!


Jon and Christina Instagram: tiny_house_journey


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