Finally, as promised, here’s the post on our stay at the Colonial Tiny House a couple of weeks ago.
For a long time, we’ve been inspired by the tiny house movement. We don’t live tiny, and this isn’t likely to be a permanent option for us any time soon (I’ll explain why further on in this post), but the idea of reducing our environmental footprint – and making efficient and creative use of space – inspires us.
Our hosts – Keith and Jen – were fantastic, and the house was simply amazing. As we were trying to get away from the city and my day job for a bit, being out in rural New Zealand was perfect, and a lack of reliable cellphone coverage was a real plus.
The Colonial Tiny House itself is a beautifully restored shed that was rescued from a swamp and, as the name suggests, is beautifully themed right down to a Colonial Rangitikei Cookbook in the library. There’s lots of beautiful native totara wood, a restored Edison phone, and a pot bellied stove that provided both aesthetic value and much-appreciated heat.
Keith told me that he wasn’t initially expecting the tiny house to be a place where people stayed, but rather he’d designed it as an office and showcase for some of the treasures he’s collected. While it’s on a trailer and technically movable (the electricity, water and sewerage can all be easily disconnected), the Colonial Tiny House isn’t really intended to travel. Instead, it was us who were transported.
So what did we love, and what did we learn?
After spending so long reading and watching YouTube videos of tiny houses, we loved finally being in one . We got to see and try out lots of traditional tiny house features – like a fold down table and some innovative upcycling of everyday materials – and I also discovered how much I appreciate the more modern conveniences of a flushing toilet and efficient LED lights.
As you’d hope, every centimeter of space in the Colonial Tiny House has been considered and really well used, but one surprise for me was the number of hooks that were hidden around the walls, which allowed great use of vertical space.
However, even in a genuinely tiny space – the house is 5 meters by 3 meters – there is plenty of room for personality to shine through. Not everything needed to be functional, and there were lots of character touches that we didn’t use, but which helped us step away from the modern world.
Cooking, eating and even relaxing in a tiny house definitely requires a ‘clean as you go’ mentality. There’s no room for piles of dirty dishes, discarded clothes or stray books. That’s why pets can be challenging (and why living tiny isn’t in our immediate future) – and keeping indoor-only animals would be particularly difficult.
So all in all, we took away a few space-saving ideas, and a lot of inspiration. I’m sure we’ll be back at the Colonial Tiny House, and visit other tiny homes – one day we might even have the chance to build our own (what a journey that will be!)