Coming (Simply) Home

friends gather for the Lucky Penny Open House It’s no use trying to get back to sleep. I’m wide awake before dawn, just as I was three years ago when My Tiny House Adventure Began. Only this time the tiny house I’m moving is my own. In just a few short hours we’ll secure My Flip-Up Front Porch into transportation mode, hitch it up to one of Gerlock Towing’s big rigs, and The Lucky Penny will hit the road for the first time on her Maiden Voyage. My tiny house is not yet finished, but the time has come to move The Lucky Penny to Simply Home Community. Simply Home is a tiny house community in Portland, Oregon where I’m living with a handful of fabulous people, all dedicated to intentional living. It’s actually very much like My Vision for Tiny Cohousing. There is a big house with bedrooms, a huge living room, a dining room, bathrooms, a kitchen, and a basement for laundry and storage. And in the yard there are (soon-to-be) four little houses, which serve as detached bedrooms. We all share the big house but a few of us have our own space via the tiny houses.

I moved into the big house at Simply Home Community in August, just after I finished teaching the two-week Tiny House Design-Build class at Yestermorrow. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to my Home Sweet Pea at Pod 49. It’s a great little house and I love the neighborhood and the neighbors there. But it was also exciting to be making a move towards a long-time dream of Tiny House Community.

Before moving to Simply Home Community I’d lived alone for more than three years. First in my big house (832 square feet). Then in a 15 foot long travel trailer. Then in Brittany Yunker’s tiny house Bayside Bungalow. Then an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) called Granny's Garden Cottage. Then in a 12-foot diameter yurt. And then in Sweet Pea, another tiny house on wheels. I’ve loved having a wee house all to myself. So I’ll admit I was a little nervous about living with other people again.

But it’s been wonderful! It’s nice to have other people to come home to. It’s nice getting to know their friends and family. It’s nice having that sense of being in on something together. I’ve enjoyed participating in community workdays, movie nights, and potlucks. Even our weekly house meetings are fun – which is no surprise considering the group of people! And nothing beats getting a text message right before hopping on my bike to head home after work that says “I hope you’re hungry because I just made a ton of soup!” I look forward to this winter when we are settled in and we can start up our supper club.

I do wish the Lucky Penny was completely ready for me to move into it. But as those who joined me on Friday for my Lucky Penny Open House can attest, I’m now on the home stretch.

(A quick thank you to everyone who came out for the Lucky Penny Open House. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be surrounded by people I love – many of whom are tiny housers themselves – as I prepared my house and myself for the imminent move! I had fun staging the house with candles, my spice rack, and the copper canisters I found on my Tiny House Treasure Hunt. But the highlight for sure was when I flipped up the porch and we dedicated my little house. I couldn’t bring myself to smash a bottle of champagne on any part of my house so instead we poured sweet wine over the tongue of the trailer. I started out by officially naming the house and then one-by-one my friends stepped forward to say a few words about what they hope for me and my house. It was a perfect send-off!)

My goal is to make The Lucky Penny functional by the end of October so that Raffi and I can shift our belongings there and switch into Phase 3: Make it Beautiful. (Fortunately, plumbing isn’t going to be a pre-requisite of livability since I can use the big house for cooking and bathing. I do plan to install plumbing because I want that flexibility for the future, but I don’t have the hurry I would have if I were moving the Lucky Penny somewhere that I need to be self-sufficient. In fact, none of the little houses have bathing facilities right now because we all shower in the big house or at the gym!)

I’m going to miss building at Green Anchors. It was the perfect place for my build buddy Laura Klement and I to build our little houses. I’ll miss the views of the St. John’s Bridge. I’ll miss those precious evenings we rewarded ourselves with a beer or a milkshake down at the river. I’ll miss my neighbors (like Rory who helped me build My Flip-Up Front Porch. And, of course, I’ll miss the ability to spread out and stain a bazillion shingles or make a racket as late (or as early) as I’d like. But as the days get shorter, it will be really nice to just pop outside to work on my house. (Besides, I have plans to build other little houses at Green Anchors. Stay tuned for more on that! I look forward to hatching my schemes…)

I’m horribly backlogged on blogging, but I do have more to share about my process. Those stories will unfold in good time. For now, I’m staying focused on the next steps: electrical, built-ins, and trim.

Wish us luck with the big move today!