By Mark McConville
MEET the first-time parents who are bringing their nine-and-a-half-month-old daughter in a tiny 204-square-foot house they built for just £21K.
Architect Robert and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Samanatha Garlow (both 31), from Yakima, Washington, USA, decided to build a tiny home on wheels after becoming sick of wasting money on rent.
Not interested in taking on more debt in the form a mortgage the couple built their tiny home at a cost of £21k over 14 months’ worth of weekends.
They recently celebrated two years in their tiny house and explained the perks of raising their daughter, Aubrin Sage Garlow, in such a small space.
“We are first time parents so having a baby in our 204-square-foot tiny house is all we know,” said Robert.
“It has been a very enjoyable experience and we don’t have anything else to compare it to. There is great peace of mind in knowing that we are raising our daughter in the cleanest, most healthy house we have ever lived in and the ability to always keep an eye on her is an added bonus.
“It has provided all the necessities for our daughter to grow and we have been able to continue to tweak and adapt it to suit her needs.
“Surprisingly the biggest perk of raising a baby in a tiny house has very little to do with the tiny house. Believe it or not it has never been about the tiny house; it has always been about the life it affords.
“For many of us, tiny homes are simply a means to an end. The real driving force behind these alternative dwellings is their ability to instigate and achieve a preferred way of life. A tool that has the ability to substantially reduce ones cost of living and in return avoid the increasing number of work hours it takes to keep our head above the financial water line.
“You cannot buy more time, so the next best thing is to spend it in more meaningful ways; our tiny house has encouraged and enabled this reallocation of time.
“By opting out of the cyclical grind and substantially reducing our cost of living we’ve had the ability to take extended parental leave, work less and work from home resulting in more time doing the things we enjoy with the people we love, especially sweet baby Aubrin.”
The couple used to live in a 650-square-foot one bedroom upper apartment in an older house which was drafty in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer.
They gave away all their excess belongings to family and friends before making the move but Robert explained how the tiny house doesn’t have to be a ‘forever home’.
“Besides number of square feet, the biggest difference between that apartment and our tiny house is quality,” he said.
“It has been amazing to live in a well designed and built home with efficient heating and cooling and large double pane windows to provide lots of natural light and view without drafts and condensation.
“The idea of a ‘forever home’ is barely plausible these days, especially if it is location static. We live in a day and age where people are frequently changing locations due to employment and up-sizing due to growing families only to down-size when the children move out.
“In a short two years our tiny house has been the best space possible to become first time parents while allowing us to create a financial safety net and refinance our student loans to an aggressive five year eradication plan, all while allowing us to work less, travel more and spend more time together as a family.
“Ultimately we will utilize the tiny house as a full time residence for as long as it works well for us and then if we decide to move into something better suited for a growing family we will re-purpose the tiny house as a backyard studio or guest house or airBNB rental or maybe even create an off grid getaway in the mountains. The beauty of this tiny house project is its ability to give back to our family in a variety of ways through its lifetime.”
Robert recalled their inspiration for building their tiny house and had advice for anyone wishing to follow their example.
“Macy Miller was a huge inspiration to us,” he added.
“She is the owner of the iconic MiniMotives.com tiny house and was really one of the main people who paved the way for DIY tiny houses.
As strangers, we actually reached out to her via e-mail and then drove six hours to Boise, Idaho, to meet her in person and pick her brain to see if this was something we truly wanted to commit to. She instilled confidence in us and on the way back home we purchased our trailer and officially began this journey.
“Commit to it. Tiny houses are an amazing life hack; a tool that can unlock incredible opportunities that would otherwise not be possible for many people. If possible, choose to build it yourself. Not only do you save a lot of money but you gain an incredible experience and wealth of new knowledge throughout the process.”
For more information see https://shedsistence.com/