By Alex Jones
A YOUNG family tired of paying TWENTY-THREE-THOUSAND POUNDS a year in RENT have built their own tiny home – and now TRAVEL THE WORLD by renting it out to other families for two thirds of the year.
Remarkable photos show the spectacular handcrafted two-bed home nestled in Boulder Creek, California, USA, with expansive views across a tree-filled and sun-drenched valley.
Named The Escher, after the pioneering couple’s three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, stunning shots of the tiny home include an arty and decadently designed living space; a phenomenally well-appointed kitchen with all the mod cons; and a delightful hideaway bedroom, perfect for childhood adventures.
The charming property belongs to Bela Fishbeyn (34), Spencer Wright (32), and their daughter Escher Kamalova (3) who spend the spring and autumn in their specially designed haven and the rest of the year travelling across North America and the world.
Self-professed ‘freedom chasers’, the adventurous duo spent approximately £100,000 ($130,000) building their dream home three years ago – after they became fed up spending £23,000 ($30,000) a year on poor quality housing in the San Francisco Bay area. The nature lovers do not consider themselves as trailblazers, however.
“I don’t think we’re outliers in too many ways…we’re a young family, interested in our health, freedom, and opportunity,” explained Bela, a Russian who immigrated to the USA when she six years old who is now the executive managing editor of The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) at Stanford University.
“We’re tight-knit and love taking on projects together as a way to learn and develop our futures.”
Spencer continued: “This big thing that sets us apart came about because we’ve taken small steps, over and over again, that each time gave us more control over our lives.
“We’ve slowly increased Bela’s ability to work remotely – now she’s fully remote. We also decided that I should stay at home and work on family projects so that we could make the most of Bela’s remote work. We built a tiny house in order to beat a terrible housing market in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“These are decisions that most people could push for and accomplish over three to five years. It’s just about prioritising freedom and hustling on margins to make it happen.”
After living in the property full time for the first 18 months after moving into the tiny home, the young family have spent more and more time renting out their home and travelling the world on the proceeds.
“We rent the home on Airbnb while we do extended traveling. The costs per night ranges from £150-275 ($200-$365) depending on the day of the week and any holidays. This includes access to over 20 acres of woodland and hiking trails, a furnished canvas Belle tent, a 300 square feet deck with panoramic views, and we’re installing a new cedar soak tub this fall,” said Spencer.
“While we were first bringing the house online as a rental, we played things pretty conservatively, keeping our travels fairly limited to California and visiting family in North Carolina, with some short trips to Mexico and the like mixed in. But now that the house is stable and renting well, we’ve been a bit more adventurous.
“We just got back from a five-week trip to Spain and in February we’ll be touring a fully-loaded Sprinter van for a whole month. In the background, we’re also trying to develop an A-frame home outside of Asheville, North Carolina as a second property. Our long-term goal is to get short-term rental homes set up in five different places, three domestic and two international, so that we can still travel but do it to our own homes, rather than renting while we travel.”
After only a few years of doing it, the young family are struck by how much can change so quickly. Just four years ago, Spencer worked full-time, Bela worked in an office four days a week, and the pair were stuck spending most of their money on rent. Now all of that has changed and the couple want other people to understand that anybody can achieve what they have.
“Our favourite thing about the property is sharing it with others. It’s a home that really shifts your perspective. You feel the transition into a different style of home and a different pace of life,” added Bela.
“Most of all, I think people are blown away by how spacious 300 square feet can feel. With the right design, you never even notice. Instead you’re drawn in by the quality of the home and the openness to the outdoors.
“In many ways, the idea of a tiny house has been on our minds since our honeymoon nine years ago. We stayed in a tiny cabin on a farm-stay in the North Carolina mountains with an incredible view and a dreamy outdoor cedar soaking tub. It was so perfect, we actually tried to cancel a trip we had planned to Chicago just so that we could stay longer. In that moment, we fell in love with simple homes that over-deliver on views, tranquillity, and luxurious amenities – and now we want to share that experience.
“When we were in the housing market, we were in a one-bedroom cottage in a suburb, then we moved to a slightly bigger duplex in Oakland, California. I wouldn’t say that either was better in any way to our tiny house, but they were bigger and a lot less work. But what can I say… the view, the freedom, the value, the beauty. There’s no way we’d ever go back to renting those sorts of places, now knowing that tiny houses are an option.
“It’s a very peaceful place to have a home, it’s way beyond where we thought we’d be living in our thirties. It’s truly a dream home, not a starter home.”
For more information see www.mediadrumworld.com