Sunday, April 16, 2017

Some pics of the lake where we stay at the lake cabin

The Tiny Lake Cabin Rental Experience

Well, it has been several years since I have posted on our website.   Frankly, we have not had much to post.  After we lost the opportunity to live in the cabin that was being built (by the way it has sit empty since it was finished)(just a shame) we decided to keep looking in the direction of the tiny house lifestyle.

Years ago some friends of ours built two lake cabins on stilts.  They are 550 square foot and sit about 12 foot off of the ground.  As you can imagine they were built so if the water gets high they are protected.

This lake cabin has given us the opportunity to experience the tiny house life even though we will never own this property.  It did save us $100 per month off the rent versus our old duplex.  All in all it has been a fantastic "trial" run for what needs to be incorporated into a cabin when we get around to building our own.

First, we realize it has a lot less to do about square footage than it does with how the property is laid out.  The "lake camp" as I like to describe it is a studio.  That in itself has presented some challenges.  We rescue animals so the importance of having a separate bedroom with a door that will actually close is a BIG DEAL.  We have found out on many nights that as animals want to play you lose sleep.

Couple of the other things we have learned that we will most definitely put into practice when we build a cabin is having a more full size kitchen versus having a large living area.  Frankly, a large living room has proven to be frankly overrated.  We think we could easily have lost a foot or two inwards on the living room.

Now storage is a real challenge.  We have a 5x10 storage unit that has basically a bedroom worth of stuff in it that runs about $40 per month.  Part of our we did not save as much money as we thought we would thing.  We will get to that later.  There is a pretty good sized closet in this unit.  It is about 3 foot deep and around 10 foot long.  Most people would consider this to be enough space.   It has not been.  We could have used about another 3 foot in length to the closet.  For what it is I am not sure you could ask for another much more though.  It is huge by tiny home standards.  But, we will put a larger closet in ours.

Now for the kitchen.  It is a partially functional kitchen.  It has a great full sized fridge.  And it has a smaller stove but, plenty big enough for us.  Unfortunately, what it does not have is cabinets.  It has the open shelves like many of the tiny homes you see on TV.  Our personal opinion is there is a real reason you have cabinets in a kitchen.  Things need to stay out of sight.  And you want things covered from your pets.  If you have them.  We have since invested in a pantry that cost about $150.  Better than nothing.  But, you can bet we will spring for at least some cheap cabinets in our cabin.

The other thing we highly recommend is having a full size sink.  This unit has a very small sink in the kitchen and no dishwasher.  So as you may imagine you can soak yourself and the floor doing dishes.  So having a full size large kitchen with a double sink and/or a dishwasher is going to be a must.

Again, we understand there are some cost involved in some of these items but, boy it makes things much more functional.  There could have easily been a wall put up for a separate bedroom.  Just from the sheer lack of need for a large living room which we have. We have a living room as big as the one we had at the duplex which had a oversized living room.

Some other things to consider is when you move to a more rural area look at the internet situation.  Yes, there is internet.  For the same speed as I had in town it is $70 a month more expensive!  At the end of the day we have not saved any money moving into the smaller unit.  And actually spend a little more when you factor in gas.

The unit we are renting was built for around $26,000 back in 2010.  My guess to have added some of the little things to make this unit much more functional would be about $5,000-$8,000.

At the end of the day much to our surprise it has NOT been size that has been the issue.  It has been layout and just a few missing extras needed.

We highly recommend downsizing prior to looking at building a cabin, going to a RV situation, or doing the tiny house experience.  Where you stay might really have a impact on what you need in your unit.  Or give you a lot of ideas. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Posting a few more pics we had of what would have been our cabin...

We probably will not keep these pics of long.  As the cabin will not be ours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Tiny Home is No More - A True Tale of Betrayal

As many have read there was a Tiny (small) cottage being built for us on behalf of a builder/property owner/business man in East Texas.

The building of our Tiny cottage started back in August 2013 and I have posted about half of our progress on this blog.  However, something shocking happened as the cottage became complete.

This cottage came about as we inquired with what was thought to be a friend of the family who owned rental property.  And has been building, renting, and buying property in and around North East Texas for 40 years or more...

We originally was going to rent a farm house that had been converted from a old gas station on HWY 271 outside of Gladewater Texas.  Upon viewing the farm house we had decided to in fact rent the farm house.

During the conversation I mentioned how ultimately I wanted a "tiny house" as I had been researching the trend for almost 2 years prior.  After hearing the idea the builder said "let's walk outside".... He pointed to a open piece of property about 1/2 acre in size around 40 yards from the rental farm house.  He smiled and said he would build our "Tiny Home" for us.  And then rent it to us with the potential for more (IE - Lease purchase/rent to own).  Now my wife and I started a cleaning business in East Texas back in 2012.  She had a pacemaker put in during 2011.  Very young for a pacemaker only 47 years old.  During the days preceding needing the pacemaker the hospital in Longview did not know what was wrong with my wife.  They did numerous tests on her over 5 days or so.  My wife had been suffering from dizziness, lack of energy, lack of ability to concentrate, slurred speech.  In fact initially we thought she was having a stroke.  However, her heart rate would not rise over about 40 bpm.

This was a very dangerous time.  She had went through a divorce a few years prior.  And her credit took a hit.  Then in 2011 during the pacemaker event I lost my job.  I refused to be away from my wife until we found out what was wrong.  When we started our cleaning business in very early 2012 it was started on $50.  Literally $50.  And we lived off of about $1500 a month for the 1st year.  It was a struggle.  We started the business because jobs in our corporate field were few and far between.

Long story short we had ruined our credit between divorce and business start up.  So this potential rent/lease/purchase situation was perfect as we were wanting to reduce our utility costs.  Currently we live in Longview in a 1150 square foot duplex.  The cottage is 600 square foot.  Quite a difference.

However, we were excited.  Over the moon.  With the offer "TG" presented us with.  As the months went along I covered the progress on here.  Pictures of us in the cabin/cottage as it was being built.  The red door that made my wife so very happy.  This place may have been small but, it was going to be our home for good!!

Well, now.... As of June 17, 2014 we are not in our Tiny Cottage.  Instead on June 10, 2014 we went to see the now completed cottage.  And was having a talk with "TG"... And as the course of the talk went.  His attitude changed.  And he seemed to get somewhat angry and had a glare.  He said "I got one rule before you move in" "you are NOT to have any of your friends in this cabin"... My wife and I shocked looked at each other.  Then he goes on to say "I do not need anyone in the cabin shooting gangsigns" or "out here stealing things" on our property. 

Then he precedes to tell us only my son and my wife's daughter/grandkids were allowed on "his personal property" (keeping in mind he had been renting out the farm house to various people for profit for years (including people we know))...   My wife and I was stunned.  No time over the previous 9 months of planning, conversation (and there had been hours and hours of it) with "TG" did he exclaim no friends were to be "allowed".... This of course was a deal breaker.  My wife and I called "TG" later that night to make sure we had not misinterpreted anything.  He was stoned and solid in his "rule".... So the cabin was no longer to be ours.

Now, the next thing.  Here we are in 2014.  About 2 weeks prior to the above events we had serviced a home in Gladewater Texas and we had our hired helper with us.  Who happens to be a friend of our family we have known for years... We decided it was time for "Anthony" to see the most exciting thing to happen to us.  Our cabin.  "Anthony" while he was out there met "TG"... The conversation and visiting went as always.  Very well.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Well, my wife says on the trip home after "TG" presented the most disturbing of rules.  "Why did he mention stealing and gang signs?".... I smiled and said "Anthony is African American".... And "TG" seems to have a issue with that.  Please keep in mind it just so happens the only friend "TG" ever met was Anthony.  Of course, we walked away.  We're not choosing a cabin over having a relationship with our friends who are as strong as family to us. 

Here's a small list of things we did to prepare:
1) Got a storage building (facility) to store collectibles and Christmas decor.
2) Sold numerous amounts of furniture including a couch and antique curio cabinet
3) Because the cabin was a round trip of 40 miles further a day driving for us we bought a car.  Keeping in mind that our previous vehicle functioned fine.  But, was a gas guzzling SUV.  Oh.  And the previous vehicle was PAID OFF.  Now, we have a note for a $25,000 car.. Which I took a ugly interest rate on to get the 26MPG vs. 12 MPG.  But, now we're in town and absolutely could have kept our PAID off car.  Now it's $300 a month out the window.
4) Were told we could keep our pets in our new place (now we have to get rid of our fur-babies).  We are heart broken and this is the worst of the fallout from his betrayal.  

By the way.  Little money exchanged hands except $2300 for a interior wall that I requested he put in.  However, when there was a delay in construction he gave it back and told us to just give it to him upon completion.  No contracts prior.  Why?  Because he was a friend of the family who during his rental business had rented to multiple people including our daughter.  With NO issues out of this person in 14 years that would have forecasted his "hate".... So in turn.

We are heartbroken.  As someone else will enjoy the Tiny cabin besides us.  We are left to pick up the pieces.  Both financially and emotionally... Thanks for following the cabin and take care!!


Larry and Debi

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Latest Tiny Cabin Progress Pics!!

Latest Cabin Pics... A lot of the insulation and sheetrock is done. Including all of the ceiling. Closet is framed out. Connections for Washer/Dryer is in. Pipes are in for vanity, shower, toilet. And shower step and partial wall is in.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Progress Pics Week 5 #tinycabin

Updated newest cabin pics. The gable is done above the porch. The cedar posts are covered with paper to protect from paint. We determined where the kitchen is going. Front right of the cabin. The roof is on.