We are Cassie and Gilbert. We're building a tiny house in our backyard to host Airbnb guests, and this is our story!
Last year, after moving into our first home in Central Phoenix, we decided to rent out our guest bedroom and bathroom on Airbnb. We had no idea how we would be inspired! What started out as a fairly simple way to make some extra income soon evolved into a tangible way to meet, serve, and love on people from all over the world. We've had quite the variety of guests including: single business travelers, mothers-in-law of local neighbors, traveling nurses, and visitors from Germany, Canada, and all across the United States.
Over the last 12 months, we've successfully hosted a total of 26 parties, for a total of 80 nights. Many enjoyed our provided breakfasts which have included yogurt parfaits, veggie goat cheese frittatas, breakfast burritos, banana pancakes, quiches, and a common favorite--chilaquiles. We've had the opportunity to pray with a sweet Christian couple and their girls with cystic fibrosis. Another couple insisted on us joining them for dinner at the Tuck Shop, a neighborhood gem. One man sat on our pink vintage couch and played some tunes on my guitar, even giving Gilbert a mini lesson. Girls visiting from Canada brought me some fancy Julia Baker chocolates. We got to surprise a visiting mother with flowers on Mother's Day. A dog groomer guest instantly knew how to behave around our spirited Vizsla puppy and gave us a mini training lesson. While I was pregnant, I came home to find a package on my front porch from Pennsylvania. I opened it to find a beautiful card from a recent guest, and a blanket she had crocheted for our baby-to-be. I was moved to tears! While we have done our best to be able to bless our guests, I'm quite sure our experiences as hosts have been enriched many times over by the lovely people we've had visit our home. (Read more about our guests' experiences here.)
Alas, our circumstances have changed a bit, requiring us to re-think this little "business." We had a baby! This little girl has taken over the guest room as her own nursery, so we unfortunately are not be able to continue hosting in our home. However, we don't want to stop! We loved that Airbnb provided us with a home business, but the connections we made with people was what really made it worth it.
You may have heard of the Tiny House Movement. Basically, many people are rediscovering the benefits of "tiny living" including efficiency, sustainability (many are designed to function "off the grid"), and financial freedom. Generally, homes less than 400 square feet are considered "tiny." Without the burden of a mortgage, or a large space to clean and maintain, owners can focus more on relationships with their families and communities.
While we do not intend to downsize ourselves at this point, we have intentionally chosen to live small-er. After all, our main house is only 1400 square feet, which is significantly less than the average United States family home of 2,662 square feet (and yet seemingly huge compared to our 500 sq ft studio in San Francisco!). In Ryan Mitchell's book Tiny House Living, he notes that tiny living is truly...
"...the size of the space relative to the number of people living in it. This means a single person living in 200 square feet and families of 5 living in 1200 square feet are both living in tiny houses. Both homes require the residents to be intentional about the space they live in, including how they design and arrange it, and how they use the house as a vehicle to live the life they wish to live. A tiny house is not just a home--it is a lifestyle."
Therefore, technically, once we have one more kid, we'll be living tiny too! We'd like to offer the opportunity to others interested in tiny living to try it out. Anyone can discover the benefits of living with less if given the opportunity to experience smart and thoughtful design. That's what we'd like to do.
So. We're going to build a tiny house in our backyard. We are envisioning the type built on wheels on a 8.5'x24' trailer, utilizing the full 13.5' height restriction. By doing it this way, we avoid the need for most building permits, and if we ever move, we can bring it with us, or perhaps use it for ourselves one day. It will feature a sleeping loft, a full bathroom (with composting toilet), a living area, and a full kitchen including a stove, fridge/freezer, microwave/oven and standard sink. We will design it according to our own taste and style, keeping in mind the needs of temporary guests who just need a place to stay, and those who truly want to experience the extent of living tiny.
Ultimately, our mission is twofold:
- Provide stellar hospitality in a cozy, refreshing environment.
- Provide a tiny house to experience living with less.
This website will initially feature our blog as we document the brainstorming and building process. Eventually, it will host information on reservations, photos, building specifics, and other media. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!
Lots of love,
Cassie and Gilbert, Annabel, Zala (the dog), and Martin (the chinchilla)