Taylor L. Harrell, Marketer for Rhino Cubed
As a marketer for Rhino Cubed, a tiny house company that repurposes shipping containers into sleek, modern, completely sustainable tiny homes, I talk to a lot of people about why they are interested in tiny homes and why they want to own one. However, recently it came to my attention that I had never asked myself this question. For a long time I have been an advocate for living with less to do more and when I had the opportunity to work with a tiny house company I jumped at the chance. But I wanted to understand why this is something that is so important to me.
There are a lot of reasons that make owning a tiny home attractive – less debt, more disposable income, less to clean; and it’s better for the environment and better for the soul. All of these benefits resonate with me, but I especially believe in owning a tiny home for two personal reasons: my past and my future.
In the last decade, I have lived in Boston, London, New York, Boulder and now finally, Denver. In all of these places I have paid rent. I couldn’t bring myself to do the math and tally up the total amount of money I have spent on apartments in these VERY expensive cities but I’m sure it’s considerable. Thinking back, I wish that owning a tiny home were an option. Zoning restrictions are improving in some cities and there are ways around them but there are still complications to living in a tiny house in certain urban areas. If it had been an option, I could have put all that rent money toward something I could own for the rest of my life and, even better, I could have brought it with me from city to city. Being spared the anxiety of looking for an apartment in New York is reason enough for me to wish that I owned a tiny home that I had just brought along with me and set up in a parking garage – I may have even had a better view. (See the SCAD pad in Savannah, GA for tiny urban living inspiration).
One thing I almost always hear when I express my love of tiny homes is: “Do you really think you could live in such a small space?”And my response is always the same: “You over-estimate how much room you actually have when you are sharing an apartment with two other people in New York.”180 square feet to call your very own would feel like a mansion when the alternative is to share a studio loft with fake walls where your bedroom is literally that – a room just for your bed, and your shared closet is all the way at the other side of the apartment. A container home would have been something dreams were made of.
The second reason I want a tiny home is the fantasy I have about the lifecycle of my imaginary up-cycled container house. I want to live in a tiny home now – because I am STILL paying rent. I am a twenty-something single person who likes to travel and be outdoors – I would rather have money to live than spend it on a place to keep my stuff. It would be perfect for my current lifestyle.
Eventually I would like to own a still small but not necessarily tiny house. I would keep my tiny home in my backyard for visiting friends and family and to rent out on sites like Airbnb. It could be a source of income that would allow me to have the flexibility to work less and have more time to do things and be with people I love.
Finally, one day I hope to have land in the mountains. After being a primary residence, a guesthouse and a source of income, my tiny container home will have a permanent location somewhere in the beautiful Rocky Mountains where I can have an off-the-grid home base to ski, hike and be outside. Because what is the point of having a giant house in the mountains when you are there for the sole purpose of enjoying the outdoors? From there it will be passed down to my (also imaginary at this point) children because this is an heirloom product – containers and in turn container homes are built to last for generations.
There is something really powerful about saving for and one day owning something that you know will have this kind of lifespan. How often can you say with certainty that you are putting money towards something that will be with you for a lifetime if you want it? There is security in having a house that you know will last and freedom in the fact that you can take it with you wherever you choose to go. These are my reasons for wanting a tiny home and believing in this lifestyle and I would encourage anyone to explore what having a tiny house could mean to them.
Taylor Lynn Harrell is a marketing consultant living in Denver, Colorado. She works for the organic foods and sustainable lifestyle industries. She was previously an account executive for Edelman, the world’s largest private public relations firm in the New York Corporate & Public Affairs practice. Taylor is a 2014 graduation of the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business MBA program and has blogged about why she’d like a tiny home.