An ordinary terrace house in Oudkarspel, in an ordinary residential area that could easily be compared to hundreds of other residential areas of about 20 years old. Everything about Marjolein Jonker is perfectly ordinary. A woman, an office job, a settled life in the starter home she moved into fourteen years ago.
But at the age of forty Marjolein is about to leave much of that ordinary life behind. No longer a way-too-big terrace house, but a home on wheels measuring six by two and a half meters, without regular utility services, on a plot of land temporarily allocated by the council of Alkmaar. Marjolein goes ‘in het klein’.
Once it was Marjolein’s dream to live bigger. She had found her dream house a stone’s throw away from Noord-Scharwoude, where she grew up. “Looking back, I think we get a bit pressurised into wanting a big house. Everyone else wants more space, so you do too. With the passing of years, I changed that opinion. Why would we want all those redundant rooms, all those way-too-big and much-too-expensive living spaces for which we have to scrimp and save all our lives? There is a cheaper alternative with less space, especially for singles like me”.
By accident Marjolein came across the Tiny House Movement in the United States – a movement that originated from a crisis.
“People had to vacate their houses because they could not pay off their debts. Youngsters could not find living spaces. They sought alternatives and started building their own houses, houses that didn’t need utility services. This matched perfectly with my conviction that we need to use much less energy and resources. The fact alone that during my forty years about 50% of wildlife has disappeared, makes you think. We need to change.”
The design is finished. On her pc Marjolein conjures up her ‘Tiny House’. With a floor space no bigger than her current living room, she’ll have a little living area, a kitchen, a shower and toilet, and a sleeping area right below the rafters, accessible by a stepladder,
The money for the build, about twenty percent of what a standard apartment costs nowadays, is there. Marjolein is now trying to crowdfund the money for the sustainable interior: composting toilet, solar panels, a utility that turns rainwater into drinking water. “I want to show that it is possible to use much less energy and resources. I hope to get a spot on the former Nuon plot in Alkmaar where the ‘Urban Earthship’ is being built. I don’t ask much of the council. I don’t even need utility services, just a temporarily unused piece of land to put my Tiny House on and grow some vegetables. If that land needed for something else at some point? Then I’ll leave. There is always a piece of land somewhere that’s not being used.”