I think it is the most frequently asked question when people visit my Tiny House or come to one of my lectures: “what would you do differently if you had to do it all over again, if you would design and build your house anew?” In short: very little :) But I will explain that.
From left to right: Lena van der Wal, Fincent Höfte, Marjolein, Laurens van der Wal, and on the roof is builder Dimka Wentzel.
A well thought out design
Waaayyyy back in 2015 I got help from three fantastic young designers, all three were architecture students at TU Delft with a great love of small, self-sufficient houses. At the time, Lena, Laurens and Vincent were planning to start Studio Walden and were looking for a first project to sink their teeth into. I was looking for a designer for my tiny dream house, and the match was quickly made. Now I had also thought for a long time about how I wanted to live and what my mini-palace should look like. In any case, I had thought carefully about my must-haves and nice-to-haves. I had a Pinterest board full of pictures of small and larger houses that appealed to me and a spreadsheet with ideas and examples per “room”. ;) With that information, my design team got to work and after months of designing, discussing, making adjustments and coming back together again, the design of my Tiny House was ready. I can therefore say that the design has been very carefully considered. That is now paying off, because four years later I am still very happy with my house. There is little I would like to change.
But if I have to mention something, there are two things: the indoor downspouts and a roof over the veranda. On the four corners of my house, the downspouts are nicely concealed in the walls, so you don’t see them. You do not see the gutter from the outside. That gives a nice tight result so I understand the choice of my design team. However, there is a drawback: the rainwater comes out from under my house, so if I want to catch that, I have to bury a water tank. I cannot put a water tank next to my house, because then I would first have to collect the rainwater in a basin and then pump it into the tank. Then it would have to be pumped back into the house, which is twice the power consumption and that would be kind of wasteful. In my current situation, my water tank is on the bank where the ground is a lot lower, so the water can run into my tank by gravity only. But the next residential location may not have that luxury. Where I live now, I am not allowed to dig deeper than a meter because of possible soil contamination. In short, it is more practical to be able to run a pipe directly from the gutter into a tank.
A sheltered porch
The second is that I would like to have a roof over my porch someday so I can sit outside when it rains and not get wet. Of course, I could have made it, or had it made for me a long time ago, but because my place of residence is temporary, it did not seem wise to me. The more you build, the more you need to break down and move when you leave. But that’s not a real problem, is it? For now, I have a tarp which I stretch above the veranda when it is very sunny, which immediately serves as sun protection. If it is not too windy, I can leave it hanging, even when it rains. But the wind is often quite strong here and then the clatter of that sail drives me crazy.
In addition to these two “big” wishes, there are always small things that could be done differently. For example, in my “attic” I have a large box that is full of pieces of pipe and fasteners for my rainwater installation. A shame to put it away; I will probably need it again when I move to a new location in the future. I would like to replace that box with a nice basket with lid. And in the stairs, there are also a few compartments that would also fit very nice wicker baskets. Well, there is always something to improve and wish for, isn’t there? I’m sure it will come together someday. And sometimes you just have to settle for enough and be satisfied with what you have. All in all, I am still very happy with my Tiny House. And that’s what matters!