The time has finally come to continue my adventure. Onwards to my own lot in Olstergaard! The project manager in me wakes up, rubs her hands and takes a seat. What do I need? Five years ago, when I started planning the build of my Tiny House, I needed three things basically: a bag of money, a builder and a place to live. This time around there are also three things I need: a bag of money, an environmental permit and a garden design. So, let’s get started!
My first mortgage
All right, let’s start with that bag of money. Five years ago I took out a personal loan with a friend for the construction of my Tiny House, which has now been almost paid off – only about 4000.00 to go. I will manage that. What a wonderful idea, isn’t it? My house is almost all mine! But I was not able to really save for my own lot, in addition to the quite substantial monthly repayments for my house and the investments I have made in my company. Therefore, I am going to take out a mortgage for the purchase of my lot. It costs € 108,610, which is quite manageable. I also really want to put a wooden shed with a greenhouse on it, so I want to finance that as well with the mortgage. I had no idea if that were possible, but yes! Turns out it is. A world is opening up for me again.
A few years ago, I decided to switch to a green bank and I chose Triodos. Triodos was among all green banks the most animal-friendly in their policy. My preference is therefore to take out a mortgage with Triodos. After a misunderstanding with the first woman I got on the line at Triodos, I soon came into contact with Jan Peeters, an expert in self-build at the mortgage department. Funnily enough, I had already met Jan in 2018 at a Tiny House meeting that I co-organized in Leusden. At the time, Jan gave a presentation on the financing of the joint purchase of a piece of land. At the time we had to relocate the event to a sports hall because the registrations just kept coming in!
This time it was about something much smaller, of course – a project that is probably peanuts for Triodos. Fortunately, they live up to their mission. Jan told me that Jeroen Pels, director of mortgages at Triodos, is very enthusiastic about Olstergaard. “Well, of course he is!” I thought when I heard that. A nature-inclusive circular residential area including Tiny Houses? What’s not to like! :) So, they are happy to help me with suitable financing. I submitted a mountain of financial data with a big thank you to my accountant Joost (because figures are sooooo not my talent!) And now it appears that I can get the mortgage; how awesome is that! I am quite proud that after three years of self-employment, I am doing so well that I can get a mortgage. Of course, that should be obvious, but not so long ago it was a lot more difficult for self-employed people to get a mortgage. Or so I’ve been told. Ok, so the funding is in order (ticks off a line from her to-do list and starts a happy dance).
(I notice that I have a lot more to write than I did five years ago hahaha! Sorry if it’s too much info;))
A permanent environmental permit
This is actually the topic that causes me the most concern. I have an environmental permit for my Tiny House right now, but I live in a temporary location and thus the assessment against the Building Decree is a bit more flexible. For Olstergaard I am going to apply for a permanent environmental permit and although I know that my house complies perfectly with the basic principles of the Building Decree, namely a sufficient level concerning safety, health and environmental standards, the requirements and assessment instruments of the Building Decree are not a great fit for homes of the size tiny like my Tiny House.
This animation from the basic course ‘Your Tiny House – from dream to reality‘ is very appropriate;)
My main concern are the insulation requirements. It is quite a complicated matter, the EPC and BENG standards. Therefore, I’m going to use a combination of my practical experience combined with expert help from architect Antti Haninen. He has gained a lot of experience when it comes to getting THOWs through the licensing process and I am very happy with his help. I have to hand in a sketch design with drawings to scale of my home and garden to the quality team of the municipality of Olst-Wijhe in December, so we have to get started right away. I also asked Antti to make a drawing for a roof above my deck, which I have wanted for a long time. Finally, I will be able to sit on my porch in the rain without getting wet! But more on that later.
Here’s where the fun really starts: I can finally get started with the design and construction of my permaculture edible dream garden! Oh, happy happy joy joy. I’m loving it so much and how I look forward to starting next year! Planting fruit bushes and trees, which is not allowed at my current living location. Delicious! Gardening is no biggie for me. But making a garden design and planting plan? That is a profession in itself! I have already made a list of elements and plants that I want to have in my garden, but whether all this is possible and how? I’m not sure about that. Thankfully, I’m getting help. In 2018, landscape architects Buro Ruiter created a beautiful garden design for the communal garden of Wooncoöperatie Tiny House Alkmaar. At the time I had very nice contact with Aart and Hilbert and I have every confidence in their abilities, so this time I asked them to help me with the design of my own garden of 374 m2. And they said yes, isn’t it great?
The design of the communal garden of Tiny House Alkmaar
A sketch design for the garden must also be submitted in December and there are quite a few requirements from the municipality. I think that is very good. It is precisely the nature-inclusive character of the neighborhood and the permaculture principles that appeal to me in Olstergaard. I love to meet those requirements and I am glad that I can rely on my future neighbors to do the same. So next Wednesday I will travel to Putten for a session with Aart and Hilbert. Oh, how am I looking forward to it. I will, of course, follow up with an extensive report. You can count on it!
Meet the neighbors
In addition to this to-do list, more is going on. Olstergaard is a neighborhood that is being designed together with future residents and a first resident group has been active for over a year and a half already. This group has invested a lot of time together with the municipality, which I am very grateful for. I know what it’s like to start an initiative group and participate in it. Great fun and very educational, but you also have to do it all in addition to work and all kinds of other activities. There is already a Facebook group, Whatsapp group, Google drive and so we can get in touch with each other. Great fun! The municipality is organizing a virtual meeting on December 10th to get acquainted. There are working groups you can join, for example in the field of construction, nature, social, et cetera.
I would like to take this opportunity to give the municipality of Olst-Wijhe a big compliment. What a team of nice people! Questions are answered neatly, quickly and in a friendly manner. Everyone who is drawn in the lottery for the plots received a package with two delicious organic local wines and a welcome card. How fantastic! I already feel completely welcome.