I’m lucky enough to have been asked to submit a blog for the hugely popular Tiny House Blog http://tinyhouseblog.com/ Here is my summary for them of the project and wonder of it all!
Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project.
Debt free – healthy, happy and with lots of friends. Where the best things in life are not things, where less is more and where just enough is plenty!
The lifestyle model includes:
- Sustainable living – shelter, food, water, energy, transport, waste, environment
- Community participation – volunteering, active citizenship
- Education – learning, simple sustainable choices, self-sufficiency and rich experiences
Of most interest to the Tiny House community and this website will be the Happy, simply home – a 10m2 house built by a group of volunteers using mainly reused, recycled or left-over materials in two weeks for under $8000 NZ ($6700USD).
To live simply is the ultimate sophistication and luckily I have been fortunate to live and learn from the world’s poorest who, unfortunately don’t get to choose simplicity but are masters of living simply and being more connected to their families, communities and the environment around them.
Simplicity has so many amazing benefits to the individual, the people around them, the environment and towards a more just and connected global community. This was the starting point that I wanted to have a home that implemented these ideologies in a tangible way through a dwelling to live in and be an active part of a community.
In the almost 60 countries I have been fortunate to experience on top of my native home of Australia I stumbled upon a town named Paekakariki (where the girls are cheeky – as the local rhyme goes) and fell in love with the surrounds of beach and mountains and also the community – a small but distinct community that cared about where they lived and those who lived within it. That was this time last year. I then had to leave for the remainder of the year and arrived back in late January to set up the Happy, simply project and in particular the home.
I first held a community meeting to share my idea and listen to the community and to try and find a place, a team of volunteers and learn of the materials and resources available. From that first meeting I had enough to put plans into action and have a Spanish couple create the first designs.
After many changes in venues, materials, people and of course plans we had decided to build a 10m2 home on an old boat trailer which meant it could be moved easily – due to my nomadic ways and avoid a couple of council regulations like a having a toilet.
On February 16 we started the building with a group of around 10 volunteers, two builders, a designer and not much else!
In an incredible two weeks of stress, joy, mistakes, creativity and everything else possible we had a completed home ready to live in with loft, decks and a whole lot of learning, laughter and love poured into the foundation and structure of the Happy, simply home.
- Solar power to run some lights and charge a laptop
- Water capture for drinking, cooking and cleaning
- Passive lighting and heating
- Bio-compostable toilet
- Worm farm
- Cycling for transport – and public transport if further afield and
- Well connected with the community around me who saw the birth and raising of the Happy, simply home
The building process was truly amazing with so much to learn for the participants and so much interaction with the community and others so they now have a point of reference to the home – ‘I saw it when it was just a boat trailer’ or I remember seeing it when the door arrived with a catflap’, etc… and they also have an affinity with it and feel connected to the home – just wonderful!
Read more on each day of the build on the blog: https://happysimply.wordpress.com/
So in all it was not such a simple experience in building your own home on an old and wonky trailer with left-over wonky wood but it was certainly a rich experience that now gives me the opportunity to live my ultimate dream of being happy, simply; and it also now allows me, as an educator, to share this experience and model with others so they can adopt one or more of the components into their lives for more happiness, simplicity, self-sufficiency, sustainability and of course happiness!
Footnote: I actually have to leave the Happy, simply home in a few days 😦 because of a volunteer assignment I am doing overseas till December but the Happy, simply home will be open to the community and others to experience for a night a taste of the happy, simple way of life and components until my return next near…
Happy to answer questions in the comments if you have any – thanks!