The Wicked Tiny House finally has a home in Bozeman
October 9, 2016
Living in a Walmart parking lot gets old fast. Shenee and I were beginning to feel pressure to make a decision and find a suitable place to live. We decided to give it a few more days while we explored Yellowstone, with the hope that something would materialize while we were gone. On our way back from Yellowstone, I got an email from a woman who I had previously been in contact with in Bozeman who thought she might have a spot for us. During the chaos of traveling, I had completely forgotten about this lead! I replied to her email and sent her a text saying that we would love to stop by and meet her and look at her spot. We arrived right around sunset, and realized that her property was on one of the roads we had scouted and dropped fliers off at!
She had about an acre of land and a large backyard with mature spruce trees, some views of the surrounding mountains and was only about 4 miles from downtown Bozeman. As an added bonus, one side of her property abutted a public right of way, so access to the back yard would be a breeze. We both immediately knew this would be a perfect setup. The owner was super nice and very laid back. Part of the reason she was interested in having the tiny house was that she to see how it would look if she decided to live in a tiny house and rent out her main house. We told her we really liked the spot and would get in touch with her the next day.
The next day, we told her we were interested. We ironed out the details, and she said we could move in that day! We were super excited, and started packing up the house for its final move, at least for a while! It was only about a five mile drive, and we showed up right around lunch time The owner wasn’t around, and I wasn’t quite sure exactly where she wanted the house, so we parked it in the alley. While we waited for the owner to come home, we disconnected the house from the truck, and drove to the other side of town where I had previously seen a place that we might be able to unload the Kia from the truck. It was a sod farm, and they had a ramp that they used to load trucks that looked to be almost a perfect height. I went inside the shop, and explained our situation. The guy behind that counter told us to have at it, and we backed the truck up to the ramp, and viola, a PERFECT fit! The Kia rolled right out, and I swear I heard the truck sigh with relief! 2,900 pounds lights! Back at the house, we met with the owner and discussed a couple of potential locations for the house.
Fast forward to the next morning. We checked to make sure the gate was wide enough (6 inches to spare on each side!) and then tied back a couple of branches on the nearby trees. In order to get the house in the position we wanted, the house had to be backed in. With Shenee’s help, I got the truck lined up with the gate and started slowly backing into the back yard. With such a narrow entrance made even narrower by trees, I had to pull forward a few times in order to get it just right. A couple of tree branches left some scrapes on the side of the house, but nothing that a little paint couldn’t fix. With the house through the gate, we got it into position. But like many things, what we thought would be a perfect spot didn’t quite look right once we started looking at it. The tiny house was turned perpendicular to the “big” house, and it felt like it was taking up the entire backyard, so we decided to go to option B.
Option B required turning the house 90 degrees. In order to avoid driving through the entire backyard, I made a number of back and forth movements to get the house turned, and then pulled it up alongside a row of spruce trees. This option gave us a little more shielding from the wind, and also made the house a bit more inconspicuous. In the new location, the house was visible to only one neighbor and through the trees if you looked really close. I felt like it blended in better with the backyard which was just what I wanted!
The next step was to get the house ready for “permanent” living. We went out and bought 200’ of heavy duty 10 gauge extension cords, 200’ of hose, and cinder blocks to make a “foundation”. We spent a few house with a jack, the cinder blocks, and wood shims putting the “foundation” under the house. The “foundation” has three purposes. One is leveling the house, as the piece of land we are on isn’t perfectly level, and sleeping facing downhill can result in some terrible heartburn. Two is to make the house feel more solid. When the house is on the wheels it tends to move around quite a bit, both from the wind and people moving around, which can be quite disconcerting especially when trying to sleep. Three is to get the weight of the house off the tires and axles. Leaving the entire weight of the house on the axles for a long period of time creates the potential for worn out suspension parts and tires with flat spots, and those tires cost wayyyyyy to much to keep replacing!
After spending what felt like forever messing around with shims, we got the house to the point where it was “level enough” for our liking. After that, we put the legs on the deck, and assembled the outdoor shower. Unfortunately, the way I did the plumbing, it would have put the outdoor shower on the exposed side of the house, which I thought would have looked funny, so we ended up putting it on the side facing the trees. Seeing as it is October, I probably won’t bother rearranging the outdoor shower plumbing for this season. That’s a project for next year!