He may not have made a documentary about it, but my boss, the Executive Director of Northwest Earth Institute, and his partner Laura have built an almost-as-tiny, tiny house. If you haven’t heard, these things are all the rage right now, especially in Portland. I’m not really surprised either, but I’ll tell you this: it’s nice to have a boss that walks the walk to match his talking the talk of what voluntary simplicity can look like in our “bigger-means-better” society.
While it sometimes seems as if I live inside my own personal Portlandia episode, it sure is great to be part of such a positive movement. And did I mention CUTE? Cute as kittens, I say. Sustainable Business Oregon recently caught up with Mike Mercer and his charming partner Laura (really, I’ve met her!) to do what I apparently was too lazy to: “better understand the motivation, enjoyment and challenges” behind the impressive new home:
Sustainable Business Oregon: What was your motivation for living in a tiny house?
Mike Mercer: Our motivation had a number of factors — financial (and with the rental of the home we own, we have great cash flow), quality of life experiment (could our lives be just as meaningful and happy living in a small space?…so far the answer is yes) and design (Laura is a designer and had the opportunity to design our home).
SBO: What do you miss, if anything, about living in a larger space?
Mercer: We haven’t missed much at all. That said, we don’t have a place to hang art and it is hard to have more than two over for dinner, at least in the rainy season. We do have the garage of the rental house, so our bikes, art supplies, camping equipment and yard tools have a place to live.
SBO: What’s the most challenging part about living in a tiny house?
Mercer: For us, the most challenging part was moving in; figuring out what to bring in and what to sell. Honestly, the upsides have been significantly greater than any of the challenges. Well, OK, making the bed in the loft is a little tough on my knees.
SBO: What piece of advice would you give to others considering tiny living?
Mercer: Probably the greatest advice is to not do it on a whim. We didn’t make this choice out of necessity, it was a result of many factors: the strength of Laura’s and my relationship, our comfort with having less of our stuff around us and a desire for an adventure.
Click through the gallery above to see inside the tiny house.
Danny Lampton is Communications Associate at Northwest Earth Institute