I’m building a tiny hacker house on a trailer. It will be about 150 sq. ft. total, and that includes the 50 sq. ft. or so required for the queen-size loft. It will have a tiny kitchen, tiny bathroom, tiny living area, but a regular sized bathtub. The bathtub is important because it doubles as a laundry washer.

tiny hacker house rough model

I’ve had 5 different addresses in 3 years of living in the Bay Area, always seeking the most comfortable yet cost-effective living situation. Somewhere along the way, I got sick of paying increasing rent for living where I wanted. I got sick of scheduling my major vacations and life transitions in 3, 6, or 12-month increments. I also became disheartened by the cost of owning a home – not just the price of the home, but the time and energy required shopping for it, maintaining utilities, mortgages, the yard, building code, HOA code, and property tax. It just seems so high maintenance.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed by concrete, people, the monotony and predictability of the daily city routine. When this happens, I like to take a mini sabbatical to reconnect myself to the humanity of a fresh experience. Most of the time this means going solo camping or taking a mini road trip. A well-designed tiny house is the perfect vehicle for this. No need to pack.

I look at the material things around me and wonder if I could design a lifestyle that didn’t place so much importance on owning those things. When I moved to San Francisco, I owned only what could fit in a car. Without a couch, TV, and cooking supplies, I went out most nights to eat and explore, and making friends happened organically. When I invited those friends over for dinner, I resisted buying a kitchen table. Instead, people sat in a circle on floor pillows. I think it made for a much more intimate dining experience. I sit in chairs enough anyway.

I work remotely as an independent developer. I get tired of going to coffee shops and co-working spaces to work. They’re neither collaborative nor focus-friendly, but somewhere in between, where I can work alone and not feel alone. But after a while, I realized this isn’t the solution. I’d rather work in either long stretches of pristine solitude, or in highly engaged sessions face-to-face. For the former, what could be more ideal than an office at the beach, in the forest, or on a snow-covered mountain?

So I’m building a tiny hacker house. The next post will detail the structural design and living systems.

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