Cozying up is easy for Kyle and Jessica Jang, thanks to their 150-square-foot home near Three Hills.
The couple have been living in the lofted structure since finishing construction in October.
“It was a chance to have our own place, but not settle down,” said Kyle, 25.
“It’s like a cabin retreat.”
Inspired by the small house movement, a way to live simpler lives in very small homes, the couple did extensive research before buying plans online last spring. They liked the eco-friendly aspects and were used to small spaces from leading Prairie Bible Institute student groups on educational and humanitarian intercultural study trips to Guatemala.
Once they bought the 20-foot-long flatdeck trailer for their home’s foundation, they began construction in the backyard of their rented three-bedroom home in Three Hills.
Doing everything themselves proved tougher than anticipated.
“Building is challenging if you’ve never done it before. It’s tiring mentally and physically,” said Kyle, who’s alone right now as Jessica, 24, visits Chicago.
“We wanted it to be a fun, not stressful, project.”
The entire cost was $26,000.
Once finished, they hitched up the trailer and pulled the house to a farm east of town.
The main floor is about 125 square feet, with another 30 feet above as their sleeping loft. The combination living and dining room features a clothes closet and box seats to double as storage. A ladder leads to the loft, while behind it lies the galley kitchen, complete with sink, propane stove and espresso machine.
“It takes up a lot of space but Jessica loves her coffee,” said Kyle.
The bathroom has a compost toilet and stand-up shower stall with rain barrel bottom. The home has a water tank, a propane fridge and is heated with a propane fireplace. They draw electricity from a nearby garage. Natural light spills from numerous windows and skylights, reflecting off the pine panelling throughout.
The hardwood flooring and everything else is easy to clean, an important consideration since their cats Ukelele and Shoelace live with them.
“Cleaning takes five minutes, but it does get dirty faster,” explained Kyle.
“I’m not the neatest person in the world and Jessica likes things neat and clean. You can’t leave any mess because it shows.
Living in such close quarters can pose other challenges.
“You can’t avoid each other so you have to feel things out and work out the tensions. We have to be more creative about that.
“But we work together, too, so we’ve done fairly well in communication.”
An account of their construction is available online at http://tinyhouseontheprairies.wordpress.com.