A Tiny House: The Journey Towards Sustainable Living

A Tiny House: The Journey Towards Sustainable Living

20 Jan 2020

A Good Community delves into the fascinating movement of Tiny Houses. Life partners Alejandra & Love could never find the summer cabin that had it all – water, electricity, accessibility to public transport and space-effectivity. So they decided to build their own from scratch – in the most affordable, waste-free and conscious way possible.

The Tiny House Movement has virtually exploded in recent years.

The idea of living a simpler, more sustainable life is becoming increasingly appealing to people across the globe – manifested in the popular tiny houses.

It should be mentioned that this is not an entirely new concept. The idea of tiny living has been around since the 70's but it wasn't until a few years ago that the movement found a broader appeal.

Many people readjusting from living in a larger house quote getting rid of mortgages and clutter as one of the main reasons for moving to a tiny house. Another common denominator is the sustainability factor and getting closer to nature while not leaving a massive footprint while enjoying it.

Curious as we are, we decided to look into the fascinating movement of Tiny Houses. Our first feature is with Alejandra and Love who are just embarking on their journey to build a tiny house in the Swedish countryside.

Alejandra and Love, you're building a tiny house together. In layman's terms, what is a tiny house – really?

It’s basically what it sounds like – a small house! The idea however is to build it consciously with climate in mind, making use of every square meter. Many tiny houses are on wheels, but they don’t have to be.

Ours will not be on wheels - it will be a little less than 50 square meters and we will use every space as mindfully as possible and be as climate friendly as we can.

How did you come up with the idea? Who is your source of inspiration?

We started looking for a little cabin to spend the summers in, but many of them lacked water and electricity and were hard to access without a car. Neither of us has a car or a driver’s license so we need to be able to access our house by public transportation.

One night when we were browsing for houses online, we stumbled upon this plot of land and it was too perfect to miss out on, so we decided that what the heck, let’s build our own house!

Now, we’re in the process and our house will hopefully be ready sometime around October 2020. We still have full time jobs in Stockholm, but hopefully we can move there full time one day. It’s also worth mentioning that Alejandra has been a sustainable lifestyle blogger for quite a while, and we were super inspired by all the tiny houses we’ve seen online, so it was the only option for us to do it this way.

Do you know anyone who’s built a tiny house in Sweden?

Haha, when we started no, but now we’ve made a few connections.

"It’s truly the idea of reducing space and replacing it with time instead."

What does does living in a tiny house really entail? Do you have to be a specific type of person to be attracted to it/pull it off you think?

It’s truly the idea of reducing space and replacing it with time instead. Many tiny house owners are globetrotters who want to live as freely as possible, but for us it’s a desire to live outside of Stockholm, be closer to nature and to live in a more climate friendly way.

The tiny house we are building is located outside of Vadstena, in a little village with roots in Medieval times. At the moment, we live in an apartment in Stockholm and there are trains from Stockholm to Vadstena, and from there we’ll have to catch a lift or call a taxi until we’ve persuaded the municipality to build a bike path.

What was step one in your journey and what step are you on now?

We started by collecting all of our savings to buy the plot, then the whole process of actually buying it and researching began. We’re now at the point where the drawings from our friend and architect Kristina Ullberg, are almost done and ready to send in to apply for a building permit.

There are so many different laws and regulations regarding construction in general, which is pretty time-consuming to learn about, but the biggest concern is probably the budget. The whole shebang can’t be over 400 thousand SEK, which the first bank we contacted thought was insanely low, so we went to another bank that understands our vision with recycling, spending less and building in a climate friendly way.

We’re doing everything we are allowed to ourselves, but of course we’ll get help to build the bathroom and kitchen, water and electricity, and we have a few helping hands from friends. It’s all very new, painting walls is the closest we’ve ever come to a project like this, haha!

What materials are you using? How do you get ahold of the materials and furniture that you want to fill the house with?

This is the fun part! We’ve been collecting materials from other people’s renovation projects for a few months now and we’re searching for pretty much everything online. We want to use things that would otherwise go to waste. It is one of the upsides with building a small house – you don’t need big volumes of the different building materials.

At the moment we have the roof and we have the windows, now we’re looking for the floor for the bathroom. When it comes to the interior we’re super into Scandinavian design from the 50’s and 60’s.

Some things will be custom made by our friend Anders to fit the sizing of the room, and we might get a few things from our families, but we want to keep it quite minimalistic and uncluttered. The plan is to work mainly with wood, both exterior and interior.

Being based in Sweden, it makes the most sense, seeing as we are among the biggest wood exporters in the world. It’s durable, environmentally friendly and very beautiful.

When we check back in with you in a couple of months, what do you hope that you can share with our community in terms of exciting news?

Ooh! Hopefully we have started the actual building, found more materials in terms of the wooden floor, maybe a stove and some kitchen cabinets, and hopefully we’re able to show you pictures from the drawings, inspiration and so on!

To follow Alejandra and Love on their journey, check out their instagram:

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