If you’ve ever been to a really good buffet meal (and I’m not talking about a calabash at Myrtle Beach or an all-you-can-eat-with-this-ticket-stub on the Vegas strip) you know what it’s like to enjoy something so immensely that you have to go back a second time.
The same can be said for Florida couple Tara and Pete Hudson.
In early 2013 the Hudsons wanted to own their own house. They wanted one they could customize and move.
After stumbling onto pictures of tiny homes on the Internet, Tara became fixated and began telling people about her desire to build one.
She admits that most thought she had gone mad.
Even her husband Pete was a bit skeptical.
The initial idea was to downsize their lives. But Tara quickly realized that she and Pete had to decide between their wants versus needs.
After opting out of a traditional mortgage, eliminating needless spending, donating items, having a few sales, and giving things away, they finally felt ready to embark on their tiny house journey.
But here’s the twist!
Once finished with their 160 sq.ft. tiny house trailer they realized that it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.
Due to some health complications the sleeping loft wouldn’t work for them any longer and the layout didn’t quite suit their needs.
So they quickly sold their first tiny home and jumped head first into their second.
Tara and Pete both agreed that they wanted something semi-permanent, and not on either a trailer or fixed foundation.
So with the purchase of a pre-fab barn unit mounted on skids, they began building their home: The New Tiny.
Andrew Odom: When did you build your second tiny house and is there one reason in particular that you did so?
Tara Hudson: We started building our first tiny house on wheels in May 2013 and sold it as a shell (interior not finished) in May 2014.
Pete and I wanted to downsize because of my health problems. We both thought it would be easier to take care of, and with my daughter away at college it was just the two of us and we didn’t need so much space.
The idea of being mobile appealed to us too but as I called around to find a place to park it we quickly realized that central Florida zoning had the upper hand and it would be next to impossible to live legally in it unless it had a RIVA certification.
Soon after I had quite a scare while working in the loft and I decided it would be best to have a down stairs bedroom, so we listed it and found a buyer within a month.
The second tiny house/cabin was purchased at the beginning of summer 2014.
It is a pre-built shell. We went with a completed shell because after working on the first tiny house we just wanted to get on with it. We knew the Florida storms would make the project drag on just like the first one, as we had to build in our driveway that was open to the elements.
AO: What are the size specs of your tiny house (size of trailer if applicable, square feet, number of stories, number of occupants, etc)
TH: The new tiny is 12’ x 24’ including a 4′ front porch (closer to 11 feet wide after the walls are up).
The kitchen/dining area is 8′ x 11′, bedroom 8′ x 11′ and bathroom 4′ x 8′ with a small 4′ hallway to the bedroom. Livable square feet will be around 210 when finished. We decided on a one-story, non-lofted cabin.
AO: Are you living in your tiny house? If so, for how long now? If not, when do you expect to move in?
TH: We are still completing the interior of the tiny house so we haven’t moved in yet, although we have found the front porch quite enjoyable at night.
We hope to move in by the end of this year. We are finishing up the bathroom now, next is the kitchen, then walls, ceiling and floors.
AO: How do you feel about the tiny house movement and being such an instrumental part of it?
TH: Earlier this year I had grown to dislike the tiny house movement. I was running into so many roadblocks and hearing “NO” all the time didn’t help.
It seemed the powers that be were dead set on derailing any progress the movement made. I had to take a step back, take a break and realize why I fell in love with the whole concept of tiny house living in the first place.
It was never about ‘the house’. Rather, it was about living within our means or below it, finding happiness in relationships not physical possessions, being the best person I could be and not being so bogged down worrying about money.
The need to live this way didn’t come because of a lack of money though. Pete and I had a little savings and continue to do well with some real estate we outright own.
As for being instrumental in the tiny house movement, I don’t feel that I am.
It’s the people who came before me and plowed the roads, the group working on paving those roads and the group that will tend said roads.
When I look around I can’t point out one person who made this happen but the effort of so many. Corny metaphor but I’m going with it.
AO: What one thing would you do differently or do you wish wasn’t part of your tiny house?
TH: If we could do one thing different it would be to go with a larger tiny house, even if it was just 8 feet larger.
We had to give up a living room so we could have a larger kitchen and I would have liked to have a small sitting area for guests.