On April 26th, 2016 my friend Skip sent me an email with a link to a Craiglist post with the words ‘tiny house’ in the title. Other words in the title included ‘shop trailer’ and ‘rv’, but the item for sale was complete with walls, windows, a door, a shingled roof, insulation all around and a linoleum floor. It was also sitting atop a heavy duty mobile home frame with a stout single axle with electronic trailer brakes. The price of $800 was too good to be true, but i called the seller about it anyway. I was told on the morning of the 27th when I called that someone was going to come look at it and if they didn’t pick it up I would receive a call so I could check it out. I figured if it was anything short of how it looks then someone is bound to buy it before me.
I got off work around 5 and gave the seller a call back. Much to my surprise it was still available. So off to Merlin I drove, a solid 40 minutes from Medford where I was working. On the way I figured in my head all the crappy kinds of bad this trailer would be if no one bought it yet at the incredible low price. I figured it would smell like mold or cigarettes, be rotting all over, among other shortcomings. But when I arrived and checked it out I was in awe of the condition. The inside showed some signs of water leakage from the roof, but it didn’t smell and it wasn’t rotting and it felt really really solid. I looked underneath and could see that the frame the structure was built on resembles a standard mobile home, with thick steel crossbeams and insulation in good condition. I did some imagining in my head of how I could make such a small space work for me, when I had a glorious 300sq ft tiny house in mind. I thought to myself, “You don’t always get what you want, but you always find what you need.” And with that, I handed over a deposit and told the seller I would return on the morrow to retrieve the trailer and pay the balance.
My mom and I came out the next day around sunset, since she has a mighty V8 towing vehicle. I had been informed that the trailers lights were not functional. so I had aquired a crappy light kit at Napa in Ashland and intended on installing it for transport. As it turned out, the light kit was crappy and would have been a lot of trouble to wire up and make work, and we were running out of daylight. The seller was generous enough to provide me with a magnetic setup that we easily rigged up. I thanked him, paid him, and we departed with my new treasure.
We weren’t 50 feet out of the driveway before noticing that the trailer had a hop to it. I drove slow, about 20MPH to the nearest gas station to check the air in the tires. I thought to myself that the rubber is likely deformed from sitting idle for so long, but as rubber goes, it may even out. Someone was parked in front of the air pump at the gas station so I pulled over and waited, and thought about solutions. I kicked the tires a bit and decided to slowly limp to the Ray’s grocery store in Merlin, so I could get a snack to aid cognition. The speed I was able to travel had picked up to 35MPH by now, so I figured letting things settle while I was at store would work out well. I got a snack, and we hit the road again. We decided to travel on backroads all the way back to Gold Hill, where we would take HWY234 to my moms, the trailers temporary home.
The drive was slow, and the trailer bounces over bumps really hard, but in a short amount of time I was able to travel at a 50MPH. I backed the trailer into a covered spot at my mom’s about an hour later. I was in awe. I finally had the starter pack to my own space. I had flushed out a rough materials list a few days prior when Skip first sent me the link to the item. Now, several weeks later I have sketched, drawn, planned, listed, mocked up and decided on the trailers final form.
My first thought was to completely rebuild the thing. Make it nice with different siding and flooring. Then I watched a few tiny house videos that reminded me why I was making changes in this direction. I remembered that this endeavor was conceived with the intention of living more simply, making do with what I have available, and creating an efficient flow to my life. I changed my tune at the that point. My new plan is to keep my eyes peeled for cheap or free items on my materials list. I have acquired several items already, such as a stainless dish set with plates, bowls, cups and nice wooden box that allows for portability. I also picked up some huge vinyl windows for free thanks to craigslist. Everything I acquire will reshape the trailer and the way I intend to use it. I will stay flexible and make the space work over the next several months with miraculous manifestation. The trailer alone is a manifestation, beginning as a recorded idea in my journals some 6-8 months ago, and today materializing in a way I had not imagined, but a way none-the-less.
I will continue to update this blog with new developments. I will also post a materials list, so if anyone has anything on the list please contact me. 🙂