Whodis?

I’m Chris. I’m a 30-year-old who has always resisted being “tied down,” and has had a tendency to make snap decisions whenever I feel the weight of conformity on my shoulders. I have tried to avoid living situations which cause me to feel like I can’t quit a job or start an adventure. I spent my 20’s horsing around as much as possible. I’ve lived in a van for periods of time, and I’ve traveled cross-country by van and by bicycle. I once bought a box truck with a credit card and moved to Key West to live in it. I usually live in Pennsylvania. This is home base.

Kristin is my artistic and creative girlfriend, and Daisy is her small-dog sidekick and our little buddy. Kristin teaches private lessons for piano and voice and will be returning to West Chester University in the fall to get a teaching degree. Eliminating rent payments will make that goal easier.

I have no prior housebuilding experience, but I am comfortable with tools and I can follow instruction. I’ve been researching building techniques and following the progress of others’ projects, with a special focus on tiny houses and the “tiny house movement.”

I left my job as a bicycle mechanic in Philadelphia, and I am now a full-time coffee drinker who is chipping away at a modest savings to build a house. I don’t know what is next, but I have faith that creating a rent-free scenario will open up opportunities to turn goofy ideas into reality. I privately hope that one of those ideas might generate money, but I’m not breaking a sweat about it. Worry guides people into boring situations. My goal is to survive with a smile – as much as possible.

My folks are the ones who have a modest-sized piece of land. On this property of less than one acre, I have commandeered the little section next to the woods, and so far they’re going along with it. I’m trying to keep the big house clean and put the dishes where they belong so I don’t outstay my welcome before the tiny house is complete. We all watch tv and eat together frequently. It’s been nice.

My sister and Karl and my 8-month-old nephew, Benjamin, are in the area frequently. Benjamin learned to crawl yesterday, and keeping tabs on his progress is a major factor in my decision to leave Philadelphia sooner rather than later.

The words and photos here are my document of this project.

6 responses to “Whodis?

  1. Very nice documentation! I am excited to follow along! 🙂

  2. I’m super excited that I found your blog about building this tiny house. I’m in the planning part of my experience and still a little cautious. My move to a tiny house is for a few reasons, primarly financial. I look at it as a means to save money for the things I really want to do. (travel & etc)
    I look forward to following your progress with your tiny house.

  3. Great intro. I look forward to following y’alls project!

  4. Ginger mcintosh

    Love your writing. Very crisp and humorous. I’m not building a house but will follow your progress with interest.

  5. Terence

    Has anyone had any problems building one in Montgomery County, Pa?

    • Sandwich Bear

      I don’t know of any specific issues. It’s my belief that the only way there will be a ‘problem’ is if somebody complains. We did not apply for permits, because 1) I didn’t want to pay for that, and 2) I didn’t want to be turned down.

      We picked a place where we wouldn’t be bothering anybody, then we began building with hopes that nobody would complain or call any code enforcement people. My tiny house is visible to three other houses across the street. It is a cute little house, and is separated from any other house by a reasonably large distance and foliage. Nobody complained, and in fact, the house has been a good icebreaker for conversation with the neighbors across the street who we previously only exchanged little half-waves with. We’re lucky.

      My recommendation is to move ahead with your building project. Make sure that your actions and activities are respectful of all other humans, and hope that all humans will respect your activities as well.

      I don’t advocate breaking the law. What I advocate is more like ignoring the law where it is unduly onerous. Recognize what the law is designed to do, and then respectfully follow the intent of the law, if not the letter of it. We’re humans. We have one life. Sometimes we need to stand up and live it. Getting mired in bureaucracy is a minefield of distraction when you just want to build a wooden box on some dirt.

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