Moving house…

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The Sunday prior to let’s-move-the-house Monday was seriously intense. In keeping with our way, my dad and I left it till the very last minute to tighten the lag screws on the bottom of the trailer and get the house off its leveling blocks, then built a pretty questionable set of stairs in the dying light amid dazed rushing to get my shit together.

Somehow I guess I did get my shit together, and Monday morning rolled in before I was with it enough to make note of the ‘lasts’ of my life in Little Yellow’s at my parent’s. Last night with the kittens trying to eat my necklace as I tried to sleep, last waking to the view from my windows, and last time I could walk out my door and into my mother’s.

Jill arrived at 8:00 am. A close second to knowing folks that can build things is knowing folks with big ass trucks who are awesome enough to help you move, and Jill is just such a wonderful person. She drove all the way from Colorodo, then back again the next day, to move little Yellow and deserves a serious stack of gold medals for putting up with the sniffling, babbling, half panicked pile of nervous energy that was me for the entire move. Jill, you rock.

My house took the trip very well. She bounced and bumbled right down the 5, 166, and 101 behind Jill’s truck and didn’t give us a hint of trouble. Nothing broke. House and trailer stayed gratefully connected. I decided to leave my clothes on the pink room shelves and they pretty much chilled out there the whole time. One rouge sweater took a nosedive on the road to Santa Cruz, but that was it.

In fact, my house took it so well that I, in comparison, took it all very badly. I was a total wreck. I went through so many involuntary emotional changes in the days prior that I almost had to consider the subject of my sanity. I cried A LOT. I also got super jittery, ridiculously excited, and had more fear surrounding this move than anything I can ever remember being afraid of.

There were a few moments in which I seriously wondered what the hell I was doing. My beautiful house that had been so comfortable and stable was suddenly empty and totally imbalanced. It was far from level without the piles of cinder blocks that had held it up all year, and got jacked up to an extremely disconcerting angle to be high enough for the hitch ball. Walking inside for a last minute check felt awkwardly off, because nothing was as it should be.

And then the whole house moved. It was quite possibly the most bizarre feeling I’ve ever had or sight I’ve ever seen. I obviously knew I was building a mobile space, but all the thought and anticipation couldn’t quite prepare me for the reality of it. In the space of a few seconds, my house went from a (seemingly) permanent driveway fixture to a trailer hitched up and ready to roll. Just like that.

The open houses helped keep things grounded. Most everyone was super nice, and I love sharing something I’m so proud of. People drove real distances too, presumably on purpose, just to see Little Yellow :D.  We were a little late for the Frazier Park start time (actually we were late for everything except Santa Cruz; made it 2 minutes early. Way cool) and there were already 4 cars waiting for us, just amazing.

A few folks didn’t quite get it, but those ones are going to happen. Now that I have and live in my house I really don’t give a damn anymore 😀 One woman wanted to know how I did it. Not how I built it or how I got the resources, but how I could live in ‘that thing’. She brushed it off at my being young because I’d never be able to do that if I were her age, what with all of the furniture one accumulates. I respectfully (probably not, actually) told her that perhaps depends on what kind of choices a person makes. She didn’t see the logic.

My mom (who drove my car up behind whilst taking about 5000 pictures) cheerily convinced the man at the San Luis Obispo Travel Lodge to let us park Little Yellow in the lot so we stayed there for the night, half in a room half in the tiny house. ‘We’ meant me, Mum, Jill, her grandson Joseph (who made the trip with us, great sport) and my curtain-sewing sister. She had to work Monday and my mom had to work Tuesday preventing either from going the whole way, so they quick changed Monday night at our suave Travel Lodge rendezvous. It was kind of like a circus.

A homeless man on a bicycle came by Tuesday morning while I was eating breakfast on my porch in the parking lot. He stopped dead in his tracks when he caught sight of Little Yellow and stared for a few seconds with his mouth open.

‘Woah, what…who made that?

‘I did’

(blank look)

‘Naw…you’re not man enough to build that thing’

‘Oh I’m more than man enough to build this thing, buddy’

(silence)

‘What do you call a deer with no eyes? No eyed-deer’

(rides off)

We stopped for gas twice, and weighed the trailer at the truck stop near my house. I’d been quietly freaking out the whole build that it’d be over the 7000lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating but we came in just fine at 6020lbs and I was so happy I thought I might pass out.

Reaching our final destination and getting the house set up and unhitched was a massive relief. Or at least a relief from the fear I had of moving it…Once Jill drove away I was back to the fear of being somewhere new and therefore terrifying. That said, I’m extremely grateful to live close family again (mom and stepdad live down south, dad and stepmom live up here) so I haven’t felt alone.

My landlords are lovely, my spot is absolutely beautiful and a month later, I’m settled and completely in love with my life. I go to the ocean every day, work as a hostess in a restaurant in town and have met so many great people since I’ve been here. I’m so busy and happy that I hardly feel like I’m in my own reality. Like maybe I’ve just wandered into someone else’s perfect life.

A full post on living in Little Yellow is far overdue, but must continue to be so a little while longer. My handicapped camera (his name is Harold) has finally given up the fight as I found the other day. The zoom stopped functioning last year after I dropped him in some sand and he’d been acting a mite shitfy since a melted chocolate fiasco mucked up the viewfinder and most of the mechanisms, but he’d worked pretty diligently even so. Until the beautiful sunny day I decide to take pictures of my house…Go figure. Thanks a lot, Harold.

And here, as promised, are tons of pictures 😀

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About ellaharp

I am a musician and artist just out of college. During the last year of my degree in Scotland I caught the bug and have since become infatuated with the practical coziness of tiny houses. I worked my tail off, saved my money and, despite my complete lack of carpentry know-how, I shall build one, it shall be marvelous, and I shall call it Little Yellow :)

39 responses »

  1. How very exciting ! I’ve spent many hours following your progress . I couldn’t be prouder of you if you were my own daughter ! Such determination and vision. You’ll have such a wonderful life following your dreams. Thanks for sharing yourself with us all.

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey! Love the pictures. I am so glad to hear YOU made it in one piece (based on the info you shared while building little yellow, I wasn’t surprized she made it fine). Moving is always stressful, but you moved your entire home! Look forward to your next post. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous! Loved every picture. Thank you for the update. All the very best with your new life. And lots of applause for your stepdad for his supporting to your mum for the same.

  4. Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you!!! Little Yellow is beautiful! Thank you so much for the updates, I love following your journey. The pictures make it even better! 😀

  5. I’m so happy that you were able to get the house on the road with the help of family and friends, and that you had a safe journey! It looks like such a sweet, wonderful home.

  6. Wonderful, Wonderful! Thanks for the update. Thrilled to hear you are in love with your life. Keep writing–you’re a great, expressive writer on top of being a bang up Tiny Houser!

  7. Great blog, Ella. I know just what you have gone through. I’ve done it myself. I started with a Fencl plan I bought from Jay. But one thing I decided to do was change the roof, in hopes of making the entire house seem roomier from the inside.
    Here is a pic of the Fencle with the modified roof:

    If anyone likes that design and wants to check the modification out further, here is my blog:
    http://aatinyhouse.wordpress.com

    April Anson

  8. Thank you for all the pictures!! Where did you end up settling? I thought you said San Francisco or there abouts. If that’s the case, can I plead for one more open house? Pretty please! I had my last day of work when you were in Santa Cruz and was busy moving into a new apartmen in downtown San Francisco. Please with a puppydog on top? And bribes of homemade marshmallows?! ^_^

  9. Ella, wow – your post made me cry! I am so excited for you, and so glad to get an update. I’m also really wanting to be about a year down the road, as I am just beginning the journey that you have just finished. I’m planning my floor plan, and designing my trailer… I have a ton of questions for you, but you seem to have a way of answering them in your posts, so I’ll try to be patient. You totally rock. Nice job.

  10. I really needed this post today. My husband and I (okay, so my husband is building the thing) have our tiny little house all dried in but we’ve had to stop and wait for the bank account to build back up before we can continue. I’ve had so many doubts about ever being able to live in this thing over the last few weeks. Reading your post made me cry. I know we’ll get there, too. We are so, so close.

    Thank you!

  11. Awesome job with the build. It’s been great following along with your progress, and I hope you can keep posting as you settle into Little Yellow.
    “And what do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs? Still, no eyed-deer”

  12. Gotta love the crazy stuff homeless guys say. Friends are a true asset. Its wonderful you were able to find someone with a nice beefy truck to move your house.

    Keep posting, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot of things living in the tiny house that we would all benefit from knowing. Over time, stuff will break or you’ll want to change it up. Let us know how it goes.

  13. Great job on Little Yellow!! I hope you are happy in all you have accomplished and are settling in well, and best of luck in your future!!

    So sad to see the blog come to an END. As the comments attest, many have enjoyed your journey!!

    I’d ask that you please to reconsider and at least make ONE MORE entry….

    Something along the lines of a “Looking back, some things I would have done differently” post.

    Or, “Now that I’ve lived in it for 30 days, here are some of the things I’m discovering about living on a flatbed trailer that the whole ‘tiny house movement’ people don’t tell you.”

    I guess what some may really want to know — at least I do — is JUST HOW IS living, sleeping, cooking, entertaining, and bathing in such a tiny place, really?

    Ezra Brooks

  14. hey ricki found your daughters web site very cool……get in that buggy and come to va in march…peace brother good seeing you last week

  15. I loved watching Little Yellow come together. Your parents are amazing for helping you with this project. When my own little one grows up, I hope I can do the same for her. Now that Little Yellow is done, I hope you enjoy your journey through.

  16. Hey there Ella! I love your place! The move sounds nerve wracking, I’m glad you (and the house) made it all in one piece. :~} !! How’d your kitties take the move?

    I had a quick Q – Did you end up settling in the Bay Area? Any recommendations on how to find land/willing landlords out there? I’m planning on going to grad school out in the Bay Area in a year or two. and would love to be able to take a tiny house with me…Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    Hope your digging the new landing pad!

    • Ask around and tell everyone what you’re up to. Make a portfolio of pictures of your house to let them know you’re serious and wait for something to work out, honestly that’s all I did. If there’s a will!

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