Living a Vagabond Life

cabin

Whether I have wanted to or not (NOT), I have been living a vagabond-type lifestyle for awhile now. While I was out of the country last year, my house fell apart, and was removed from the property. So, technically, I am homeless, but not without a place to stay. I have stayed with friends some, relatives some, and in an inoperative motor home on the property. The only things I could get to work in the motor home were the electric (lights) and water. Which means, I had the ability to take a cold shower, wash dishes, cook with an electric skillet, etc. I plugged my refrigerator into the slot where there was a non-working one, so it was survivable for a few months. But when it started getting cold, the showers were no longer tolerable, and then I’d trip the breaker every time I tried to heat the place up adequately so that I didn’t have to wear a winter coat just to not freeze. So it became time to do something else!

That is how I ended up living with my daughter in Chicago! Her place is quite small, and it is a good thing we are GOOD friends, because her apartment is a studio — which means the only place in the apartment with any privacy is the bathroom! At this point, we are both looking forward to the time when she can have the place to herself.

In the meantime, I have been keeping busy reading, doing various crafts, and doing a LOT of research! I have researched a lot of different things, like food dishes that do not include grains; jewelry I can make and/or teach others to make; crocheting patterns; knitting patterns; Scripture passages; how-to crafts of all kinds; interesting things to do in Chicago (there are LOTS!), and housing options.

One of the things that has really caught my attention in the last few months has been the “tiny house movement.” The more I have looked into that, the more I like what I see, though most of the homes built on trailers have sleeping lofts, which I cannot and do not want to do. But I like most of the other concepts I’ve seen in these tiny homes, and know that otherwise, I would enjoy living in one. Many of these tiny homes are off-grid homes, and use composting toilets. Another non-septic tank toilet is called the incinolet, and it literally incinerates the waste each time the toilet is “flushed.”

So now the question is, what am I going to do for housing? My son has offered to have a “shell” built for me by a company that will do it pretty inexpensively. He’s talking about a shell of 20’x20′ (approximately 6.5 meters x 6.5 meters). We would have to finish everything inside, but it would come with windows and doors installed. After studying the “tiny” houses, this looks huge to me! But I’ve been working on the interior design, and think I have come up with something I like, and that will work very well for me.

I have used some of the concepts found in the tiny homes, so it feels like there is more open space than there really is. I’ve always loved window seats, and so am building my bed to appear to be a window seat. It is off in a corner back a short hallway, so it will seem private, without having to build a separate room. The only space actually enclosed within a room will be the bathroom, which will have a walk-in shower rather than a tub.

Another feature I like in the tiny houses which I have incorporated are the narrow counters.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a hard time safely reaching the stuff on the back of the shelf under the counter — because it’s so deep.  So I have designed my counters (and therefore shelves underneath) to be only 20 inches deep.  Means we will have to look a bit harder for a smaller kitchen sink, but it will be worth it, for me to be able to safely reach everything in the kitchen!  Haven’t decided whether I will hang curtains over those shelves, or actually put doors on or not.  Curtains are easier to wash — just take them off and place them in the washer!

One thing I did NOT do in this plan, was to make narrow pathways.  Eventually I am likely to end up in a wheelchair, or at the very least, need a walker (I’m 66), so I used standard-width hallways (three feet).

The picture above is the “proposed” house, without the fancy stuff or double doors in front.  I don’t believe the one pictured is the right size, but you get the idea, at least.  It will be heated/cooled with a portable heating/cooling unit.  The hot water will be “on-demand.”  I’ve incorporated good cross-ventilation in every area of the house for those lovely Spring and Fall (and often Winter) days we have in the northern part of Florida.  Now that I have it planned, I am anxious to get started on it.  But alas, patience is a virtue…..LOL!

Below is the design I’ve come up with.  Notice, I have moved doors, changed windows, etc.  Inside, I will be using curtains instead of doors.  And that’s my bed right next to the window, with a curtain to close it off when needed.  I placed some furniture in the living room, but mine will most likely be smaller than the over-stuffed loveseat and chair, and probably even smaller than the dining table.  Anyway comments and questions are welcome!!!  (And by the way, it was easy to do this online [for free!] at floorplanner.com.)

Best design for wheelchair access

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