Kelley Lewis consistently admired a project. That’s how she concluded up architecture her own tiny home. But afore we get to that, let’s aback up.
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Unexpectedly acceptable a mom at 24, Lewis (now 36) put her dreams of alive in the music industry on hold. Her priorities had shifted—she bare bloom insurance, for example, and didn’t accept it at the time. In adjustment to advance stability, Lewis aboriginal anchored a retail job, and afterwards a coffer teller role, earning $10 an hour.
Though she wasn’t amorous about alive at a bank, Lewis abstruse about the in-home daycare business while on the job. One of her barter ran one, and she generally best her academician about accepting started and the ins and outs of the business.
Soon, Lewis was a home daycare provider herself, authoritative decidedly added money than her antecedent jobs. “I went from authoritative $10 an hour to almost about $3,000 an hour, which, you know, was acutely a huge change for us,” Lewis says.
It was important to Lewis to achieve her own money—it angry out to be a acute move. Lewis and her bedmate breach anon afore she gave bearing to their third child.
Despite the challenges at the time, Lewis started to accompany addition dream: architecture a tiny house. Consistently accepting had a appetite for biking and adventure, Lewis faced bottomward the obstacles head-on, hopeful that the end aftereffect would accommodate advancement and an added aperture for her ancestors to band and absorb affection time. Yes, it was adamantine on her account to get the architecture off the arena (literally) with three kids in tow, but regardless, she was bent to achieve it happen.
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When a allotment of acreage about 40 account abroad from her Columbus, Ohio home became available, she jumped at the adventitious to buy it. Constructing a tiny home additionally meant that Lewis was able to brim accepting appropriate permits appropriate to body a anatomy 200-square-feet or larger.
It took six years to finish, but the abode has aggregate she and her kids need: a abundant room, accessible kitchen, abounding bath, and sleeping attic with two full-sized beds. It’s additionally perched on a adjacent shoreline, authoritative it accessible to angle off the aback porch. In total, the activity amount her $30,000, which is decidedly beneath than the boilerplate tiny home cost.
Since the abode was built, Lewis and her ancestors accept acclimated the tiny home as a weekend escape for affection time together. A lot has afflicted for Lewis from the time she boarded on the project. She franchised her home daycare business, which enables her to absorb added time with her anew accustomed fourth adolescent with her husband; the brace accommodated afterwards a cardinal of years apart.
Now, they use their tiny home, forth with addition baby berth they afresh purchased in Michigan, as a budget-friendly abode to affix as a family. “When we’re there we’re absolutely together, we’re absolutely listening, we’re absolutely authoritative the best of our day and time,” Lewis says.
So how did she achieve it all assignment financially, and what did she apprentice in the process? She shares her insights, ahead.
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Lewis abstruse this assignment aboriginal on at age 13 acknowledgment to her assignment as a able harpist. Her parents encouraged her to backing abroad 10 percent of what she earned—preferably more. The addiction stuck. “Saving has consistently accustomed me accord of mind, abnormally during those adamantine times,” Lewis says. “Before I got divorced, we were a bifold alive household, and again it became a distinct alive household,” she remembers. Knowing she had some added banknote set abreast helped her feel added defended during an abundantly arduous time. Her advice? “Save as abundant as you possibly can, because you’re aloof demography affliction of your approaching self.”
For those because tiny homes of their own, Lewis has some key wisdom: “Own the land, don’t appoint or squat. This defeats aspects of the self-sustainability you’re aggravating to accomplish.”
But that may crave some outside-the-box banking planning. When Lewis begin the bindle of acreage she capital to buy, she knew she bare to act fast. “But already accepting a mortgage on our accepted home, the banks wouldn’t accommodate me money,” she explains. “So I had to get creative. I anticipation maybe if I accomplished out anon to the owner, he ability accede buyer financing. I assassin a absolute acreage advocate and a brace of weeks later, I endemic the allotment of land.”
Building a tiny home is no accessible feat. And admitting Lewis had some acquaintance with architecture afore architecture her tiny house, she knew she couldn’t do it all on her own. “I acclimated my 2012 tax acquittance to get my tiny abode started,” she says. “I acclimated the $5,000 I accustomed to appoint a shed-building aggregation to body the frame. I was assured in my finishing skills, but didn’t appetite to accident aggravating to anatomy a anatomy that would be abiding and defended over our heads. I additionally assassin an electrician to wire, because, let’s not draft ourselves up today! But from framing autogenous walls to insulating, drywalling, flooring, cabinets, showers, designing, and decorating, I did it all!”
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In the end, Lewis was animated she took on the activity and aggregate the acquaintance with her kids. “We abstruse a lot together, and my kids accept a bigger acknowledgment for the berth because they knew they helped,” she says. “Of course, I’d generally get afraid and aloof appetite it done already. But I admired the abstraction that the adventure can’t be rushed and this wasn’t about the end result; it was about the journey.”
Courtesy of Kelley Lewis
When her tiny home was finished, Lewis’s adventure got some columnist in the tiny home community. This meant that she was consistently asked questions by association absorbed in demography a agnate route. With that in mind, she absitively to action consulting casework and tiny home attic affairs through her brand, Berth Chick. Admitting her capital business assets comes from her in-home adolescent affliction aggregation and franchise, she uses what she earns from her tiny abode business to supplement her family’s adventures and travel.
But it’s about added than aloof administration her ability and authoritative some ancillary income. Fifty percent of the sales from Lewis’s tiny abode affairs are donated to Pencils of Promise, which builds schools and provides admired food for bankrupt communities. Her reasoning? “In a lot of ways, the tiny abode congenital me. I capital to ensure my tiny abode business ventures paid it forward.”
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