Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Life Less Ordinary

     I wrote this originally for the tiny house blog, Tiny House talk where I have been featured for my story, "Meet Kelly Patton Traveling Artist and Tiny House Dweller."  I have always loved taking photos of my spaces and writing about them, as you will find in the archives of this blog.  Today I'm posting this article I wrote to my own blog, as the story is really too long for the Tiny House Talk format.  I wanted to share it either way, as the story of Tim and I meeting and building a tiny house is a great one!

                                                         Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

                                                           A Life Less Ordinary
                                                   Couple Reunites and Builds Tiny House 
                                                                         by Kelly Patton

     I have had the ordinary experience of living in small apartments and renting single rooms in the city, but when I moved to the country a whole new lifestyle opened up to me.  Out in the hills of Northern California I lived in a school bus, a small shack, a community house unit, a small cabin, and finally a yurt.  The little spaces were unique and provided me with much inspiration.  Little did I know, however, I was about to reunite with an incredible person who would change my life forever, while showing me how to build and live in one of the most versatile of all small spaces, the tiny house on wheels.
     One spring afternoon while living in the yurt, I received a flirtatious letter from a person whom I had thought I’d lost forever, Tim Seymour, my high school sweetheart. We went to different colleges after high school and later went our separate ways, living very different lives.  He was checking in with me to see what life was like for Kelly Patton, and I couldn’t have been more elated.

Life in Northern California

In Colorado, ages 17

     We rekindled our relationship over the phone, and finally agreed to reunite in person.  He had been living in Wichita Kansas, working as an engineer building planes and flight instructing.  I had been living in the woods as a full time artist and was playing in a local band.  We had much to catch up on, so I jokingly suggested that he “Fly his plane out to come and see me.”  To my surprise, that is exactly what he did.  He flew his family airplane, a single engine Cessna 14 hours over the Rocky Mountains from Kansas to Nevada City, California and we embraced for the first time in 12 years.  He confessed he was more wiling to take risks at this point in his life.

                                Lake Tahoe, the day we reunited for the first time in 12 years

     We agreed to continue our long distance relationship, and very shortly after he was hit by a sudden bolt of inspiration.  He must build a tiny house!   He had seen them on the internet and was inspired to build his own.  After selling his Wichita house, quitting his job, and letting go of his stuff he was beginning to feel a weight lifting from his shoulders. 
     He moved and settled in his mother’s home in Colorado where a workspace was available, and began the process of building the tiny house.  He cleared out a packed garage full of stuff, and borrowed his dad’s tools and purchased a Tumbleweed trailer.  Weeks prior he was creating a plan of the house using Sketch-Up, a software program used to map out the measurements and structural details of the project.  He created the layout as he saw most comfortable and practical, all considering the weight limits and size of all his appliances, walls, windows, cupboards, electrical systems, plubming etc.   I watched it unfold via Skype and went back to Colorado frequently to help him build over the next 4 1/2 months.

     With the equity from his Wichita home, Tim was able to build his tiny house with all the amenities he wanted.  He recorded his building process through time-lapse instructional videos and published them on his blog,  micromansion.blogspot.com.  When we finished the house and took it on its maiden voyage to a party waiting for us in Denver, I was indescribably nervous to drive it down the highway.  After laughing all the way at the shocked faces we passed on the mountain and city roads, we arrived to the party with everything completely in tact.  The tiny house on wheels was a mobile mansion, and it never ceased to bring out the best in people who approached it.

                                Celebrating post champagne bottle smashing over the hitch!

     We drove it from Colorado to California and parked it just above the hill from the yurt.  For a while we lived out of both spaces, enjoying the fresh air on the path between our homes that we endearingly referred to as our “hallway.”  The tiny house served as a luxurious addition to our living situation, as we had the pleasure of using a washer dryer combo, a beautiful kitchen, and an additional bed, bathroom and living room for our out of town guests.  We also parked our house on Broad St. in downtown Nevada City for the artwalk where we gave tours in conjunction with my art opening.  At the event got offers for parking while catching the eyes of architects and interested buyers.

     After living in this dreamy manner for 6 months, Tim took a job to become a commercial pilot, a long awaited opportunity.  We agreed to move to Seattle, where he would be based for the next stage in our lives with the tiny house.  We eloped in June at “the end of the earth” in Port Townsend, Washington.

      For our honeymoon, we decided to take the tiny house on an epic RV road trip.  We started from Nevada City andtoured many stops up the Hwy 101 coast taking 10 glorious days to travel to the Olympic Peninsula and the place where we were married, Port Townsend.  We were anointed with a slight celebrity status as inquiring minds wondered if we were “On TV” or if we had built it ourselves.  We could answer yes to one of those questions, and still felt pretty awesome.

     Upon finally settling in Seattle, we found ourselves living in a house with our two cats and two roommates. With Tim’s Job and our shared house in the city, the tiny house has been parked in the peninsula serving as a weekend getaway.  Tim’s colleague generously offered a parking space at their home in Port Townsend, and as a result of visiting the tiny house often, we have made good friends with their family.  We also recently attended the 2017 Tiny House Conference in Portland, and met many amazing pioneers in movement.  To our surprise, many of the speakers and owners of tiny houses never moved their homes, and we seemed to be part of a small group who loved to go on the road with ours.

Parking spot in Port Townsend, WA

  Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

At the Tiny House Conference in Portland!

                                                  Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

  Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

  Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

                                                   Photo by @tiny_house_expedition

     Throughout this journey of owning a tiny house, we have lived so many wonderful experiences and made many new friends along the way.  At this point as owners, we are ready to sell the tiny house, as big changes are coming yet again.  It will definitely be sad to see it go because it gave us so many amazing experiences, but I know it will help give us more opportunities to grow into a limitless future.