It’s me, Alaska, your Tiny House Concierge! Today, I am so excited because I recently interviewed one of my favorite tiny house families on the internet, Living the Tiny Dream.
Are you ready to meet this amazing tiny house family?
Sabine and Stephan had their tiny house built in 2021, and yes, they are living in a tiny house with kids. Their daughter, Sanna, is ten, and their son, Simeon, is six.
This tiny house family of four has been inspiring the tiny house community through their website, YouTube channel, Instagram, and TikTok for more than two years, but I reached out to Sabine because I wanted to know the deep-dive version of her family’s story.
What was going on in the background that led this couple to throw out the book on The American Dream, buy a tiny house, and pursue the tiny house lifestyle with kids?
You’re wondering too, aren’t you?
Here’s what Sabine of Living the Tiny Dream had to say!
Beginning a Tiny House Journey
Tiny House Inspiration
Alaska: Whose idea was it to live in a tiny house? And what did that conversation sound like?
Sabine: It was mine. Growing up, I had a childhood fascination with actually being tiny and seeing the world from a smaller perspective. To this day, "Alice in Wonderland" is one of my favorite movies. Partly because she was able to shrink down and walk among the flowers.
Also, enjoyed "Honey I Shrunk the Kids." As an adult, I realize that I simply like to take time to enjoy nature, growth, simplicity... Jehovah's creation.
And as someone who has lived tiny for more than two years myself, I'm inclined to agree with Sabine. But how did her family pursue their tiny home journey?
Renting a Tiny House Airbnb
Sabine: [Continued] Back in 2017, after watching tiny house shows on HGTV, we decided to visit one of my favorite cities, Atlanta, GA, and while there, I asked my 6'4 husband how he would feel about renting a tiny house on Airbnb. He agreed, as long as there was a downstairs bedroom so he wouldn't be stuck in a cramped loft.
We found a really nice tiny house built by TruForm.
I remember opening up the gate that led us to what looked like a small shack in the corner of a backyard [and] thinking, "OMG, what did I get us into?!"
That was until we walked in and instantly fell in love.
When Stephan saw how spacious the loft was and that we could each still maintain some form of privacy even while being in a smaller space, he was open to the idea of tiny homes.
Tiny House Research
Sabine: [Continued] That [Airbnb stay] propelled us into 3-4 years of research on builders, regulations, movability of, and at least three more tiny house stays to solidify our decision to have our own tiny house on wheels built in 2021.
[Read our article about tiny house due diligence here!]
The Tiny House Lifestyle
During our interview, I asked Sabine about the top three factors that caused her family to buy a tiny house.
Of course, wanting to avoid mounting housing expenses and time away from family is understandable, but if that's what this tiny house family was trying to avoid, what were they reaching toward?
Sabine's answer revealed that the motivation to buy a tiny house came from all angles.
Alaska: What were your top three motivating factors for going tiny?
- Lowering our overall living expenses and environmental impact.
- Spending more time together as a family.
- Being able to travel with our family of four.
And I have to say, I love her answers. Because what is more important than time together, experiences that grow us, and the ability to care for ourselves, others, and the planet?
Living in a Tiny House With Kids
Alaska: What has been the biggest blessing and biggest surprise about living tiny?
Sabine: The biggest blessing has been the opportunity to travel more frequently as a family and explore places we'd never thought of visiting otherwise. […]
[…] The biggest surprise has been how well the kids (10 & 6) have been able to adapt to change.
A New American Dream
Alaska: Is there anything you'd like to share with the world about the specifics of your experience?
Sabine: I remember driving by mansions in various places I've lived, thinking, "Wow, I'd love a home like that." It's funny because now people drive by our tiny house and say, "Wow! I'd love to live like that!"
Living tiny has changed our perspective about so many things. Re-evaluating societal norms as to what an accomplished lifestyle looks like and redefining what's important to our family has made us way more happy than before.
Freedom From Stress & Rising Debt
Sabine: [Continued] We experienced the large house, lucrative, and stressful jobs. What we found was that we spent more hours away from home and from family. The money we earned went out the door seemingly as soon as we earned it, and the debt accumulated for that lifestyle just didn't amount to the happiness that we knew we should have been getting out of life.
Sabine: [Continued] This experience has also taught us to take chances and to be ok with stepping outside of our comfort zones.
[…] we sold everything and moved from MA to CA to take on this new lifestyle! Oh, and with 8 & 5-year-old kids in tow! It has been the adventure of a lifetime!
And where did this tiny house family of four travel to?
Have you seen Living the Tiny Dream's cute merch? Check it out! Want to make your own? Create custom stickers here!
Traveling in a Tiny House
Sabine: [Continued] When we left MA, we set out on a 10-day cross-country drive, visiting Niagara Falls, the Chicago Bean, Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Arches National Park, Red Rock Park & Amphitheater, the Hoover Dam, and Sequoia National Park!
Since going tiny, we've paid down most of our debt. We've done so much traveling and exposed our children to countless places and cultures, which have truly enriched their homeschooling experience.
I literally tear up hearing her answers because this is all I want for the world. But even though I might share the same dream, I need to remember that our experiences of these things will be different.
On Being People of Color in the Tiny Home Community
Sabine: [Continued] This experience has been more enlightening and empowering since we are African-American (specifically of Haitian descent), and there are so few people who look like us living this type of lifestyle.
The more Sabine shares, the more deeply I understand how we’ve really only scratched the surface of what the tiny house lifestyle has to offer us.
By reducing barriers like workaholism and the rising cost of living, we have the time, money, and emotional bandwidth to spend our lives living and engaging in community.
Which led me to wonder, how can we get more people involved with tiny houses?
Alaska: What would you say to someone thinking about jumping into this lifestyle who's scared?
Sabine: Research is key! Before we took this leap of faith, we didn't know anyone who had done anything like this before! But we didn't let it stop us.
Create a plan, research builders, set financial goals, reach out to people across the web, and ask questions. Those of us in the tiny house movement love engaging with others and helping them learn more about it!
Try a tiny house rental on Airbnb for a week to see if you can manage it. Pick a rental with similar amenities or a layout similar to what you're thinking of.
As a tiny house concierge, I want to underline all of Sabine's advice. It's so important to know what you're getting yourself into before you leap into the tiny house lifestyle.
As this is a blog article, I knew we'd have to wrap it up sooner or later, but before I did, I wanted to ask one last question of the whole family.
Alaska: What is the best thing about tiny living?
Stephan: I'm a minimalist at heart, so I enjoy having less... cleaning, wardrobe, toys, and less of a honey-do list! […] The pace of this lifestyle allows me to focus and prioritize my family. This is extremely rewarding when I think about the growth of the little ones. […]
Sabine: I'm all about the numbers, so for me, it's the affordability and the simplicity. Our home has everything we need and nothing we don't! I love the ability to take travel nurse assignments (I am an Emergency Room travel nurse) with my family by my side.
I also love that I have been able to maintain my plant collection, and we make it a point to find the best plant nurseries wherever we visit.
Sanaa: [I love] being able to travel so often and visit extended family more often.
Simeon: [My favorite thing is] that I get to watch TV in my parents' room and decorate my room with a different design every year. Right now, it's Mario Brothers.
Living the Tiny Dream
And there you have it! Isn’t this tiny house family the best?! (I knew you’d think so.)
Thank you to the Living the Tiny Dream family for sharing their tiny house journey, and before you go, be sure to give them a follow on their social media channels!
Oh, and if you want to support a young tiny house entrepreneur, ten-year-old Sanaa also has an online store that sells handmade gemstone bracelets! (Trust me, that link will not disappoint!)
Thanks for joining us today, here on the Tiny House Expedition blog, and may your own tiny house dreams unfold before you know it!
Alaska is a writer, realtor, and tiny homeowner living in the great state of Colorado. She is the founder of The Tiny House Concierge, a company that offers consultation and copywriting services for people looking to rethink their housing and rewrite their lives. In addition to her website, she can be found on Instagram and YouTube.