No mortgage, travelling UK and NZ in tiny home, and a baby...
Tiny Lifestyle co-founder Simone chose to live in a tiny space because she and her partner Joe couldn’t get a mortgage. “Although we were both working full time, we were self-employed and the banks in the UK just wouldn’t give us a mortgage, not enough to buy a house anyway! So we bought vans and converted them to our needs. That’s where our love for building tiny spaces came from.”
Simone ran her social enterprise from the dining room table in the van, while Joe converted van interiors for people all over the UK.
There’s an affordability to living tiny, she says, not just because you can purchase a house for a reasonable amount, but because it reduces your utility bills, and the cost of stuff. You don’t have anywhere to put things so you don’t buy as much.
Simone and Joe travelled the UK in their converted campervans, parking wherever they could – near family or friends, on small pieces of land or at campgrounds.
When they moved to New Zealand, they were so in love with the lifestyle that they imported their van and continued to travel around.
“One thing we noticed when we came to New Zealand was it actually meant that we could follow opportunities much easier. Joe got offered work on the other island, and we were like ‘well we can just go there and hangout!’”
Simone noticed she and Joe spent much more time outside and became more in tune with the outside world. “We noticed that we would watch the sunset, or we would know what the weather was like outside. We felt more connected to the land and nature, and our respect grew for it in that way.”
They also noticed their waste dropped significantly, as there was no room to store it. “When you have to carry your water around with you, you don’t leave the tap running. If you’re solar powered you’re much more aware of what you’re using and you use it sensibly.
“You will actively seek out places where you can get your oats for your own jar, because you’ve got the jar on that shelf and you don’t have much more space for other things.”
When Simone became pregnant they started to consider parking their beloved van and moving into a house. “You need a lot more stuff for a baby than just the two of us and we wanted our own workshop to start teaching other people how to build tiny spaces.”
These days Joe continues to build campervan interiors from their new Golden Bay home base, while Simone cares for their baby daughter Esme and continues to develop social enterprises.