The Tiniest House, with the door permanently ajar so the cat can come and go freely.

When I was in Arcata, a year — or maybe a lifetime? — ago, Suzanne’s stepson, J, was living in her backyard, in a building known as the Tiniest House. It is — was? — maybe the former garage, sorta remodeled for habitability. I say “maybe” because it doesn’t really look like a garage to me. If there was a garage door, it’s long-gone, replaced by a wall, and the ceiling is sloped, with skylights.

But I say “sorta” because while it has a bathroom, it didn’t (apparently) have hot water. While it has nice laminate flooring, they mistakenly installed the flooring without putting a moisture guard between it and the ground, so the floor needs to be redone. While there is a tiny kitchen area, they’d stopped construction midway through the job, so the countertop is unfinished and the cabinets have no doors, with the plumbing open to the room. There was no heat and the electricity was unchanged since maybe the 1950s?

An interior view from the door
And the view from the other side
The skylight wall with its new electric wall heater.

Although J was managing fine, and had been for years, he was also talking about moving out. I claimed first dibs, if and when he did. It was theoretical. Maybe a plan for when I got tired of traveling, a few years in the future. Maybe a plan for when Suzanne retired, several years in the future. Maybe a plan for when one of us or both of us had enough money to really fix up the place as it needed.

Or, you know, maybe a plan for when the world is having a major pandemic and I’m trying to live in a street. That could be the right time, too.

The bathroom, and yes, I’ve confirmed that the hot water is working by taking a shower.
Another angle on the bathroom.
Outside view showing the chickens…

So, yeah, plans for fixing up the Tiniest House have been occupying much of my attention and internet time recently. We started with the electricity: it’s now been inspected and confirmed safe by an actual electrician and an electrical wall heater has been installed. In the quest to figure out what exactly was wrong with the plumbing in order to talk to a plumber about it, we discovered that the plumbing is fine, hot water included. On our every-other-week CostCo run, I discovered that CostCo had mattresses on sale, so started my home-spending by buying a mattress.

And now I’m painting, because I am pretty sure I can live in a space that’s 108 square feet. But I am pretty sure I cannot live in a space that’s bright orange and green.