You’ll never guess what this empty nest tiny house couple built into their tiny house porch roof! Colin and Megan Leeson tell the story of their pre-built shell, why the nest doesn’t always stay empty, and discuss some of the clever and innovative features they build into their gorgeous tiny home on wheels.
In This Episode:
- Colin and Megan’s reasons for buying a pre-built shell
- The non-compromising list may be the key to planning together
- How to plan for the future with your tiny house design
- Their entire structure, including the deck, is movable
- Colin’s favorite room may surprise you
Links and Resources:
Colin and Megan Leeson
Empty nesters Colin and Megan Leeson decided to “go tiny” once their daughters left the family home. They started researching and building their house through 2017 & 18 and have lived in it since January 2019.
Colin and Megan are focusing on having less while living more and the tiny house affords this lifestyle.
This Week's Sponsor:
Tiny House Decisions
Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. And it comes in three different packages to help you on your unique tiny house journey. If you're struggling to figure out the systems for your tiny house, how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what you're going to build it out, then tiny house decisions will take you through the process systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for podcast listeners. Head over to https://www.thetinyhouse.net/thd and use the coupon code tiny at checkout!
Their deck is fully removable
Megan loves to cook so her kitchen layout was very important
The Leesons had their shell built for them and they did the rest!
Colin loves the clever storage in the bathroom
Non-traditional toilets require some training
Gooseneck trailers aren't all that common in Australia
They've built a beautiful garden and a shed that matches their house
The Leesons put their bedroom on the first floor
One of their children is staying in the loft room
Colin Leeson 0:00
So we had a Portaloo.
Ethan Waldman 0:02
Colin Leeson 0:02
... you call them round the rest of the world.
Ethan Waldman 0:04
Porta Potty, or...
Colin Leeson 0:05
It sat outside of our house for about three months in the
Megan Leeson 0:09
Australian summer heat. It was not pretty. Yeah, she got fragrant.
Ethan Waldman 0:16
Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 202 with Colin and Megan Leeson.Iis buying a tiny house shell really a good idea? This week my guests Colin and Megan Leeson tell the story of their pre-built shell, why empty nesting doesn't always stay that way, and some of the clever and innovative features they built into the deck of their gorgeous 40 foot tiny home on wheels. Don't miss the conversation.
I want to tell you about something that I think will be super helpful as you plan, design and build your tiny house. Tiny House Decisions is a guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It comes in three different packages to help you on your unique Tiny House journey. And if you're struggling to just figure out the systems for your tiny house like how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what construction technique are you going to use, like SIPs or stick framing or steel framing, Tiny House Decisions will take you through all these processes systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for listeners of the show, you can head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD to learn more, and use the coupon code tiny at checkout for 20% off any package. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/THD and use the coupon code tiny for 20% off
Alright, I am here with Colin and Megan Leeson. Empty nesters Colin and Megan decided to go tiny once their daughters left the family home. They started researching and building their house through 2017 and 2018 and have lived in it since January of 2019. Colin and Megan are focused on having less while living more and the tiny house affords this lifestyle. Colin and Megan, welcome to the show.
Megan Leeson 2:26
Thanks for having it.
Colin Leeson 2:27
It's great to be here with you.
Ethan Waldman 2:29
Yeah. Great to be here with you as well. And thank you. As we were talking before we started recording that it's that it's early in the morning where you are. Can you share where you are?
Megan Leeson 2:38
Sunny, Brisbane, Australia.
Ethan Waldman 2:41
Lovely. That's coming from snowy Gray, Vermont, USA. That sounds really nice right now.
Megan Leeson 2:48
Yeah, we win.
Ethan Waldman 2:50
Yes. I'm sure
Colin Leeson 2:51
There's never any snow, never any snow in Queensland.
Ethan Waldman 2:55
All right. Well, I, I would miss the snow if I never had it, but shorter winter. But anyhow, enough about me. So you, you two started researching in 2017 and 18. Was there something in particular that kind of made you go from just being kind of interested in tiny houses to being like, ""We're gonna build a tiny house."?
Colin Leeson 3:20
Yes, that was Megan. I had, we'd been watching some of the tiny house shows on the television that we previously like things like tree house shows. And I used to think I could so easily live in something little like that. But I thought there's no way Megan could live in something like that. They were watching one of those shows. And she just said, "Now I rekon I could do that." And I almost fell off my chair and we raced on from then.
Ethan Waldman 3:50
Nice. You fell off your chair because you didn't think that she would ever be interested in something like that?
Colin Leeson 3:56
Exactly. It was just something I didn't think she'd ever be interested in.
Megan Leeson 4:00
It had also come off the tail end of helping Colin's parents downsize as well, like his mom got really sick. And so they had to downsize the family home from all of this stuff to fit in an aged care facility. And so that was playing on my mind thinking, oh my gosh, we have to do this to our kids at some stage. And so you kind of think of minimizing and downsizing so now we're we're minimize they can pack the house up in a day. They're good.
Ethan Waldman 4:30
Yeah, so you've you've done your your kids a favor that they won't have to help you minimize and downsize a ton at some point.
Megan Leeson 4:38
Ethan Waldman 4:40
So you worked with a builder on your shell and then you finished out the inside yourselves. Why did you decide to do it that way?
Colin Leeson 4:52
Yeah, right. So to stretch that story a little bit my my background originally I did a trade as a cabinet maker.
Ethan Waldman 5:00
Colin Leeson 5:00
And so that meant for that, for me that made going to trade school, which taught the building course, with kind of a specialist for me in my experience of cabinet making. So in the end, I had the theory of how to build a timber-frame, house novel building knowledge, but I've never actually done it my entire career in that area was with making.
Ethan Waldman 5:28
Colin Leeson 5:28
So it's probably one of those scenarios where you, you know enough to know you don't know enough. And so I knew I knew the theory of how to do a house, but I wasn't comfortable doing it myself. So the first part of the reason we had someone else do our shell was to make sure it was done correctly. The second part of that, though, was time and so we were renting the house that we were in prior to this. And so we knew that if we were to build the shell, as well as all of the internals that could add maybe another year to the project, which is a year's worth of rent. So to speed things along, we went with that.
Megan Leeson 6:12
Oh, and yeah, so when it arrived here on the trailer, it was it was fully done. It was painted just like you see in the pictures in the Instagram. So an instant house dropped into the neighborhood. And it wasn't a building zone and a really messy thing we wanted to make kind of a grand entrance so that we weren't going to be the bane of the neighborhood. We just wanted to settle in. We're on a couple of no through roads, but we wanted to make friends instantly and and not go, "Oh my gosh, what are those people doing?"
Ethan Waldman 6:43
Yeah, yeah, that's a that's a interesting point. And a benefit that that you might not always think about is that when you have that shell you instantly look like a completed house. Nobody else can see what's on the inside.
Megan Leeson 6:57
It was a mess inside Mommy got it. It was just a bare shell with a stair module. That was it. Like
Ethan Waldman 7:04
Megan Leeson 7:04
the outside definitely did outshine on the inside side that it didn't take long for the inside to get ready too.
Ethan Waldman 7:11
Colin Leeson 7:11
Yeah, so outside was fully locked up, obviously, but painted and all. Inside was nothing and so we started with no electrics, no plumbing, no insulation or anything. Because the the design is sort of galley kitchen straight through rather than U shaped things. At the end, I was able to start constructing a lot of the modules the kitchen that Megan mentioned, this stair module, so sort of little spiral stairs, or mezzanine loft and our bedroom personally, I was able to make them all in advance. And in fact, some of those sort of became structurally part of the build anyway. So I was building those units, taking them to where the where the manufacturer was building our shell, a couple of hours north of us on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. And they were building them in when we received, then we went straight into electrical, plumbing, and lining, fitting out the insides.
Megan Leeson 8:19
All the fun stuff.
Ethan Waldman 8:20
Very nice. And I will say the cabinets are gorgeous. So very nice job.
Colin Leeson 8:25
Thank you. Yeah, I'm sure you'll ask this at some stage. Yeah, favorite parts or whatever Megan. Megan loves to cook is a great cook and loves the kitchen. So having a having a sizeable but functional and very nice kitchen was there. Therefore our plans
Megan Leeson 8:44
My non compromising list.
Colin Leeson 8:46
Ethan Waldman 8:46
I like that. So So you had a non compromising list? Can you say more about that?
Megan Leeson 8:53
We were both pretty fluid with how things turned out like we had an idea of what we wanted but right from early on, I was very set in my ways about what I wanted with the kitchen and I was the bane of Colin's life with the planning and the designing of it to the point that I actually signed a template that he had drawn up to say I would not change the kitchen anymore. But your kitchen was my non compromising thing. I don't know what you - I've forgotton what you...
Colin Leeson 9:23
Well I think if - again, probably slightly different conversation - but at the very beginning we made a couple of initial decisions and the first one was we were getting old and we older and we're still early 50s
Ethan Waldman 9:39
You don't look all that old to me so don't don't sell yourself.
Megan Leeson 9:43
Early morning light is very flattering.
Colin Leeson 9:44
I say around very late thirties. We intend this I guess to be our forever home. And so considering later we're going to be a bit older, not having to crawl into a bedroom loft was was really our first realistic decision. And so that meant kind of going down the path of a larger gooseneck house, which, which has a few other things attached to it too. How do you move that house? Well, ours like I'd imagine most other tiny houses are rarely going to move. And so we wouldn't be bothered buying a big vehicle capable of towing even a medium-sized house, let alone some mistakes. So the decision too was to let the professionals do that. And so ours is set up to be towed by a prime mover. And so if we have a new needed, we need a truck to come in and move it for us. And then the last bit that kind of cascaded out of that decision tree, if you like, was to be able to go a little bit wider because of tracking this stick in Australia, they put oversize on the back of wide load or whatever, whatever each country does. And they are able to tow something a little bit bigger. So he has three meters in Australian that'd be 10 foot I think in American.
Ethan Waldman 11:09
Yep. And 12 meters long, which is about 40 feet.
Colin Leeson 11:12
40 foot. Yeah,
Ethan Waldman 11:14
That's a big tiny.
Yeah, that's a large one
Megan Leeson 11:18
But that is another process that we went through, we kind of thought if we go too small, going from a big house to a really tiny space. and still having family and friends come over. I know other people do it. But for us, we just wanted to have a little bit of breathing room and enjoy the process and not want to sell it a couple of years down the track
Ethan Waldman 11:42
Megan Leeson 11:42
because we hated it. So if the situation came, we probably could go a little bit. Tanya, I might complain a little bit. But um,
Colin Leeson 11:52
But not by much.
Megan Leeson 11:53
Colin Leeson 11:53
I often say you need to be realistic, about going tiny. And for us that meant no, one of our daughters at home, in fact, about orders is living with us now has been now for a couple of months and will for a few more. So we'll be able to fit three adults in here comfortably. Later on, there might be grandkids that we'll be hosting here and having friends over. We've watched lots of shows, this is a lots of things you see on the show something like family of five, moving the tiny house and then a few months later seeing that same tiny house up for sale on a tiny house hunter's show you then say well, perhaps that wasn't being fully realistic in the first place. So I think I think anyone considering a move to a tiny house needs to be a little bit realistic in what they what they plan and what they end up with.
Ethan Waldman 12:53
Yeah, that's, that's good advice. It's, it's sometimes it's hard to see the future. But if you can envision how you might want to use your home over the next several years, or for as long as you can think of it, you can, you can save yourself some future move.
Megan Leeson 13:11
And we spent months planning this before we even committed to anything. We'd sit and sketch and draw and figure out the logistics. We had our kitchen layout and bathroom layout tab taped on the floor of our living room in the old house, down to where the toilet was, the shower was, so we could move in the space like you see on the show.
Ethan Waldman 13:32
Megan Leeson 13:33
And we tweaked our design and we spent so much time just planning before anything was built. And I think that really paid off for us.
Colin Leeson 13:42
Yeah, it's worth sharing that process. And I was just going to say with the taping down, we had a fairly large living room with a big television and we marked out wide and how case as we sit sideways for the boundary of how wide it was gonna be and we pushed the lounge up the exact right distance from where the TV was going to be tested that all out. But what I meant by worth expanding on. I mentioned I had the trade as a cabinet maker, which means I learned how to look at a plan and kind of transfer three dimensionally to understand how that looks.
Ethan Waldman 14:19
Colin Leeson 14:20
That's something Megan hadn't learned and and wasn't able to do so it was different from me trying to think your or describe how something to work would work as to how she would do it. And so we have to work together to have a sketch, a 3d sort of a sketch or, or something laid out on the floor or in fact, I ended up teaching myself Google SketchUp to make 3d models. So that Megan could understand what what a plan was showing us all what I was trying to show on a drawing.
Megan Leeson 14:54
I'm a visual girl. I made I made pitches and I need the sketches to say it.
Colin Leeson 15:00
But lots of people are like that.
Megan Leeson 15:01
Yeah. And that advice was also helpful when we took it to the builder as well, so they could understand what we wanted. We could just quickly pull that up and show them and like, "Oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah." So everybody could see what we wanted. It was there. And then it was all transferred to plans. Like when we went to our builder, we went with a pile of stuff this big, and said, We want this, do this. And so we all sat down together and sorted it out and,and went from there.
Ethan Waldman 15:31
Very nice. Yeah. And I'm sure that on some level, your builder appreciated that. Because you know, you you already had done the design work. And it was a matter of transferring it in into building plans and building it.
Colin Leeson 15:45
Correct. Exactly. Probably worth sharing the early design phase as well. So we'd been watching the shows on the TV and YouTube, whatever. And when we'd see something we like, and we'd record that. So I ended up with this sketch that Megan mentioned, with kind of an index at the front referencing things and so might have seen the way a window look the way a loft looked, or anything else on a particular show. And we would reference it down to "This was found on Tiny House Nation, Episode 5, about three minutes and 75 seconds." I don't think seconds go that high? But you know what I mean? Yeah, we could go back and look at those things. Man, then, after picking up all those little pieces, we liked us things we already had in mind. So stitching them together into our final design. That part's obviously not rocket science, but using the things you find and referencing them to later, later checking. Yeah, like that's worked really well for us. I'm sure, everyone.
Ethan Waldman 16:53
Yeah, definitely. How long did it take for you to build out that inside? You know, once you got your shell?
Colin Leeson 17:00
That happened in two parts. So we'd received it in September of... since 2020, everything kind of blurs or something - but that being September 2018. I think we I had the kitchen mostly constructed, the vanity, and a few other modules that were ready to go straight in already done while the build was all the external build was happening. We worked, I sort of for the last months of that year, so September, October, November, December or the first half of December, we would get up early and go to work, do my job, and then sometime at about lunchtime, and then I would work on the house until Megan came home and joined me. And then when it was too dark to work really. We got it up to a stage by that December that we were able to we went to the UK where our daughter lives and came back in January and moved straight into the house. It wasn't complete though. And we had some things still to finish some some things that we were kind of phasing in like for example like the kitchen benchtops are marble we needed a bit of a delay financially to get those in so we had temporary benchtops for probably a year for people who might have found our house on living big in a tiny houses nice big deck around. It took a while to put on and in fact, the covering of that deck a one of those insulated panel roofs we've only put on this before Christmas this year. So short answer to your question is three months of very intensive work by both of us and
still no toilet at the end of those three.
Now let's talk about the toilet
Megan Leeson 18:49
Big factor entirely.
Colin Leeson 18:51
We've gone for an incinerating toilet, a little bit unusual and quite expensive. But it has its benefits but yeah, there was a delay in receiving it. So we had a porta loo
Ethan Waldman 19:03
Colin Leeson 19:03
What do you call them around the rest of the world?
Ethan Waldman 19:06
Sure. Porta Potty or
Colin Leeson 19:08
Outside of our house for about three months
Megan Leeson 19:12
in the Australian summer heat. It was not pretty. Yeah, she got fragrant. So yes, the sacrifices were made. People think we moved into this Picture Perfect, perfect house, but we didn't. We just did things as record. And it's been fun drawing out the project rather than going hell for leather and just getting everything done. Like what we've still got projects we want to do the wardrobe, getting a new lounge and sofa bed and we he's definitely a project sky so he likes having something to tinker on. So it's still a jumbled mess for him to finish.
Colin Leeson 19:48
So I was saying through the context, it's kind of like when you go on holidays and holidays over before you know it and suddenly normal insane slow down. Enjoy the process. Was this and I was signing up? I'm not. I'm not wishing it was finished, because I'm enjoying doing it. And yeah, it'll be finished eventually. And we'll, we'll enjoy it definitely then. But for now, let's enjoy doing it. And we did that mostly I think.
Ethan Waldman 20:17
that's, that's nice that to be able to do that and keep that perspective in mind that it will eventually be done. And then once it's done, it's done.
Megan Leeson 20:28
And then Covid will be finished and we can get back to travel.
Ethan Waldman 20:31
Colin Leeson 20:32
And also not that we really did it here. But it gives the opportunity of tweaking things or changing things as you go along. If you start to live in the in the house, and you plan to put something somewhere, you find that it's not quite right, you can make small adjustments as you go.
Ethan Waldman 20:52
I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Tiny House Decisions, my signature guide and the resource that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It starts with the big decisions, which is, should you build a tiny house yourself or with help? Is a is a prebuilt shell a good idea? Is a house on wheels better than on the ground and what works better for you? Deciding on the overall size, deciding on whether you should use custom plans or pre made plans, different types of trailers and more. Then in the in Part 2, we get into the systems, so heat, water, showers, hot water, toilets, electrical, refrigeration, ventilation - and we're only two thirds of the way through the book at this point. From systems we go into construction decisions, talking about nails versus screws, SIPs versus stick-framed versus advanced framing versus metal framing. We talk about how to construct a sub floor, sheathing, roofing materials, insulation, windows, flooring, kitchen, I know I'm just reading off the table of contents. But I just want to give you a sense of how comprehensive Tiny House Decisions is. It's a total of 170 pages. It contains tons of full color drawings, diagrams and resources. And it really is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions using the coupon code tiny when you head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD. That's THD for Tiny House Decisions. Again, that's coupon code tiny when you check out at thetinyhouse.net/THD.
So is travel one of the one of the reasons why you wanted to live tiny?
Megan Leeson 22:41
One of my big reasons yes. I'm a late bloomer when it came to travel. So we had our kids very young. So we and we've kind of had the basics, we weren't well off and still not well off. And so when our daughter moved overseas, that was my first overseas trip. And I have definitely got the bug and I have got a long list of places I want to visit in Europe. And so, yes, now that this has done that it's we've kind of taught ourselves to be more financially responsible. And we're making great headway and the travel fund is starting to look exciting again.
Ethan Waldman 23:22
Colin Leeson 23:23
It matches with the philosophy of a lot of tiny house people and that is to live more and have less.
Ethan Waldman 23:30
Colin Leeson 23:31
And and the living more, the biggest part of living more for us is to be able to do some travel and enjoy that for a while.
Ethan Waldman 23:39
Absolutely. So you've actually added Oh, actually, I want to talk about the woodshop. But I do want to ask, why the incinerating toilet? What you know what were the benefits of that that made you decide to go with one over the other options?
Megan Leeson 23:57
I did not want to deal with the composting toilet and I put my hand up very quickly and said "I'm not doing that." And Colin goes, "Well, I'm not doing that." And I said, "Alright. Incinerating, toilet it is."
Colin Leeson 24:11
Put my spin on it too. And I agree. If you think if you're thinking about it without having ever done, or whatever you're trying to get turned off by No. Sure. Everyone who now does as normal part of their life. It's all it's all normal. We decided though that we didn't want to do that. I think though there's a couple of extra benefits for us or barely expensive benefits. way like most people are renting, renting a spot on somebody's property for our home. And my thoughts are if if us is a tiny house or approaching someone to be a landlord, the first question they will have running through their mind is, "What happens with the solid waste?" And if you have to go to them, "Well will I use is one of these various composting methods." That might scare them. And it might mean losing that property. Whereas to be able to go up to someone like we are to say, "We don't produce any of that waste. Everything incinerate sdown to nothing." We felt that would make a big difference to finding a location, probably later on to if we, our plans probably is to try and find our own land, probably closer to our retirement time and probably out of Brisbane itself. If we're trying to go through the approval process with a local council here to live legally in the house, then again, I think that will really help otherwise, setting up septic system, which incidentally, cost in Australia, a lot more than our incinerating toilet cost would make that more complicated.
Ethan Waldman 25:56
Yeah, yeah. And you've, you've done quite a bit of improvements to the land that you're that you're renting. It looks like the deck for your tiny house that's attached to the ground. And you looks like you've got a beautiful garden. And that's, that'll be a lot to move.
Colin Leeson 26:17
Yeah, so I'm pleased that it looks like it's attached, ah, the ground, right? It isn't. So the deck itself is, is sitting on in Australia have products being sold called TuffBlock, which is a plastic footing, and I'll use your measurements about a foot square that a post would click into,
Ethan Waldman 26:42
Colin Leeson 26:42
and it's like a series of pads on the ground. And that's what our deck sitting on and not only that, it's on the top of the deck, we've laid the boards, so they look like a traditional deck with with offset joins. Underneath those boards, there are a series of modules, which if we had to move, we would just simply strip the boards off the top, so an hour an hour or two with with a battery tool, and then disassemble the modules underneath and lift them off those little feet and we're good to move.
Ethan Waldman 27:14
Colin Leeson 27:15
So even though it looks like a lot of things, sort of in the ground here, they've all had a lot of careful planning of what happens when we need to move. Even the roof now above the above the deck is like I said one of those SIP roofs. We've put lights and fans pand switches, power points, I should say up into that roof. They're all cascading off a single power point plug and everything in is smart controlled, so that we don't have to be wiring switches to turn any of them on. So in the case of needing to move, we can just disassemble those roof panels and, and drop what's really probably a wiring harness out of it, pack it all up, move it reassemble it later. So a fair bit of careful thought in how we would disassemble stuff, the garden variety, it's it's become a bit of a hobby for us and something we enjoy doing. It's obviously in the ground, and we believe in it. I believe we get lots of enjoyment out of between now and then.
Megan Leeson 28:21
And it was all done with the blessing of the landowners who this was an unused corner of of their block. And they regularly come up and sit on the deck and go you got the best view. So yeah, there anything major we do, we obviously check with them first. But we we maintain this corner of their, their block for them. And it's a good relationship. So
Ethan Waldman 28:47
yeah. That's wonderful. Was it difficult to find a place to rent?
Colin Leeson 28:53
It was it's an amazing story. And I probably should share it with you. We work in a school. And the the woman, a woman of the family who lives here works at that same school. And so we had our I think the trailer was being manufactured with the heavy custom build as well. Earlier, the trailer was being built and we were just starting to think about where we might put the house.
Megan Leeson 29:18
I had advertised in a couple of Facebook groups.
Colin Leeson 29:20
Prior to this, yeah. And Megan was starting to cull some of this stuff in our house doing our pare down and had put an email around to the staff at the school saying 'we've got all this stuff we've tried to get rid of. And anyone want anything?' And this woman came and spoke to her and said, "What are you getting rid of this stuff for?" And Megan said, "Well, we're thinking of building a tiny house. So we won't be able to take all this." And she went away and in the meantime, I'd heard from another colleague at the school talking about how great this property that his family home is. And he just It's like living in Manaphy garden. It's lovely. And you know how when you get so excited about something, you can't handle the thought of rejection, so you can never do anything about it. It was like that for me. We should ask those people if they'd like to have us come to their house, and I'm so scared of a rejection that I'm not bringing it myself do ask it. Yeah. But that's where I was. A few days later, this woman's come back to meeting and said "I've been talking with my husband, and we would love it if you would consider putting your house on our property."
Ethan Waldman 30:39
Oh, wow. So they asked, they asked you?
Colin Leeson 30:41
Like requesting us to do it.
a look. And that's absolutely magnificent.
Ethan Waldman 30:52
Megan Leeson 30:53
We got 11 out of 10.
Ethan Waldman 30:57
Yeah, you can't beat that. And is your house fully off grid? Or do you do? How do you get your How do you get your water? And how do you get your electricity?
Colin Leeson 31:05
So we connect to the grid for water and electricity.
Ethan Waldman 31:10
Colin Leeson 31:11
Where we are right here we're under trees. So a solar system wouldn't work fantastically. With our house, we've we're sort of positioning ourselves somewhere in the middle where to where it says step in the right direction. We're limiting we're reducing our parameter footprint, we're reducing our financial commitments and, and, and heading towards what some people think we need to do for tiny house living. So that for us, they were able to demonstrate that you can live tiny without going extreme. And that's fairly important to me particularly. That means we can still have a couple of big televisions in the house, and we can still have air conditioning and everything else, while still making a difference. I hope that's making sense. So we want to be able to show that we can make that difference and still consume a small amount of electricity. That being said, if down the track, we we can find a location and want to live somewhere where we can be off.
Megan Leeson 32:18
doing that. At the moment, it's kind of chunking down. Yeah. So the next move we'll go down a little bit further. And yet, as Colin said, There's no way we could really run solar here. There's so many beautiful native trees around us that regularly drop branches all over the roof and leaves everywhere. Water wouldn't be drinkable off this roof. And but it's perfect location. So give and take.
Ethan Waldman 32:45
Nice. Well, you you mentioned it before. So now I have to ask the question. Do you each have a favorite part of your tiny house?
Megan Leeson 32:54
Colin Leeson 32:59
My part, I think from a how I enjoy the creativity I like is the bathroom. Lots of things fitted into there. Lots of little tricky storage solutions, plus lots of details which which are really pleasurable.
Megan Leeson 33:20
It's like a jigsaw puzzle. Yeah, it is.
Colin Leeson 33:24
It's took a lot figured out and it looks really good. But I like though they're sitting up in our lying on the bed up in our bedroom loft, which which gives them view down kind of the hallway to the kitchen plus television up in the bedroom just as that's myself.
Megan Leeson 33:43
I do also like lying on the lounge, we did change our building plan like three because of the way through from a full loft to a mezzanine because the builder send us some pitches and because the trailer was a little bit higher off the ground. Goosenecks are not common here in Australia like they are over there. So we had our custom built, as Colin said, and it probably came back a little bit higher than we had anticipated. So we lost some of the room in the loft. And so we were going up on Saturday morning to be the tiny and on Friday night we were sitting at a restaurant, furiously scribbling all over napkins and scouring the internet trying to fix this problem of the roof so we could have a problem and a solution for the builder the next day. And I found this picture of a mezzanine loft. And that has been probably one of the best changes that we did need to build that we weren't anticipating because 90% of the time it's just Colin and I hear it now allows some more natural light into the into the living room. And it's an it's an unusual feature. And I love just kind of seeing that. The bears whether you call them
Colin Leeson 34:59
Yes Look up through a couple of areas into really avoid the side the mezzanine. So it's a really unusual and interesting book.
Megan Leeson 35:10
Ethan Waldman 35:10
Nice. And now, you mentioned that you're you're no longer empty nesters because you've got a third adult living with you. So did they live in the mezzanine?
Megan Leeson 35:22
They do. And I forget she's there sometimes. She was up there asleep the other day. And I came in and said, Hi, nobody answered. She was late. And I forgot she was up there. So yeah, she fitten it in seamlessly like she was out helping Colin with them. Doing the floor in the, in the workshop yesterday, she jumps in and helps with cooking, kind of like having her around. And she's not taking up a lot of real estate. And it's good because she's been living away. Up Far North Queensland. So for her to come home and, and reconnected. It's, it's lovely.
Colin Leeson 35:58
Yeah. Surprisingly well, for the three adults in here. I wondered how well it would work. But yeah, it's been really easy.
Ethan Waldman 36:07
You can always come home and live with your parents, even if they're in a tiny house.
Megan Leeson 36:12
Well, the other ones thinking about coming home to from the UK. So that's going to be interesting. I
Ethan Waldman 36:19
They may have to move into the into the woodshop. So, you know, just looking through your Instagram feed. You know, I've dealt with with pests in my house like mice and ants. Never a giant snake though. Can you? Can you tell us about the snake?
Colin Leeson 36:43
Yeah, you wouldn't believe this story. We were having an air conditioner installed, actually. And this was only a couple of months ago as well, between Christmas and New Year. That's right. That's right in the gap between the electricians were here. And the indoor units in the house next to us above the bathroom, the outdoor units tap right in underneath the gooseneck path. And we're working down there and that the young woman who helps the electrician is going I got a pet snake and we went oh no, we wouldn't like like you said that one there. And we love them it was literally would be crawling under this thing with the with the chassis of the trailer literally above our head with a snake that again, probably probably six foot long and two inches around in its belly just sitting there. It's not as scary as it ought to be in Australia. We have to, to lots of snakes. There are some very poisonous ones. So in Australia, we have several species of very poisonous snakes. Yeah, the whole world kind of fears that about Australia. But we have some quite placid ones. And this is one of those. They're not poisonous.
Megan Leeson 38:05
It still scared the daylights out of you.
Colin Leeson 38:07
Yeah. Yeah. So this this girl's pointed this thing out, we've we've all sort of jumped, scurried away, and then have to have to get rid of it so we could finish the project.
Megan Leeson 38:21
Yes. So every time our clothes dryer is also kept under there on rainy days when I need it, and a rubbish bin is under there as well. So anytime I need to go there. I'm down there looking up underneath the guests, or the struts and everything. And the neighbor who removed the snake one day saw me doing it and goes, "Snake, Megan! Move!" And I jumped so fast and his wife belted him and don't do that. That's not funny. I don't think I've spoken to him since actually. Yeah, if it That being said, Australia's not as bad as people think it is. It scares the daylights out of you. But he serves a purpose. He keeps the mice down from the chocks and everything else. Yeah, at nighttime, it's not what you want to find.
Ethan Waldman 39:10
Yeah, no. Well, one thing that I like to ask all of my guests is, what are two or three resources that have helped you on your tiny house journey that you'd like to share with our listeners?
Colin Leeson 39:26
I think probably the answer we've talked about before the TV shows and YouTube videos and things. Yeah, we had a lot of a lot of influence on our design from various things we saw around around different shows. Probably for me also, the background in cabinetmaking gave me opportunity to do a few interesting projects, which led to some ideas from this.
Megan Leeson 39:53
I joined some of the Facebook groups very early just to kind of get a feel for the the Aussie ones more than the international ones. And kind of see how things were and we actually met, got a reference for a builder from one of those local meetups, we only went to one and it worked out to be very handy. And Instagram.
Ethan Waldman 40:17
Megan Leeson 40:18
I used Instagram a lot for kind of design things and just seeing what other people did. And I don't know, I could do that any time. So yeah, for me, it would have been Facebook and Instagram. But yeah, certainly watching the TV shows as well getting a feel for it. And a walkthrough was handy.
Ethan Waldman 40:38
Colin Leeson 40:39
When when we went to the builder that we engaged, we were able to look at a few shells and hardly finished houses there. And that also gave us a feeling probably more helped us decide on the size. So having a look at some tiny houses, go to one of those galleries or convention things that will also help people
Ethan Waldman 41:02
Megan Leeson 41:03
When people will come to ours they're very surprised, because I think they're just gonna walk into a caravan. And it's going to be low, but we've intentionally kept our entry, the full height. And people are amazed at the sense of space. So yeah, everyone's a visual person. So yeah. Looking, researching, getting out there talking to people. Valuable resource.
Ethan Waldman 41:28
Nice well, Colin and Megan, thank you so much for being guests on the show today, and again for waking up early for me. Glad you had your coffee, and I can't wait to share this with our listeners.
Megan Leeson 41:40
I'm ready for another one.
Colin Leeson 41:42
It's been our pleasure. Thanks again for having us.
Ethan Waldman 41:46
Thank you so much to Colin and Megan Leeson for being guests on the show today. You can find the show notes, including a full transcript, some images of the Leesons' beautiful tiny house and more at thetinyhouse.net/202. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/202. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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