Episode 98 cover

Malissa and Chris Tack did one of the first tiny house builds to be fully documented in photographs every day. I remember poring through their daily time-lapses to figure out how they did certain things. Their beautiful design included dormers in the loft, which inspired my tiny house and countless others. Melissa is here to tell us the story of her tiny house journey and how the house has continued to support their family as it has grown.

In This Episode:

  • How the Tiny Tack House came to be
  • Having space to offer up to others
  • Plans change and tiny houses adapt
  • Malissa's systems set-up
  • The Tiny Tack House on Airbnb
  • What would we do differently?
  • Tiny house design and plans

Links and Resources:


Guest Bio:

Malissa Tack

Malissa Tack

Malissa Tack lives in the greater Seattle area where she designed and built her tiny house in 2011 with her husband, Christopher Tack. The Tiny Tack House as its come to be known, was a loving home for the Tacks for 4 years, before deciding to purchase property of their own for the little house to sit on. Currently, The Tiny Tack House is helping inspire others and give tiny house enthusiasts the chance to “try tiny” before embarking on their own tiny house endeavors.


The outside of the Tiny Tack House


A view into the kitchen

Living and dining areas

This tiny house does not have full-sized appliances



Composting toilet



The dining table folds down for extra room.

Dormers make the sleeping area feel big enough for two people

A view from the loft

00:00 - 00:14

Malissa Tack: I honestly didn't feel like it was absolutely necessary to create a solar farm. So to give you an idea of our actual utilities for the entire year of living in our tiny house, it only cost us about $300.

00:16 - 00:51

Ethan Waldman: 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 98 with Melissa Tack. Chris and Melissa were one  of the first tiny house builds to be fully documented in photographs every single day. And luckily for me, they were about 6 months ahead of me. So I had some reference material while I was building way back in 2012. Melissa and Chris lived tiny for 4 years before deciding to purchase a property of their own for the little house

00:51 - 01:32

Ethan Waldman: to sit on, and then they ended up moving into a slightly larger house. Melissa is here to tell us her story and to catch up. It's been several years and she is still involved in the tiny house movement So I hope you stick around for this great conversation with Melissa tack I'd like to give a quick listener shout out to Sophia Youngbauer, who says, Ethan's Tiny House Lifestyle podcast is a great resource for anyone interested in alternative living dwellings. He interviews a wide variety of people including spearheaders of the modern tiny house movement, tiny house dwellers,

01:32 - 02:02

Ethan Waldman: schoolies, van lifers, and even a couple who live on a sailboat. His podcast helped solidify design choices in our tiny house on wheels build, and also allowed me to connect with other people in the movement via social media. I'm always excited to see who will be the next guest on the show and hear a new perspective. Ethan also sheds light on what can be considered the not so glamorous parts of tiny living. Very valuable insight for those considering to go tiny or in the process. I'm so glad I found this podcast. Sophia, thank you so much

02:02 - 02:50

Ethan Waldman: for the review. Reviews really help the show find new listeners. If you want to help me out, head over to ratethispodcast.com slash thlp to leave a review. Again, that's ratethispodcast.com slash thlp where you can leave a review for the show on whatever platform you use most. Thank you so much for your support of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast. ["Tiny House Lifestyle"] All right, I am here with Melissa Tack. Melissa lives in the greater Seattle area where she designed and built her tiny house in 2011 with her husband Christopher Tack.

02:50 - 02:51

Malissa Tack: Hello, hello.

02:52 - 03:15

Ethan Waldman: The tiny tack house as it comes has come to be known was a loving home for the tacks for 4 years before they decided to purchase property of their own for the little house to sit on. Currently, the Tiny Tack House is helping inspire others and give tiny house enthusiasts the chance to try tiny before embarking on their own tiny house endeavors. Melissa Tack, welcome to the show.

03:15 - 03:17

Malissa Tack: Hi, I'm happy to be here.

03:18 - 03:46

Ethan Waldman: Happy to have you. I've been kind of reaching out to my inspirations while I was building. Your blog, your website was hugely helpful to me because you just did such a great job of documenting your whole process. I'm curious, why did you decide to document so well? What motivated you to do that?

03:47 - 04:30

Malissa Tack: Well, at the time, as you know, it was back in 2011 when we were building. There really wasn't any resources available to help us along the way, except for 1 that I did find online. And it became such an asset to us during our build that honestly I figured if this was a good enough source of information for us to start on, then maybe what we can contribute might help somebody else along the way as well. And so yeah, we meticulously started documenting everything that we were doing. So that way, somebody else has a little bit

04:30 - 04:31

Malissa Tack: of information as well.

04:32 - 04:50

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, well, as I mentioned, it was, I remember just pouring over your blog, like kind of zooming in on the high resolution photos for details of like plumbing systems and everything. And you've left those photos are just still up there kind of in perpetuity.

04:51 - 05:18

Malissa Tack: They are, yes. I go back to the blog every once in a while and realize that I haven't updated anything, but that's kind of how it comes to be when you were in the tiny house team for so long, but you're out, but you're not really out. I'm still in it, but it's up there because so many people still find it. And Again, the resources there are still completely valid.

05:18 - 05:42

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, it's a wonderful resource. So maybe we should rewind a little bit. I consider anybody who started building a tiny house before maybe 2012 or 2013 to be kind of a pioneer of sorts. So could you tell the story of how you and Chris even decided to go for a tiny house?

05:43 - 06:27

Malissa Tack: Yeah, definitely. So back in early, early 2011, Christopher and I were both working at Apple retail. And 1 of Christopher's customers had come in and needed some help with her website. And she was in the process of building something. And I remember 1 day Christopher came home and he mentioned something about, tiny something movements, not quite sure. He didn't really spill all the information. He just gave me a little snippet of it. And the next day it was rattling in my brain and I couldn't help but try to do some research. And so I literally hopped

06:27 - 07:05

Malissa Tack: on the computer, typed in tiny house movement, And lo and behold, there was the tiny houses on wheels. The only ones that were known at the time were Jay Schafer's from Tumbleweed. And so prior to that, Christopher and I had been living out in Washington State for about a year. We moved out here from New York City, where we also decided to move around every few years, just to explore. Since we're young, we wanted to go to different states and see what other states had to offer. But we didn't like renting either. And we didn't want

07:05 - 07:35

Malissa Tack: to buy a house and get stuck in a place for a certain amount of time. So when I saw this idea of a tiny house on wheels, I thought that was absolutely perfect because we can take our house with us wherever we go. But of course, after we had decided to build our tiny house, we come to a realization that we absolutely love the state that we're in. So we never actually had to move it anywhere, but it became such a part of our life

07:36 - 07:52

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, so and that's funny because my experience echoes yours a little bit just with never moving it like it just became such a part of of my life and just the way, where I had it parked was like the perfect spot. And so I just never wanted to move it.

07:52 - 07:54

Malissa Tack: Mm-hmm, yep, exactly.

07:55 - 07:58

Ethan Waldman: So you lived in it in the same spot for 4 years?

07:59 - 08:36

Malissa Tack: Yeah, We were out in Snohomish, Washington for 4 years. We found property. It was really hard to find property, actually. This is 1 of the most common questions that I get in regards to, I want to build a house, I want to buy a house, but where am I going to put it? And for us, because we were renters, we didn't even have a place to build. And so that was kind of our, our go-to find first. And what I did is I wrote a bunch of handwritten letters and put it in random people's mailboxes in

08:36 - 09:12

Malissa Tack: areas that had very large pull bar and garages, because it would be a perfect place to build a tiny house. And of 15 letters that I had dropped off, 2 got back to me. Both were a no-go for the actual space, but the 1 did say that he could offer me kind of like a tent camp in the back. And he had 5 acres of property, so plenty of space to build. But I would be doing it outside. It was our only option. It was a good option. It was anything. So we decided to go for

09:12 - 09:33

Malissa Tack: it and we built our house. But then after the time had slowly faded, we realized that we still needed a place to put it. We had a building spot, but not a living spot. And so we actually talked to the homeowner and he was happy enough to have us stay there. And so we stayed there for an additional 4 years.

09:34 - 09:49

Ethan Waldman: Wow. So you ended up just leaving it right where you built it and that's where you lived. Yep. Now was like, legality, parking regulations, any, was that ever a problem for you in that spot?

09:52 - 10:27

Malissa Tack: That's always a tricky question because at the time, you know, it was back in 2011, and I was kind of in an unincorporated part of the city. So this is a place where, you know, you can park 20 cars in your front yard and nobody's going to have any bus over it. And so I wasn't particularly worried about it. Not to say that the thoughts didn't go through my head of somebody coming by and shutting me down as I'm building my house. But yeah, the only other person that I knew at the time that was living

10:27 - 11:00

Malissa Tack: in her tiny house was Dee Williams. And then shortly after I had discovered Dee, I discovered Brittany Younger, who's also in the same state as I am. And she was living in her tiny house and she was fine. And Dee is probably the best asset for the tiny house movement by far. She's been through it all. And in regards to legality, she is totally on level with her city. They come over. She even has, I think, her own mailing address now.

11:00 - 11:25

Ethan Waldman: That's awesome. Now. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. So I'm curious what the timeline looked like in terms of deciding to look for your own property. Was it a desire to get into a larger space? Was it desire to just to own your own land? Walk me through that.

11:26 - 11:59

Malissa Tack: So, the whole plan to begin with was to find a little piece of property of our own to put our tiny house on. But you know how over time you're kind of living in your space, you become comfortable, it just becomes part of life. And that's how we ended up on the property we did for 4 years is because it just became part of life. We didn't have to look for a spot because we technically had a spot. The only problem is the homeowners were going to sell the property eventually. So we knew we had to

11:59 - 12:36

Malissa Tack: find another option. And our option was to find property to put our house on. But we just didn't have the cash flow to do so. So it was going to be cheaper to find an existing property with a house and all the systems in place, then finding cheap land that still costs money out of pocket that I didn't have, did then have to put in the electrical, the plumbing and every other system necessary for keeping me. I did build the house to be on grid and off grid, but during the winter months I still need power.

12:36 - 13:16

Malissa Tack: So the solar power is not going to be adequate for what I need. So yeah, we eventually did decide to buy the property we're on currently with a house with the intent of living in our tiny house and then renting out the main space to friends, family, whoever's in the area that needs accommodations with also the idea that we would have more than just 1 tiny house on the property. I didn't buy a huge chunk, but what I do have was space offer up to others. And so I really tried to push the envelope And at

13:16 - 13:19

Malissa Tack: 1 point I've had 3 tiny houses in my backyard.

13:20 - 13:26

Ethan Waldman: That's awesome. Like people come in tiny houses and rent a spot from you for a period of time?

13:27 - 13:28

Malissa Tack: Pretty much, yeah.

13:28 - 13:40

Ethan Waldman: Nice. Yeah. And so I'm curious, at what point did you move out of the tiny house and live in the quote unquote big house?

13:42 - 14:21

Malissa Tack: So when we bought the property, The type of mortgage that we entered into was 1 that limited who was going to occupy the main house and We signed a contract saying that we were going to have to be the main occupants of the house for at least 2 years Before possibly having the opportunity to rent it out and then move back in our tiny house. During that timeframe, we planned on a family and we welcomed our daughter, Solaris, into the world not too long after buying the property. So at the time we were just renting out

14:21 - 14:58

Malissa Tack: our house on Airbnb and letting other people stay in it and experience tiny, but we also did want to continue our life in the tiny house. But then it slowly became clear that that wasn't going to be the option we're going to go with. So as of right now, we're still just renting out our tiny house and we're still in the main house with future plans of still buying a little chunk of property to put our house on and then possibly even build a small 400 square foot house that we're going to design and build ourselves.

14:58 - 15:30

Ethan Waldman: Very cool. I love the story because it highlights how a tiny house on wheels can be adapted. You know, like when it was just you and Chris, you lived there. And then, you know, it probably makes sense to have a little bit more space when you when you have some children around. Not that it's not possible, but you know, I'm very familiar with the design of your tiny house because it's similar to mine. And it it looks like it's really designed for 2 people, not more.

15:31 - 16:12

Malissa Tack: Yeah, yeah. No, we we put a lot of thought into the building of our tiny house because it was going to be a 2 person occupant and all the tiny houses that we have seen in the past have all been just a single person and honestly while designing the house, I designed it with dormers up in the loft space to accommodate 2 people. But I have no building experience whatsoever when it comes to construction. And constructing a home from scratch was a completely new idea to me. So doing dormers was math that I did not wanna

16:12 - 16:30

Malissa Tack: have to play with and I almost was gonna scratch it and say we're not gonna do it, but Chris held me to it and he said we have to. And I'm so glad that we did in the end. It was hard but we powered through it and now it's a space that's very, very comfortable to be in.

16:30 - 17:09

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, the dormers really make the loft much more comfortable, less like a tent and more like a little bedroom. Yeah. I remember bringing photos of your house to the designer who helped me design my tiny house as you were on my like mood board for sure. I want to follow up on something you mentioned before about the solar. You were 1 of the first examples of a house where I got to see everything and you and Chris did the solar work yourself.

17:11 - 17:12

Malissa Tack: Oh yeah.

17:12 - 17:25

Ethan Waldman: And you mentioned before that it's not adequate currently for the winter. How much more do you think you'd have to add to make it a year round off grid tiny house?

17:26 - 18:06

Malissa Tack: Well, Christopher is definitely the expert in that area. He's the 1 who was able to figure out all the appliances that we have and how much power we were going to consume for our house during a certain time frame. It was a whole calculator that he worked with a group out here to determine our system. But we did have the idea that we were going to expand our system at 1 point, knowing that we were going to build another little house somewhere, so we could eventually move our system to that larger, larger house. So we got

18:06 - 18:50

Malissa Tack: a pretty beefy system, something that we can add on. We currently only have 4 solar panels, but we can add on I think another 10 to, and our system wouldn't have to change at all. But to give you an idea, I live in Washington State, and so it's pretty cloudy here during the winter months. The winter months can range from October till usually around February is when it's the darkest, the rainiest, but I can run my entire system on solar alone from April till mid-October. And that's just running on pure solar. So the off months is

18:50 - 19:18

Malissa Tack: when I'm just not picking it up enough because there's just not enough. And I honestly didn't feel like it was absolutely necessary to create a solar farm in my backyard just to power my tiny house. So to give you an idea of our actual utilities for the entire year of living in our tiny house, it only cost us about $300 a year for everything to live in our tiny house.

19:18 - 19:21

Ethan Waldman: Wow. And that's heat, hot water,

19:22 - 19:23

Malissa Tack: electric. That's everything.

19:24 - 19:38

Ethan Waldman: So is the way your system is set up, like it just, it's plugged into your main house and it just draws power as it needs to compensate for what the solar can't do?

19:38 - 20:01

Malissa Tack: Yeah, so the batteries are set up in a way that once they get down past a certain percentage, Then it switches to be on grid and then the on grid will first It'll first power up the batteries and then so and once it's reached a hundred then it shuts up So it's only supplying what it absolutely needs at that time

20:01 - 20:18

Ethan Waldman: cool And that's just such a great thing because you did it however many years ago it was 2012, so like 8 years ago and now it just keeps going. Has the system needed any kind of maintenance or

20:19 - 20:32

Malissa Tack: work? There's been some maintenance to it, mostly electrical. I think we had 1 cable go out on us that were in the middle of fixing, But that's about it. It's an easy fix.

20:33 - 20:43

Ethan Waldman: And how do you, you know, parked kind of near your other house, how do you deal with the gray water that comes out of the tiny house?

20:44 - 21:22

Malissa Tack: So just the way that we had done back when we were living on the other property is it's just it's literally just a hose going out to the ground. I dug a pit and I put some rocks in and we have it's It's pretty tough dirt where I currently am, where I have a level of clay that I have to interrupt, but honestly, the amount of water that I'm producing is so low compared to how much water is dropped out of the sky that you honestly don't even notice in my footprint at all. And I use

21:22 - 21:32

Malissa Tack: all biodegradable soaps and everything in my tiny house and I have special notes for my guests on what they need to do and what not to do as well.

21:33 - 21:40

Ethan Waldman: Nice. And I'm guessing that's not something that you've officially tried to like ask for permission for

21:41 - 22:07

Malissa Tack: like from the town. No, no, no. I honestly haven't gone to the city at all, mostly because of fear, honestly, but because I'm not doing any damage to anything. My house isn't really lived in. It's, it's, it's recreated in more than anything. So I'm not really terribly concerned about it.

22:08 - 22:26

Ethan Waldman: Right. And that's, you know, depends where you live, but it truly is better to, beg forgiveness than ask permission. And in the case of tiny houses, especially in more rural places or in places where they're not uptight about these types of things.

22:26 - 23:01

Malissa Tack: Yeah, I can understand different systems if you're in a different area. I'm in the city limit. So there are different guidelines that I have to follow in regards to my tiny house. And I do have a composting toilet, but I don't use it in the form of, say, Brittany Younger, who also has a composting toilet, but she is able to compost on her property. And she can even get her guests involved with that. But because I'm in the city limits, it's kind of a no-no. So we essentially have to do the bag drop here. I can't

23:01 - 23:08

Malissa Tack: actually compost it like I want to, but if I'm out in the countryside, I'm able to do so.

23:08 - 23:09

Ethan Waldman: That's kind of a bummer.

23:10 - 23:11

Malissa Tack: Yeah.

23:11 - 23:16

Ethan Waldman: So, remind me, did you do the humanor style toilet, just the 5 gallon bucket?

23:16 - 23:17

Malissa Tack: I did, yep.

23:17 - 23:21

Ethan Waldman: So now those buckets are just lined with a trash can liner.

23:22 - 23:25

Malissa Tack: Basically, yeah. Yeah, they go out like a dirty diaper.

23:25 - 23:49

Ethan Waldman: Yeah. That's so unfortunate. I mean, it's... There are a lot of cities that have a rule against composting toilets. And I suppose it makes sense because it could be, you know, if you do it wrong and you could create a bit of a biohazard, but it's also Kind of a bummer to just have to throw that into the landfill.

23:49 - 23:51

Malissa Tack: It is agreed

23:53 - 24:04

Ethan Waldman: And how have things been going with Airbnb our guests, you know Enjoying the process and are you finding that people will rent the house who are looking to potentially live tiny themselves?

24:05 - 24:38

Malissa Tack: Yeah, I actually get a lot of people coming in that are very interested in buying tiny. Very few actually want to build themselves, but they're all very interested in buying, but they kind of use my house as a guideline for what they liked or what they didn't like. And I get a lot of people who are saying it's very inspirational. And I joke all the time with people because I get some comments about my craftsmanship and I just have to laugh because again, this is like the first thing I had ever built and there is no

24:38 - 25:10

Malissa Tack: such thing as craftsmanship in here. But it works, it's homey, it's cozy, and it's perfect for what we have. I do in the off season get a lot of people who are coming to celebrate. So birthdays, anniversaries, different things like that. People come in surprised because people are always talking about how they love Tiny and wanted to see. And eventually some people do mention how it's taught them a few things and how they actually might consider doing tidying themselves.

25:12 - 25:23

Ethan Waldman: If you mentioned you know a 400 square foot cabin which I would say is still quite tiny. What would be different about the cabin from the tiny tack house?

25:25 - 26:07

Malissa Tack: More sleeping space. More sleeping space. Because In our original plan for our tiny house, we actually had thought about putting in a secondary loft over the front door, and that would be a room for a little 1. But as I've grown to understand children more, I know that it works for older little ones, but not the little littleists. And it is challenging being in a tiny house with a ladder system and everything because I myself hurt myself pretty bad while I was living in the tiny house and getting up and down my ladder was quite challenging.

26:07 - 26:18

Malissa Tack: I was able to do it, but it was quite challenging. So there are different things that I would take and not. So stairs would probably be a better option next time than a ladder.

26:18 - 26:33

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, I've also really tired of the ladder, I would say. That was probably my number 1, you know, what would I do differently if I were to do another tiny house on wheels? It would be no ladder.

26:33 - 27:07

Malissa Tack: Yeah. And people are going bigger too, I've noticed. Much. Yeah. Most of the people that I talk to who are interested in finding a spot and notice that I do have an available spot open on my property for an additional tiny house. But when they mentioned the size, I just, I don't understand how people are going so big. I love tiny. I am so encouraged by it. Like I want to go smaller, honestly. Like if I was to build another tiny house, I would go smaller than a 20 foot that I'm in right now But yeah

27:07 - 27:16

Malissa Tack: people are talking 30 footers 32 footers and It's incredible. But you know if you're in a space like that, you can basically have it all

27:17 - 28:01

Ethan Waldman: Right. I think I have mixed feelings about it because I'm also, I'm on a 22 foot trailer and the house itself is about 18 or 19. The bigger tiny houses do have other amenities that would be hard to fit into ours, like such as laundry or full-size kitchen appliances. Some of them also have a full-on second loft, like a second bedroom where you really could have, a kid could have a room of their own in that house. So I can understand it from that perspective, but I agree. I also, I think that the utility of it

28:01 - 28:18

Ethan Waldman: being on wheels, when you get up that long, it starts being just, you know, if you think it's hard to tow a 10,000 pound house, like a 15,000 pound house is going to be twice as hard or, you know, just a whole new ballgame.

28:19 - 28:50

Malissa Tack: Oh, yeah. And our tiny house was actually the longest at the time because when we went to go see Dee's, of course, Dee's was much smaller. And then Brittany's was a little bit bigger. I think hers was about 18, 18 footer. And Christopher and I looked at each other like, OK, this this could work. But again, there's going to be 2 of us in the house. And I would work from home, so I would need my own space. And so we decided 20 footer would be the ultimate.

28:50 - 29:03

Ethan Waldman: Yeah. Yours was really the first non tumbleweed design that I saw that I really liked. You know, because I think Brittany's is a fensel And which is a classic tumbleweed design.

29:03 - 29:08

Malissa Tack: Yeah, that actually was 1 of the ones I was looking at option, you know

29:08 - 29:19

Ethan Waldman: when I saw you know when I saw your dormers and Just the the way that that the they opened up the space that became a new inspiration for me.

29:20 - 29:38

Malissa Tack: Yeah and the only reason I changed this design mostly is because I knew that we were gonna be inside our space most of the time being 2 people we needed a little extra room so that's why I bumped off the porch. I figured I could build a big porch outside of my house. I don't need it to be attached to it permanently.

29:39 - 29:39

Ethan Waldman: Right.

29:40 - 29:45

Malissa Tack: Although I do love, love big porches on tiny houses.

29:46 - 29:57

Ethan Waldman: Yeah they are great But you could also do that as a separate structure or a permanent structure. Build it around your tiny house once you've kind of settled in.

29:57 - 30:16

Malissa Tack: Yeah, like Jenna from Tiny House, Giant Journey, She's out in Washington as well. And she has her tiny house park where she's renting it currently, but also living in at the same time. And she built a beautiful, large, large stack on hers, which is exactly what I dream of.

30:16 - 30:45

Ethan Waldman: Yeah. I've seen some photos of that. And I kind of went with the middle ground. I put a little porch on my tiny house. I love your little porch though. Oh, thanks. It's quite rainy and snowy here in Vermont as well. So it's important to have a covered space to take your shoes off or just shake the water off before you get inside. So you also sell your plans for your tiny house, correct?

30:46 - 30:57

Malissa Tack: I do. Yeah, they're still up. I do get occasional sales here and there, but my gosh, the tiny house market for plans is just so enormous now. It's crazy.

30:58 - 31:07

Ethan Waldman: Yeah. It seems like everybody wants, everybody either goes custom or they go to a builder and they buy like some kind of stock model.

31:08 - 31:27

Malissa Tack: Oh yeah, the builders are definitely doing their work right now. Yeah. I don't think too many people are, I think the plans are more for like ideas. People kind of get them as kind of just like a starting point of what they like and then go from there.

31:27 - 31:45

Ethan Waldman: There are still, there are plenty of people doing DIY builds that I know, but it's just, And I think it's not a bad thing. I think as the appeal of tiny houses spreads wider and wider, just the reality is that not everybody is going to build their own house. And I think that's okay.

31:45 - 31:47

Malissa Tack: Oh yeah, definitely. Have

31:48 - 31:55

Ethan Waldman: you seen or heard from anybody who built 1 of your houses that you've seen 1?

31:56 - 32:28

Malissa Tack: It's interesting because of looking at different inspirational photos of like tiny houses that kind of piqued my interest in. Occasionally, I will discover 1 that looks very similar. It's interesting to see how the exact build is the same as my house, but the materials and everything are completely different and how it makes it feel and look like a completely different house. It doesn't look like my house at all.

32:28 - 32:32

Ethan Waldman: Yeah, what you do with the finishes really changes things.

32:33 - 32:33

Malissa Tack: Yeah.

32:35 - 32:50

Ethan Waldman: I've actually never, I also sell the plans for mine and I don't think I've ever seen 1 of my houses built. So if anybody's listening and built either 1 of our houses. I'm sure we'd both love to see them.

32:50 - 32:51

Malissa Tack: Yeah, definitely.

32:53 - 32:59

Ethan Waldman: Now you also, you have another tiny house that you designed after the 1 that you're in.

33:01 - 33:34

Malissa Tack: Yeah, that was, my gosh, as soon as we were done doing our tiny house, I just had an itch to do more. Like I had already designed and built the 1 that we were in and I wanted to build more but of course, you know, I'm not going to actually physically build but what I do have resource to is my 3D program where I built my tiny house originally. And so, yeah, I kind of used that platform to kind of move forward and give other examples. So I included a couple different things that I thought would

33:34 - 34:10

Malissa Tack: work be a nice flow for a tiny house as well without it actually being built. And because of doing that I had gotten a lot of work, 3D work based on it. So I would get a lot of tiny house builders contacting me to create their tiny house idea into a 3D render so that they can post it. It's something that they themselves are going to build, but they haven't built yet. So they need to give clients an idea of what it would look like. And so I was able to pick up a lot of work

34:10 - 34:13

Malissa Tack: just based on that experience.

34:13 - 34:16

Ethan Waldman: And are you still doing that kind of work?

34:16 - 34:24

Malissa Tack: Currently, I'm not. I am mom. I am running the mom life and doing my Airbnb business currently.

34:24 - 34:28

Ethan Waldman: Awesome. And your husband Chris is a photographer.

34:29 - 34:39

Malissa Tack: Yeah, he's an editorial photographer in Seattle. Yeah, which he's actually in the midst of a job change into web development.

34:41 - 34:45

Ethan Waldman: Ah, so is he on the road a lot for his photography work?

34:46 - 34:53

Malissa Tack: No, he stays. He works for Zoo Lily. So he's in 1 location currently.

34:54 - 35:19

Ethan Waldman: Cool. So I'm curious, you know, Having built the house for mobility, but then having stayed in 1 place, do you wish you had maybe gone wider? Or did you, maybe you could talk about that. Just like reflect on that. Cause I'm the same. I have my own thoughts about it.

35:19 - 35:59

Malissa Tack: Yeah, no. It's an interesting thing. So of course, at the time that we built, there wasn't resources, right? And We built ours based on the idea of someone else's build because that was the only thing we could go off of. And so we built inside the wheel wells of our trailer. And now I see other people who built on the outside of their wheel wells. And it's incredible how just those few extra inches on each side can make a space look that much bigger. I don't think I would go as wide as to need a special

35:59 - 36:44

Malissa Tack: permit to bring it down the road, because having it tiny does give me a lot more options for fitting it into smaller spaces as I have had to do. Right. But honestly, there's like not a whole lot that I would have changed with my house because I love how how everything turned out and it still is home to me. Honestly when I first posted it on Airbnb I had such an idea of helping inspire others to go tiny themselves and use it as a tool as much as I could because I couldn't use it myself. But

36:44 - 37:13

Malissa Tack: I'm not going to lie, when I see guests come into my house, I get so sad because it's my home. You know, I live in another house, but this is my home. So it's really hard to see other people being able to enjoy it in that form, whereas I'm currently not. But still gives me the drive to continue because I see how many people it has inspired.

37:14 - 37:55

Ethan Waldman: That's awesome. And so like I'm, I have the exact same feeling about about mine. I don't live in it currently. And I would absolutely. Second, your statement that you know, just a couple extra inches makes them seem so much bigger. Just that extra width. I would personally probably go a little wider, you know, knowing that I've, I'm actually, you know, for the first time since moving it after being built, You know, immediately after I finished building, we moved it and now 6 years later, we actually are losing our parking. So we have to find a new

37:55 - 38:19

Ethan Waldman: place and it's kind of heart wrenching, but it's also Knowing that I've only moved it once in 6 years There's a couple of different widths and you know, you can go over 8 6 at least in Vermont I think it's up to 10 feet and it's just a simple permit that you self, you know, you go online Yeah pay 25 bucks and you move it.

38:19 - 38:20

Malissa Tack: Yeah,

38:20 - 38:23

Ethan Waldman: exactly. I wouldn't want to go as wide as needing a chase vehicle, but.

38:24 - 39:00

Malissa Tack: Yeah. That's a whole. I've seen many people do that as well with building it out. Even if you, I mean, you have to accommodate your roofing because it's got to overhang anyway. And that's a funny thing too with my build is my build is much smaller in regards to the regulations for what you need for width and height. I mean, I kept it within the wheel well, so I knew width-wise it was going to be fine. But for the height was always a question because I can design it to be a certain height. But there's always

39:00 - 39:27

Malissa Tack: those little things that you don't realize that may come into play. And then all of a sudden you're over or even where I was parked was so unlevel that it was really hard to even calculate how high my roof really was when it was done being built because of course, weight added on and so it started shrinking. So I purposely designed it to be shorter than what was necessary.

39:28 - 39:47

Ethan Waldman: Nice. I wanna follow up about your backyard tiny house parking. Would you consider what you've created there to be like a mini tiny house community? Or are you more looking to just kind of provide a spot for tinies on a temporary basis?

39:48 - 40:20

Malissa Tack: I definitely had the intention of doing more of a community, not so much of a stop and go. I wanted whoever was going to be here to feel like they were home and felt like they could stay here. Not to say that I haven't had in the past people coming and going. Just perfectly fine because if it's something that is just a temporary spot for them, then I can still offer up. But Ultimately, I had hoped to create a small tiny house community among friends.

40:21 - 40:44

Ethan Waldman: Got it. Well, 1 thing that I like to ask all my guests is what are 2 or 3 resources that you would recommend to our listeners? You know, things that maybe helped you out or since there wasn't a lot around when you were building, you could also, when people ask you for advice today, where do you send them?

40:45 - 41:36

Malissa Tack: Definitely, Resources are very, very important these days, even with as much as there is available. So 1 of the main resources that I had used when I first started was Obviously the internet, but there wasn't a whole lot regarding tiny houses, but now there is and tiny house magazine is probably a really good asset for getting your general information as well as inspirational stories. And workshops, workshops. When we were, I think, just finishing up our build, we got invited to talk at different workshops. There's 1 that Dee Williams run down here called Pat. And we would

41:36 - 42:16

Malissa Tack: come down every 6 months and speak about our experiences. And those workshops are awesome tools to collaborate as well, get everyone else who's interested in building Tiny talking to each other. And then the circle kind of just grows. And then even staying local and doing meetup groups. I run a meetup group in the greater Seattle area and we do different tours. I try to give open house tours for people to come in and check out our space as well as anyone else who is in here. So like right now, we currently only have 1 other tiny

42:16 - 42:46

Malissa Tack: house or cat. She lives in her tiny house. But at 1 point we also had Sean Burke living on the property and he was in the process of building his shipping container tiny house. And so there are 3 different tiny houses here, completely opposite of each other, but they all serve and they all provide different views on what you could do and so it was really great to be able to open up to people locally as well.

42:48 - 42:54

Ethan Waldman: Well that's great advice. Melissa Tack thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. It was great to connect with you.

42:55 - 42:56

Malissa Tack: Thank you so much, Ethan.

42:57 - 43:38

Ethan Waldman: Thank you so much to Melissa Tack for being a guest on the show. You can find show notes, including links to Melissa's website, plans that she has designed, and lots of photos of her beautiful tiny house at thetinyhouse.net/098 . Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/098 . Don't forget to leave a review of the Tiny House Lifestyle podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen. You can find all the links at ratethispodcast.com/ thlp. 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

43:38 - 43:39

Ethan Waldman: Lifestyle Podcast.

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