Sofia and Henry Junbauer

Sophia and Henry are currently living in their self-designed and built 28′ THOW in Northern Minnesota, where they experience a full range of seasons, including a very cold and long winter. We start with an in-depth discussion of how they are staying warm in their tiny house and preventing their water from freezing on the way in and the way out. If you're thinking of living in a cold climate, this is not to be missed. From there, we turn to rethinking the American dream and a discussion about values, lifestyles, and where a tiny house fits in for a young couple. Don't miss this interview with Sophia and Henry Jungbauer!

In This Episode:

  • The first winter in the Jungbauer tiny house
  • How to keep water from freezing in the Minnesota winter
  • Legality in MN
  • How the Jungbauers decided to live tiny and their goals for the future
  • The Jungbauers' response to criticism of the tiny house movemen
  • Tips for examining cultural influences
  • Plans vs Reality: working on the tiny house in the winter and the dark

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Sofia and Henry Jungbauer

Sofia and Henry Jungbauer

Henry and Sophie Jungbauer are currently living in their self-designed and built 28′ tiny house on wheels in northern Minnesota. Their goal in going tiny was to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and live more intentionally, while sharing their journey along the way. What started as a dream after writing her senior paper on the tiny house movement in 2015, Sophie and Henry are so excited to be living in their tiny house and hope to inspire others by living out their values. They challenge you to explore how culture influences your life, and to rethink what achieving the “American dream” can look like.

Instagram: @radtinyhome


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More Photos:

A place for mail and keys

Kitchen shelves and knife storage

The bathroom

Pretty cupboards and a place for shoes

Corner shelves in the bathroom look nice!

The Junbauers did a lot of winter building

The Nutcracker suite?


The loft and living area

A rainbow over the tiny house


Outdoor cuddles after a job well-done

Sopia Jungbauer 0:00

I think the funniest thing to me is that people think it's crazy that people live in tiny houses like this. And I was like, well, we just got out of college and the whole time living in like less square footage per person and no one thinks like crazy so

Ethan Waldman 0:20

welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is Episode 107, with Sophia and Henry Jungbauer, Henry and Sophia are currently living in their self designed and built 28 foot tiny house on wheels in northern Minnesota, where they experience a full range of seasons including a very cold and long winter. We start with an in depth discussion about how they're staying warm in their tiny house, and also how they're preventing their water from freezing both on the way in and on the way out. If you're thinking about living tiny in a cold climate, this is not to be missed. From there we turn to rethinking the American dream and a discussion about values lifestyle and where a tiny house fits in for a young couple. It's a great conversation and I hope you stick around

Are you fascinated by the tiny lifestyle but not sure if living in one is for you. Relax and let your tiny dreams run wild while you color 15 unique tiny homes inside and out. Coloring is a perfect activity for being stuck at home. Especially after you've watched everything on Netflix. The Color Me tiny coloring book includes a variety of tiny houses on wheels and the beautiful nature that surrounds them. The images all come from real photos that highlight the broad range of tiny house shapes and sizes. Each featured home also includes an interior scene to show what it's like to live in a tiny house day after day. So if you want to color a tiny Vardo on the beach, a cozy tiny house on wheels nestled in the snow or several homes that feature their four legged occupants. Color me tiny is for you. Color me tiny is on sale for just $9.99 and ships free via Amazon Prime. You can learn more at

Right I am here with Henry and Sophia Jungbauer, Henry and Sophia are currently living in their self designed and built 28 foot tiny house on wheels in northern Minnesota. Their goal in going tiny was to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and live more intentionally while sharing their journey along the way. What started as a dream after writing her senior paper on the tiny house movement in 2015, Sophia and Henry are so excited to be living in their tiny house and hope to inspire others by living out their values. They challenge you to explore how culture influences your life, and to rethink what achieving the American dream can look like. Henry and Sophia, welcome to the show.

Henry Jungbauer 3:16

Thank you.

Sopia Jungbauer 3:17

Hey Ethan, Thanks for having us.

Ethan Waldman 3:21

You're very welcome. It's it's great to finally have you on on the show because I've kind of been watching your build, Take Shape for a while. And now it's just fun to get to see you living in your tiny house. How does it How's it been going?

Henry Jungbauer 3:32

Good. Great.

Sopia Jungbauer 3:33

Yeah, it's been an adventure for sure. I think we like to dog I think we moved in at a good time we moved in at the end of August. And winter really starts kind of November here. So I like to say once you make it through the winter, the rest of the summer will be smooth sailing. So

Henry Jungbauer 3:51

we've kind of figured out the most difficult part, hopefully.

Sopia Jungbauer 3:57

Living in a northern climate, I guess.

Ethan Waldman 3:59

Yeah. Right. So you're, you're in your first winter. And I will assume that northern Minnesota is quite cold. How's it been going? Have your systems been holding up? Have you have you figured any, any problems out in at an opportune times?

Henry Jungbauer 4:18

Well, this has actually been a pretty mild winter, I think or norm. But we we ran into one problem when we were gone over a weekend we knew it had been what was going to be about 35 below, I think for the weekend. And so at one point we had been using that we're so the main concern is our plumbing in our bathroom. It's the only plumbing that's actually in the stud ends and studs. You know it's cut all through the studs for that plumbing versus everything being inside the house in the conditioned space. And so leaving the tech leaving the sink running just Have light drip, like a decent drip in the bathroom sink, just to just to keep that water moving up for freezing was the general idea. And that was a good idea.

Sopia Jungbauer 5:12

But what ended up happening is, so we had moved the house in at the end of August. So then probably, I think about two months, and we decided it was time to level it. So we level the house about 330. So I was a little bit off level, so we finally got around to leveling it. But at that point, we obviously already hooked up our plumbing

Henry Jungbauer 5:35

line to drain the drain. So

Sopia Jungbauer 5:37

when we leveled it, we didn't realize we were actually changing the angle. So not only did we have water, running quite slowly, but it was not a very

Henry Jungbauer 5:48

well basically, there was a couple of support places where I had blocks. And it made it basically flat. There's kind of a flat spot or in the middle the drain line. And so that really slow trickle wasn't able to drain at all, once it got to that point. And so it just slowly grows and then built up and then grows our whole drain line.

Sopia Jungbauer 6:06

So we had about it was a fun week,

Henry Jungbauer 6:08

but about a week or that one out a week before we get that Hudson.

Ethan Waldman 6:12

Wow. But it didn't. You didn't get water spilling into the house.

Sopia Jungbauer 6:17

Did you Well, what happened what? Oh, sorry. So we got home and the water had been running. And at that point, it wasn't nothing was actually bad happening other than it was freezing. But the plumbing, Chase, so everything that goes into the plumbing goes to one spot. And we have a mini split and a propane on demand water heater, which both have condensation or condensate lines. And so those also go into the drain. And that's not entirely kept. It's just

Henry Jungbauer 6:49

an open P trap. It's a it's an open P trap with tube that goes up son both these can just run into the same spot. And so it backed up and then it came

Sopia Jungbauer 6:58

back. So we got home and we turn on the water and let some water down to go down the drain. And all of a sudden I start hearing this beeping and we like hasn't heard before. So we walked in the bathroom, there's water coming in because the water basically just backed up and then was coming

Henry Jungbauer 7:14

out so slowly slowly running out. So we have a full wall in front of our plumbing stack and our hot water heater. And so yeah, that's that's where that stack is. And so we just saw some water slowly coming out of there. So basically just get a gun underneath our shower. So just sitting on top of the OSB there, and then just slowly coming out underneath into the last of the space. So

Sopia Jungbauer 7:37

that didn't happen till we got home and let water yeah, so as soon as we knew there was a problem, I turned off the water. So we're like had it pretty quickly. But we actually bought Honeywell, they're like water detection leaks. So that's what the beeping was. They're just like a small thing probably got $5 alarm. So

Henry Jungbauer 7:53

if water is good sitting in water, it'll be. So that's that's what alerted us, we would have found it out pretty quickly.

Ethan Waldman 7:59

Where was it? Where was it placed that it started that it detected the alarm,

Sopia Jungbauer 8:03

I think we put that one under the shower

Henry Jungbauer 8:06

because it wasn't normal that was just sitting by the by the by the stack there.

Sopia Jungbauer 8:11

So it was it was it was under the shower, and other stack. But our shower was we have hypo valve I don't know if you've heard of those. So basically it gives you more clearance so that you don't have to have twice as much clearance as a traditional P trap. And because we knew we were going to be in such a cold climate.

Henry Jungbauer 8:28

We moved our plumbing for the shower. So that's why we used to have snot in the floor in the country space underneath underneath a shower. Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 8:37

I actually use the same same one and my tiny Do you find that you need to give it a little bit of hot water before shower to like, get it unfrozen

Henry Jungbauer 8:47

only one time, one time where it was just like I was like, oh, and then we realized pretty quickly that it

Ethan Waldman 8:54

fixes off almost me Yeah, yeah. Sometimes the little flaps in there a little little cold.

Henry Jungbauer 8:58

Yeah, one time.

Ethan Waldman 9:01

How are you? Since this is a major challenge in the cold weather? How are you keeping your water from freezing on the way into the house.

Sopia Jungbauer 9:10

So we were really lucky where we are parked. Our land owners when they bought the land, it was kind of set up for RVs. And so they've had tiny houses here before. So they kind of figured out some systems for us that we didn't have to figure out and basically, in the summer months, we're connected just like an RV, there's like a spigot right out front. But in the winter, they actually run the hot water or it's a hose that is heated. That comes directly like from a conditioned area. So the only problem with that is one you're using a lot of electricity to keep it heated. And then we actually have problems having cold water because the whole way it's been heated and so we've kind of figured out just put some water in the fridge but then we have kind of like an insulation kit. On the inlet. So I think our biggest concern while we're building the house was worth worrying about keeping our pipes unfrozen. But really the only issues we had is the inlet freezing on us twice and

Henry Jungbauer 10:15

the drain freezing, which,

Sopia Jungbauer 10:17

basically we bought some heat tape, so we haven't, we probably won't do it because now we're in March, but next year, we'll just have that attached and if it ever freezes,

Ethan Waldman 10:27

you just plug it in and turn it on. That's actually a really smart idea i We clogged up the drains in the tiny house couple winters ago during like really subzero temperatures and really deep snowpack. And I basically like, like the tiny house, those snow sheds off the roof and creates these big like, snow berms. And so I felt like a penguin I basically like slid down the snow berm on my stomach. We're gonna have lamp to get under the house. And then like, like, luckily, we had a plug under there, because we do have some heat tape somewhere else. And so I was able to just bring a hairdryer under there and like, manually thaw out the the drain. But putting some heat tape there not turning it on. That's actually a brilliant idea. Because then you're just pre preemptively you're just ready for it to freeze up. Right? Yeah,

Henry Jungbauer 11:19

well, we had a heat gun. And we were under there. So he spent, like, at least two hours the one day Yeah, I spent about three hours the next day.

Sopia Jungbauer 11:30

It was pretty thorough. We didn't know where

Henry Jungbauer 11:34

the whole event was site, or do you know what the diameter of your drain pipe is?

Ethan Waldman 11:40

You know, I It's been a long time since I did that plumbing but it's not. The part that froze wasn't the main drain it was basically my sink.

Basically my sink and shower, exit the house, and then they meet a bigger drain line. Gotcha. And the place where it froze was my my wife Ann wanting to conserve water in a very like responsible way. We bought washed a bunch of dishes at night and the sink was full of the dish water and we knew we were gonna have breakfast in the morning and like, why not save some water. So she left the sink, just plugged with a bunch of water in it. But unfortunately, the plug isn't like 100% water seal so all night, there was just like a drip, drip drip. And basically where the water, the water drips and just basically hits the bottom of the main drain pipe. But it just created a blockage like right there. So it wasn't it wasn't widespread. It was just that night.

Sopia Jungbauer 12:43

I say Yeah, we were really lucky because then the next week, it got really warm. So we ended up we didn't even have to unfreeze it. It just got warm enough that it did nice. But the other thing is we haven't we didn't get around to actually skirting our house this year. And so I mean, it's snowed so much that we basically have skirting from all the snow. But we figured, you know, with some actual skirting that

Henry Jungbauer 13:06

might have, you know, not

Ethan Waldman 13:09

Yeah, perhaps I

Henry Jungbauer 13:11

think that'll be a big improvement next year. We're happy to have to worry about it. But so

Ethan Waldman 13:17

what's the, like, legality? of where you are you just kind of under the radar, like nobody cares, or how is kind

Sopia Jungbauer 13:25

of under the radar. We felt good coming here because they've had tiny houses in the past. We're also just outside the

Henry Jungbauer 13:30

city limits. I'm pretty excited for what

Sopia Jungbauer 13:35

the tiny house movement could have been stored in Minnesota. I know. The Minneapolis. I'm gonna say probably maybe three years ago already they passed an ordinance so you can have accessory dwelling units in the city of Minneapolis. And then I think last year or maybe the year before that there was a specific area in St. Paul that you could also do accessory dwelling units. Obviously that's not including tiny house on wheels. No one has really addressed that. But just this fall Duluth also passed a

Henry Jungbauer 14:10

ordinance. So now the small

Sopia Jungbauer 14:13

lots can be developed for specifically for tiny houses. And that's the verbiage but it's tiny houses on foundations. So that's kind of exciting, but no one has really taken the the stand I guess to allow tiny houses on wheels.

Ethan Waldman 14:30

Right? It's you're one step closer, it's a natural next step to say well, you allow them on foundations. How can we kind of make ones on wheels also fit in?

Sopia Jungbauer 14:43

Yeah, I will also say that while we're still building I actually moved so we basically moved two and a half hours north of where we'll we were building and during the time that I was up here because I already moved from my job. I met someone that was building there are tiny, I was in a very obvious spot. And they had had their house there for about six months within city limits, and no one had reported them yet. So I think that the general sense that I get is a lot of people just don't care. But you know, it takes one person to report you. So.

Ethan Waldman 15:19

Yeah, totally. Well, I really, I didn't actually know until I, you know, read your bio that, you know, your Instagram handle is is rad, tiny home. And RAD is rethinking the American dream. Who came up with that Sophia or Henry?

Sopia Jungbauer 15:38

I guess I did. Kind of unintentionally because my paper that I wrote for my senior year was, I think, rethinking the American Dream downsizing as a sustainable solution. So I kind of looked at the whole housing market in America events, specifically looked at the tiny house movement, and then also talked with a bunch of different architectures, or architects that were doing kind of green building. And that was kind of what I was exploring. So then, I don't really know exactly how he came up with it, but with like

Henry Jungbauer 16:13

to catch you, but I was coming up with really bad acronyms, factors like,

Sopia Jungbauer 16:20

cool, yeah. And then I was kind of just thinking back to how the whole thing started. And I was like, Oh, I

Henry Jungbauer 16:26

work rad. Are you thinking that? Yeah, pretty much is she she kind of said that was like, that's way better than anything else we come up with, like, yeah, that's for sure. Do that.

Ethan Waldman 16:36

Nice. Maybe you could talk about, you know, why tiny house living was important to you? Or is important to

Henry Jungbauer 16:43

you? Yeah. Um, I guess, I just, I mean, there's a multitude of reasons. But I mean, I think one thing that's consistent between the two of us growing up would be just like having having storage, like storage places in our homes growing up, or this, there's just always a lot of stuff, which is normal, kind of we I guess that just led to realizing you, you fill the space, you have kind of seams. And we started to find that with our first one bedroom apartment, where I just suddenly have all this stuff that we didn't even realize we were accumulating, I think that was kind of the start for me as far as realizing how important or how impactful it can be to really think about that. And so it was, she can elaborate a little bit more, it was kind of her original idea. And I kind of warmed up to it slowly.

Sopia Jungbauer 17:44

Well, I guess. But I think really how it started for me is I took a course at Luther that was called consumption and its consequent consequences. So it was kind of I was anthropology course, and was like six students that were in there with me. And it was probably my favorite course that I took. And we just did readings on kind of consumerism and how that movement house kind of grew in America. And one of the exercises we had to do was actually take an inventory of all the things that we had. So I literally had to go through all the things that I had in my dorm room and are living in dorm rooms, which I think the funniest thing to me is that people think it's crazy that people live in tiny houses like this. And I was like, Well, you just got out of college and the whole time you're living in like less square footage per person, and no one thinks like, crazy so. So kind of just reevaluating,

I think what I really, you know what our values were. And then my senior year, Dee Williams came to Luther and she talked to came came to my environmental studies like capstone class. And then she gave a talk on her book, The Big tiny. So, Henry didn't go to that, but I did. And I bought her book and I think I came back to where he was living at the time. I was like, Oh, I just want this talk. It was really, really cool. Like, seems like an awesome idea. And I think the wheels were kind of already going in my head, you know? What, what do I want my future to look like? And I think you know, you've kind of raised in this culture of you grow up you go to college, you get a job, and then you get a house. And especially I know this is true all over the country, but the housing market is kind of just crazy. I have friends who you know take six, seven months just to get the house that they want and then have to pay 1000s of dollars over the asking price justto get it and to me I think I just wanted a different options.

Henry Jungbauer 19:50

And there's nothing wrong with that option either. It's obviously just to each their own. But yeah, I think I think we kind of figured out what what our goals were and what we It's what we want to get out of our, our, our first real places together. I mean, our first apartments weren't real. But yeah, I think that it was, it was a good time of our lives to we, we knew we knew that, you know, the if we were going to do this, this was the right time to do it. And we were able to do it now. So why not just go for it?

Sopia Jungbauer 20:24

And then I think two sustainability was kind of at the core of it for both of us, just wanting to kind of reduce your impact, then, you know, I don't think that tiny living is for everyone by any means. But I think if it, if what we're doing and sharing our story can help make someone kind of rethink maybe how much they need, or, you know, then that would be awesome. Even in the smallest way. Every little thing, every little bit helps. Totally.

Ethan Waldman 20:53

I'm curious how you see the tiny house kind of fitting in with your, your life plans, like are you? Did you build this with, you know, an end date in mind? Like, at some point, we're going to, you know, buy a single family home? Is this a stepping stone? Are you are you kind of saying no, we're gonna stay here for as long as we can. Or I'm just curious, maybe you could talk about that.

Sopia Jungbauer 21:16

I mean, I think it has a lot to do, too, with just your circumstances for, you know, your parking situation and things like that. We're kind of rural now. And I really have been enjoying it. We'll see maybe how long that lasts. I think our goal originally was basically, you know, we were rent renting for I think, three years, basically before, after college before we moved in. And the first place we rented was about 900 square feet. Okay. And by the time we left there, you know, after a year, they hiked that rental price on you. So it was already over $1,000. So you're paying more than $1 square foot for that. And then kind of in transition to the tiny house right after we got married, we moved into a

Henry Jungbauer 22:06

like a three 375. So it was roughly 50%

Sopia Jungbauer 22:10

as a studio apartment, and that one was, I think, $750 a month or something like that. And, you know, both being just out of college, we're both working full time. And I was also coaching and also had another job to try to work on, you know, paying for what we wanted to do. And so we're very rarely actually, in the apartment that we were renting, it just seemed ridiculous to me that you're putting that much of your paycheck into something that you're not going to ever own, and that you're not even spending very much time there. And we're both, you know, we love being outside and being active. And I would much rather be spending more of my time outside and

Henry Jungbauer 22:51

in a small apartment, so and to really address the what what our kind of goal was I mean, I think it depends on the day you talk to us, but but, you know, I think we were kind of like, okay, if we, you know, we were well, we took a I bought a year alarm and thought it was, but you know, if we could get? I don't know, I think we're open, you know, seven, eight years in it. We probably the longest that we'd be able to we don't really know. I mean, we're, I guess to be frank, we can work they can we can have at least one kid in here. And now that's that's a few years down the road still at least. So yeah, I think that I think we're here for a while. And then, you know, I don't think that tiny house itself, well, most likely is not ever going to be out of our lives, I think it's going to be something that we hold on to as guest house or you know, just somewhere out of house or something, whatever it whatever it is.

Sopia Jungbauer 23:54

I mean, I think the dream for most tiny houses is to eventually own your own land and maybe be able to host other people because that's I think the you know, the tough part for a lot of people is just where are you going to park it legally? And that obviously hasn't necessarily changed in the last two years. There's still not an easy answer to that. And I think I think

one of the interesting things for us is we watched a lot of videos and things like that we I think we stepped into a I don't even know who built it. But there was like one tiny house at a parade kind of thing that wasn't really like it wasn't furnish there wasn't you know, you don't walk into it and say oh, I want to live here. And so really the first tiny house that we ever stepped foot in was an Airbnb in Portland when we went we're on our way to pick up our trailer from iron Eagle. So we flew out there stayed in, I

Henry Jungbauer 24:54

think 26 It was a 26 foot iron Eagle tiny house yeah. And

Sopia Jungbauer 25:00

then that was the first real test while you're picking up for trailers that were okay. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 25:06

There was no, there was no like moment of panic, like, what are we doing?

Henry Jungbauer 25:09

Yeah, honestly, it was the exact opposite was like this huge relief, like, wow, like this is going to I'm so excited for a space like this to be ours. So. But

Sopia Jungbauer 25:19

yeah, well, where I was going with that, it's like, I'd really, and I know some people do this too. And I've seen, you know, a lot of people recommend staying in a tiny house before you go and buy one makes a lot of sense.

Henry Jungbauer 25:31

I think we just kind of, you

Sopia Jungbauer 25:33

know, embrace the idea and watch so many like, YouTube, things that by that point, I was like, I can envision what it's going to be like, without having to actually be in one. But I think if we were able to, like rent it to just to have people be able to try the lifestyle or, you know, understand it a little more, that'd be awesome to do someday,

Henry Jungbauer 25:53

too. I just want to add one more thing on that, that same, sorry. I think that, you know, if we can, you know, however long we're in this house is going to be a while but I think if we can bring to our whatever that next home as you know, it's we're still want to live in a very, very reasonable, much more than the average size size home when we when we get a slightly more traditional sized home. But I think bringing, bringing the things you learned from Britain and living in a tiny house, the values just the day to day practices. I think if you can bring that along to the next home, you're not going to just be filling the space, you're not just going to be filling up the garage, or whatever that may be. I think that is the real long term goal plan. And I think one of the things that I'm most excited about just living here and having this be the norm for for a long period of time. Yeah,

Sopia Jungbauer 26:53

I think we'll be here as long as we're comfortable.

Ethan Waldman 26:56

Cool. Now, I'm not asking you to speak for like every, every person who is young, who builds a tiny house, but a criticism that I've seen of the tiny house movement is basically like, Haha, look at these millennials, they are only living, they're living in their tiny houses for X amount of time, and then they're moving out, therefore, like, this is a failure or this like, therefore, it's somehow not valid. And I'm curious, you know, just what you what you think about that kind of line of criticism.

Sopia Jungbauer 27:33

I mean, first of all, you I think the experience that we had building is invaluable. You can't take that away if we have a house of our own. There's so many things that I learned from building my own house and understanding how systems and things like that work that if you're renting, and never have to deal with anything yourself, good luck. I think I've heard that criticism before, too. And I think I mean, when we went into it part of it, too, was very much like, well, this is how much we're paying for rent. So if we live in a tiny house for X amount of years, I think it's about five years, that money would have just been going to our renter, so anything that we do with it after that point,

Henry Jungbauer 28:15

will be like profit, if you want to call it whatever expense.

Sopia Jungbauer 28:20

And I mean, if you look at the movement, I think, you know, D doesn't live in a tiny house anymore. I know, I don't know if I'm outing you. But I know that your main residence is not the tiny house, but I think it definitely serves

a purpose. And I think just, you know, for me, the

tiny house movement. And, you know, one of the other criticisms is, they're getting so big and ours is definitely a lot larger than a lot of the tiny houses out there. I know, it's certainly not the biggest, but we wanted to build something that would be comfortable for us and not that you're sacrificing things. But you know, you want to be comfortable or two people we know that we're two people living in a tiny house, a lot of think of the kind of pioneers of the movement. We're definitely building them for one person. So I guess to answer your question, I think the experience, you know, is priceless. You can't take that away. So no matter if you're losing money on it or not. I think kind of the the heart of the movement for me is just understanding that there's more to life than things.

Henry Jungbauer 29:30

So yeah, well, yeah, I mean, I think I think it's you get out of it, what you want to get out of it. As long as you're getting out of it. What you you know, if you're taking something away from it that you didn't have beforehand, like Sophie's words that she's us can't, no one can take that away from you. So I mean, as long as you're getting something out of it, as long as you're as long as you consider it a success.

Sopia Jungbauer 29:56

I think for a lot of people it's kind of a step. Pinkstone because, you know, now our expenses are paying the person who owns the land a little bit every month, but it's a way less than we were ever paying before. So, you know, to kind of be able to save, and, you know, otherwise you might be trapped in the system where you're paying X amount every month in rent, and you aren't ever able to save. So?

Ethan Waldman 30:26

Absolutely, yeah. I really like the idea of examining one's cultural influences to kind of see what what they're telling you about, you know, how it's okay to live, or what's normal. I'm curious if you have any, any tips or ideas about how somebody can go about doing that in a in a systematic or a mindful way?

Sopia Jungbauer 30:55

I think for me, part of it was I went to China right after I graduated. And just understanding that, you know, other people and other places, and other cultures do things a lot differently than we do in the United States. You know, Americans are kind of known for, you know, the big houses and all the things and, you know, if you look at like, I won't call it like happiness studies, but you know, things along those lines, more is not, is not always linked with happier. And I think that our generation in general, is kind of I think more people are kind of realizing that it's not necessarily always about having the most money. And, you know, they talk about millennials being kind of pains because they want more vacation, and they want, you know, benefits and they don't want to work full 40 hour, you know, kind of like, but I mean, I don't think that's true at all.

Henry Jungbauer 31:55

I mean, it can be like, I'll make sweeping statements.

Sopia Jungbauer 32:03

So what else? Just kind of examining, I guess, what you've been told, and, or maybe how you've been raised and kind of questioning it. I know, Henry, you know, when we got got together? I don't know what really when we were talking about it, but probably when we started talking about the tiny house, it's like, well, you know, I always envisioned kind of a big house, because I grew up in a big house, I loved running around in the big house and

Henry Jungbauer 32:28

playing hide and seek and stuff. You know, it's just like, not that you can't do that here. But you know, that I think it's I don't know if I cut you off here, but just kind of examining what you what you had in the past. And you know, if that's exactly what you want in the future. And if that's the case, then I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

Sopia Jungbauer 32:49

Yeah, just questioning why you aren't what you want. And I think a lot of times, we don't stop to think why we think the way we think or, you know, my biggest thing in any part of life is just, you know, you don't have to agree with everyone. But if you have a reason for what you believe, then I will respect that a lot more than someone who just says or does something, and has no reasoning.

Henry Jungbauer 33:18

No. Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 33:20

I like that. I mean, it's kind of like, examine, examine what you want, and have a reason for it. And that's whatever it is that you want. That's fine. Like, it doesn't have to be a tiny house. Or it could be a tiny house.

Sopia Jungbauer 33:31

Yeah, and I don't think, and I don't think I think we were pretty lucky that I don't think we had any family members that were like, really against what we're doing. A lot of people were like, Huh, that's interesting. We kind of, I don't know if we necessarily announced the world or how exactly but before our wedding, we kind of were, you know, we didn't really do much for registry, we asked if our guests wanted to give us something that the form, in

the form of money toward a fun tour towards our tiny house, is what we wanted. And it was obviously a really good time to do that. Because I think a lot of times for weddings. I've seen a lot of my friends get married in the last couple years, you end up with this, you kind of get caught up in the whole thing where oh, I need to register for all these things. When I have a house and I need X, Y and Z or sometimes do something. And that's, that's teach there's two.

Henry Jungbauer 34:31

We lived together for a couple of years or two. So we kind of figured out where we just made sense. But

Sopia Jungbauer 34:39

it kind of helped. I think it helped us a little accountable to because he had announced kind of to all of our friends and family that we were building a tiny house so we kind of had to do it, I

Ethan Waldman 34:48

think right in a way they were they all became investors in in your project.

Henry Jungbauer 34:53

Yeah, exactly. You know, one time it was like, I think I would want to walk out the door to like go work on the house and ADU It just been kind of a rough week or something. I looked at it. I was like, I don't know, this is before both of them before we committed to a tiny house. Are you writing the trailer everything? Do we really want to do that? Like, is I know, like, I knew we did. But it's like, maybe we maybe we should think about like, you know, what would the alternative be? Sure was kind of like we told way too many people to back out of this now. We got to do that for sure.

Sopia Jungbauer 35:24

I mean, it was definitely I think for a long time was me kind of like, yeah, we got to do this. We got to do this, then. I'm so much of a planner that I think we could have been planning still at this point, if it was up to me, but Henry was really like, No, we need to do this. So I think we both realized after the back, but we got our trailer, I think in April of 2017, no 18. And we didn't really start building until August, which then our build turned into a winter build was definitely not planned. But yeah, that happened.

Ethan Waldman 36:00

So yeah, I was I wanted to ask, how, how long did you think the build would take? And how long did it end up taking?

Henry Jungbauer 36:10

I think we figured about six months? I don't even know if I figured, well, I don't know, I think, you know, I framed houses for a couple years. So I was like, I was really confident with framing. And I think I think some of the, there's just so many things that I think that we well, it's like you don't really think about until we have our frame we're about to start and then it's like, oh, we don't have our windows made to know, bigger windows are gonna be before we really do any of our framing. So you know, it's just those details that come about and

Sopia Jungbauer 36:46

very obvious after the fact what you should have been doing in planning, but when once you're actually doing it like okay, so So basically how to take well, total was one of being by the year and four months. So I mean, there were some logistical things that kind of played against us, basically, we built about an hour, it's gonna be built about an hour away from where we were living. And Henry was working Saturdays, I think. So as I was working extra, doing all sorts of things turned up. So we had one. Yeah, so we had one day Sundays to build. So we started building. And then it was also a summer that I think we had eight or 10 weddings to go to, so we automatically couldn't build those weeks. So just I think it got very monotonous because we weren't getting very far. And you're spending an hour or two hours a day just driving there back. Then because we built outside, we also had the tarp on both ends. So it was like,

Henry Jungbauer 37:50

especially once the framing went up that tarping was an hour, it took at least an hour to put it up after at the end of the day, you know, half an hour to take it off the bat.

Sopia Jungbauer 38:00

On top of that we didn't have a very good, we had storage, but not super close to I mean 200 yards from our building, which is, you know, not terrible, but would have been nicer if it had a staging area a little closer.

Henry Jungbauer 38:16

And that screwdriver underneath that bed or whatever it was we had, we always bring stuff over. But it's like you get this one

Sopia Jungbauer 38:22

thing. And we had, we had to run the power out and then put it away. So there was this, like, probably a good three hours of things that had to be done to be building, but not actually building. And then on top of that our close, closest Menards, or like Home Improvement type store was like,

Henry Jungbauer 38:44

about a half hour. So yeah, we got something that was like. Alright, well.

Ethan Waldman 38:49

So now I'm actually really impressed that you got it done in four months, given those circumstances.

Sopia Jungbauer 38:57

Well, so I think we should end that with so we started doing the build once a day day, once a week, really in August. And then once a week in January,

Henry Jungbauer 39:10

right the end of January into early February,

Sopia Jungbauer 39:13

I quit the job that I was at because we had figured out where we wanted to move it. And that was going to be two and a half hours north. And so I found a new job up there. But I was going to take a hiatus to try to work on the house full time. I think it was like three weeks or so 100 did the same equivalent job. And then immediately the week after that it was negative 15 to negative 25 or a week and a half straighten something off

Henry Jungbauer 39:40

and on more like four or five days where there's one straight, we couldn't work on it at all. It was just way too old. Wow. But yeah, so the best planning so it was just it was a combination of us not planning well. Some logistical things then, you know, yeah, we

Sopia Jungbauer 39:56

there was about a month that we worked on it like full time and Then I went back to nights.

Henry Jungbauer 40:02

And yeah. And then Sophie started commuting. And I want to keeping a job working remotely. And so I would work during the day. And then in the evenings, and tonight I would I would work. And then if Sophie was

Sopia Jungbauer 40:16

then he'd send me photo updates. And I would say, Okay, that looks. So

Henry Jungbauer 40:19

the weekend we work together on it after that, pretty much all Saturday and Sundays, usually to work on it. On Saturdays, right, yeah. So if you come back on Friday evenings, so half day Fridays, then we're able to work on together in a weekend, I was able to put in some hours. Yeah, sometimes it

Ethan Waldman 40:43

I remember about my build, I felt like when I could string together multiple days, that the momentum, and just the amount that you can accomplish in three or four back to back days of building just, you don't have to spend that time kind of being like, what was I working on? What was I trying to figure out, like, you just get right back into it.

Henry Jungbauer 41:02

It's also mental to you, you kind of when you're when you're only getting a little bit done, you know, and then you wait a week, and then you have to get another little bit done, mentally straining, and it's, it's stressful to know that you're progressing that slowly. And I think that, like you said, the momentum is both on the projects, and we're working on both and just mentally, emotionally.

Sopia Jungbauer 41:25

I would say the other interesting, I was kind of nice at the beginning, because like I said, we've done a lot of planning, but then when it gets down to it, and you're like trying to figure out, you know, strapping so it'd be Yeah, you know, we'd work on Sunday, and then immediately, I'd start researching what we had to the next week, or how exactly, we're going to get that done. So it was kind of nice that you had a little bit of time to prepare for what was coming. But I also joked I think with Henry at one point, because we're in Minnesota, and it gets so dark so quickly in the winter that I think the majority of our bill that was actually done in the dark, because by the time you're not particularly good at waking up early, because I think we just both tend to be night owls. And we were out working on the house till Well, 1am sometimes because I kind of gotten that

Henry Jungbauer 42:13

that base, wake up work and work on the house until I could, you know, basically stay awake. And then I would go to bed. And so I kind of gotten this late routine. So that it Yeah, so

Sopia Jungbauer 42:25

we did a lot of building actually in the dark.

Ethan Waldman 42:28

Impressive. Well, the house looks really, really great. Like the finishes are beautiful. You did a really nice job, trimming it out and doing all the interior stuff. Thank

Henry Jungbauer 42:38

you appreciate that.

Sopia Jungbauer 42:39

That was mostly Henry. Thank you put up every single No,

Henry Jungbauer 42:43

you. You'd like to have six pieces in the bath. But I

Sopia Jungbauer 42:47

did get the pleasure of spackling

Henry Jungbauer 42:51

every single i think i spackled like four boards. Yeah. Oh, like she was a trooper there?

Ethan Waldman 43:02

Well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is what are two or three resources that helped you out along the way that you would want to share with our listeners?

Henry Jungbauer 43:13

Have you heard of, there's a little thing called YouTube. That was pretty that was this YouTube was was really helpful. Honestly, there's so many people out there working on different things, whether it's a tiny house or not, but tiny house specific videos out there that this is really helpful.

Sopia Jungbauer 43:30

Well, I think and I was also just to try to figure out how, how we want to design it, just watching a lot of living big in a tiny house, I think really helped us kind of hone in on what we liked and what we didn't like about different designs. And then one thing I'll say for sure, which I'm sure has been mentioned, but Macy Miller's tiny house people Facebook group, there's, you know, 10 or however many I don't know how long it's been around, but there's like 42,000 people in that group. And so if people are asking me questions about Bill, you know, I'll usually answer them. And then also say, go check out this Facebook page and put whatever you're looking for in the search box. And usually you'll find like, threads upon threads of other people asking exact same question. That's awesome. And then I think we'll get those new questions. You can post questions. And we'll give you a little shout out to Ethan because we got your Tiny House Decisions, I think mid mid build, probably so you know, a little late, but I do think I think it's super useful. Yes, but it isn't super useful resource. If you are just starting this. There's so many decisions that you don't even know that are decisions and one of the things I think about our builders, that you can't know what you don't or you don't what is it? You don't know what you don't know. Yeah, you can't know what you don't know. And so, you know, just kind of thinking through all the things that you're going to need to know and having a resource that kind of lays out for you is great. And then I mean, I mentioned D in here. I think she was kind of the inspiration

Henry Jungbauer 45:08

for me. She was wonderful. Have you

Ethan Waldman 45:10

been back in touch with D at all? Just yeah. Well that she inspired your tiny house build.

Sopia Jungbauer 45:14

Yes, she does. We actually so Henry is good friends with D's nephew who used the best investment or wedding and hurt in our tiny house. He

Henry Jungbauer 45:23

was the one that that brought basically, it was his idea, I think to bring the yeah

Sopia Jungbauer 45:28

to sell the lecture. So

Henry Jungbauer 45:31

as he went to college with us, yeah, he was environmental studies with Sophia. And so that was how that connection originally started.

Sopia Jungbauer 45:38

But so we got our trailer from iron Eagle. And so we actually went out there and visited with being out to see is it the Don Vardo is her second?

Henry Jungbauer 45:47

Yeah, yeah.

Ethan Waldman 45:48

It's really, really tiny one. Yes. Yeah.

Sopia Jungbauer 45:50

Which was, and Henry

Henry Jungbauer 45:53

and his girlfriend, they stayed there for like a month. Wow. That was from some funny stories from that. But yeah, we brought we got our trailer. And then that day, we we went up to pull it up to DC and you know, she was like, marveling at and checking it out. She's like, Oh, man, like, there's come

Sopia Jungbauer 46:11

so far. But I mean, that's her design that she Yeah. Just like, you know,

Henry Jungbauer 46:15

seeing, you know, seeing it brand new and seeing it, you know, in our hands and like how excited we were about it? Yeah, she was, it was pretty special to be able to share that, that that day with her was was a lot of fun.

Sopia Jungbauer 46:28

Yeah, I noticed you said to but also mentioned. So, Isabel Nagel Bryce, who was also going to ask yes, we used her healthy kit. And so we built with pretty great materials. Yeah,

Henry Jungbauer 46:45

that's an understatement. Yeah,

Sopia Jungbauer 46:47

we, we did our house wrap in like negative five, and it actually worked. So I

Henry Jungbauer 46:52

still have worked that I still have some tape on one of my like sweatshirts that I've washed like 10 times, and it's just like,

Ethan Waldman 47:02

those tapes are amazing.

Sopia Jungbauer 47:05

And then I guess I have, this isn't necessarily a resource, but just I think one of the things we really wanted to do in our build was incorporating local materials and as much as we could. So like our countertops we got from a place that was literally down the street from our Henry was working at the time local wood

Henry Jungbauer 47:25

shop that they get most of the materials locally as much as I can.

Sopia Jungbauer 47:30

And I think that was just an awesome way to kind of connect with the community that we're going to be moving to is at one point I brought the planks that are our living room planks, the birch from a sawmill that was in northern Minnesota, so I picked them up from work and drove back down the cities of

Henry Jungbauer 47:47

them. It's kind of so So in conclusion, we got big in a tiny house. So check that out. What's the Facebook group?

Sopia Jungbauer 47:55

Tiny House people?

Henry Jungbauer 47:57

Any house people on Facebook? And then Isabel? Yeah. So I had another one. D Williams. Yeah, Dee Williams. Can't forget about her is amazing.

Sopia Jungbauer 48:10

I would just say if you want inspiration, read her book. We had. SHAN actually, we had I think Henry's mom and my mom both read her book and loved it. And actually good read whether you like it. Great. I think that just gave them some understanding as to why we're doing what we're doing. Yeah. Nice. Well, Henry

Ethan Waldman 48:29

and Sophia Jungbauer, thank you so much for being guests on the show. It's great to connect.

Henry Jungbauer 48:33

Thank you.

Sopia Jungbauer 48:34

Thanks, Ethan.

Henry Jungbauer 48:35


Ethan Waldman 48:38

Thank you so much to Sophia and Henry Jungbauer for being guests on the show. You can find the show notes, including photos of Sophia and Henry's amazing self built, tiny house at And if you're bored, don't forget to check out and get yourself a copy of Color Me tiny, my tiny house coloring books for children and adults of all ages. You can learn more and get your own copy at the tiny house dotnet slash color. Again, that's the tiny house dotnet slash color. 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.

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