While owning your own tiny home is the “dream,” Molly’s story shows you can enjoy the tiny life even while renting! Her home is parked in the backyard of a family who actually protested in their city to allow tiny homes as ADUs. Molly doesn’t have the stress of “where to park it,” and her landlord’s actions are opening up more options for affordable housing!
When she got a new dance partnership in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area, Molly revived her long-time dream of tiny living and found this great place to rent. She says that although she lives tiny, she wouldn’t say she’s a total minimalist — she keeps the things she loves and finds space for them!
We got to interview Molly about her tiny life, so be sure to check out the Q&A after her awesome photo tour below! Follow Molly on . Enjoy.
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This Tiny House ADU Became Molly’s Little Home
Molly is a dancer and makes room in her THOW for her hobbies.
Here’s the entryway into her THOW.
Her main bedroom sits over the kitchen and bathroom.
Her kitchen has all the necessary appliances.
Wow! What a lovely place to wake up.
And there’s this guest bed/lounge area as well.
Those little details make a house a home.
A large double sink helps with all that dishwashing.
When living tiny, it’s important to find places to put things on the walls instead of on the counters!
Gotta love a pot rack and some greenery.
Here’s Molly enjoying her bedroom.
And some tea in her happy space.
I still really love this “original” THOW layout.
Make sure to read her Q&A below!
What are your name(s)?
How many people (and animals) are living in your tiny house?
Just me 🙂
Where do you live? How long have you lived tiny?
In a suburb of Salt Lake City, since February of 2019.
What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?
I used to be actively working as a professional West Coast Swing dancer / teacher / competitor / judge. But because of Covid shut downs, I’ve shifted into finishing my next book and sharing my knowledge of dance and intentional living with others. Throughout all of this, I’ve also been a freelance virtual assistant for a few clients as well.
Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?
I’ve always loved small spaces, living simply and intentionally. I’ve loved getting rid of so much excess stuff over the years, and it really feels like losing weight in many regards. My thought has less to manage, and the more I settle in, the more calm my space feels. I’ve also gotten to learn a lot about living in a space that uses propane for heat, a compost toilet, and lots of other small details that come with tiny living.
Whether it’s causative or correlative, I’ve found myself more directed in my life: my projects are starting to trim down to a more focused few, rather than a scattered many. And since I’m the only one in the space, I really get to make it my own. If something doesn’t belong (physically or metaphorically), it’s up to me to move it out.
How did you first learn about Tiny Home life?
I recently realized that my love of tiny homes and cozy spaces, in general, can be traced back to my love of the Boxcar Children books. I always loved the concept of running away and living in a “found space” away from the normal lives of other people. I grew up building forts in the woods, and seeking out small nooks and corners to curl up in.
Later, as a young adult, when I found out that people were living in tiny spaces, I knew that was the right fit for me too.
How did you acquire your tiny house? Are you comfortable sharing how much it cost?
In 2016, I seriously started researching Tiny Living—whether it was in a tinyhome, RV, or van. I learned as much as I could over the course of 8 months, and ended up realizing I didn’t want a mobile living structure—mostly because I still wanted to be in cold environments, and winterizing exterior pipes and dealing with the waste water / electrical seemed like a hassle.
I ended up tabling the idea and living in a house in Breckenridge, CO for a year and a half. But the idea of tiny living was always still percolating.
Come the fall of 2018, I began a dance partnership that resulted in me wanting to move to Salt Lake City, UT. And of course, when thinking about moving there, all I could picture was living in a tiny home. Within 3 months, I’d stumbled upon a tiny home space to rent. And, as of February 1, 2019, I’ve been living in this cozy tinyhome!
From what I understand, it was built for around $80K in Colorado, and then driven out to Utah.
Have you done any renovations?
I’ve done a few tweaks here and there, with the approval of the owner. One of which was designing a very simple removable ladder for the secondary loft space.
What are bills/utilities like compared to before?
My utilities consist of $20 for internet, and whatever I use in propane— which obviously goes up in the winter months.
How did you find a place to “park” your tiny? Or do you travel?
I found my tinyhome already parked in the backyard of a family’s home. So thankfully, I didn’t have to figure that out myself. But I did learn that the landowner had to go to bat for ADU’s to be approved in her county. She organized a “park-in” with other RVs, tinyhomes, and vans and worked to appeal the statutes so that my tinyhome could be parked in her area.
I travel personally, but the tinyhome has stayed put for as long as I’ve lived there. It’s currently on 4 jacks (instead of wheels), and has a wooden “skirt” built around the base for added insulation and aesthetic appeal.
Before going tiny, what was life like?
Before going tiny at one point, I was working a corporate job, slowly accumulating stuff to fit whatever apartment I was living in at the time. From the outside, my job looked incredibly fun and interesting (I was designing shoes with celebrity chefs), but in reality I was stressed, facing burnout and had very little hobbies outside of work.
Is there anything from your old life that you miss?
My eye and dental plan was pretty great. But I manage okay without it. 😉
What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?
I have less stuff to manage, everything I own has a place in my house which makes packing / unpacking very efficient. I’m more intentional about how I use my space(s) and my time, I get to cook/bake quite a bit, and I’ve started learning how to grow my own vegetables thanks to my neighbors and our land.
What about some challenges?
– There’s a bit of an issue with my propane tanks, so sometimes I won’t know when I’m about to run out of gas and will wake up with it SUPER cold. But that just gets me out of bed faster. 🙂
– Emptying and resetting my compost toilet isn’t my favorite, but hey, it’s gotta get done. 🤷♀️
– I had some build up in my drains, but we took apart the sink components and were able to clean out the fungal build up pretty easily.
– Being injured or sick isn’t very fun when I have to go up and down my ladder many times a day, or in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
– The hot water heater can only heat so much at a time, which leaves me with 7 minute showers. And if I do my dishes, it takes away from hot water time in my shower—so I’ve gotta be aware and give the hot water heater ample time to heat up another batch of water.
What makes your tiny home special?
It’s so incredibly cozy. I can host a few friends and it’s still comfortable for talking and dining; or I can spend days on end on my own, and I’m never wishing I was in a different space. When I cook, it fills up with delicious smells. And I created a way to convert my main space into a mini dance studio or yoga/workout space. It’s very modular.
What is your favorite part of your tiny home?
I love getting up before sunrise, lighting a candle, making tea, curling up with a blanket and reading or writing in one of my cozy nooks.
What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?
I’m a researcher, so I researched as much as I could before going all in. If you’re even considering it, I’d start the practice of getting rid of superfluous items on an ongoing basis. I’m also continuously working on how to pare down my mental “stuff”—choosing to take inventory of what I’m holding in my thought, and cleaning out anything that is clogging up a natural mental flow.
Anything I didn’t ask about that we should know?
I think a lot of people assume they have to become a minimalist in order for the tinyhome life to work. But to be honest, I don’t feel very minimalist myself. I still own two bikes, a ski set, and lots of “unnecessary” items and creature comforts. But having a physical limit to my space has certainly been a blessing in making me think through what I really *need* versus what I just *want*.
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Our big thanks to Molly for sharing! 🙏
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Natalie C. McKee
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