Tiny house, big love: Our life in a renovated vintage caravan
We spent most of last year living in our 95-square foot vintage caravan. (Before you ask, I’ll go ahead and answer: no bathroom, no laundry facilities. Yes, that part was tough—we assumed it would be.) Going into it, I thought I’d write about our experiences much more; I regret that I didn’t. But life is what it is and writing didn’t come easily for me in 2015. There are many reasons for that (some better than others), and I’ve resolved that it was simply a tough year. Those happen. It was also an incredible year—one for our family history books for sure.
I don’t plan on writing much about the caravan life now, but I do want to give you a taste. My friend Katherine “Pez” Wilson took some brilliant images of our family in the van and I’ll forever be grateful for them. Of course, we all have clean clothes on and everything looks sparkling clean and tidy, but the truth is if we didn’t keep things neat and organized in that teeny tiny space I wanted to blow my brains out. So honestly, it usually was as tidy as it looks in these photos (but definitely a little dustier). My family did an amazing job of remembering that every single thing in that itty bitty house had a place. Incredible. (Survival, really.)
I’m not going to comment on the individual images—just share them. I think they speak for themselves and tell this part of our family story well. The one above is from the beginning of our year; the ones below are from the end. You can see some variations in hair and facial hair length for all of us. (Yes, I miss my long hair. No, I don’t really miss Ryan’s hipster beard.)
One of these days I’ll do an actual post of some before and after pictures from our renovation, because those are quite fun (imagine two-tone wood panelling, y’all!) and because I really do read my emails and actually take those into account when writing. (I hear you—more caravan pictures, please! Okay, okay.) I’m still really proud of what we’ve done to make the little home we’ve created. Ryan and I are a sucker for this type of thing. (In another life, we’d buy, fix up, and sell old vans for the fun of it.) In saying all that, I’m also glad to move into a “normal” house in two weeks. It will be wonderful to have our own space again and I’m looking forward to Vinnie the van becoming a holiday home, rather than our home home. (But I would never, ever undo living in there this last year. One of the best decisions we’ve ever made.)
At some point I also plan to write a “10 best things” and “10 worst things” post about living in a tiny house on wheels (we’ll see if I can limit myself to 10 of each!) and I’d also like to write some family travel highlights to help other families considering traveling or caravanning around Australia. It really is a spectacular country and life on the road is pretty awesome and do-able if you can work remotely and “road school” or “world school” your kids as you go. (You can always check out the #livingsmalltolivebig hashtag on instagram for more pics in the meantime. Or sign up for my tiny-ish newsletter—LoveNotes—and see more photos in the next edition.)
But for now, I leave you with a visual story of our tiny house and big love. Thanks again to Pez for capturing our family so well. I adore your work here, and I’m impressed to be in so many of the photos myself—a rarity.
All photos below are by Katherine Wilson Photography. (You can also find her on facebook.) If you live in the Sydney/NSW area and love lifestyle photography for babies and children, families, or weddings, she’s your gal. I think she’s open to travel a bit, too.
Living Small To Live Big: A series on tiny house living with a family
- Home is where you park it: Why we’ve moved into a tiny house on wheels
- Tiny house, big love
- The 6 best things about tiny house life
- The 8 worst things about tiny house life Part 1 & Part 2
- Vinnie, the vintage caravan: A tiny tour of our tiny house (including before and after renovation pics)
- Tiny house organizational hacks
- Trip highlights from around Australia in our tiny house
- Why every Aussie family should plan a trip around Australia