Documenting the Journey: Tiny House Living & Travel

A huge perk to being a photographer is the opportunity to capture our lives through my camera. This week marks 9 months of living full time in our tiny house on wheels as a family of 2 adults, a toddler and a Great Dane. (Yes, we're still happily married and all love each other, promise! ...but did I hide in the loft yesterday to get space? Yep) *7 of those months were also with our sweet 12yr old lab Riley who passed away from cancer 2 days before we got on the road.

My view while hiding in the loft...

My view while hiding in the loft...

We have been on the road on our cross country trek to see family and friends since May 1st. In 7 weeks, we've stayed at 14 different locations and traveled over 4,800 miles together in the cab of a truck.

Molly, our Dane refused to ride in the back of the truck and climbed through the TINY window into the cab to be with us, ignoring the fact that we had installed a fancy safety leash system for her and comfy dog beds back there. Our toddler has mixed feelings about sharing his space and snacks with her, but how can we say no to that face? 

Molly, our Dane refused to ride in the back of the truck and climbed through the TINY window into the cab to be with us, ignoring the fact that we had installed a fancy safety leash system for her and comfy dog beds back there. Our toddler has mixed feelings about sharing his space and snacks with her, but how can we say no to that face? 

Wandering Yellowstone

Wandering Yellowstone

We are always adapting and adjusting the space to try and get more from it, feel more comfortable or use it more efficiently. Here are some of our favorite updates to the house.

We added a projector (Apple TV combo with Direct TV Satellite) and a projection screen on the opposite wall. The shelf is for a laptop or tablet that we can connect to stream movies too. We also use these walls to display artwork when not watching anything, which makes me rather happy and helps it feel like a home.

Sean has been working to make the most of our vertical space - hanging mugs, adding shelves and my favorite is the wooden magnetic knife block and copper measuring cups hanging. There is even now a cabinet above the vent in the kitchen. He also built a closet for us in the loft, and we adjusted the bed to be under the windows.

We change this space around often, but for now it serves as both our living room and toddler play space. Since losing our lab, our dane has taken to sleeping on the couch too, so I guess that's at least 3 different uses! 

We change this space around often, but for now it serves as both our living room and toddler play space. Since losing our lab, our dane has taken to sleeping on the couch too, so I guess that's at least 3 different uses! 

Emery's room is tricky. Because it is so small, and has to meet many needs, we've been working to keep it airy feeling, but functional. I decided to go a bit more minimalist on the crib side of the room, and then to pack the other side to the ceiling with storage. We use the upper storage for books and diapers. Sean installed a shelf near the outlets we had put in up high for his white noise and monitor (For those of you with babies, I'm sure you get why it is AWESOME to have cords out of reach!) Additionally, we added a rod to hang his clothes, storage below his changing table and we hung this sweet hammock as an alternative to a rocking chair that can be tucked away when not in use. 

(The sweet family photo on the wall was done by the amazing Miss Freddy.)

(The sweet family photo on the wall was done by the amazing Miss Freddy.)

We regularly get asked how we pack up the tiny house for travel and keep things from breaking or falling while on the road. I thought I'd share some of our secrets and methods to a quick breakdown and set up -with a rather energetic toddler and dog. We've learned a lot and are still constantly making adjustments. (Our beautiful pendant lights met their end on the leg to Chicago when we forgot to double check & look at our list and wrap them in foam. Note the less attractive, but ceiling mounted lights we now have). I'll focus on how we pack the interior in this post, with one about the exterior coming soon.

Bathroom: Everything from the shower and counter goes inside the sink using a towel to pad breakable items. 

Stairs: Most have magnetic locks, but we haven't finished installing them yet, so blue painters tape does the trick! I also haven't mentioned that we needed a solution to our toddler climbing the stairs into the loft, without having to install a railing and lose the open feel. We built an art easel that doubles as a block to climbing. It is on a piano hinge so it folds up against the wall for us to have access when needed. (I'll post better photos of this at some point)

E's Room: We take everything from up high and toss it in his crib. Super easy, takes 1 minute.

Plants: Go in our kitchen sink

Mugs: Tuck neatly into our winter hats and scarves in a drawer

Magnetic Lock: Here is a sample of the type of lock we use, great since we have a toddler, but also works perfectly for traveling down the road.

Artwork: We lay all of our artwork and frames on our mattress during travel.

Note the new (much less attractive but functional) ceiling mounted lights. Whoops. 

Note the new (much less attractive but functional) ceiling mounted lights. Whoops. 

Secondary Loft: We currently use this for storage of our outdoor gear, the ladder, seasonal items etc... Sean installed drawers that are mounted to the wall in the back, and then he rachet straps the big stuff in, and the ladder to get up there lays on the couch while traveling.

Living tiny, especially on the road has been a mix of total chaos and adventure. It's certainly stressful at times, but mostly hilarious.

in 4800 miles we've had 2 flats. Turns out you need a pretty heavy duty jack for 16K lbs... I highly recommend AAA for RV's

in 4800 miles we've had 2 flats. Turns out you need a pretty heavy duty jack for 16K lbs... I highly recommend AAA for RV's

If you made it this far, and still want to know more or follow our wandering, check out my Instagram feed @katelporter