How low can you go? 165 Square Feet?

Posted by Elizabeth Sopher on

Could you live in a 165 SF house (with your husband and 3-year old?)  Please meet Jessica, she taught me all about how she does it, and why she loves it.   

Jessica and Family in their Skoolie

Jessica is a self-taught Skoolie master.   

Previous career: (and current side gig)—yoga Instructor

Priorities:  Independence, flexibility, spending time with family, living retirement lifestyle

QuickZip Beds:  Toddler bed; queen day couch/night bed.

You might be asking:  What is a Skoolie?  Well, I  recently learned!  It is a tiny house built into a former school bus (and in Jessica’s case, a prison bus).  The bus is a great starting point because it is  much sturdier and heavier than an RV, and has safety features like steel ribs that make up a roll cage.

Jessica is one of our newest customers and is using QuickZip in a fun and exciting way.  She has customized her QuickZip so it is a perfect fit—and function—for their new home - by adding an African mud cloth fabric to the surface of a zip-on sheet for use as a couch during the day, and then zipping on a cotton sheet for nighttime.  I had a great time learning about their journey to the journey!

Here is what Jessica had to say about these most pressing questions!

Whose Idea was it?

It was mine.  After going to a seminar on other eco friendly construction techniques, I brought the idea to my husband, and we went for it!  We were looking for ways to spend more time together, be more flexible and to be able to experience life now rather than toiling away for 40 years before we can get to it.  Once we get started, we are figuring everything out, creating a huge paradigm shift, and happily, finding that we are really well suited for this.

How did you do it?

I am good at googling!  We did almost all of the construction except the electrical.   Since we had never done anything like this before, there are a few “I wish we would have known that” items, but we both compromised some, letting a few things go and learning to see the bigger picture sometimes. 

What are you most looking forward to?

To  break out of our expectations, to be flexible and travel.  We want to see  different cultures  and  meet people outside of our bubble.  We think that will be a great learning experience for our son.

How do you manage all this with a 3-yr old?

He has his own space,  a play area and a loft .  It is his first time out of a crib and it works great.  His loft is walled off, so we can have some privacy. 

What are you surprised to be able to live without?

A toilet with water!  We have a composting toilet, a higher end version with a great vent.  It never smells except when we dump it.  Flushing wastes so  much water and we are not hooked up to a water system now.  (confession—we are showering at a local rec center for now.)

Clothes and shoes.  We got rid of tons —and are not missing them.  (we will have some underbody storage for winter coats, etc but we haven't needed them yet.)

How do you cook?

We aren't’ doing much baking!  And we have become what I call “bus vegetarians”, eating more raw food and veggies.  We aren't 100% anything but do what works on the bus and eat out some since we are still working on it.  We cook with an instant pot—which runs on the electricity we generate , and we have a rocket stove  that runs on wood.  They are made for off-the-grid homes.  We also may get an induction cooktop which  has almost no heat loss to a cast-iron pan.

Do you have a  big storage unit somewhere or stuff in someone’s basement?  (a question I always think off when I watch my favorite Tiny House show on HGTV).

Yes, we have a small unit, but it is just full of tools– in case we want to do this again!

 Does it actually go on the highway? And who drives?

Yes, but the max speed is 70 MPH— and that is only because school busses are built not to exceed that speed. Chad drives—it makes me nervous!

 

 

 


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