Williams Interview, Georgia

Wind River Dweller Interview – Life in a Tiny Home Community in Georgia

Last month, we visited one of our clients living in a tiny home community in North Georgia to see her home and chat about her decision to go tiny and some of the challenges and triumphs she’s had along the way. We also talked about the benefits of having a developer help set up your home and living in a community with like-minded people. Vicki has lived tiny for over two years (and lived small for several years before that), and she has some great advice about living with less. She’s also learned how to maximize space and the benefit of extending your living area outside—which she’s done with a beautiful outdoor covered deck and a private outdoor shower that she uses much of the year.

When we asked Vicki her reason for going tiny, she said it was for the freedom: “I was near retirement age and thought, I’m going to be traveling, and I don’t want all this responsibility of taking care of stuff.”

“It’s awesome not having all the stuff to worry about.”

 
Williams Interview, Georgia

Q:

Tell us what led to your decision to go tiny.

A:

It was a friend of mine who put me on to it. I was near retirement age and thought, I’m going to be traveling, and I don’t want all this responsibility of taking care of stuff. That’s when I started researching tiny home builders and found Wind River. Before I had my tiny home, I lived in two other small spaces—a 650 square foot cottage and then a 450 square foot cottage. So I had already made the transition from an 1,800 square foot ranch house to those smaller spaces. It was no big deal to take the next step to tiny living. I just had to leave behind some furniture.

Q:

So was that the main challenge for you with downsizing? Furniture? 

A:

Mainly, yes. I did have to get rid of a whole lot of stuff, especially for the kitchen. A friend of mine had an Ebay business and I filled up her SUV about four times. But I was done with it. I was motivated to get rid of everything. Since I’ve gotten my dog, I’ve had to get rid of even more to make room for his stuff. When you’re living tiny and you buy something, it’s pretty much necessary to get rid of something else.

Q:

When you started thinking of where to park your tiny home, what were you initially looking for?

A:

I initially was looking into a beautiful 100-acre farm that already had three houses on it, two of which belonged to friends of mine. There was a concrete pad there that I was going to park my tiny home on. I wanted something quiet and outside of town. The farmland fell through because of a water hookup issue, so I started looking at RV parks but the parking spaces were really close together. Then River Ridge Escape popped up on my web search one day. Shortly after, USA Today wrote an article about River Ridge Escape, and it all just kinda stemmed from that. One of the reasons I like living here is because there’s not a lot of tourist development. You have to drive to go do things, and that’s how I like it.

Q:

Can you tell us about everything the developer of River Ridge Escape did to help set up your tiny home? If you had parked your home on the farm, there would have been a lot of site work you would have had to do yourself, correct? Tell us about the benefits of working with a developer to get situated.

A:

Everything was a lot easier. The developer put the road in, they parked the house, plumbed it into septic, hooked up the electrical, did a little patio, put all the river rock in for skirting, brought the gravel in for the pathway to the door, and did all the landscaping. Everything was pretty much done. Wind River built the house and the developer did everything else. I didn’t worry about it at all. It was very easy.

Wind River Dweller Interview- Williams, Georgia
Williams Interview, Georgia

Q:

From our previous conversations, it sounds like going tiny has allowed you to do the things you want to do with your time that maybe would have been more difficult if you had decided to keep working or have a larger house?

A:

Yes. I got up this morning and before I even took the dog out for a walk I had vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, and cleaned the windows. Now the rest of our day will be out here on the deck enjoying the weather and the company. I enjoy the yard work, too. My land has several trees on it and when it greens up, you can barely see the neighbor’s house.

Q:

So tell us about your favorite parts of your home. You’ve talked about how it retains heat and cool air really well.

A:

I’m very, very happy with my house. I would hardly change a thing. My power bill is about $47 a month and I keep my house at a solid 68 degrees. Some of my friends have a harder time keeping their tiny homes heated and cooled, but I’ve never had an issue. In fact, sometimes I open my windows in the middle of winter to let in some fresh air.

Probably my favorite thing about my home is the outdoor shower. I love it. If it’s sunny and at least 55 degrees, I take my showers outside. I also love the great storage that we created. I have more storage than anyone else in the community, even the people with larger homes. A lot of people have had to purchase storage buildings, but I have no problems. 

Some people have bigger kitchens than I do, but I figured out a long time ago that you can get by with a minimal amount of kitchen stuff. When I first moved in, I mostly did big pots of soup or stuff like that. But I got bored with that when the pandemic started and I had a lot more time on my hands. Now I cook like crazy. You just have to be a little proactive on cleanup. I’m a neat cook, and I clean while I go. There’s not a lot of exposed counter space because I put a lot of stuff down on it, so I use my cutting board a lot. If I were to do something differently, I wouldn’t have gotten the stainless steel countertops because it scratches so easily. I like that I can put hot pots down on it, but I would probably go with leathered granite or butcher block instead.

I also love my deck, especially now that I got it all fenced in. I can take my dog off the leash and we’re all cozy here. 

Q:

Tell us about sleeping in a loft.

A:

I’ve gotten used to not hitting my head (laughs). I go upstairs and sit down, and then I just scoot over into bed. There’s not much crawling around unless I’m vacuuming or cleaning. And I love waking up before sunrise to raise up the shade, get back in bed, meditate, and watch the sun come up. I can see the sunrise every morning from my loft. And my dog loves it up there, too. He likes to go up there by himself, hang out and look out the windows.

Q:

We get questions about loft height a lot.

A:

It feels really big up there because of all the windows. People ask me, “Aren’t you going crazy this winter?” I tell them no. I’ve got all these windows and I like being inside my house. And when the weather permits I have this big deck. It’s very pleasant.

Q:

What about changing the sheets in the loft? Any tricks for that?

A:

The trick is to start at the top and work your way to the bottom. There’s no easy way to do it, you just gotta remember not to knock your head. And when you make your bed in the morning, you move toward the top, and pull everything up. But get a comforter one size down from the mattress. If you have a full size bed, buy a twin size comforter. The full size sheets are ok. But there’s no room to tuck under a full size comforter.

Williams Interview, Georgia

Q:

You’re also planning to do an addition to your house. Tell us about that process. Has it been easy to plan?

A:

Well, we’re gonna find out! The addition is just a bedroom and I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal because I have two really good contractors. They spent half a day taking really careful measurements. They’re putting footings down and using 6×6’s. The new roof will go right below my current roof, and the addition will be identical as far as the siding, cedar, windows, everything. They priced my addition for fairly high-end materials because the house is so well built.

Q:

We saw you had gutters put on one side also.

A:

Yeah, I did. Water was splashing all around the house and making a big mess of everything, so I did the gutter.

Another issue I had was high humidity. I solved that problem with a bigger dehumidifier—I went with the one you all recommended. The toilet had a lot of condensation on it because the house temperature was so much warmer than the water coming in. The water out here is very cold, so water would condensate on the toilet tank. But as soon as I got the larger dehumidifier, all the condensation was gone. I empty it every night before I go to bed. Sometimes twice a day if the weather is really humid.

Q:

Yes. It’s a well known issue that humidity can build up really quickly in tiny homes. One person puts off a liter of water a day, and then there’s the humidity from cooking and taking a hot shower. It’s definitely something to be aware of.

So tell us what it’s like living in a tiny home community—or at least what it was like pre-pandemic. Does it feel like a neighborhood or do people keep to themselves? Does everyone hang out in the common areas?

A:

Pre-pandemic there were about 10 or 11 of us up here. You make friends; you get together for dinner or drinks. Sometimes we did Happy Hour on Fridays, or we’d have a get-together for Memorial Day, things like that. We have a common gardening area, and a dog park where people like to hang out with their dogs and chit-chat. People like the gated aspect of the community. I walk four miles a day on the nature trails and if anyone’s outside, we stand around and talk. It’s like a neighborhood. People are respectful and get along.

Q:

Is there a shared camaraderie based around the tiny lifestyle?

A:

I think there is. It’s a close-knit community. All of the full-time people know each other pretty well. I took someone to the doctor the other day. And if packages get dropped off at the gate, people will bring your stuff down to you. We’re really lucky because there’s a lot of nice people here and they respect your privacy. With how much I traveled last year, I had the security of knowing the neighbors would keep an eye on my house. I wasn’t worried about leaving at all. It’s awesome not having to have all that stuff to worry about.

Williams Interview, Georgia
Williams Interview, Georgia

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5 models, 100's of configurations. Your perfect tiny home awaits.

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