I am blessed to have married into an amazing family. They are genuine, caring, hard-working and loving. Though I’ve only “officially” been in the family for a short 6 months, I have always felt a part of them. Today I get to share the story of my brother and sister in-law, Mark and Angela Eaves. Mark is Aaron’s brother and he and his wife Angela are the sweetest couple ever. They love each other so much and you know just by looking at them that “home” is wherever they are together. They have had a fun home journey as they have made a lot of unique decisions in their moves.
A few weeks ago, during my birthday, we took a little Colorado vacay to visit them where they now live in Florissant. I asked if I could share their story of their home journey on our blog and they were up for it! We went and grubbed on some food at Lola Coastal Mexican restaurant and indulged in their amazing guacamole!
L&T: We are so inspired by the way you have always created you own personal “home”, no matter how conventional or unconventional it was. So to start off, tell us about your first house as husband and wife.
Mark & Angela: In our first year of marriage we bought a beautiful 8-year-old, 2,600 square foot home in Conroe, Texas. It was in a quiet golf course community where you would see deer near the streets in the evenings. We loved this home but found ourselves only using 3 out of the 8 rooms and quickly realized we didn’t need so much space. Exxon Mobil had recently started building their headquarters just South of Conroe in The Woodlands, Tx. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to sell our home. We decided to paint the interior to give it a fresh look and were fortunate to sell our home for a nice profit only 14 months after purchasing.
L&T: What did you like about it?
M&A: We loved the outdoor space. When we were home we spent a lot of time on our back porch in our rocking chairs watching birds come and go from the feeders. We also really loved our garage. The previous owner had fixed it to have pegboards and a nice wooden workbench area. There was plenty of storage and was spacious enough to fit both our vehicles inside. We also liked that the interior rooms were extremely spacious and there was ample storage space.
L&T: What spurred the desire for change?
M&A: After realizing the space was larger than what we needed for 2 adults and a small dog, we knew that we could minimize and still be just as happy. All the while saving money and being able to travel more.
L&T: How did you come to the conclusion that you wanted to build a Tiny House? What was the difference in sq ft from your house in Conroe to going Tiny?
Angela: This is a good question! We had happened to see a show on TV called Tiny House Nation. It was intriguing and I remember Mark saying, “We should do that!” I dismissed it at that time and then later started really considering it. We sat down one night and asked each other if we could really downsize THAT much and live that lifestyle. We bought a book that had multiple different tiny house layout options and researched websites of builders like Tumbleweed and chose a layout we thought may be something we’d like. We marked off 20’ x 8’ in our living room to see how big that would be. IT WAS TINY! After selling our house in Conroe, we moved into an apartment for a bit. We looked around our 850 sq ft apartment and asked ourselves, “What could we part with?” Surprisingly, that was the easiest part! Ultimately we realized we wanted to build a 24’ x 8’ and believed that would be plenty of space for us to adjust and live in.
We downsized from the 2,600 sq ft home in Conroe to the 248 sq ft Tiny House – living in an 850 sq ft apartment in between the two.
L&T: Wow! That’s crazy! What was the experience of building a Tiny House like? Was it easier or more difficult than you thought?
M&A: We were going on our third year of marriage when we decided to really dig in and build a tiny house. We did more research on builders and found a builder in Austin, TX. We made an appointment to meet with him and discuss our plans and how he could help us achieve them. We brought in a sketch of what we wanted and he helped us critique it and make sure it would be weighted properly and safe to travel with. The building process was very simple due to having a very knowledgeable builder. We were extremely fortunate to work with Bo Bezdek. He listened to what we wanted and made adjustments accordingly.
(Fun fact: Mark and Angela’s tiny house was featured in an HGTV episode of Tiny House Big Living!)
L&T: Did having a film crew from HGTV make the Tiny House building process stressful or more fun?
M&A: Doing the HGTV episode made building the tiny house much more stressful than it should have been. We originally wanted to visit Bo on occasion to see the progress of the build and to make short camping trips out of each visit. We love nature and the outdoors and thought it would be a great and inexpensive way to keep up with the progress of the house. By agreeing to do the TV show we were required to visit more frequently and needed to stay in hotel rooms to make sure we had electricity and running water to look presentable for the filming. Ultimately it was our choice to do the show but looking back, if we knew then what we know now, we would not have chosen to do the TV show. It was actually more expensive and more work to do the things they asked us to do.
L&T: How did you guys prepare to go from living in a traditional sized house to living tiny?
M&A: PURGE. We got rid of EVERYTHING. We only kept the bare necessities and the few hobby items that we believed we could fit in the tiny space.
L&T: How long did you live in the Tiny House? Did one of you like or dislike it more than the other or did you both experience it the same?
Angela: We lived in our Tiny Home for 1 year and 9 months – the longest we’ve lived anywhere. We had a great experience living tiny. It was rewarding to know that our lifestyle change was saving us exponentially and that helped us when we got frustrated about the small spaces. I loved living tiny, and I miss it. It was simple. Everything in our house had its own space. We always knew where things were and it was necessary to keep it tidy. Everything was either in arms reach or just a few steps away. Mark enjoyed living tiny as well but not as much as I did. He is muscular and has very broad shoulders. The walkway from the kitchen to the closet was actually too narrow for him to fit through straight on, and he always had to turn sideways to get to the closet or bathroom. Also, we only had a 32 x 32 inch shower and he barely fit in it!
L&T: Most of your family is living in Southeast Texas, what made you guys want to quit your jobs and drive your Tiny House 16 hours away to live in Colorado?
M&A: TEXAS HEAT. We love Texas, but we don’t love the heat. We knew that we wanted to move somewhere colder, somewhere with seasons and opportunities to do winter sports. We didn’t know where we wanted to be, but we knew we needed change. We had been saving up to move for years, and when we started living tiny we were able to save much more, much faster. We told each other we were leaving August 2016 but we didn’t know where we were going. After much consideration, we decided to start in Colorado, and if things didn’t work out there we would just keep heading north. We visited Colorado in February 2016 to search for a place to park our tiny home. We traveled from Aurora to Denver to Colorado Springs, through Golden, Loveland, and Fort Collins driving through many RV Parks wondering where we would fit in. We narrowed it down to Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. After speaking with both RV parks we decided to go with Colorado Springs. We made our reservation and started searching for jobs in that area. Without luck in the job hunt, August came quickly, and we quit both our jobs; we hitched up the tiny house and started our journey North to Colorado.
(The pictures below were taken on our last visit right before they made their trek out of Texas!)
L&T: Did you always know you wanted to purchase a house in Colorado or did you feel like you were just trying it out at first?
Angela: We were definitely just testing the waters here in Colorado. There were many reasons why we left Texas, but the most important one was that we wanted a lifestyle change. Our jobs in Texas were extremely demanding. We routinely worked long hours and overtime. There were times Mark and I wouldn’t see each other for days, not even in passing, due to our hectic work schedules. We told ourselves that we would not live that way in Colorado. We would find a way to make it work and still be able to see and spend quality time with one another. Even after starting our new jobs in Colorado, we knew our ultimate goal was to be happy and living tiny taught us that we really don’t need much to be happy. Once we started our new jobs and settled in, we were confident enough to purchase a home on 35 acres an hour west of Colorado Springs.
L&T: What made you go from 200-something sq ft to 35 acres at the base of a mountain?
Mark: We’re on the top of a mountain. When deciding to move to Colorado our goal was to “live in the mountains” Now that we’re here we decided we wanted to live ON the mountain. Now everyday we win King of the Hill.
Angela: When moving to Colorado, our dream was to own a big piece of land and to live in the mountains. Shortly after moving to Colorado Springs we started venturing out to the surrounding areas. Traveling West on Hwy 24 was our favorite. It took us straight to the mountains, toward skiing, hiking and all kinds of other outdoor activities. We decided to start our land search out that way. On a Sunday afternoon we stumbled across a home on 35 acres of land in the mountains. We contacted a realtor on Monday to view the home. We made an offer on Tuesday and were under contract to purchase on Wednesday. Everything fell perfectly into place, and in 4 days time we knew Colorado was exactly where we were meant to be. We were originally looking for land to park the tiny house on and continue living tiny, but the 1,500 sq ft mountain home we found was exactly what was meant to be.
(This is the view from their new place ON the mountain ;))
L&T: We love your home journey and how each home has suited you so well. Do you guys have a favorite or least favorite experience?
M&A: We both agree that our favorite experience was the freedom to bring the tiny house to different state parks along our drive from Texas to Colorado. While towing the tiny house was a difficult feat, our rest stops were extremely enjoyable. We have been extremely blessed in our journey and are thankful to have made so many unique memories along the way.
I love how Mark and Angela have always forged their own path and have enjoyed the process because they are doing it together. If you would like to read more inspiring stories like theirs, check out the Stories section of our blog!