Candid Tiny House: Luke & Jess
Taking a Leap
Luke and Jess had only bought a mattress together, by way of a joint purchase as a couple, before they decided to buy a trailer and build a tiny house on it. If it seems like a big leap of commitment, courage and faith in their abilities to live and work together… it is.
On a very tight time line (six months to be exact) they ordered their tiny house trailer, built their tiny house as first-time builders, quit their jobs, moved the tiny house from Victoria to Queensland and moved themselves too. “Admittedly that’s one thing that we did regret, that we didn’t take more time on it, because we really did push ourselves,” reflects Luke. The ultra-tight building timeline had them building for long hours, seven days a week on Luke’s parents property in regional Victoria. “The physical toll was pretty significant from building like that. My shoulder was sore from drilling into our (steel) frame” Luke said. “Same, I had to go to an osteopath twice from painting!” Jess added, laughing.
On finding the right time-frame for a tiny house build, she suggested: “I think its about finding that sweet-spot of enough time to do it right and to be ok and be well, but to push yourself a little bit so that you can get in it and start living in it as soon as possible.” And while they shouldered almost all of the burden of building their tiny house on wheels, they also had plenty of help. Luke commented: “Lean on your family and friends … it really made it easier, and realistically made it possible, to have all those helpers. Because we wouldn’t have got it done in that time otherwise.”
And they did get it done in time to move it up to Brisbane where Jess had enrolled in a Psychology Honors program. The council regulations on living in a tiny house on private property are particularly favourable in Brisbane, so it reduced the couple’s stress over where to park their tiny house. “That was probably the scariest thing – thinking about where we were going to put it[…] it was always that little bit of an undercurrent – where were we gonna end up?” reflected Luke.
Luke and Jess focused on living with a small footprint in lots of ways for the next two years in their off-grid tiny house, saving money all the while. And when 2020 rolled around with all it’s surprises: Covid-19, closed borders and lockdowns, Luke and Jess felt the distance from their families in Victoria acutely.
So it was time to leap again! After two years of studying, working, mending clothes, growing veggies and making music in Brisbane, Luke and Jess looked at their changing needs and decided to return to Victoria. With the money they saved from living in their tiny house, they managed to buy a little cottage near Jess’s parent’s place in Gippsland sight-unseen.
Instead of towing the tiny house south again, they decided to sell it in Brisbane. That meant that they could either reduce their mortgage on the cottage or use the tiny house sale money to help them find additional housing in Melbourne so that Jess could be closer to her Masters of Psychology course.
So while their journey of living in a tiny house on wheels has come to an end, their appreciation of it’s benefits have not. “We attribute being able to buy that house to living in this tiny house for two years”, said Luke. And on all their leaps, Jess comments: “That’s just us making our dreams happen. They’ve been changing and evolving so we just jump in to make it happen!”
Listen to the full interview with Luke and Jess wherever you get your podcasts, or listen below.
In the Candid Tiny House podcast interview they spoke candidly about their:
- Decision to build a tiny house,
- Challenges and stresses as well as their excitement while building on a tight schedule,
- Experiences with towing the tiny house and hiring a towing company,
- What it was like to live in a tiny house together as a couple, and
- How living in a tiny house has supported them to study, live lightly and reach their financial goals.
Date received trailer: September 2018
Date started working on house: September 2018
Date moved in: March 2019