Candid Tiny (Surf) House: Deon & Marine
It hasn’t all been curling waves and sea foam for Deon and Marine, a Sydney couple who decided to build themselves a tiny house on wheels back in 2019 to support their ethical pursuits and surfing lifestyle near to the city and family.
Once they picked up their tiny house trailer in Victoria they had a few false starts: the building site they had organised on someone else’s property fell through (twice), they had setbacks of rains and delays during their first few months of build time during what should be the best weather of the year.
But Deon’s engineering background and Marine’s can-do attitude has had them overcome initial setbacks and come up with creative solutions to these obstacles and more.
In fact their persistence has really paid off. After feeling demoralised about the difficulty of finding a place to park their tiny house, Marine put up an ad on Gumtree and within a very short period of time they received an offer to build and live on a beautiful property in the northern beaches, just 10 minutes away from the beach. “It’s just quiet, beautiful bushland,” Deon describes. And so close to Sydney that they can stay close to family and work. Speaking of the family who owns the property, Deon said “After they met us, they got a little bit inspired and bought (a tiny house on wheels) for themselves!”
So with their build and long-term parking location settled, Deon and Marine figured out some other things.
Like – how many building materials have to be custom made for a tiny house… to which Deon’s answer was a laughing “Everything!” Marine explained: “You can try to keep the standard [measurements] but because it’s small scale and you’re trying to make it super practical in all the areas, then you have to do a lot of custom fittings and that takes longer, and is more expensive.”
They waited a frustrating two months to order a custom sized door through one hardware store for their bathroom under a loft, and finally went to a different hardware that could cope with a customisation. But the relief of finally receiving the right sized door sweetened the waiting period for Marine. “It’s alright,” she said, “when we got it, we were very happy!”
The setbacks haven’t all been external. About six months into the build Marine hurt her back, twisting around after bending down to cut wood. It rendered her unable to lift anything for over two months, right when they were framing the tiny house. And Deon admitted sheepishly… “Um, I may have slipped off the loft, going between the ladder and the loft, and dislocated my shoulder…” which gave him about two months of constant pain.
To add frustration to injury, Deon fell on the first day of a holiday when they were planning to work on the tiny house solidly over Christmas. “It’s part of the whole experience,” Marine reflected on the their injuries, “it helped me to step in for a few things. Like, I had to do a few more power tools, and just take a little bit more responsibility on some things, so that was a good way for me to learn.”
That positive attitude mixed with persistence and necessary problem solving has the couple close to realising their dream of living inter home made tiny house in the next few months.
And the tiny house on wheels hasn’t been their only project over the last year and a bit. They have recently launched their own distillery company Hang10Distillery with their first batch of Baker’s Dozen gin that is made from unsold sourdough bread. By reducing food waste and lowering carbon emissions with their hyper-ethical gin, as well as working together to create a low-footprint tiny house, Deon and Marine are kicking some serious life goals!
Hear the full interview about their journey building their tiny house on the Candid Tiny House podcast and check out the Fred’s Tiny Houses YouTube channel for the video.
Received Trailer: December 2019
Stated building: Feb/March 2020
Moved in: August 2021