Who are you? 👪
My name is Caroline, I am 31 years old and a preschool teacher. Currently, I am on parental leave with our first child who is three months old. My husband, Emanuel is 30 years old and an engineer. We live in a small village in Dalarna, Sweden in a tiny house on wheels.
Emanuel and I met over ten years ago and have been exploring different types of accommodation ever since. We went to Australia a few months after we got together, bought a Ford Falcon that we lived in and traveled around in for three months. After hiking the Swedish mountains and living in tents for three months, we decided that we wanted to invest in a simple and small home. We have moved around quite a bit and have taken the opportunity to travel during the gaps that have occurred between different moves, education and other life changes.
Building and living in a tiny home 🏡
We wanted a home that could be adapted to us and our way of life. A home that could serve as a base to start from and that can be left without any risk of freezing, during wintertime for instance. Another part that played a major role in our decision to build a tiny house is our endeavor to try to live in a way that has less impact on the environment and does not require a big loan. We also wanted to invest in a house that was not built of materials that could have a negative impact on our health.
After thinking a lot about different options such as living in a sailboat or van/minibus, we finally landed in a tiny house, a small house on wheels. We took inspiration from books and movies on the internet. Emanuel built a model in Lego and then he designed the house in a computer program. After that we started building.
We got an old wheel pair from my dad that I freshened up and Emanuel welded together a wagon frame made of steel beams. Then we could start the carpentry. None of us had any building experience before. We had to spend a lot of time looking for information of basically everything such as how to build a wall, lay a roof and install a stove.
From the beginning we decided that we wanted to build the house with as natural materials as possible. This was not simply combined with building a lightweight house. A lot of construction materials that weigh a little contain plastics and toxic chemicals. We chose to compromise on the weight. We have mostly made the house with pure wood, insulated with cellulose fibers and bought half of all the windows used. The pine floors are soap-scoured with linseed oil and the house's exterior panel is painted with rosebud mahogany, an oil mixture made on linseed oil, tar and turpentine. The kitchen is new but made from recycled material.
The biggest challenge with the house when it comes to material selection has been the bathroom. The sealing layers that we have seen on the market contain many toxic substances that can have a negative impact on health. We finally decided to ignore the use of sealing layers and try something on our own. We instead built the wall and ceiling with a small air gap, inserted two moist indicators inside the wall to keep track of the moisture values and then we painted walls and ceilings with linseed oil paint.
How did you choose a toilet for your tiny home? 🚽🌾
Something that we think should be challenged is today's water closets (WC).
It is quite absurd that in 2020 we use drinking water to flush away human waste with
We wanted something different. We looked at different types of toilet solutions and eventually fell for a urine separating toilet where the solid waste is composted. Properly handled, toilet waste can be a great asset in, for example, crops to restore nutrition to the soil. Separetts Villa lived up to the criteria’s we had, the toilet has a very low energy consumption. Something that really matters when we produce our own electricity.
Separett Villa urine diverting toilet
We thought it was convenient with the accessories that were provided with this toilet and therefore bought an Ejektor tank. The Ejektor tank works smoothly both to collect and disperse the urine. During the winter it is possible to collect the urine in plastic cans if you want to use it because the parts of the ejector tank can freeze in minus degrees. We have now used our toilet for about eight months and are very satisfied so far.
Using the Ejektor tank
We are not bothered by any odors inside the bathroom because the fan works so well. We also find it easy to empty the toilet when needed and it goes smoothly thanks to the latrine containers with lids provided and the latrine bags used to collect the waste. We empty the toilet about once a month. Since we were expecting our first child when we bought the toilet, we also took the opportunity to buy a urine diverting child seat that we look forward to using.
A small anecdote is that we know a couple who have used their Villa toilet for over 20 years in a "normal" home and are completely satisfied with the system
Building something completely from scratch like our home where there are not always any ready-made solutions presented gives room for creativity. It has been and is very evolving to create a home from the ground and has enabled us to tailor it to our way of life and the people we are. Many people seem to think that so much space is needed in a house and especially when one has children. The experiences we have of young children are that they usually enjoy being close to their parents and therefore we see no obstacle in living as a family on a smaller area.
Emanuel and I both enjoy the great outdoors and see nature outside the door as an extension of our home. We hope that in the future it will be more natural to choose to build houses here in Sweden that do not necessarily have to be as large as possible and with smart solutions that have as little impact on the environment as possible. We have moved around a lot and took the opportunity to travel between the moves. We came to the conclusion that we wanted a home to be able to start from and come back to whenever we want.
- Thank you so much for sharing your story 💙