When Ashlee De Campo, an elementary school teacher from Western Australia, found herself dreaming of a slower pace of life and time to travel, she called Simon Joiner of Tiny Homes Perth. "It all began when I started following The Minimalists [blog] and learning about a minimalistic lifestyle," says Ashlee. "I was looking to take a year off and wanted flexibility to travel while maintaining my own living space, so I worked with Simon to design a tiny house based on the idea that the home needed to be light enough for me to tow it independently."
In order for Ashlee to travel independently with her tiny house, the construction needed to weigh less than 3.5 tons. The 34-year-old insisted on a home that was lightweight, but that wasn’t all she required. "I wanted to make sure I had a real couch," she says. "I’ve seen a lot of tiny homes with storage boxes covered in cushions, and I wouldn’t have found it comfortable. I also wanted a full-size refrigerator and a decent-size bathroom."
She was happy, however, to forgo a microwave and a traditional dining table and chairs. "I feel like I’ve managed to include almost everything in my design," she says. "There are other ways to heat food, and instead of a table, I’ve two stools at the kitchen counter."
Preserving space and creating clever storage options are priorities when designing a tiny home. "Simon and I turned the staircase into open shelving," says Ashlee. "I’ve stacked baskets on the treads that store various items, and there’s a washing machine hidden under the kitchen counter."
The well-planned kitchen is where she spends most of her time. "It’s extremely functional," she says. "There’s plenty of space to cook, and I’ve all of the appliances I need. The baskets on the staircase store some kitchen utensils, and they are very easy to access from the kitchen area."
Clad in dark gray steel, Ashlee’s tiny home has traveled with her all over Australia. "I’ve taken my home from the South West of Western Australia all the way to Broome in the Kimberley," she says. "I stopped in Perth, Exmouth, Karratha, Port Headland and many other places along the way. I’ve spent a lot of time in the South West, living on family farms in Pemberton, Manjimup, and Capel. The house changed my life. It gave me security as well as flexibility. I can live almost anywhere I want without massive hassles. I also own my home—no loans or money owed. It’s very freeing."
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