I've been dreaming and planning my "post-encore" design career for several months now. In May I will retire from teaching a High School Architectural Drawing and Design curriculum. Teaching is my "encore" career which began after the Mortgage/Residential Construction Industries melted down in 2008/9. After 20 years of designing and building custom homes, that crash left me selling lotto tickets and cigarettes in a Kroger grocery store gas station and studying to take a test for certification to teach math. My 10 year teaching career evolved from Construction, to Architectural Design, to Computer Science in recent years.
In the Fall of 2016 I designed a Tiny Home on Wheels that I planned to build and live in for my retirement. After two Summers working on the project, it is now my self-built home sweet home.
I learned a lot of things about tiny living while building the home, and gained a first hand perspective on the movement that I believe will continue to grow in practicality and popularity.
As construction of my Tiny Home on Wheels neared completion last Fall I found a landowner is a rural Greater Atlanta Area county who was willing to lease his 6 acres with a site that formerly had a mobile home on it. A mobile home was currently occupied on a lot adjacent to his property. The site had county water and a septic system; the only thing needed was to re-establish power. Because of the neighboring mobile home we thought our plan for a tiny home would be perfectly acceptable.
All of the necessary components for an overhead power hook-up were installed and a permit for temporary power was paid for. An inspection was called for by the landowner. When the county inspector came to the site he did not inspect the meter base, ground wires, or overhead service conduit with a weather cap, and left no indication that he had even been there. Upon follow-up it was learned that the inspector figured out that the service was to be used for an RV or Tiny Home of some type, and because the Zoning Regulations did not allow such an abode, he refused to grant the inspection.
As it turned out, the mobile home that had been on his land before he purchased it was "grandfathered in," but once he removed it from the site, it was no longer permitted. I gave up on that beautiful six acre site and began to investigate my 'Plan B." My son and daughter-in-law had invited me to set up in the back yard of their home which sits on an acre in the same county. I ran a perk test on the soils and found them to be very suitable for a small septic system so I began making plans to move-in as an Auxiliary Dwelling Unit on his site. He called the county and they flatly stated that it would not be allowed!
So..."Plan C," became my last hope. I found two RV Parks in the area and sent an email to the one with the most privacy and seemingly better clientele asking if it would be possible to park my Tiny Home on a lot in their community. She advised that she would need to get approval from the county authorities and promised to get back to me. Needless to say, I was not optimistic. Well, to my pleasant surprise she wrote me back and said it had been approved. I don't know who she contacted, or what process, if any, she followed, but I gladly accepted a spot on her waiting list. After 3 months, and "bugging" her twice, I got confirmation of an available site and reserved it for a November 1, 2018 move in.
After 20 years of designing and building custom homes, and 10 years teaching Architectural Drawing & Design in High School, I've decided to begin my "post-encore" career designing great looking, efficient living, Cubistic Style Tiny Homes. I'll try to post new ideas and old ideas alike as I share my past and present experiences in this blog.