What’s it like to actually live in a tiny home inside a greenhouse? How is it different than a more conventional tiny home? Will the reality measure up to my hopes and the hype?
Welcome to Live in a Greenhouse. I’m Shawn Waliser, a single woman of a certain age and owner of what will be the first full-time private residence fully enclosed in a greenhouse in the United States. This page will bring you along on my journey to design, build, and live in a tiny house inside a greenhouse.
How I got here
For some years I lived on a small island in northwest Washington State, USA, and was simplifying my life with the intent that in my quickly approaching retirement, I’d sell the house and go full-time van life for a year or so. I looked forward to traveling around the U.S. and Canada, and then returning to the island to settle down. But a new job required that I work from the office so I moved to an 8’x8’ rented room in the city, counting the days to retirement. I’d been leisurely scouting island property and had narrowed down to 3 lots, each of which had been on the market for a long time so I didn’t feel much urgency to decide between them and make an offer.
Although the 2020 pandemic put an end to the van life idea, it provided the opportunity to work from home, which as a software project manager could be almost anywhere in the world with reliable internet service. Unfortunately many others had the same idea and a “SOLD” sign went up on my first choice literally the day before I was going to make an offer. The pandemic rush had started. Fortunately I was able to get my second choice because my third choice sold the same week.
This property made it to my short list not only because it had the perfect spot for the planned tiny home greenhouse, but it also had a bedroom cabin, a bathroom cabin, power, water, septic, internet, and an RV pad with power, water, and septic. Plan A was to immediately move into the cabins and be here throughout the construction. Unfortunately, the cabins had some issues that made them uninhabitable so Plan B became purchasing a 24’ travel trailer placed on the RV pad. Other than taking down some dead trees that were leaning over the trailer, there wasn’t too much else to do to move in. A 24’ trailer with a full bath and windows has felt luxurious after years in an 8’x8’ room with a shared bath ‘down the hall.’
And so it begins
I’d seen videos about a handful of greenhouse-sheltered tiny homes elsewhere in the world, but these were one-time interviews with the owners after they’d lived in their home for some time. Most of these were in locations with bitter winter temperatures so their premise was the greenhouse’s shelter and solar gain would provide a warmer micro-climate for the home. This was very intriguing; although my corner of the world has generally mild winter temperatures, winter outdoor activities are generally unpleasant due to frequent rain. What I could not find on the internet, and lead me to start this page, is a more intimate view into designing, building, and then daily life, through all seasons, living inside a greenhouse. Future posts will go into that detail of my experience.
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