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The Reason Why I Built a House

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I am building a tiny house. Not a dollhouse, but a livable space with bed, kitchen, storage -- everything you'd need to live, in 128 square-feet.

Why did I decide to build a tiny house? I hoped that building a house would give me life skills that really matter, such as using tools for construction. And in building the house, I would understand what labors go into a home -- and truly appreciate what I am living in.

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Photo courtesy of: Sicily Kolbeck

My tiny house was going to be 128 square-feet of pure determination. But this past year, life gave me plenty of curveballs and plenty of opportunities for my determination to falter. February 2013 gave me the curviest curve: My dad, one of my best friends and my tiny house construction partner, died in a car accident. Making the best out of any situation has always been a part of me, but this situation was different.

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Photo courtesy of: Sicily Kolbeck

This is where my spark comes from now: the desire to finish my house for my dad. Because of this decision, I now have some life experiences that some adults don't have. I can relate not only to people who want to build a house, but also to people and kids who have lost a parent. And to all of them, I can say that giving up is not an option. Yes, it isn't fair, but a long time ago someone told me, "Life ain't fair, and you ain't special. Get used to it." So that's what I did. I got used it.

Still, without the help of friends, family and my mum, I would probably stopped my project. Our friend Luke came to help the week after my dad died; he knew I needed to get my walls up. The guidance from fellow tiny house builders and their families has been instrumental. And my mum should get some credit -- if only for spending hours upon hours with me in a tiny wooden house with no air conditioning (in Georgia). Putting windows in is nothing easy. Especially because when we first put them in, one of them we put in upside-down. The other one we put in sideways. We certainly didn't make it easy for ourselves. And installing electricity is not something you do in your dreams. Ten hours of stabbing your fingers with metal string and getting shocked a couple times is not ideal.

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Photo courtesy of: Sicily Kolbeck

Sometimes when people get a hard knock, they stay down. I didn't. That's my claim to fame. I didn't only want to show it is possible to live with less waste, and that anyone can build their own house; I also wanted to show that when I was handed lemons, I not only made lemonade. I made a lemon cake. And I ate it. And it was delicious.