We spend most mornings online, researching tiny house options. What will we side the house with? Reclaimed wood we hope to find—or pine siding on sale this week at Home Depot? What will we use for insulation? Will we go with an alcohol stove or energy efficient induction cooktop? How will we handle our gray water? Do we try to install solar now or wait till the spring? How will we heat the house? Wood? Propane? Electrical space heater?
Many, many, many things still need to be decided if we're going to finish this wee house. Making those decisions, we've come to realize, hinges on three, oft-competing principles:
1. Economy: We have limited funds to build the house. More money for one component, means less for others. So what's worth spending the big bucks on? Where can we economize?
2. Ecology: What will require fewer resources? What makes use of already-existing resources? What will burn the cleanest? What requires less transportation? Less packaging? Less carbon footprint?
3. Aesthetics: Maybe this one shouldn't matter as much as the first two, but it does for me. My broad sense of "aesthetics" includes beauty of form as well as beauty of function. How will various elements look—and work—together? How will the space flow? Where will the eye be drawn? How can the kitchen be set up to be both efficient and eye-pleasing?
Balancing this triad of priorities is a challenge. Not surprising, I suppose, since "balancing" is an apt metaphor for the art of living in general. Now back to deciding if the beautiful, super-efficient Kimberly wood stove is worth spending $4,000 on. Yes, $4,000!