In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Low, a 43-year-old mental health practitioner who has embarked on a unique journey from architecture to designing and living in a tiny house. Low shares his experiences, challenges, and the joys of creating a personalized space that reflects his values and passions.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what led you to pursue a career in mental health?
A: Certainly! I was born in Singapore and moved to New Zealand when I was 15 to attend boarding school. After completing my education, I initially worked as an architect. However, I felt a strong calling to help people on a deeper level, which led me to transition into the field of mental health. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and a master’s degree in urban design, which provided a solid foundation for my current work as a narrative counselor.
Q: What inspired you to design and build a tiny house?
A: It all started when I stumbled upon the YouTube channel “Living Big In A Tiny House.” The concept of living in a compact and sustainable space intrigued me. As an architect by training, I had always been fascinated by innovative ways of living. The idea of designing a tiny house resonated with my preference for simplicity and a desire to live in harmony with the environment.
Q: How did you go about constructing your tiny house, and what were some of the challenges you faced?
A: I hired a talented New Zealand-based builder, Shaye Boddington, to bring my vision to life. It took just two months to complete the shell of the house. Before that, I had to secure a suitable piece of land, which I was able to lease in January of last year. The process of setting up the necessary amenities, such as electricity, water, sewage, and plumbing, was quite challenging. It required troubleshooting and the support of my friends. It took around three months to get everything up to speed, and at times, I felt exhausted and questioned my decision. But in the end, it was all worth it.
Q: How did you ensure that your tiny house blended seamlessly with the environment?
A: I wanted my tiny house to be a natural extension of the surrounding landscape. By using shipping containers as the primary building material, I achieved a unique blend of industrial and natural aesthetics. The iron exterior and wooden accents create a harmonious balance. Additionally, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide breathtaking panoramic views of the natural surroundings, while the outdoor patio and kitchen allow me to enjoy the outdoors and cook aromatic Asian food.
Q: Can you describe the interior design and layout of your tiny house?
A: The interior of my tiny house is designed to maximize space and functionality. Despite its small size, I ensured high ceilings to avoid a cramped feeling. The kitchen, which is spacious and well-equipped, reflects my passion for cooking.
The lounge area features a modern fireplace and a projector screen for cozy movie nights. I also designed a loft above the kitchen, which serves as a gardening space and a lounge for reading and meditation. Every item in my house has a story and holds sentimental value.
Q: How do you manage the challenges of living in a tiny house, and what advice do you have for others interested in this lifestyle?
A: Living in a tiny house has its unique challenges, but I have grown fond of it over time. It requires careful organization and a minimalist mindset. My advice to others interested in this lifestyle is to let your space express your story. Personalize it and make it multi-functional. It’s not about the size; it’s about how you utilize the space creatively. While tiny houses may not be feasible for everyone, there are always ways to make your living space reflect your values and passions.
Q: How has living in a tiny house impacted your overall well-being and connection with nature?
A: Living in a tiny house has allowed me to forge a deeper connection with nature. The accessibility to the environment is unparalleled, and I enjoy camping and being outdoors. The design of my tiny house, with its seamless integration into the surroundings, provides a sense of tranquility and ownership. It’s like having my own personal park. Being in such close proximity to nature has positively influenced my overall well-being and mental health.
Q: Any final thoughts or messages you would like to share?
A: I believe that personalizing your living space and making it your own is a powerful way to express yourself and create a sense of belonging. It’s not about conforming to societal norms or the size of your dwelling; it’s about embracing your unique story and finding joy in the process. Whether it’s a tiny house or any other living arrangement, let your space reflect who you are and what you value.
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