Embarking on a journey of self-reliance and creativity, Carol transformed her dream into reality by building her own tiny house, “The Dragon’s Nest.”
Tucked into a serene forested area on Vancouver Island, this 320-square-foot abode is a testament to Carol’s determination and skill.
In 2019, faced with the challenge of building it alone, Carol embraced the task.
She ensured she accounted for every nail, screw, and drop of glue that went into her creation.
This intimate knowledge allows her to maintain and repair it with confidence.
The Dragon’s Nest reflects Carol’s artistic soul and her love for the 1800s Roma vardo wagon style.
Adorned with antiques and vibrant colors, it’s a space that resonates with her spirit.
This personalized approach to living space contrasts with her previous residences, which ranged from 4,800 to 1,100 square feet.
The decision to downsize was driven by a desire for simplicity.
The journey began in 2016, with Carol meticulously gathering reclaimed items and garage sale finds, slowly bringing her vision to life on paper.
The construction of The Dragon’s Nest was a lesson in resourcefulness and patience.
Starting with a commercial earth-moving machinery hauler as the base, Carol framed her tiny house in 2018.
However, the onset of unforeseen events meant she had to undertake the building process alone, except for installing a couple of windows.
Her commitment to building a safe and correct home led her to pay for new materials like plumbing, electrical wiring, and propane appliances out of pocket.
Remarkably, Carol managed to keep her expenses under $20,000.
Carol’s meticulous nature extends to her record-keeping.
She maintained a detailed history of The Dragon’s Nest, documenting every penny spent in a book.
This level of detail not only helped her track expenses but also served as a testament to her commitment to the project.
Her building skills, honed through years of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and guidance from her brother-in-law, Gary, were crucial in bringing her tiny house to life.
The Dragon’s Nest is a marvel of design and functionality.
Its exterior, made from dimensional mill Douglas fir and accented with cedar shingles cut into dragon scales, captures the essence of its name.
Inside, the great room comprises a living area, a fold-out dining table, and a kitchen, all under a ceiling of Victorian tin plates from Upper Canada Village.
Each item in the house has a story, from the nook bed made from a reclaimed box bed to the antique toilet refurbished to resemble 1800s bucket toilets.
Living off-grid, Carol has adapted to a lifestyle that is both challenging and rewarding.
She hauls water, treats it through a system, and relies on solar panels for electricity, supplementing with a generator when necessary.
Her heating comes from a ventless propane heater, and she manages waste with a composting toilet and a greywater pond.
Despite these challenges, Carol finds solace in her tiny home, surrounded by her miniature carriage horses, Toggenburg goats, chickens, heritage-breed turkeys, and bees.
Carol’s journey to tiny house living wasn’t without its obstacles.
Finding a legal place to park was a significant challenge due to zoning issues.
However, she found a landowner willing to enter into an agreement, allowing her to live on his land in a zoning gray area.
This arrangement, while not entirely legal, is not illegal either, offering her a temporary solution.
At nearly 70 and living with Lupus, Carol’s choice to live in The Dragon’s Nest is not just about affordability; it’s a lifestyle choice that aligns with her values and needs.
Her involvement in the community continues through volunteering at the local food bank and Habitat for Humanity.
She also shares her knowledge and experiences of tiny house living through her Facebook page, “The Dragon’s Nest.”
Building The Dragon’s Nest was a labor of love, filled with challenges, hard work, and moments of doubt.
Yet, through perseverance, Carol created a space that is uniquely hers and it’s a miniature paradise that she loves coming home to.
Take the full tour of Carol’s “nest” in the video below!
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