Saul and Trysh Martinez lived like any other young American couple – renting apartments and rooms while they worked and studied. However, when Saul became an occupational therapist and Trysh a speech-language pathologist, they started having big dreams. They wanted to become travel rehab therapists, working 13-week hospital contracts across the United States.
After seeing the tiny house lifestyle on social media, they wondered whether this way of life could be for them. After visiting Tru Tiny, a tiny house manufacturer in Eugene, Oregon, their minds were made up. They were going to make a tiny house for themselves. It took many hours and $25,000 in materials and labour, but their 22-foot-long tiny home was finally built and ready to hit the road.
Now that Saul and Trysh have been living in their tiny house in San Diego for over a year, they’ve gained insight into what it’s really like to live in a small space. They say it has made them more resourceful and minimalistic, but also financially freer. Rather than spending a fortune on San Diego apartment rents, they find a piece of land and pay a landlord for the use of that space.
Even though they say finding the perfect plot of land can be complicated, they appreciate the lifestyle that comes with living in a house on wheels.
Saul, an occupational therapist, and Trysh, a speech-language pathologist, built a 7 x 22 x 12-foot tiny home in San Diego to become traveling rehab therapists. They made it themselves, with the help of tradespeople, and spent a total of $25,000.
Deciding on the tiny home layout was one of the most complicated parts of the design process. Saul and Trysh thought long and hard about the high-frequency use spaces so they could maximise the space. They opted for an extra-large kitchen, knowing that they would spend the most time in there preparing meals.
Opting for a removable ladder rather than stairs to the bedroom loft also meant they could enjoy natural light, more counter space, and a cross-breeze, which were all essential features for Trysh.
As stunning as the kitchen looks, it’s not new. Saul and Trysh purchased the cabinetry second-hand on Craigslist for under $200. They gave them a fresh coat of paint in ‘Black Evergreen’ and added new handles.
Rather than install stairs in the tiny home, which would take up a lot of space, the pair opted for a ladder. When they need to access the bedroom and wardrobe over the sofa area, they move the ladder into place
The galley-style kitchen is certainly the heart of the tiny home. It boasts seven feet of counter space with a double-bowl farm sink.
There can be a lot of wasted space in the flooring of any tiny home, given that there’s a gap caused by the wheel well. They decided to utilise this space with seven-foot drawers. The drawers tuck away neatly under the kitchen floor and store clothing, footwear, and more.
The drawers under the kitchen floor are easy to pull out to access clothing for the day. They also match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry.
Windows can be one of the most expensive features of any regular or tiny home. However, Saul and Trysh didn’t buy a single window for full price. Many of them were picked up from Habitat for Humanity Restore stores, and some came from Craigslist. Their laminate flooring was free.
Saul and Trysh had custom cabinets made in the kitchen to utilise as much storage space as possible. There is a clever pots and pans rack underneath the fridge.
This tiny home even has a spice rack, which keeps the spices safely in place while Trysh and Saul make their way across the country..
While much of what Trysh and Saul included in their tiny home was purchased second-hand, they decided to opt for a brand-new couch. They were looking for something minimalistic, multi-purpose as a bed, and had storage. The Clara Sleeper from West Elm ticked all the boxes. They also picked it up with an outlet price to sweeten the deal.
Even though this tiny home only has conservative dimensions, Saul and Trysh still found space for a wardrobe. There is a nook above the lounge area that they can access with a removable ladder. Here, they store much of their clothing.
Bedrooms in tiny homes can typically feel claustrophobic and small, but that’s not the case with this one. Saul can comfortably sit on the bed with an 11-inch mattress, and he’s six feet tall. The skylight also offers additional headspace.
The bathroom in Saul and Trysh’s tiny home is quaint, modern, and surprisingly spacious. Trysh said if there’s anything she misses about a conventional home, it’s a traditional toilet and plumbing system. Though, Saul says he doesn’t mind.
As much as Trysh would love regular home plumbing, the bathroom is still her favourite part of the tiny house. She loves the DIY open shelves, four-foot cast iron clawfoot tub, and rainwater shower. The bathroom also features a mirror from her old apartment. Tying the whole look together are the beautiful waterproof laminate flooring and shiplap walls.
Follow Trysh and Saul’s life in their adorable tiny house on Instagram