Legally Tiny

In 2015 I had an idea for a site–I wanted to share the stories of people who had found a way to live in a tiny house legally. Finding a place where the regulations and zoning allow building a tiny home, or allow living in a tiny house on wheels, can be a challenge–and in fact, it’s probably the biggest stumbling block for most tiny house lovers. And since it would be impossible for one person to collect the regulations for every state, county, and city in the United States, and even more impossible to try and track all the zoning in those same areas, a database of places seemed like a bad idea. Regulations and zoning can be fluid–changing all the time–and even if a regulation appears fairly fixed, it may be possible to find a way around it with a variance or conditional use permit. So a static database was definitely not the answer.

But a site where I could collect the stories of people who had found a way to live legally in their tiny house? That could be interesting!

During a lull in my schedule during law school, I bought a domain, and LegallyTiny.com was launched. I found some good stories to link to, mostly on YouTube. But when the demands of school took over my life again, I didn’t keep up the site. My feeling was that it would be there, when I was ready to get back to it, and it would still be a good idea, whenever I got back to it…

This week I finally got back to it! And I do still think it’s a good idea, and that it will be useful for anyone thinking of building or buying a tiny house. There isn’t much content on the site yet, but you can browse for stories based on a particular state or city, or you can look for stories about tiny houses on a foundation or on wheels.

A lot has happened legally in the tiny house world, since I started the site in 2015–there is now a section of the IRC building code on tiny houses, which is a huge deal. So it’s a good time to be starting a site on the changes to that world. I’m looking forward to what comes next, and I hope if you have an interest in tiny houses, you’ll check out my first new post in a while, where I ask the question, How Big is a Tiny House?

LegallyTiny.com

Those who inspire us to dream bigger…

Back in 2011, while I was sick and not capable of doing much, I started to follow two blogs, both by women building their own tiny houses: Macy Miller and Ella Jenkins. At first it wasn’t as much about them both being women, as it was me just liking their houses, and enjoying the way they wrote about the building process. But over time, I grew more and more inspired by them both. Neither had any building experience, and both were doing most of the work themselves, with a little expert advice, when needed. Their two houses could not have been more different–Macy’s was artistic and modern, and Ella’s was traditional and a little whimsical–and I loved watching it all come together, over the months, on their blogs.

Since then I’ve become friends with Macy. I help her moderate a Facebook group with over 40,000 members, called Tiny House People, and when I was building my own house, I went to her for advice on the structural engineering, since she’s an architectural designer, and extremely knowledgable on the topic of tiny houses! Her house has been featured in Dwell Magazine and TIME Magazine, and may be the most well-known tiny house on the planet.

 
Then tonight I came across a comment from Ella on a post on Facebook, and seeing her name sparked all these happy memories of reading her blog, all those years ago. So I clicked on her name and the first post on her timeline was a video for a song she just recorded. She plays the harp, and actually included a tiny room for her harp, in her tiny house. I remember hearing an earlier version of this song, “It Ain’t Workin,” several years ago. But this version is more polished, and her voice is amazing!

So I’m sharing that video from Ella, and while I’m at it I also want to share my favorite of all the videos that feature Macy–it was made by the Google SketchUp Team, and it’s pretty great!

I think it takes a certain kind of personality type to want to build your own house, and it takes real guts to actually make it happen, so kudos to anyone who has ever built their own dream house! And special appreciation to the people who inspire us to dream bigger, and do more–and both of these women fit that description for me, and for so many others. Both of them are incredibly inspiring, for so many reasons!

 
And perhaps it’s even more inspiring to see what they’ve done after they built their houses.  Both have continued to dream big, and are accomplishing big things. Macy has been on the road for a year, with her family, in a tiny camper they built–so a second tiny home for the road–and she’s documenting it all. And Ella has released an album, and now a video.

Macy always says “it’s not about the house, it’s about the lifestyle the house provides,” and I agree. I also think that doing something really big, like building a house, even a tiny one, can change your life forever. Make your life bigger and better, and more fulfilling. Give you the courage to go after new challenges… Because honestly? If you’ve built a house, you can do anything!

 

Happy New Year!

The first day of 2018 was gloriously beautiful in Trinidad! The sun shone, and it was good…

Here’s to an excellent year ahead! Happy new year everyone!

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California
This shot looks like an ad for a car, and it made me wish I could get a shot of my own car in this spot? Maybe someday…

Trinidad, California

New Years Eve in Humboldt County

A crowded beach day in Humboldt County...
A crowded beach day in Humboldt County…

Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Beach

Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Beach

Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Beach

Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Beach

Luffenholtz Beach County Park
Luffenholtz Beach County Park

Luffenholtz Beach County Park
Luffenholtz Beach County Park

Trinidad, California
Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California
Trinidad, California

A Rainy Day in Trinidad, California

Looking south...If you come to Trinidad, just know that you’re more than likely going to encounter some wet grey days.

When the sun does come out, it’s glorious!

But you aren’t guaranteed sun every day, or even every other day.

Some days it’s just grey, and wet, and a little dreary…

And if I can find some beauty on those days? Then I know I’m doing something right!
Looking south from Houda Point
Looking south from Houda Point, towards Arcata and Eureka, California.

Ferns and Moss
Ferns and moss on the black rock this part of the California Coastline is known for.

Luffenholtz Creek access to the beach
Trinidad Head is almost completely obstructed by fog–you can just make out the base of it, in the distance. This was shot from the Luffenholtz Creek access to the beach below.

Luffenholtz Beach County Park
Above Luffenholtz Creek access to the beach.

Raindrops on Wildflowers
Raindrops on one of the few remaining wildflowers, even though it’s the middle of winter here.

There are still a few wildflowers left, even in December.
There are still a few wildflowers left, even in December.

Luffenholtz Beach County Park
Luffenholtz Beach County Park

Trinidad, California
Another shot with Trinidad Head almost completely hidden by fog, taken from the south.

Trinidad, California
I think this may be known as Camel Rock…

Carson Mansion and the Pink Lady

The Carson MansionCarson Mansion was built by Northern California’s first major lumber baron, and is arguably the most famous Victorian house in the United States. How many Halloween decorations have you seen, with a haunted mansion that sort of look like they were based on it?

It’s also one of my favorite houses, and I was super excited to see it for the first time, and even more excited to come back with my camera, and finally get some images of it.

Built from 1884-1886, the Carson Mansion is located in Old Town, Eureka, California, right on the water. It was the home of William Carson and his heirs until 1950, when the remaining family left Humboldt County. They sold the Carson Mansion to a private club for $35,000, and the Ingomar Club still exits today, and has done a wonderful job maintaining the house for almost 70 years.

The Pink Lady, sits across the street from Carson Mansion, and was built in 1889 as a wedding gift for William Carson’s oldest son. It too is a magnificent example of Victorian architecture, and is part Queen Anne, with some Eastlake, Italianate, and Stick features, and was designed by the same architects, Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom of San Francisco.

Carson Mansion, Eureka, California

The Carson Mansion

The Carson MansionThe Pink Lady, Eureka, California

The Pink Lady, Eureka, California

The Pink Lady, Eureka, California

The Carter House InnThe Carter House is a replica of the Murphy House, a home built in 1885 in San Francisco, which was lost in the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. The Carter House was constructed in 1982, using the original plans by Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom, which had been discovered in San Francisco. Newsom and Newsom are the same architects who designed both the Carson Mansion, and the Pink Lady, and the Carter House is located just a couple of blocks away, in Old Town, Eureka.

Carson Mansion in 1902
This historical image was shot in 1902, by an unnamed National Park Service employee, and shows how the Carson Mansion looked almost 20 years after it was built. Eureka is still a great place to ride a bike!

Trinidad California, Before the Storm

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Trinidad Head, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Trinidad Head, California.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Don't Park on the Beach // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsLittle Head, Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Probably the best plan is to just not park on the beach!

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsTrinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Little Head is the miniature cousin to Trinidad Head.

Must Love Fishing // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
These guys must love fishing to brave the wind and cold, and later the rain…

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
The pier in Trinidad juts out between Little Head on the left, and Trinidad Head on the right.

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Beside the pier, between Trinidad Head and Little Head is the tiniest sliver of beach…

Windansea // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Ocean Cottage // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Holy Trinity Church // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Holy Trinity Church

Trinidad Eatery and Gallery // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Trinidad Eatery and Gallery

Trinidad Bay Bed and Breakfast Hotel // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Trinidad Bay Bed and Breakfast Hotel

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Looking north, toward Pewetole Island, in Trinidad, California.

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
A very old boat, in Trinidad, California.

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Trinidad, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Little Head from the pier, looking toward the bay.

December Wildflowers // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

In the Fallbrook Village News…

My hometown paper, the Village News, published this back in June, and I just found it!


Spelts graduates from Trinity Law SchoolSpelts graduates from
Trinity Law School

Last updated 6/26/2017 at Noon

SANTA ANA – Cheryl Spelts of Fallbrook was awarded with the juris doctorate from the Board of Regents of Trinity Law School during commencement exercises held at the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton May 30.

Go to the Village News…
View a screenshot of the page on the VillageNews.com