For Annie Sea, music is life. The Portland-based singer and songwriter also wanted to lessen her impact on the environment while still having a private place where she could create. The Green Dream made all of those dreams come true.
Green Dream is her name for the tiny home she had built after considering other options such as living in a van or RV. Sea chose a tiny home because they have better insulation then either of the more mobile options and in the Pacific Northwest—that is a big plus.
Sea had been renting rooms in others’ homes before she had her current place built. “I lived with some wonderful friends, but it was challenging to find time to play and practice music and not disrupt my other housemates,” she says.
She took the leap to create the perfect home for her and her lifestyle and worked with Tiny Mountain Homes to modify one of their pre-made tinies to suit her needs. “The original design had a small porch, and we decided to build that out as part of the house. We also extended the storage loft by a couple of feet.” Sea made sure to plan every inch of her tiny home.
The home is built with cedar, which is resistant to mold and insects—it also holds up well to extreme temperatures. The wood is also lighter in weight, which makes it easier to move to a new location.
Once she figured out the specifications of the home, it was time to hunt for a place to park it. The house would need to hook up the main home’s electricity and water so there were logistical things to work out at well. Sea put an ad on Craigslist seeking individuals who would be fine with her lifestyle and space needs and to her delight, she got a big response.
“I heard from a surprising number of people, about 3-4 a week for a month. That reassured me that I would be able to find a place for the home, and I ultimately found my first landmates through that process,” she said.
You might think that a musician would have a lot of gear to store, and you would be correct. However, Sea took great care to plan literally every inch of her home to maximize storage. The ukuleles and guitars she uses to create her soulful, bluesy sounds hang on the walls of her home, and a narrow, low bookcase makes for the perfect spot for her keyboard.
During the pandemic, she built a storage couch. Under that custom couch, you will find her speakers, looper, and other gear she uses regularly. Sea says that she originally stowed her gear in a storage loft but moving them to her main floor made it easier for her to access her things quickly.
Other changes from the original plan include using an existing porch as part of the home and extending the length of her storage loft by a couple of feet.
Moving an Entire House
Her first home site was a little tight, she and her partner had friends with space on their home’s first floor and room on their land for the Green Dream. So after five years at her first location, she moved it. The experience was both exciting and nerve-wracking, she says, because of how much maneuvering had to be done to get the home in its first spot.
“When the original mover delivered it, he took over an hour to get the house in place, and it was within inches of touching the main house,” she says. “Then we had to manually move it a few feet forward. It was like that scene in 'Austin Powers!'”
That experience helped Sea know what she would need when hiring someone to take the home to its current location. “I found a mover who had a front as well as a back hitch on his truck, so he was able to maneuver the house at the right angle to remove it,” she says. “The removal went much more quickly than I thought it would. We were able to drive behind the house as it made the seven-mile journey to the new place, and it was wild to see my house just rolling down the road.”
Looking Toward the Future
After meticulous planning of her home’s build, when it came time to move, Sea said she had no regrets about going tiny. “I really love having a private area where I can experiment with different musical ideas and not worry about other people listening. It’s allowed for a very pure creative flow at times.”
Her current living arrangement strikes the perfect note for her needs. Sea lives in the Green Dream most of the time but can still use the amenities of the main house if needed. And she has no plans of getting rid of her tiny house any time soon. “I would like to always keep my tiny house with me in some capacity, perhaps turning it into a studio if we no longer need it as a living space,” she says.