My Mini-dom – LivingMini®

I admire my "mini" house

I admire my mini-house

West Marin, California USA

My Mini House

I have a dream of buying a parcel of land in Marin and building my own mini house. I talked about it, bought books about it, but didn’t really do about it. So this year, on January 1, 2009, I resolved to simplify my life.

I gave notice at my overpriced SF apartment and trolled Craig’s List for renting options. The first one I looked at was perfect: A 485 sq. foot mini house in West Marin. Nirvana!Within a month, I had donated most my clothes, ¾ of my shoes, ? of my jewelry, all CDs, all but 20 books, dishes, bedding, furniture, almost all my worldly possessions. I moved into a sweet little house tucked away in the foothills of Pt. Reyes.

Even though it’s less than 500 sq. ft. my new house is well appointed. It has sky lights, vaulted ceilings, concrete counter tops, built-in storage, stainless steel appliances, Travertine tile, hard wood floors, windows galore. Built by Ken, my landlord who is a contractor, it uses every bit of space brilliantly. I don’t miss the dishwasher. I miss the bathtub terribly. Even more so because I share my shower with a litter box (really, don’t ask).

My goal for this year was to see 1) how I liked living out in the country, and 2) how I like living in a mini house. I’m already psyched on both accounts and will never go back to a full-scale abode. I’ve seen the light, drunk the Kool-Aid. I have entered mini-dom, never to return.

My Mini Car

I needed a car and I’m ashamed to admit I did think about the Prius for a nano-second. (Give me a break, I live in Northern California). The Mini Cooper, though, was the only true choice.


Whoo, hoo!

I love my mini car! It’s totally fun to drive. I didn’t get the souped up S version and sadly it’s an automatic, but I did get the sun/moon roof, Bluetooth feature, and a better sound system— priorities!

I made one small (read: BIG) mistake when buying the car: I neglected to test drive it. I was so focused on negotiating the best deal it totally slipped my mind. (In my own defense, I had been renting Minis via Zipcar, so I had already driven the car many times.)

I wanted a new car, certain features, and an all-in price tag of under $25k. I was going to pay cash and buy it that day. (My car rental fees had climbed to $400-$500 a month and it now made financial sense to purchase.) Car color was not going to be a factor.

Off I went to the SF dealership to take a look at what they had in stock and get their “best price.” Then I hustled down to the South Bay dealership for the same. The South Bay dealer gave me a better deal, so SF had one hour to call me back with a better price. Off I went to grab a slice of pizza and ponder my finely tuned negotiation skills.

With minutes to spare, the SF dealer called back and met my price. The South Bay stood firm on their offer. One last ditch request for free floor mats and the deal was done! I headed back up to the city and signed the paperwork. I was in the passenger seat as we drove the car off the lot before I realized I hadn’t actually driven the car that I had just bought. Oops.

Mini-farm in the making

Mini-farm in the making

My Mini Farm

My friend Michelle keeps insisting my garden is a Mini Farm. What it is, is a plot of land, 10′ x 50′, designated for growing herbs — legal ones, unless you count the cat nip. I will also be growing cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

I’ve never gardened before and I have a strong aversion to worms, but I’m keen. I went to my first gardening seminar in March (free at Sloat Gardening Center) and learned just how complicated planting a garden from seed really is.

There’s the soil prep, the compost tea fertilizer, the “hardening” of tender shoots. Apparently I also need to fortify myself for the ensuing battle with slugs, gophers and birds. But I’m getting geared up.

Check back to see on how I progress. Right now, I’m still playing in the dirt.

Mini Kitty Kingdom

I don’t like to think of myself as a crazy cat lady, but if the shoe fits…

I LOVE my kitties Sgt. Pepper and Lovely Rita. I was part of the foster program at Pets Unlimited (disclaimer: a former consulting client) to nurture kittens that were too young or sick to be adopted out.

Lovely Rita at play in mini-kittydom

I failed miserably as a Foster Mother, adopting the very first set of kittens entrusted to my care. Sgt. Pepper and Lovely Rita were from a litter of 4 kittens found at a construction site. Lucy in the Sky and Hey Jude went to another foster family.

During the first few weeks in my care, I needed to take them to the emergency room no less than 3 times. Mostly they needed more fluids because they weren’t properly weaned and didn’t know how to eat. They used to put their entire faces in the food dish and emerge with food caked in their eyes. We don’t eat with our eyes silly kitties! (Although we sort of do, don’t we?)

Since I travel a lot, I have enormous mommy guilt. The solution: The Kitty Kingdom. Their new outdoor playpen has a penthouse, a cabana, and no less than 4 hammocks. Seriously royal digs. As my friend Paige said, the kitties have their very own mini house! And make no mistake, these cats rule our domain.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 10th, 2009 and is filed under Mini Makeover.

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