TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT INTO THE CONSTRUCTION OF YOUR TINY HOUSE?
MARINE: Hi, I'm Marine, I'm a French-Aussie, and I've been living in Sydney for seven years now. I run a graphic design & illustration business (Kalea Marine Designs), and I'm the co-founder of Hang 10 Distillery with my partner Deon. I love surfing, going on adventures and being close to nature. I got into building our tiny house when meeting Deon; we actually talked about tiny houses on our first date haha. Somehow, we quickly made it happen as we didn't want to rent another apartment and wanted to do something different. I always loved tiny houses and their concept, so it was fantastic to be meeting someone who had the same ideas as me!
DEON: I grew up in northwest Sydney (the hills) and recently changed career paths from Acoustic Consultant to running a Distillery focusing on turning food waste (bread) into delicious spirits. I have been taking things apart and fixing things my whole life; my strength is in problem-solving. So I knew that building a tiny house would be a challenge, but I was confident I could learn what was needed to build the house. The main driver was about choosing a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing our environmental impact on the earth. We also like the flexibility of being able to move locations if we need to.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING, YET REWARDING THING ABOUT BUILDING YOUR TINY SURF HOUSE?
MARINE: It's definitely been a journey!
The most challenging is the relentless to-do list, always something to do, yet you can't do it all at once. Sometimes we had to wait for something specific to get done to move on to the next step so that can get frustrating. And sometimes, I was just sick of building and not being able to relax and do other things. We definitely had to slow down to get it done, so lockdown might have helped in insight!
The most rewarding thing is the result and having something that genuinely feels our own. Sometimes we forget how far we've come, and we have those pinch-me moments where we think, "wow, we built this ourselves!". The technical and emotional skills I learnt along the way are also priceless.
DEON: For the challenging part, it was the sheer amount of work involved and needing the commitment and determination to keep going even when things are annoying or not going to plan. But by far, the most rewarding is when things start taking shape, and you see a construction site turn into a home. It's a fantastic feeling living there and knowing we created this from the ground up ourselves.
AS STATED IN YOUR BIO, YOU ARE ON A JOURNEY TO REDUCING YOUR CONSUMPTION AND SUSTAINABLE LIVING, WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICE THAT YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY, AND WHY?
MARINE: I love and deeply care about the ocean and the planet, so I've always been super conscious about the amount of plastic that's in our lives. And also about how much we can also consume and the consequences of that.
Living a zero-waste life isn't easy; it takes a lot of effort and is sometimes pricey. But by choosing to live in a tiny house, being in a limited space, and being so close to nature by being off-grid also, I wanted to embrace sustainable living.
We currently rely on solar panels only for power, and we started shifting our habits to remove plastic from our lives as much as possible. We try to think twice before buying something and buy second-hand where we can. I think being conscious of what we purchase was a huge step in trying to be better.
DEON: Another sustainable practice we are learning and dealing with is composting. We make sure to compost our foods to reduce our garbage amount and how much goes to landfill. We also have a compost toilet (a common thing in Tiny Houses), so we are constantly learning how it works and how to get it right. It's definitely a learning curve!
''I THINK MAINSTREAM SOCIETY SHOULD NORMALISE REDUCING CONSUMPTION... INSTEAD, OUR SOCIETY PRAISES LARGE HOUSES, EXCESSIVE LAND AND CONSUMPTION AS A SIGN OF SUCCESS.''
WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT TINY HOUSE LIVING THAT YOU WISH MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND SOCIETY WOULD NORMALISE?
MARINE: So many things! A few I can think of:
- Being more conscious about single plastic use
- Normalise buying second-hand (when possible)
- Shop with ethical and environmentally friendly brands
- Learn more about composting to reduce the amount of food going to landfills (which increases Co2).
- Get interested in off-grid living and solar power
I know it can sometimes feel overwhelming to start being more sustainable, but every little step can count for a better future on earth. I always think "Progress over Perfection" is better.
DEON: I think mainstream society should normalise reducing consumption, living more sustainably and offer alternative living situations. Instead, our society praises large houses, excessive land and consumption as a sign of success. I hope this can change in the future and make it better for future generations.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH FROM WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED LIVING SUSTAINABLY IN YOUR TINY HOUSE TO NOW?
MARINE: I'm still learning and growing! I'm trying to shift my mindset and look for alternatives wherever I go to be more sustainable. I don't think I am that minimalistic, but I intend to be more mindful of what I possess and what enters my life. I want to be the best version of myself and not burden the planet and future generations. It's an exciting journey!
DEON: Yeah, as Marine said, still learning and growing. I only wish our living situation was a bit more permanent (we are currently renting and might have to move again) to set up a vegetable and fruit garden to be even more self-sufficient. But I am excited to deal with what we have and happy to have already the opportunity to improve our lives in our lovely tiny house environment!
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE TINY SURF HOUSE INSTAGRAM @tinysurfhouse TO FOLLOW MARINE AND DEON'S JOURNEY.