Artist and writer Cathy Johnson doesn’t live in a tiny house, but she loves the idea of tiny cabin getaways. She has one about 30 miles outside of Kansas City, where she lives in a suburban bedroom community.
Category: Small House Living
We have had an unusually warm winter so far (I hope I don’t jinx that by writing about it) without any snow, we didn’t even fire up the woodstove for the first time until last weekend.
It’s that time of the year when we need to start stocking up on essentials. I’m running a bit behind this year due to what we’re calling our non-move back to the city.
But last week, I started to make some vegetarian red beans and rice on one of the last cold and wet days we’ve had.
I looked in my pantry and sure enough, I didn’t have any vegetable stock. (more…)
Baby, it’s getting cold outside, which means we have to have some kind of heat going in Our Little House and the Belle Writer’s Studio on a daily basis.
We have three different kinds of heat. In Our Little House, we have a wood stove and one of those electric oil heaters.
In the Belle Writer’s Studio, I have a wall mounted air/heat pump combo. If you’re getting ready to build a tiny or small home, it’s good to know your options and the pros/cons of each:
When we moved to Our Little House eight years ago, it was partially for a desire to escape city life and live on the lake full time. But at least for me, our move was also fueled by a desire to escape our hometown, the place that held so many memories of my mom, who I had lost earlier that year.
After that raw grief subsided and we survived the Great Recession, we dreamed of returning “home.”
Most people know that happiness in one’s home looks different to everyone, at least most people in the Tiny/Small House Movement recognize this.
We have found contentment in the freedom from cleaning and maintenance, consumerism, huge mortgages and utility bills and the freedom to do more of what we love with those we love.
Most tiny and small house dwellers are also very careful not to disparage those who haven’t downsized or don’t think they could ever live tiny or even small.
No harm, no foul. To each their own and all of that right?
The other morning, while watching the morning news on television while Dale got ready for work, my drooping morning eyes grew wide watching an ad for Haverty’s, Furniture, a 130-year old retailer based in Atlanta. Its website describes the company as one of the “top furniture stores in the south.”
The ad shows a couple talking to another couple in a large home. They begin talking about their furniture, which one of them explains was designed by Haverty’s.
The rest of the commercial goes something like this:
Man: We were just so excited to get out of that 100 square foot space.
Woman: How big is your house now?
Man: 3,000 square feet. We still have the original structure in the backyard, she uses it as a yoga studio.
The camera pans to a tiny house outside the window.
Woman: More like a tool shed.
I admit that I’ve called very large homes McMansions. There are several definitions of “McMansion.” In my mind, it’s not a derogatory term, but one that just describes upsizing, as in a regular McHamburger to a Big Mac. Everyone makes their own choices and I’m good with other people’s, as long as they don’t judge or interfere with mine.
As a small home dweller, I do take exception to my home being called a “tool shed.” First of all, as the Tiny/Small House community collectively enters the new frontier of selling the benefits of having tiny and small home communities to codes officials, the attitude that they are unsightly shanties or “sheds” is not helping the effort. Second, what if a tiny house is all of the home one can afford? Should it be compared to a tool shed?
As a business school graduate, it really kind of blows my mind that a company, one that describes itself as “one of the leading furniture stores in the south” doesn’t see the potential new marketing demographic and create a line of furniture for our “tool sheds.”
I know it’s become chic to run others down in our society, our politicians do it, celebrities do it and it’s done in advertising. But I couldn’t help sharing my thoughts with Haverty’s on its Facebook page: “I know the Tiny/Small House Movement isn’t in your sales demographic, but your latest television commercial comparing tiny homes to “more like a toolshed” are insulting to a growing demographic of people who are finding that living a more simple lifestyle is right for them. You would think your marketing gurus would understand the growing trend and recommend that your company try to embrace the movement by designing furniture that would fit in a tiny home. We have been living in our 480-square foot cabin for 8 years now and love it. We also love the furniture we’ve found that complements our home. Personally, I’d rather live in a “tool shed” then find the need to judge or degrade anyone else’s lifestyle choices. I would NEVER shop or recommend your store to anyone.”
If you agree, you can tell Haverty’s on their Facebook page or Tweet @Havertys, using the hashtag #myhomeisntatoolshed.
What do you think? (The comment button is upper right next to title)
Hello, Loyal Living Largers! It has been forever since I posted on the blog and with good reason. I’ve been working all spring and summer on Living Large in our Little House, the book! The original release date was pushed to March 2016 so we could make it as fabulous and informative as possible.
The book includes our expanded story, as well as stories of small and tiny house moves by other Living Largers. I will post more details later.
In the meantime, We’re celebrating 6 full years of the blog’s original launch by giving Living Large a fresh new look.
You can now search for subjects via the tabs above and also put keywords into the search function to find your favorite articles.
For the past half dozen years, I’ve been posting mainly about our story. In future posts, you will see more informational type pieces that will help all of us move forward in our tiny/small house lives!
Please let me know what you think of the new look and what articles you’d like to see here in the future!
Thank you so much for being such loyal readers!
Living Large in our Little House
Hanging on the wall directly across from my desk in the Belle Writer’s Studio is a framed copy of my first published article.
The essay, which was published in my hometown paper, The Kansas City Star, is about my childhood and what a great place my neighborhood was for growing up.
In my childhood, the kids on my block rode bicycles, played spy games in the alley, played unorganized sports such as Red Rover, Hide-n-Seek and baseball games in which we were in control of enforcing the rules.
The only two admonishments from my mother was 1). Do not leave our block without asking. 2). Either listen for her to step out onto the porch and call me home for dinner, or come back to the yard by the time the street light came on.
We were allowed to walk up to the store – an early century brick building that was once the township’s general store – for penny candy and a .25 cent (glass) bottle of pop. We jumped in mud puddles in the rain and had unsupervised snowball fights in the snow.
It was a time when kids were allowed to be kids, we were given more responsibility if we learned to follow the rules, which taught us about independence. We learned to use our imagination and develop social skills with our friends. We solved problems amongst ourselves.
It’s those memories that make me so sad every time I read a story such as the one about the parents in suburban D.C. who are being put under the microscope for allowing their two children, ages 6 & 10 to (GASP!) walk to a park by themselves and play.
Twice, these parents have been put under investigation by Child Protective Services. At least once, the children were held for hours before their parents were even notified. The children sat alone in a police station without even being offered anything to eat at dinner time.
BUT, you say, children are at risk, anything could happen to them out there, right?
Actually, according to statistics on crime and childhood accidents, there has never been a safer time to be a child. Risks exists, just as they do throughout life.
But consider this: There is only a 1 in 1.5 million chance of your child being abducted. That is less than the risk of being stuck by lightning, which is about 1 in 500,000!
Apparently, just as it has with the risk of a pit bull bite, the media has created a mass hysteria that there is a boogey man behind every streetlight.
What does this have to do with tiny/small house living?