Living Large In Our Little House

My House Isn’t a Tool Shed

Tiny house ad ii

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)

Living Large’s New Look, an Anniversary and Thank You!

Welcom to the cabin

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!

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell,

Living Large in our Little House

What Does the Free Range Parenting Movement Have to do with the Tiny House Movement?

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?


Cooking for Sunday Funday at Our Little House

Sunday afternoons around Our Little House are all about the food, baby. When we lived in the city, you could usually find us on Sunday evening gorging at our favorite local Mexican diner.

Since moving to Our Little House, we use Sunday as a day of R&R. We don’t like to go anywhere because Dale has to drive every other day of the week and driving into town even gets exhausting for him.

So, in the winter, we cook up some comfort food.

In the summer, after a typical Sunday morning of boating, it’s all about the grill.

It’s been two years now (I do not know where the time goes) since I went on a mainly plant based (vegan) diet.


Is it a Tiny and Small House Movement or Something Else?


Front of the house showing the covered porch

When I began writing about the Tiny House Movement for my upcoming book, my editor took exception with the word “movement.”

She thought it sounded like it had some sort of political connotation. The technical definition of a movement is, “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.”

I understood her concerns, but it is a type of social movement to what we think is a better way of life.

I responded to her concerns by telling her it had been labeled a “movement” by the media for so long, that if we didn’t refer it to that in the book, it might confuse people that this is something else other than what articles, books and television shows such as “Tiny House Nation” were talking about.

However, last week, on the Living Large Facebook page, Matt also took exception to the term movement, saying that after he’s followed it for 5 years, he feels “the term is now outdated and makes it sound hairy fairy and not a credit to making a change to the way we choose to live.”

What do you think, Living Largers? Is it a movement? If not, or you think the term is overused/outdated, what would you call it? Click on “the comment link above the photo (below the headline) to join in on the conversation!

Taking the Chill Off




The past few mornings have been chilly, not cold enough to warrant our wood stove and definitely not cold enough to warrant turning on our expensive electric heater.

My mom came from a generation where the focal point of the home was the kitchen. If she wasn’t watching television (which she rarely did) or not creating a piece of art or working in her gardens, she was sitting in the kitchen, usually with a cigarette and a cup of coffee.

On mornings such as the one we’ve been having, she would say, “I’m turning on the oven for a bit, just to take the chill off.”

In a small home where the kitchen is oftentimes part of the living area, a few minutes with an open oven door on a chilly morning is all I need.

I turned on the oven yesterday morning just to take the chill off and though I don’t smoke, I sat and enjoyed my coffee, silently thanking my mom for the warmth on a chilly morning.

How to Make Money Homesteading Book Giveaway


Since many people are looking at New Year’s goals, I try to recommend a few books this time of year that could help Living Largers achieve their dreams. Many people have asked for ideas on how to make a living from home while living a simple, rural life.

Tim Young put together some of those ideas in his e-book, “How to Make Money Homesteading.”

Tim is also giving one Living Larger a chance to win a download of the book for free. Read the short Q&A, make a comment on this post on why you would like to read the boo and like Living Large on Facebook (if you haven’t already). Comments to this post must be made before 5 p.m. CST on Thursday, December 11. I will draw a winner and announce it on the blog on Friday. You must leave an email address where we can reach you if you win.


Living Large: How did you come up with the idea for the book, what  is the purpose?:

Tim: Like a growing number of people in the past decade, we are first-time farmers/homesteaders who moved from urban life to rural life. There’s a ton to learn when you make that kind of transition, much of it related to how to grow food, tend to livestock and develop skills that enable you to produce what you need rather than consuming and buying, as most people do. However, there’s another very real need that most new homesteaders realize when they take the leap, and that need isn’t written about as much. It’s the need to make money so that you can enjoy the freedom of living independently off the land. In the decade we’ve been homesteading and farming sustainably, we’ve explored numerous income producing areas that range from offering meats and dairy to classes and events and, of course, writing and online ventures. With How to Make Money Homesteading, I wanted to share some of our experiences, but really wanted the content to be broader than our own personal story. So I researched and sought out 18 other homesteaders/preppers/small-scale farmers, such as yourself, and shared their stories as well. Taking the leap from a world of suburban convenience and comfort is daunting for most people, so I wanted readers to see how many others have done that…and lived to tell about it. The primary aim of the book was to offer ideas of how income can be produced, rather than to show in step-by-step detail how to make money in any particular endeavor. In the end, each person has to consider their own markets, experiences, resources and desires to choose the best path for them. It is my hope that this book can give them the inspiration and ideas they need to get started.

Living Large: What is one of the most interesting stories of how a person is making a  living homesteading?:

Tim: I was surprised to see how many people, including yourself, are supporting their homesteading life through what many would refer to as “non-traditional” homesteading activities. These include freelance writing, consulting, blogging, e-commerce sites and DIY manuals, selling essential oils and so on. Sure, there are many examples in the book of folks selling wood crafts, cheese, soaps and more “normal” homestead products, but technology has bridged the gap between many people’s life experiences and distant markets, enabling them to take the leap with increased confidence.