For those who are thinking about downsizing to a smaller house, but not necessarily a really tiny home, there are some inspiring ideas to be seen in this remodeling of a "shotgun house" -- a long, narrow and hall-less housing type found primarily in the southern United States (so-called because you could supposedly shoot a bullet straight through its open doors). Motivated by a desire to be debt and mortgage-free and to own their home outright, this lovely renovation was done by an Arkansas family for $15,000 in just six weeks. Check out a video tour of the house and hear how they did it.
The family settled on this shotgun house after deciding that RVs or mobile homes were too expensive and that 100 square feet was too small. In the process of shifting down from 2,000 to 320 square feet, this family still has the usual amenities of washer, dryer, storage, and a decent dining space.
Their 13-year-old son still has his own bedroom, which is lofted above the kitchen, where he can still host up to six (six!) friends (the family has plans to increase the height of the roof above his room). There's even spaces for two to eight guests, thanks to the living room sofa which transforms into a fold-out bed. Besides the house, there is a small workshop out of which the family runs their small crafts business. In all, they only have to pay rent for the land that the house sits upon, amounting to $145 per month.
FairCompanies provides more background on the video and how they moved from being shackled with house payments to being debt-free:
Two years ago, Debra and her family lived in a nearly 2000 square foot home on an acre and a half of land. Then her husband lost his job and they began to work 4 jobs between them to pay the mortgage, until one day they remembered they had a choice.
Before having their son, Debra and her husband Gary had spent 9 years living in very tiny homes in South America. Living small hadn't felt like a sacrifice, but a way to stay focused on what is important. They decided they wanted to get back to that.
They stopped working so hard, sold or gave away all of their extra stuff and began looking for the perfect tiny home. Debra had always liked the Mississippi shotgun style homes, and one day, while browsing Craigslist, they noticed an ad for a local Arkansas company custom building tiny homes for a price that could mean an end to house payments. Six weeks and $15,000 later they had their own fully paid-off dwelling. Today, Debra, her husband and 13-year-old son live in a 320-square foot home that is not a sacrifice, but exactly what they need.
This is another great example of how the tiny house movement isn't restricted to singles or to simplicity-seeking ascetics -- it can be applied to families wanting to avoid debt and clutter -- local zoning laws permitting.