For many, the idea of downsizing from a conventionally sized house down to a much smaller house seems like an extreme move to take. Yet, many seem to be taking that leap into the new and unknown, like Jewel Pearson, a tiny house owner living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pearson took a gradual approach to transitioning from the conventional lifestyle over to tiny living, moving first out of her four-bedroom home into a one-bedroom apartment, and then finally into a 360-square-foot custom-built tiny home sprinkled with lots of great small-space design ideas. Pearson's story was shared on an HGTV show a couple of years back, but you can watch this interview done by Tiny House Expedition for free:
Pearson's 28-foot-long home is an elegant gem that has everything that makes her feel content. She wanted a place with lots of windows, where she could watch sunrise and sunsets, as well as a 4-foot-long screened-in porch and a balcony above that porch where she could enjoy nice weather without too much fuss.
There's a lot to like about this house: the massive windows flood the space with natural sunlight, making it feel enormous. The regular-sized couch looks quite comfortable, and has a removable wooden surface on the ottoman portion to allow it to be used as a coffee table.
The kitchen is situated off to one side, and is equipped with a two-burner stove and a convection microwave. Also in this area is a huge closet, accessible via a sliding door with a lovely graphic on it. We often hear how tiny houses "lack" storage, but it seems that it depends on the person and the design: here, we see that Pearson made sure to incorporate plenty of storage from the get-go.
Here are views of the reading nook beside the closet, and the enclosed porch. This is a smart addition, as it expands the usable space, both on the ground level and up above with the small balcony that's been added on top of the porch structure.
At the other end lies the bathroom, closed off by a sliding door with a convenient full-length mirror. There's a combination Splendide washer-dryer here, and we like how the bathroom counter has been designed to incorporate it underneath.
Here's a view of the reading nook above the bathroom, reachable by a series of pipe-styled rungs above the couch.
The stairs going up to the bedroom loft is nicely done -- here we see that a rare appearance of the tiny house handrail (a reminder that safety is important when designing a tiny home)!
Pearson's home was designed by her, in collaboration with her sister and friend, both interior designers. As Pearson tells Little Things, it was a gradual but ultimately freeing process getting down to her own personal essentials:
I live tiny, but I’m not a minimalist, so I haven’t gotten rid of everything. Over the course of getting to a one bedroom apartment, I either gave away or sold furniture and clothing to pair down to the items I didn’t want to get rid of. I’ve kept the things that are part of who I am.
It wasn't an overnight process, as Pearson intentionally started downsizing back in 2005, when she decided to nudge herself toward a lifestyle that would allow her to travel more, and to live with less financial obligations. It's something she knew she wanted to do since her now-grown daughter was in kindergarten. Pearson's funny story is that she made an agreement with her then young daughter that if the little girl "made it big," she would buy her mother an RV. Pearson quips jokingly that: "My daughter graduated from Harvard Law and is an attorney so she technically still owes me."
Pearson had initially considered purchasing an RV, but after doing the math, realized that it would be quite expensive to buy and maintain. After finding out about tiny houses, something about them clicked with Pearson. She's since gotten involved in the tiny house community, as well as offering tours and consultations with people interested in tiny living, in addition to launching Tiny House Trailblazers, a website that highlights stories about people of colour who are living tiny.
Pearson's story is an inspiring one, showing that you don't necessarily have to give up all your possessions and creature comforts to live in a smaller home -- it's a matter of balancing your dreams with what you think you need to do or to let go to achieve your ideal of freedom. It's a process, and it can be done at your own pace, and it can be done with satisfying results. If you're interested in building something similar, you can find plans via My Gypsy Soul and Facebook.
[Via: Tiny House Talk]