6 June 2014

Blooming where we're planted :: Tiny house thinking

The other morning I was standing at the kitchen sink, craning my neck to try and catch a glimpse of the two-doors-down neighbours' new extension. In the years since we've lived here, as we've planted trees and welcomed babies, we've watched the two-doors-down neighbours' children grow up. The youngest is driving with L-plates now and her once home-based mother is part of the morning commute. We've watched and imagined a time like that in our future, when owlets have grown and money's less tight and maybe that longed-for extension, that studio or parent's retreat or extra living space… 

We've imagined waking up and looking across the river as the sun rises and warms our bedroom, overlooking the garden. We've imagined a breakfast bar and sweeping deck, or double-glazed family room and extended kitchen. We've imagined the suburban standard bedroom each and a studio. Oh the extra space! It was one of the attractive thoughts painted to us, on that first day we set eyes on our little green house, by an eager real-estate agent, playing the dream-making game.


Seven years in to our life here, we've begun building a garden that means the world to us. Our little nest is comfortable and well loved and lived in. We've spent happy nights with all our owlets squishing into our bedroom, sleeping on the floor if they must, just to be closer. Seriously, the amount of times we find ourselves in the same square meter of this nest is hilarious.We remember the large family who lived here before us and the childhood bedrooms we shared with siblings. The closeness, the company of shared quarters. How much space do we really need? 

Waking up in the morning, we sit up in our bed, overlooking the front garden and the river, as we watch the sun rise and start our day. We have a version of that dream already. And I'm back to craning my head to see the two-doors-down neighbours' extension and it dawns on me… 

We spend lots of time looking at and thinking about tiny houses. At life pared back to essentials and smart storage solutions aplenty. We imagine running away to an off-grid life and a tiny cabin in the woods. We think about it lots.  

Beautiful, quiet, winter morning. Just the owlets and me for a few days. Tiny has a cold. Endless hours of domestic chores beckon. This calls for a fire and umpteen cups of tea. #stillness #nestlife #owletnest

And then we remember Huz's job and the opportunity and potential it brings to create change. We remember the convenience of being near people and things we need, like activities for growing owlets and friends… And this garden. This house by the beach and bush, where owlets have been born, lost and grown…

What if we just stop here now? 

What if instead of expanding this house and imagining more here, we imagine less? 
What if we apply tiny house philosophy to our medium-sized house and just improve it?
What if our cabin in the woods has been here all the time
What if a mansion in the suburbs wouldn't create the connection and life we want


So we're creating for ourselves a tiny-house inspired nest. A little nest that we don't intend to grow, so much as improve. Slowly, we're refining and simplifying. The permaculture plan is slowly and steadily being implemented. The basic renovations we needed to do to improve the existing rooms are almost complete. A little touch-up here and there will see it feeling less tired. We just need to be smarter about how we fit us all in here. 

It means paring back. It means negotiations and long discussions with owlets about more and less and enough. It means simplifying. Giving away or selling whatever doesn't belong in our dream house. Because this is it. Here and now. We have what we need, now lets' make it what we want. Slowly. Steadily. This is home. 


A Memoir About What Happens When You Get Rid Of All Your Stuff ~ by The Minimalists
The Tiny House Family
Tiny House Living
Tiny House Swoon
Rhonda's fabulous book which has a chapter on this very sort of thing. 


  1. I love this post. We think very similar, although we're looking for a smaller place to live in. But going through a massive purge of our stuff so that we fit into a tiny space.

  2. This is just lovely. We live in a tiny house, all squish into a king size bed, and spend time in our small garden. I find myself often dreaming of bigger, better etc, but you've cracked it - being grateful for the here and now, shuffling things around, getting rid of 'stuff' and being content is sooo much more important. I'll read this again and again when I need a reminder ;-)

  3. You have a beautiful heartfelt home. I love these kinds of homes. I have rented my whole life and now with children renting an old house in the bush. I keep thinking if I have the perfect kitchen and lots of built ins I will be happier but the truth is, if I have less stuff I will be much much happier. A smaller house is cheaper to run too. I think small house and big shed! You can put everything in a shed like bikes, gardening and rotate seasonal activities. Perfect solution. I've read those links in the past, so very inspirational.

  4. This is a lovely post. We have a bigish home, not big compared to many but bigger than the homes that either of us grew up in and you know what....it's too big! We have storage space, guess what happens, we keep crap just because we have the room. I have an ensuite...who thought it was it a good idea to have a toilet facing into your bedroom, now I just have 2 bathrooms to clean and 3 toilets. Until this year we were a family of 6, eldest has left for uni and so we are 5. Often though we are only 2 or 3 at home as the kids are making their own lives. This place is too big...when the kids were smaller they were in the kitchen or the lounge room, that's where we lived all together and I loved it. We have a large wasted 2nd living space upstairs between the kids bedrooms which could be a lovely place for them but I didn't want them up there playing electronic games or watching tv, being isolated from us so I never did anything with the space. It has book cases, a keyboard, toys and a fold out sofa for guests. The girls are slowly spilling out of their small shared bedroom and now it's becoming their "beauty" parlour!! I say stay, I would love to be closer to town, don't extend they will soon be gone and then it's just more for you to maintain and clean..pfft who wants to be wasting their life dusting when there are so many more interesting things to be doing.

    cheers Kate

  5. I threw out 12 garbage bags back to vinnies the other week. With the amount of op shop browsing I found we had collected things that we so did not need.
    It is nice to cleanse - and be free of the 'stuff'. I like your sentiments in this post - being happy with what we have, we are indeed the lucky ones.

  6. This is such a beautiful mindset. Gratitude and re-imagining our ideal - seeing that what we have is not just sufficient, but more than enough - this is so good for us. Really hard to remember sometimes how frickin' lucky we are in this neck of the woods - running water, a roof, heat, these are luxuries that some will never know. I want to be more grateful and mindful of such things - and you've reminded me of that today. Thank you.

  7. This is such a beautiful post. Quite calming actually. I live in the suburbs and long to be in the woods, living a simple uncluttered life. It is hard sometimes for me to look around and just be grateful for what I have right now, which is a warm home and a wonderful family. More than that a person doesn't really need, do they? Thank you for the reminder. Love your photos too - they are warm and inviting. xx

  8. I loved reading this post. Yesterday I was looking at renting an allotment for extra garden space. These past few weeks I have started a cleaning job for extra cash to PAY FOR MORE STUFF. I procrastinate on making because I don't have the right tool or material for making. All these things are making me poorly sick.
    I should BE MORE CONTENT WITH WHAT WE HAVE. I have written this on the blackboard in our kitchen.
    When I look at this mantra / collection of words I can focus better and become calm. It is also a great reference to start those long conversations with family as you mention.
    Today I am stopping my cleaning job as it is not actually cost effective ( I can't blog , make work , run home life and home school efficiently enough ) I am also in too much pain to do the physical work . All roads lead to not continuing the job , not needing the extra garden space and actually BEING MORE CONTENT and SLOWING DOWN WHERE WE ARE.
    A small portion of our family nearly died in the Tsunami of 2004 and sometimes reconnecting with this event brings the real ness of our privileges with running water and a home with STUFF.
    Let's make do with what we have and enjoy and SHARE what we can and don't need. Find the right balance and there will be more HEALTH ANDA HAPPINESS.
    I am glad to find your blog and will go read some more.
    Happy Days
    Amelia x

  9. Great post. I hope it is a light bulb moment for some that read it. My husband and I built our house 15 years ago when our 4 children were aged 6 to 13. At the time we didn't qualify for a very large loan, so we built what we could afford which was a 14 square timber house with a loft. Basically a fairly modest house. My husband and I often talk about the ridiculous size of the houses being built, and I'm not denying that if we had more funds we probably would have built a slightly bigger house ourselves, and we are grateful for what we have. People forget that kids leave home (as ours have) and they will be left to rattle around in a big house and probably still paying a big mortgage (we are basically mortgage free). When we have parties we use our outdoor space even in the middle of winter (fires in barrels creates great atmosphere) and let's face it how often does anyone entertain the masses. "Simplelife" makes some very good points in her comment above. Your thinking is definitely on the right track.

  10. A lovely read and gorgeous photos (beautiful mirror). Our house is also small, with our two boys, sometimes seems tiny tiny. Like you we thought about extending out or up, but we have decided to enjoy the space and each other's company (there is really nowhere to hide!). We have a lovely big garden which I wouldn't want to loose an inch of. We do need to work on the simplify idea though. So, once we have the mother of all yard sales we will be all set!

  11. Oh my gosh Lauren! I just clicked with who you are - I did the PDC with you last year! So lovely to 'meet' you again here online. I just clicked on your Permaculture tab up the top, and the pics of the PDC caught my eye :)

  12. Yes!! This is completely my reality as well! We have a tiny little poky two bedroom house in the city, and while we do long for bush or beach my husband built a beautiful deck, our garden is slowly filling with fragrant and productive plants that we love, and we have welcomed all our family here - our dog, cat, daughter and little one still under construction! We have decided to stay and simplify, make do and bloom where we are planted, yes! I love your blog - what a beautiful discovery for me this windy winters day :)


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