Small House Living on a Grand Scale

Have you noticed all the new shows about small house living? Recently, I caught two episodes of a show that may be a new show on HGTV, called Tiny House Builders. Have you seen it?

Tiny house living is definitely not for everyone, but in the two episodes I saw, they suited the homeowners very well. One was a young, single woman who I think was in college and couldn’t afford the expense and maintenance of a full-size home. The other was a young couple with four sweet kitties.

There was one feature in the small home the couple with the kitties built, with which I simply would not be able to cope. The toilet in their home was waterless, so waste (yeah, that kind!) would end up going into a bucket under the toilet that would have to be emptied once a month.

Uh, no. That’s just one step backwards in the evolution of home building that I’m not willing to make. It’s not always that way in a tiny house, though. I think most have normal bathrooms from what I’ve seen. I love these tiny little houses but not sure I’m ready to give up my dish storage. 😉

This has to be one of the cutest ones I’ve ever come across. Is it not adorable and look at that lovely setting! Notice the wood fanlight above the door, the red metal roof, the cedar siding and the sweet dormers. Lots of curb appeal!

Tiny Small House Living


I love the interior of this one more than any of the other tiny houses I’ve seen. I think I would change out a few things, though. I’d rather have a small sofa or loveseat where the two chairs are and a TV could be hung over the fireplace.  Better yet, they could build cabinetry/shelving on either side of the fireplace and put the TV in one of those areas. If the cabinet/shelving on the right stopped where the window above it ends, you would still be able to keep the drawers that are on that side of the kitchen.

Then, if there was space, I’d place two small chairs in front of the cabinetry facing back toward the sofa to create a nice seating group. They would need to be small chairs, no large wingbacks that would take up too much space and block the view of the TV. Can you envision it?

Love, love, love that open ceiling and stone fireplace! Notice the windows way up high…such a great light-filled space!

Tiny Small House Living 1


There’s actually a fair amount of storage in the kitchen. Even the area underneath the bar isn’t wasted.

Tiny Small House Living Room and Kitchen


Such a cute kitchen! I love all the windows…they are everywhere! The ones that are up high let in daylight without compromising privacy.

Tiny Small House Kitchen


The bedroom is just behind the living room area. I guess a screen could be put up to create privacy when company comes over. If space allowed, I’d rather have a skinny, non-load-bearing wall separating the bedroom from the living area. No skipping on making the bed each morning if company might drop by.

Instead of the built-in cabinetry housing the TV, I think I’d opt for closets with bi-fold doors.

Tiny Small House Bedroom


I absolutely love the shower/bathroom floor! Don’t you just love the rock spilling out of the shower onto the floor of the bathroom! Such a fun design and perfect for this house’s lakeside setting. That looks like a real toilet, too…a definite plus! There’s no tub so this isn’t a bathroom for leisurely soaking baths, but with all that scenery and a beautiful lake just outside your door, whose got time for soaking in the tub.

Tiny Small House Bathroom with stone shower floor


The back of the house is just as cute as the front with lots of great windows for taking in those lake views! I might have to put a screened porch across the back of the house. Yep, pretty sure that would happen! lol

Tiny Small House


Have you watched any of the Tiny House Builders episodes? They have a second show called Tiny House Hunters. I haven’t seen it, yet. I’m not sure I could live in a house this small fulltime, but it would be perfect for a second home on the beach, lake or in the mountains.

Could you live in a home this small fulltime? Where would the grandkids sleep when they visit? Inflatable air mattress? I guess the sofa could be a sofa sleeper…that would work!

See more of this home where these pictures were found at Country Living.

Tonita created the most adorable fairytale cottage and the cutest hen-house ever! Tour her home and the darling chicken coop in this post: A Dream Fairytale Cottage Comes To Life  Pssst: There’s wallpaper in the chicken coop and it’s the perfect paper for that space!

Living a Fairytale Life In A Little Cottage Home

Love a tiny house with a bright, sumptuous interior? Check out Sandy’s precious Victorian cottage in this post: Hunting Cabin Becomes a beautiful Victorian Summer Retreat.

Tiny Victorian Cottage, Small House Living

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  1. What a beautiful tiny house! Love it 🙂

  2. I happened to catch a lot of those shows last night. Some of the homes were just 250 sq. ft. & the bedroom in all of them were in a loft that had to be crawled into. I think it would take a unique couple to want to live that way & one episode that I watched was a family of four shopping for a tiny home.
    I love HGTV but have one complaint about their programming. They show the same type of show for hours, episode after episode. I get tired of the same thing & think they should have a variety instead of shows that seem like marathons. I know a couple of your followers mentioned seeing what they thought was a Fixer Upper Marathon recently. I think it’s just their regular style of programming. Sorry for the rant 🙂 & as you know, I love all of your posts & find them all very interesting & fun!

    • DiaNa Cole says

      And there is No Gardening! Argh! I hate that! DIY is just another offshoot of home building. I HATE what they’ve done to these two channels.

      • I do miss the old HGTV. I miss the gardening and crafts shows, too.

        • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

          I agree. I actually quit watching HGTV a few years back. I just gave up. They used to have interesting shows, like, If Walls Could Talk and there was another that showed you how to get a ‘look’ on a budget. I don’t remember the name of that show. They’d try to recreate a room designed by an expensive decorator and show you how to get the same look and feel, on a budget. And remember the show with the man who would have to try to figure out how to create a space for a husband and wife with exact opposite tastes? He always did a fantastic job getting them to compromise and the new addition was always beautiful. There were so many shows I used to love to watch, and they are ALL gone. I literally gave up on HGTV. I can still watch Househunters International if I want, online or on netflix.

  3. Maybe for an office/studio or for weekend company, but must have a “real” toilet. Cute to look at.

  4. They are cute, but just a little too small for me! I did see one however, that was built in the woods where the front of the house was made from nothing but windows. I really liked that one, maybe because the windows made the whole place seem larger.

  5. I lived in a 500 sq ft home for ten years (long tour through college). It had more than enough space for me. It was economic and a much better option than an apartment. I had my woods, wild life, pets and privacy.

  6. Marlene Stephenson says

    This would be okay for a summer cottage but, i could not live there in the winter i would go crazy. Maybe i have too much, sometimes i think it would be better if i had less who knows!!lol

  7. I’ll have to “look” for this show…some really cool storage ideas, etc. The bathroom HAS TO BE A BATHroom for me, though. 🙂 You know, I think if I were living single this would be a great alternative…my first apartment was tiny…franki

  8. I saw those episodes last night! I LOVE THEM. I have been thinking of tiny house living since I lived in two compact (read – TINY) cottages in FL back in the 1990s. And I love the tiny houses, as long as they have a real toilet! I can live without a tub, but not a real toilet. And I love Tonita’s little place and Sandy’s Victorian. I have seen these blogs before and I get emails on a blog all about Tiny Houses. My BFF and her hubby have just sold their 3 bedroom home and will be embarking on Tiny House life in less than 30 days. They sold off all their furniture and will live the life!!

  9. Linda Page says

    Hunting Cabin becomes a beautiful Victorian Summer Retreat was the first blog of yours that I saw. It was sent to me by a friend, I was hooked, and have been here ever since. That story appeared in June of 2011. Wow! I will have to find the HGTV shows about tiny houses. Have not seen them. Thanks.

  10. Jennifer Moreland says

    Tornadoes, Floods, where to go if there were a crisis? Too small and claustrophobic for me. I love to decorate for the holidays so my decorations would not even fit in this place. I love my privacy too. The only thing these would be good for is guest cottages. Never for a permanent residence in my opinion.

  11. I saw that show last night about the ‘no flush’ toilet and frankly it grossed me out. Just a little too rustic for my taste. Between that and that couples four kitties, me thinketh their house is going to be el stinko. :/

    I agree 100% with your design choices for this small house. The TV being where it currently is seems a little impractical…hard to watch while in bed as well as the living room. Definitely having a closet there would be so much more practical and a tv on the side of the fireplace would work nicely. Two slipper chairs that swivel would be good choices as well as a love seat for the living space. Not sure I would close in the bedroom though. Maybe hang sheer drapes from the beams if I wanted some kind of enclosure, but since I wouldn’t live in this space full time (too small) I think I’d leave it as is.

    • Composting toilets don’t have odors. Usually, an exhaust fan gets rid of them.
      With the water shortages in so many places in this country, you can expect to see a lot of them in the future. All we need now is for the people who write the building codes to wake up and get with the program.
      The waste from the toilet will be composted when removed and can fertilize the garden. Queasy people can use it in the flower beds, but animal waste is already used to raise much of the food we eat.
      Re: the bed, you make some good points. I might want to drape it all around with curtains that can be open or closed, like the beds in cold and damp european castles before central heating. I like the swivel chair idea, too. I have a couple that I love, since they can turn toward or away from the tv, which, here, is used for movies only. I didn’t think much of the “living room” furniture, so am guessing this is staged for photos. Plenty of opportunities for a buyer to make changes.

  12. Hi Susan,

    Absolutely LOVE this tiny house!!! Could live like this in about 15 years. I totally agree with everything you posted……adore the trusses and beamed ceiling, rock fireplace, also the white color palette, cabinetry, clerestory windows, and flooring. Perfect for a small home. I totally agree with your comments about the built in cabinetry to house the TV and the sofa to replace the two chairs. I would add a small drop leaf table to double as a sofa table and also a small dining area. They are SO functional and fit well into tiny spaces. I would also love a small screened porch…..more entertaining space! However, in 15 years when I’m 83 I wonder how much entertaining I’m going to do. LOL I also agree that a closet would be nice in the BDM area and would maybe do some built-ins around the bed for extra storage.

  13. I have watched the shows. They are ideal as a holiday home, because when you think about it, how many people go away in fifth wheels and trailers which are much smaller than those homes.
    A proper bathroom is a must for me, not outhouse living, thank you!!! 🙂
    How spoiled we have become wanting mega rooms just for impression. Think of the original settlers who did everything in one room, one woodstove and brrrrr….out to the outhouse for ablutions!!!!
    Having children does alter the equation, but I think a retired couple could live quite comfortably in some of them.
    BTW, in the model you have shown, how on earth do they watch t.v., do they sit on the bed? 🙂

  14. I think those tiny houses are so adorable – and I dream often of a *small* one bedroom cottage on a lake – which isn’t to say a TINY home, but SMALL. I wouldn’t dream of not having a bathtub or flushing sewer system, not even for a vacation home – just never would…but small? Yes, ma’am.

    This is by far the best tiny home I have ever seen, it’s actually beautiful and livable – and yes, the river rock “spilling” out of the shower is ADORABLE.

    Enjoyed this post very much, thank you, Susan.

  15. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Hi Susan, I have not seen that show, but this house is adorable! I love all the light. It would make an awesome guest cottage or ‘in-law’ space, or even a little mountain or lake home. But I don’t think I’d want to live in such a tiny place at this point in my life. When I was young and starting out, I would have been thrilled. It would be so much nicer than an apartment, as long as you were set up to care for the lawn and so forth.

    But I like space. I just do. However, it would be fun to stay at a place like this on vacation.

  16. My husband and I were watching that show the other night. It’s ridiculous. The girl was climbing up to bed with about a foot of headroom. These homes would make adorable little girls dream doll houses. For adults? Umm. I don’t think so.

    • I’m afraid my claustrophobia would kick in with that little headspace. I would at least need enough space to be able to comfortably set up.

  17. I haven’t watched these shows you mentioned, but I did read about Sandy’s little Victorian cottage several years back when Romantic Homes first published an article on it, NY Times after that.
    Oh yes, I could definitely live in a tiny house like this (but only if I was single). I’d swap my huge hot tub for one of these right now as a fun house. Forget the TV though (there’s a computer for that), but I’d put shelves flanking that fireplace (dishes!!), and I would place at least a partial wall (maybe sliding doors) for the BR. I LOVE this tiny house.
    Btw, I pinned Sandy’s cottage 3 yrs ago on Pinterest from the NY Times article, and after CLiving ran an article on these ‘she-sheds’ a couple months back, it started getting a whole new wave of interest and repins. I’ve forgotten which magazine I just read (either HGTV or BHG) where a couple had a small LR sectional custom made with twin size cushions so they could double for twin fitted sheets for company. That’s a great idea for one of these tiny houses, I think.

  18. I haven’t watched Tiny House Builders but I have seen Tiny House Hunters. In one of the shows, a couple was looking for a tiny house for them and their three large dogs! The houses are darling to look at but I think I’d go stir crazy.

  19. I could live in a tiny house, and I could even deal with a composting toilet (they don’t smell if you put the sawdust on properly) but I’d rather just dig an outhouse and use the extra space for a wall of storage or something.

  20. I did catch the end of an episode last week, it involved a couple that lived on Cape Cod I think. I think your post was awesome—I’m more interested in watching now. Not sure if I could live in a small space…maybe if I had a huge garden or was on a body of water or in the mountains or woods. It would have to have someplace open around me.

    Jane x

  21. My home is small enough right now….1500 sq. feet. I figure I have about 10 more years before moving into a senior housing complex, and that will be small enough!! I’m not for roughing it, and camping…….I need more space, not for things but to breathe, have company, room for pets, sewing, quilting and being creative!! I watch those shows from time to time, the homes are adorable, but I’d go stir crazy!!!

  22. Just think…people in Manhattan pay a million $$$ to live in studio apartments that size (Million Dollar Listing NY…another favorite show of mine!). I agree with the others who dislike the direction HGTV has taken – miss the crafts and gardening and the other shows people have already listed. And I don’t enjoy binge watching the same decorating programs. That is reserved for House of Cards and Orange is the New Black!! But I always enjoy your house tours, Susan, and especially your room by room commentaries. Keep up the great work!

  23. I also gave up HGTV and Food TV since they got rid of the real “how to” shows and would do marathons that I just wasn’t interested in. I actually haven’t missed it that much either!

    I have been researching tiny-type homes and minimalism in general. To me, there is a difference between what I could do and what I want to do. I travel for work a lot so I know that I could get by with a whole lot less. However, I know that some space is needed for me to truly live. Still trying to figure it all out. Yes, I am single with a child almost in college. Loved the pics but agree with your design suggestions. No way in @!#! would I have a no water toilet! And I definitely want public water for all the hot water necessary for my beloved showers. Hmmm. Maybe tiny home living isn’t for me! It would be a great series to look at smaller homes, and maybe homes for those of us starting to consider retirement housing. Worrying about the big yard and home upkeep gets old just like we do!

  24. Hey Susan! Thanks for all your great posts! We watched a few of these shows, and what we kept coming back to is the ones on wheels are really just upgraded trailers. Can’t imagine living in such a small space myself! My elderly American body would never adapt to crawling up and into bed! Along with many others who posted today, I really have fallen out of love with the HGTV and DIY channels. No gardening, no crafts! Everything also is turning into competitions! ‘Wars’, ‘Crashers’, etc. I enjoy seeing talented craftspeople working together in a collegial atmosphere to create something amazing, so I have gone back to PBS and THIS OLD HOUSE! Love those boys! (Sorry! Another rant!)

    • I think you’re right about them being basically mobile home/trailers. I was wondering if they can really stand up to a big storm. With all the tornados we get some years, I would worry about that. I guess if a big storm is coming, you head for the nearest neighbors house or something.
      You know, so many folks have commented how they don’t like the current programming. I wonder who is watching because apparently someone must be since they have gone this direction. Maybe we need two HGTV channels…one for folks who like all the house hunting shows etc… and one for us folks who would love to see more gardening, decorating and crafting shows.

  25. The house you featured is one of the prettiest tiny houses I’ve ever seen. I would want a bath tub, though, and a flush toilet…no composting toilet for me.

    I definitely could not have a lofted bed. I would kill myself going up and down the ladder and have nightmares about the ceiling closing in on me…lol.

  26. I have watched the Tiny Houses episodes and really like some of them, but I can’t help thinking that would only work for me if I could have an attached 1,000 sq ft closet. 🙂

    I love the house you featured. Perhaps we never outgrow our desire to live in the playhouses of our childhood!

  27. I agree with others who complained about the marathon episodes, but there is one that I could watch all day. It’s called Extreme Homes. It features unusual homes from all around the world. Love that show.

  28. bobbi duncan says

    Hi, Susan. I love the look of the house and I’m with you on all counts. I continually try to draw up small house plans because we really don’t need much space at this point in our lives, and I think it would be so freeing. I’ve come to the conclusion that we will have to give up a good amount of things I didn’t wish to let go, but we did it with every previous down-sizing, and I feel we can do it again. I would have to have a real bedroom, which we could give up to visiting guests, and we could sleep on a Murphy bed disguised as a closet in another room. The house would have to have lots of windows, especially up high where no one can see in, yet there would be light when lower ones have shutters closed. Lots of built-ins and closets ( I think that is more of a necessity for me as I don’t wish to give up family photos, books, dishes, and all my holiday/seasonal décor which makes me happier than square footage). There would have to be a porch and a screened in room so we wouldn’t feel hemmed in. The setting can really make a small home doable—if I’m on a more private lot looking out at great scenery all year, I could definitely do smaller. A basement, divided into storage areas, can make up for lots of above ground square footage, and a second bedroom and bath could work there, too. A small house can be built on a small lot, saving even more money. Of course, taxes would be much lower as well. It would be like living in a sweet playhouse, and isn’t that the dream of most women? I agree with Pam about the three HGTV shows she misses—they were my favs, too. Listen up, HGTV!

  29. The house that you featured, though tiny is adorable but I am afraid it would not take very long for me to show symptoms of cabin-fever … ☺. Re HGTV; years ago I use to tune into it however once they began featuring ‘reality’ shows I quickly tuned out, though I do make it a point to watch if Sarah Richardson is hosting a series. That said; do you remember Lynette Jennings? To me, she was the queen! -Brenda-

  30. I just wast a marathon of House Hunters- tiny homes edition, and I am soooo appalled by those people. What are they thinking?? Every couple is like “We need to have a full size refrigerator, dishwasher, king size bed, and I want enough room in the bathroom for us to be able to both brush our teeth at the same time.” And the realtor is obviously getting annoyed by the third home. She keeps repeating, “well, it is a TINY house.”

    Seriously, I hate those people. You don’t want a tiny house, you idiot. You want a small house. You want a medium size house. You want a one bedroom, one full bathroom, full kitchen, full living area house. That’s not a freaking tiny house!!!!!

    End rant.

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