By Carmen Chopp, Blogger of the Month for March
I am obsessed with tiny spaces and have been for the past several years. Treehouses, yurts, those adorable tiny houses on wheels, converted old school buses, Manhattan micro-apartments. Something about shedding my chaotic life of stuff and downsizing to 150 square feet of space sounds very appealing. Doesn’t it? The less you have, the less you have to clean and pay for. To that I say, Amen.
I am curious about how people who live in small spaces do it, especially if they have all of the trappings of, say, a six-person family. But instead of selling all our belongings, including the 4-bed, 2-bath home, and diving in head first, I thought it might be wise just to try it out, perhaps as a vacation.
Every summer my husband and I have a week to ourselves while the girls are away with grandparents and/or are at camp. One. Glorious. Week. Sometimes just being at home without them for a week is enough of a vacation, but oftentimes we find ourselves venturing out. One year we went to Las Vegas, another we went to Puerto Rico; we’ve had some good vacations, just the two of us.
To prepare for our trip this year, I rounded up a short list of tiny spaces we could rent to see how we’d manage it, and if we would both survive.
Who doesn’t love a treehouse? They bring out the kid in all of us. I don’t know about you, but we are loyal followers of Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet in the Chopp house. There is something so wonderful about the way Pete Nelson talks about treehouses, and his passion for them is contagious. The girls have been begging us to build one in our backyard, so it makes sense that we would consider a treehouse for this trip. And, since Hawaii is one place we’ve wanted to go, we could cross two things off our wish list at once.
Mahinui Na Lani is nestled in the lush foliage of a rainforest, adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and near active volcano Kilauea. The scenery is breathtaking, with endless trails for exploring, but the feature that put this one on my short list? The cedar hot tub on the deck. Ahhh!
The tiny house movement has been brewing for a while, but it picked up considerable speed with the financial crisis in 2008. I jumped on board in the last couple of years, fascinated by the concept of living rent-free, without a mortgage and off-grid, as they say. I wouldn’t make it long without Wi-Fi and running water — from a faucet, not a stream — but there is a lot to be said for simply decreasing your carbon footprint.
At 160 total square feet, The Moschata is the definition of a tiny house. Despite its small size, it offers all the modern amenities, including a shower and Wi-Fi. The strongest selling point for me, though, is that it is located across the street from the beach and a canoe/kayak launch. At only $79 per night, that makes it a great deal.
I am generally a straight-edges kind of a girl, so the thought of staying in a round space for any length of time is almost unthinkable. I love an adventure, though, especially if the round house is in the middle of mountains and near a river. The natural beauty that surrounds the Paonia Yurt is why this one makes the cut.
This tent-like structure is surrounded by a large, wraparound redwood deck, perfect for enjoying the scenery and observing the wildlife — elk, deer, eagles, and blue heron, to name a few. The property extends for a quarter mile below the yurt, to the edge of the Gunnison River, with a walkway extending down to the north fork. I really like that it is remote, but it gets bonus points for offering wireless internet. Plus, it has a hot tub and a fireplace. Score!
They say size matters, but for this trip, the smaller the better. Which one would you pick? Have you lived or vacationed in a small space before? If so, just how small was it?
Reality TV fan, dessert aficionado, beach lover, and champagne drinker. Carmen is equal parts wife, mother, and writer who authors the blog 4 Out The Door.