A lot of tiny houses nowadays seem to be getting bigger and fancier – a far cry from the radical simplicity that the first pioneering tiny home builders like Jay Shafer and Dee Williams were advocating over a decade ago!
While this trend toward “tiny house bloat” (as Treehugger Lloyd Alter has so aptly called it) is a bit disconcerting, on the other hand, it does seem to indicate that the tiny house movement is indeed becoming mainstream. And no matter how you slice it, even an extravagant 300-square-foot tiny house is always going to impact the environment much less negatively than a 3,000-square-foot monster McMansion.
Nonetheless, examples of tiny homes that return to the basics, such as this delightful 29-foot-long tiny house on wheels with a floating staircase made of reclaimed wood and an interior furnished with carefully selected second-hand and vintage accessories with their own family histories to tell, are heartening.
We get a great video tour of the place (which you can rent on Airbnb) via Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives: Located out in the Niagara region in Ontario, Canada, this lovely little house is situated on a peach farm dating back to 1810 – one of the first peach-growing spots in Canada.
The tiny house is part of Britney’s long-term plan to transform part of her family’s farm into a pet-friendly wellness retreat (or as she says, “wellness with WiFi”), perfect for visitors looking to reconnect with nature. The home is full of little touches that speak to Britney’s down-to-earth style, such as the star of the living room:
a mustard yellow futon couch, decorated with two old-fashioned pillows from her grandmother’s house. For storage, there’s a hand-woven willow basket, made from willow branches that Britney grew herself. In addition, there are adorable hand-felted items, and abstract punch needle decor – all made by Britney.
The main table sits along the wall in between the living room and kitchen and features a durable, vintage enameled tabletop Britney found through Kijiji, an online marketplace. Two of the table legs have been shortened so that they can sit directly on top of the house’s wheel well, thus saving some space. Completing the set are the deliberately mismatched wooden chairs, purchased from an antique auction.
On the other side is the other wheel well, which serves as a convenient ledge to put food and water bowls for pets, plus a comfy pet bed on the floor. The kitchen has a simple but functional layout: the main counter is off to one side and features a sink, and an overhead cabinet housing the microwave and pantry.
On the other side is another extra counter, equipped with a small oven, mini-fridge, kettle, coffee machine, and an electric conduction cooktop. By using this residual space under the stairs, more space is freed up on the other counter for preparing meals. The home is full of little items that Britney herself picked out over time, such as vintage teacups, tins, mixing bowls, and unique chairs – giving it a distinctly charming, old-time personality. She says:
“I adore vintage and thrifting, therefore I [thrift] as much as I can in here.” That’s the beauty of choosing old items: not only are they given a new lease on life, but they can also come with a fascinating backstory. As seen by the treads of these floating stairs, which were fashioned from salvaged wood from a friend’s grandfather’s barn. As Britney quips, the best narrative comes from the middle column of the stairs, which is an ancient beam from her family’s farm:
“The fun part is that I traded three goats and a sheep to get these stairs put in. So, you know, like, a classic small-town swap.”The sleeping loft has a queen-sized mattress, an operable window, and features photos of regional landmarks taken by a local photographer. The bathroom below has all the basics: a shower, toilet, and small sink and vanity.