Teeny house, big lie

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Teeny house, big lie
© Stuart Isett

As we were packing up our cottage last summer, my 14-year-old casually observed: “It’s good we’re leaving, while we still like each other.”

For 10 weeks of the year, my husband and I, along with our two sons, live blissfully in Nova Scotia in a two-room A-frame that measures roughly 320 square feet, accounting for the sloped roof. We sleep in the loft upstairs, which adds about 80 square feet. This puts our cottage within “tiny home” range, making us part-time members of a high-minded, green-friendly, cost-saving movement to live small in a world of super-sized mansions. As with many other tiny-home dwellers, we use a compost toilet. We bring in our own water by boat, take sun-heated showers outdoors and cook on the BBQ. On rainy days, we convert the dinner table into a ping-pong table.

I could leave it at that, with my eco-mom credentials secured, my brood stuffed in a birdhouse with the walls closing in. But that would be cheating. Our front view is the open ocean, as big and expansive as it gets. Our sun-drenched deck is as large as the cottage floor, a perfect work space. We regularly head over to Grandma’s house for laundry and a jacuzzi – there’s nothing a tiny-home inhabitant appreciates more than borrowed plumbing. Our boys spend their weekdays at sailing camp. For a tiny house, it’s big living.

But could we stay there, crammed together year round, through fall storms and winter weather? (Assuming, of course, we had insulation.) Could I handle 12 months of banging my head on the roof when I wake up in the morning, clambering down the loft ladder in the dark, having no place to read in private while cabin fever set in? […]

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