Today, I went to see Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, read at the library. 15 minutes before things were to get underway, Williams came in and asked if we wanted to see her tiny house now, rather than after her talk. The room was already almost full, and we all filled out, making quite a ruckus in the library, totally clogging the one aisleway that connects the meeting room to the front door.
Behind the library sat Williams’ vargo, Jolene. With eyes of green and red hair, it’s **tiny**. 56 square feet! And adorable. It’s on a trailer that only has two wheels. Whoa!
The gal ahead of me mentioned she lived in a 350 square foot houseboat. I mentioned that seemed to be the right size for me. I mentioned I couldn’t imagine living in a house this tiny. And then I got up close enough that I could look in. And then I stepped inside.
It’s simple. Walk in the door, and on the right is the kitchen. No sink, just a one burner stove that could be put away. Below the the counter – lots of storage (or, at least, as much storage as will fit under a counter).
The vargo feels like it’s all windows. In fact, there’s glass in each door, and then two windows on each of the other walls. And so light-filled.
Ahead of you, a built-in couch which pulls out into a full-sized bed. It’s beautiful. The roof/ceiling is curved, as you’d expect from a vargo. Gorgeous! And of course, drawers and baskets under the couch for storage.
And then, across from the kitchen, the desk. Under the desk, the chamber pot!
Williams’ vargo is her Portland office, her retirement home, and her bring-along for book tours. It assumes that Williams will have access to a shower, a kitchen sink, etc, in another place.
As I went back into the library meeting room and was rolling the experience around in my head, it suddenly occurred to me that this could be very close to what I needed. Admittedly, I’d like a closet. But if I’m parked in my own backyard, what’s to stop me from showering & dishwashing & clothes washing in the house that I’m sharing with others? And hell, making lasagne?
Still, I’m pretty sure that I’m not ready to live tiny. 900 sqft is probably too big, but 250 is too small. Perhaps a smaller ADU was more right for me.
My favorite dwellings have been studio and efficiency apartments. I’ve lived in quite a few tiny apartments, my favorite over a very old restaurant on Portland’s east side.
It was about 350 square feet. You opened the door, and you saw the futon couch which doubled as my bed, and the fabulous wall of 10 ft high windows. To the right, you could see the brick wall and my bookcase.
Both the kitchen and bathroom were small, but full-sized.
To the left of the windows, there was the full sized refrigerator, sink, and dishwasher, and kitchen cabinets along the wall. There was also an island, at an angle, which had the full sized stove and oven, as well as additional cabinets.
Further down that wall was an area with a homemade loft. If I had built that loft, it would be have been higher (it was 5 ft high), and less homely. But, I waited to rebuild the loft, and kept my clothes on a retail rounder rack under the loft. And that worked out fine. (There was no closet, so, good thing I had the rounder!)
Just past that, the full bath.
That little apartment was just so swank, like my own loft. And as I think about a new home, I want to recreate that.
I long for a bed surrounded by windows, like my first efficiency apartment that had previously been a sleeping porch. I long for a kitchen full enough to cook and entertain in.
But back to Williams and her talk. I was expecting a good talk, and it was a good talk. She seems so accessible. And it was quite exciting to see an almost full house for her talk.
I love The Big Tiny. It’s a really accessible book, and Williams has such a lovely, friendly voice.