How tiny is too tiny? Musings on the tiny house movement

Our house in Argyle is officially under contract (we hope to close around mid May)! Our realtor Abbey McCormick has been amazing! She was our realtor for the schoolhouse and now she’s stuck with us (I’m kind of high maintenance). We have to find a place to live stat! Here’s how a few of the conversations have gone on that topic:

Me and Ben
Ben “Where are we going to live?” (then we pick various scenarios and play them out)

Me and Sarah
Me: “We’re under contract on our house hurray!”

Sissy Sarah: “you have a habit of making yourself homeless.”

Me: “aaahhhh….so do you!” (she’s moved four times in less than two years)

Me and Em
Me: “After all this drama with the tree at the school house I’m going to pay attention to the trees before buying a new house.”

Em: “Those are village trees”

Me: “What? Village trees can’t fall down???!!! Ahhhhh!!!”

Me and Abbey
Abbey: “Do you have any idea where you’re going to move to in three weeks?”

Me: “No buuaaaahahahaha…”

Abbey: “ummm….” (looks worried)

How Tiny is Tiny?
We are still entertaining the idea of living in the schoolhouse when it’s finished but Ben is not convinced and it is tiny. How tiny is it you ask? I learned there’s a difference between tiny and small:

Tiny House – 100-400 square feet
Small House –  under 1000 square feet

The Schoolhouse
The schoolhouse is 800 square feet, 595 in the original brick structure and another 205 in the historic addition. Technically a small house. We’re planning on utilizing the addition to create one bedroom and one bathroom. The main area will get a small kitchen and remain pretty much as is.

IMG_20180419_171042rough draft sketch of floor plan for school house

The Bungalow
The first home Ben and I owned was a bungalow in North Carolina. It was 1050 square feet, so almost a “small” house. It did feel small, there was no basement and no garage, so very little space for storage. I used to wander from room to room trying to figure out how to arrange furniture saying “this house is too small…aaahh!” At the same time it was so pretty and cute that I loved it!

514n23rdour “small” house in Wilmington, North Carolina, for more photos check out the old listing

The House I Grew Up in Was a Ranch
I used to say I never wanted to live in a tiny house. In case you forgot I grew up with 4 siblings, if you add in myself and Gramp and Em that means seven people shared one bathroom, let me repeat myself SEVEN PEOPLE SHARED ONE BATHROOM!!! I feel like I already got the experience of living in a tiny house. If all of us stood in the bathroom at once we would each have about 5 square feet! Lets just say the elbows were flying.

Ben's Iphone 12-9-2017 363I had to share a bathroom with all these people, plus Gramp and Em!

Then something changed and I didn’t want any more things or spaces to store them.  I suspect it had something to do with Ben’s brain tumor and surgery and the yearning for a more simplistic and uncomplicated life (and also I hate cleaning two and a half bathrooms).

Coach Road House
The average new house in America is 2600 square feet, yikes! Our  current house is 1880 square feet. That is 626  square feet per person (and one person is only 2 years old) and 1.25 bathrooms per person, if you don’t count Philip since he’s still wearing diapers. It’s too big for us!

IMG_3892our current home in Argyle

Go Tiny or Go Home
So where to next? I may have started googling shipping container homes. Our realtor should be afraid…very afraid…sorry Abbey!  Did you know you can order tiny homes kits on Amazon? Do you think upstate New York would be too cold for a yurt? I also started following #van life peeps on instagram……I don’t have a van…yet!

shippingcontainerShipping container home from Backcountry Containers based in Houston, pretty cool!

Oh well, I firmly believe that the right choice will present itself at the very last minute, I will just wait for it to appear. This probably doesn’t make Abbey feel much better either!

Work Site Update – Going Under
We’ve spent a lot of time looking up at the pretty beams, slate roof and high ceilings in the schoolhouse. Now we’ve made ourselves look under! We opened up an access panel in the addition and discovered there was  a very rudimentary septic system after all!

IMG_20180324_152339access panel for early septic tank

IMG_20180324_151613a closer look

Then we opened up the temporary floor patch. It was covered back in October when there was still very little light and a lot of debris.  We didn’t pay too much attention to what was in it, and we kind of didn’t want to know. There is one giant center beam supporting the foundation and a rough-cut hemlock subfloor.

IMG_20180408_151303.jpgGramp was really interested to see under the top layer of flooring

IMG_20180408_151807.jpgRough-cut hemlock subfloor

IMG_20180408_150524.jpgThe crawl space under the schoolhouse is kind of shallow!

Don’t forget to follow the facebook page for more photos and info on Gramp’s Old School or check out the instagram @grampsoldschool!


6 thoughts on “How tiny is too tiny? Musings on the tiny house movement

  1. Hi
    I have a friend living near Hartford in a yurt and loved it! She used to have an antique shop downtown gwich next to the bistro. Anyway she loved it!
    I thoroughly enjoy your posts in the school. I love old buildings and ones with a history!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every time we work on the schoolhouse I’m amazed at the construction details and think about the need to be respectful of this cool old building. I’m also profoundly fortunate to have this to share with my awesome daughter!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We’ve got a bit more work to do digging into the history! Glad you enjoy the posts!


  2. What shape are the flooring and subfloor in? Will you be able to salvage any part of them? I like that the main room is being kept open. Your current home has lovely views. Our house is about 1800 square feet for four adults (one bathroom). Sometimes I think I would like less room. Never once thought I did not have enough room!


    1. We think we’ll be able to preserve the floor. The kitchen will end up about where the big hole is right now so part of it will be covered by a row of cabinets. There are a few other soft spots but nothing too bad!


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