Name: Bela Fishbeyn, my husband and our 2-year-old daughter
Location: Boulder Creek, California
Size: 300 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned
Our home was custom designed down to the inch for Spencer (my husband), Escher (our 2-year-old daughter), and me. When we first started designing, Escher was only 1 year old, so we had to factor in what she would need as she grew. We emphasized flow and perception of space over actual square footage, and tried to design the home to perfectly match our lifestyle and habits. Because Spencer worked as a professional chef before becoming Escher’s primary caregiver, we prioritized a traditional dining room and spacious kitchen. We spend a lot of time gathered around the table enjoying conversation and good food.
We also live and raise Escher to be confident and independent, and we think an open interaction with undomesticated surroundings is an important part of her development. So we created the house to open almost completely to the outdoors. Throughout the seasons, we pass seamlessly from the indoors into the outdoors, whether out on the deck, hiking in the woods, or lounging in our canvas tent.
At every design point with our house, we asked ourselves how we could move tiny houses to the next level. We appreciate the minimalism that started the movement and we obviously incorporate a lot of that into our lives, but we don’t aim specifically at having fewer things. Instead, we aim to have less junk in order to free us up to have more meaningful objects. We love the process of slow curating a broad selection of objects that both inspire us and serve a function on a regular basis.
What is your favorite room and why? Our favorite room is hands down the master bedroom. Unfortunately, and this is true for the whole house, pictures can never fully capture the diversity of perspectives that open up once you’re actually inside the space. As soon as you lie down in the bedroom, the giant fixed window behind you opens up to a full view of the sky, which makes it feel like you’re outside. We installed a custom layered wood accent on the ceiling to further expand the sense of space. Combined with the butterfly roof, the whole house feels like a airship floating through the clouds.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? If we could magically change one thing about the house, I think we would put a recessed gas fireplace into the accent wall of the great room. This would add so much to the atmosphere of that space and create a natural gathering place for our family and friends.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Our home is positioned up in the Santa Cruz Mountains and we’re surrounded by wildlife on all sides. As much as we can, we try to repurpose local natural materials in a zero-scape fashion, so that we don’t require additional water to maintain the property. Since our home is on a trailer bed, we recently hauled back tons of white dried logs from all over the woods to create a skirt for our house and a zen garden to take walks around. With just a handful of low-profile fasteners and some insect treatment, we were able to give a bunch of dead wood a fresh purpose.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Designing a tiny house comes with a small margin of error. You have to predict how you’re going to live in your house and how your house is going to support your flourishing, otherwise, you might be stuck with a house that you hate.
I think that many people in traditional-sized homes don’t feel forced to think about this, so they don’t. It’s easy to just go with the housing options that are available and the designs that have already been done, but often these aren’t the models that will best support your passions or your day-to-day life.
We think that the most important factor in creating a home that you love is creating a home that facilitates the sorts of behaviors that make you happy. If screen-addiction makes you miserable, then a home without a screen might make you happy. If a tight-knit family brings you joy, then a little less space might do everyone some good. And if the outdoors make you feel alive, then less square footage indoors might be just what you need.
Thanks, Bela! See more on their website, Tiny Migrations.
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