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December 06, 2016
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Living the simple life; A house built for one

By Isabel Braverman

An interview with “J” by ISABEL BRAVERMAN

“Imagine no possessions; I wonder if you can”

A house that is 10 by 12 feet sits on a piece of land near the Delaware River. Could you do it? Could you live in such a tiny house? That is what J is doing, living in a small dwelling that she renovated and moved on to her land. With the house she moved all her belongings, and soon realized that in order to live in a tiny house you have to downsize.

The idea to live there was inspired by someone she was working for, who lived in a tiny house and had others on her property. J fixed them up and decorated them, and realized she could live in a tiny house too. She said, “You don’t need all of these things that the world says you need.” So what do you need? How do you give up your possessions? Read the interview with J below.

Q: Tell me about the house

A: When you walk in there’s a wood stove and a little kitchenette, and then my bed and then a desk. The peak is ten foot high. It’s shaped like a barn, with a half-octagonal roof. There’s actually a lot of unused space there, but it works out. I put windows in it, and I need to put more windows in it. I had a porch built on the front of it with a roof and recently closed that in. Now that’s my little studio where I can sew and create and make things. The way I look at this project is it can be slow moving, because I want to spend the rest of my life there. It doesn’t have to be perfect right away.

Q: How did you learn about building and renovating?

A: Oh, I didn’t; I just did it. I learned by doing. Growing up in my bedroom and always being in that one room in that small square footage, I was always rearranging and putting up a shelf or doing those things. It was something that I just did. Now, a drill is my third hand. I’m always fixing up something.

Q: Did living in such a small space take any getting used to?

A: It was something you would think would be really hard to adjust to. For some reason, it wasn’t. I started staying there in the winter. It was September that I got the dwelling on to the property, so I had to finish renovating and it’s getting cold, it’s fall, next thing you know November rolls around then December, and I’m in there in hard core winter time, freezing. I had electricity running to the property. At the time I didn’t have the wood stove yet. It was so drafty in there, icicles and stuff.

But, I did adjust perfectly fine. It was like no big deal to me. It was just, ‘this is what I’m doing now.’