Bigger isn’t always better. In a culture that often screams materialism, there has been a push in the opposite direction lately. A push for enjoying a life that’s simpler, less stressful, less complicated and, in turn, comes with less stuff.
For Kristy Lootens of Taos, the breaking point came last summer. She wanted to be closer to her parents and to downsize significantly. Originally she had thought to build a garage and place a small apartment on top. That’s when she came across a tiny house, or rather the shell of one, which sparked an idea that would change the way she lives.
Lootens checked out the 320 square-foot river house being sold by a family in Wardsville. She quickly made plans to purchase the structure and move it to her parents’ land.
“I still have my privacy, and they have theirs,” Lootens said. But she can be in her parents’ house in an instant to help out.
“I wanted to have a smaller house and be able to devote more time here,” she said. The current arrangement fits the plan perfectly.
The house really is tiny but lends itself well to a simpler lifestyle. It was moved and placed on a cinder block foundation, fitted for water and electrical.
“I had so many people help me,” she said.
The house has a white siding exterior, brown trim and a brown tin roof. A small porch provides enough room for a rocking chair for a little outdoor living.
Upon entering the front door, the bathroom is to the left and the kitchen is to the right. A shower was added to the bathroom by taking away a portion of the front porch. A water heater finds its home under the stairwell, leading up to a loft-style bedroom.
The inside is decorated in Lootens’ favorite colors — black, lime green and brick red. A tin backsplash matches that of other tin touches throughout the space.
“I love the tin,” Lootens noted of the industrial material.
The kitchen includes a small stovetop and oven, a small microwave and apartment-sized refrigerator. The black sink matches that of the black cabinets.
A collector of antiques, Lootens made room for old bottles and antique knick-knacks on top of the cabinets.
“It’s really a lot of cabinet space for what I’ve got,” Lootens explained.
She downsized her stuff significantly in order to fit into the house. Some went to her daughter, some is being stored in her parents’ house and some went to the “get-rid of” pile.
Among the pieces Lootens insisted would be moved to the tiny house was her living room furniture. A full-size couch, rocker recliner, corner electric fireplace and television all fit in the small living space.
“Everyone kept saying there is no way all of this would fit,” she said. But Lootens was right.
She has worked in storage in every nook and cranny she can find. There is storage behind the TV, under the stairwell, behind the bathroom mirror and in the loft area. There is even room for Lootens’ beloved dogs, Bandi and Clancy, and an outside cat that comes in on occasion.
Lootens moved into the house just a few weeks before Christmas. She’s adjusted well to her space, but tiny living does come with a little sacrifice. If she could do it over again, Lootens said she would love to fit in a water softener. She also won’t be hosting any dinner parties anytime soon.
“I can’t entertain, but that’s not what this is for.”
Lootens uses TV trays to eat her dinners, something she said she had often used anyway.
After months of hard work to get the house ready for everyday living, it is now complete except from adding a little landscaping.
Putting aside some luxuries, the tiny house has allowed Lootens the freedom to focus her energy on her family.
“I had a big house for 20-something years. I got tired of cleaning it,” she joked.
Some may think her tiny living will only last a few years before she tires of the lack of space, but Lootens has long-term plans.
“I really am happy with the way it is,” she said.