Our Tiny Cottage

Here is the tour of our cottage I promised a few months ago…

But first, some history.

While we are building our new home, we are living in our travel trailer.  Unfortunately, we have discovered that travel trailers were not meant to be lived in – they are basically tin cans that don’t have much insulation.  To make matters worse, cooking in the trailer only adds moisture to the air, which condenses and collects on windows and doors. Everything was damp.  Our bedding, the upholstered seats, bath towels, and our clothes.  Yuck!  We needed a warm, dry spot to sleep!

Don't Live in a travel trailer

The “NEW” tool shed.  You can see how we built it HERE

So, we built another shed (let’s see: a laundry shed, the first tool shed now turned into our tiny cottage, and the new tool shed.  That’s a lotta sheds!), moved everything from the first tool shed  to the new tool shed, and then turned our first tool shed into our new tiny cottage! We bought the kit for the new tool shed at one of those “big box stores” on sale. Despite the instruction manual being written like a Japanese cook book (thank goodness for pictures) we got it all put together in a couple of weeks, including a nice foundation.

This is the cute little wood stove wecooking on a small wood stove bought last spring as a way to cook outside during the summer.  It worked really well! Chicken and dumplings, pork roast, beef stew, navy beans and ham!  We could eat these great meals without heating up the trailer to cook our meals. The stove itself cost less than $200.

When we decided to put the little stove into the tiny cottage, we discovered that the pipes and everything that goes with it to safely vent the smoke outside cost almost twice as much as the wood stove itself!

Was it worth it?  You betcha!  That little stove really cranks out the heat.  In fact, when we were breaking in the pipes (the paint really stinks when you have your first few fires), Ray checked the temperature at the peak of the ceiling – 100 degrees!  Yup – it works well!

Building a Big Box Store Shed

Cooking on the woodstove in our new tiny cottage!

The best part?  When it’s cold and we have the wood stove fired up, I can cook on it!  Our first meal on the stove was a cozy beef stew with biscuits!  Yum!  And I can have a cup of tea almost any time I want it!  We leave the tea kettle on the stove because heating with a wood stove can make the air too dry, and the gently simmering water adds moisture to the air.  Ironic, isn’t it?  In our new tiny cottage we need to worry about having enough moisture!

Living in a tiny cottage

My new favorite place to sit with a cup of tea, a good book and a glowing fire! Cozy!

The rocking chair next to the stove came from our previous home in the valley.  It is small and doesn’t take much room, which works well in this tiny cottage, but is very comfortable. When it’s really cold and raining outside, it is just so cozy to sit in the chair with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee.  The firewood is held in a wood carrier that my husband inherited from his mother.  He remembers sitting in it when he was a little boy, pretending he was sitting in a car!

The bunk beds were built for guests that stayed the night with us, and have been in the tool shed, now tiny cottage, for a few years now.

Living in a tiny cottage

Ray sleeps on the extra long twin on the bottom (he’s 6’2″ tall) and I have a regular twin on top. Now that we have moved in, we have begun customizing our spaces and Ray has built a couple of shelves at the head of his bed, big enough for his laptop, cell phone, wallet, keys, etc..  I want a storage headboard for mine, so I can store my books, magazines, hand lotion and extra reading glasses.  My dearest mounted a “ceiling fan” that bathes me with cool air and a cute little LED reading light. I needed that fan many times this past winter and spring because sometimes that wood stove works too well!  But now that the outside temperatures are getting much warmer, my favorite quiet time is laying on my bed on a hot summer day with the fan gently blowing a cool breeze while I am reading my favorite magazine, Mother Earth News!

In the meantime, while I wait for Ray to build my storage headboard, I put everything on the loft shelf that is just above the head of my bed. Wanna hear a funny story?

Tiny Cottage One night, I heard Ray stirring as he was getting up to use the outhouse.  I figured since I was awake, I would use it also.  It was dark, very dark, but I was able to make my way down the bunk to the cottage floor, out the door where a motion detector light led my way to the outhouse.  Back in the cottage, I climbed up the bunk and lunged into bed, totally forgetting the loft shelf.  Wham!  I hit my head about one inch above my eyebrows, front and center.  I saw stars…  lots of stars!  The next morning, I told Ray what had happened, and as I brushed my rumpled hair aside, I could feel quite a lump.  Ray started laughing.  I ran to the mirror to see what appeared to be a unicorn horn trying to erupt through my forehead!

Can you see the black pipe wrap turned bumper pad that Ray put on the edge of the Loft shelf that very next day?  Yeah.  He knows me all too well.

On with the tour.

At the end of the bunk beds, Ray installed some hooks so we couldTiny cottage tour hang up our TV trays. These trays come in handy when we are eating in the cottage or using our laptops.

Behind the bed is Rays dresser and storage drawers.  It sure is nice to have dry clothes!

You can also see my magazine rack, chock full of magazines, a battery operated lamp and my CD player.  Everything is so handy, and even though the actual room is very small (10×12), we have everything in there that we need for comfortable survival!  The truth is, we are living better than probably 75% of the world in this tiny cottage.  We are warm and dry.  We have food and clean water.  We have lights, satellite TV, and refrigeration.  Plus, this is all temporary.

On the opposite side of the cottage from the bunk bed is my dresser (did I tell you how nice dry clothes are?) and the TV.  Our solar panel system supports a satellite TV receiver for two TV’s, along with the TV’s, a porch light and an interior light, my ceiling fan and LED light, and a small refrigerator/freezer.

Our flat screen TV, my dresser, a refridgerator/freezer and organized storage above. What else could we need?

Our flat screen TV, my dresser, a refrigerator/freezer and organized storage above. What else could we need? Can you see the CO2 detector in the right upper corner?  Yup, we have that and a smoke detector that you can’t see in the picture.  Safety first, you know!

Ray installed a long shelf above to store coffee, tea, mugs, paper towels, napkins, sugar, plates, etc, and I found these cute fabric storage cubes at one of the Dollar Stores so that it looks neat and organized.  One thing I have learned about tiny living is that when everything is organized and appears neat and clean (clutter is my worst enemy), I am much happier and feel a lot less stress.

Now, the only reason to go into the trailer is to shower, cook (if I’m not cooking on the wood stove or the solar oven) and retrieve food in storage!  The only thing we don’t have in the cottage is running water.  But, again, it’s only temporary!  Besides, there’s always the outhouse 🙂


These are some of the places I party:

Thank Goodness It’s MondayClever Chicks Blog HopGrand SocialMix It Up MondayCreate, Link, Inspire;  Amaze Me MondayMotivation Monday;  Homemaking Mondays; Show & Share TuesdayThe Gathering SpotTuesday Garden PartyBrag About ItTuesdays with a Twist;The ScoopTwo Cup TuesdayTweak It TuesdayInspire Me TuesdaysTuesdays at Our Home;   Lou Lou GirlsParty In Your PJ’sYou’re Gonna Love It  Make, Bake and Create;  Wicked Awesome Wednesday;  Wined Down Wednesday;  Wake Up WednesdayFluster’s Creative Muster;  Homestead Blog HopWow Us Wednesday;  Wonderful WednesdayOur Simple Homestead; Share Your Cup Thursday;  Home and Garden Thursday;  The Handmade HangoutCreate it Thursday;  Think Tank Thursday;  Homemaking PartyTreasure Hunt ThursdayThis Is How We Roll; Inspire or be Inspired;  Inspiration Gallery;  No Rules Weekend Party Freedom FridaysFriendship FridayFrom The Farm Blog HopFriday Flash Blog PartyWeekend re-Treat;Family Fun FridayFriday’s Five FeaturesReal Food FridaysShow Off FridayCraft Frenzy Friday;  Awesome Life FridaySimply Natural Saturdays;  Saturday Sparks;  My Favorite Things;  Dare to ShareScraptastic Saturday;Share It One More Time  That DIY Party;  DIY Sunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle Sunday;   Best of the BlogosphereSmall Victories Sunday

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24 thoughts on “Our Tiny Cottage

  1. Wow, Vickie, you guys really have everything you need in that tiny cottage! It’s so great to see you blogging again – I truly missed reading about your life off grid. Can’t wait to catch up with more of what’s happening in your world!!

    • Thank you so much, Debbie! Although there are times I get so frustrated with the time it’s taking to break ground for our new home, I keep reminding myself that I am living better than most people in this world. I hope to get a post out at least once a week, now that things are getting back to normal, as I truly do love blogging!

  2. Vickie!! Man so good to hear from you 🙂 Glad you guys are doing ok and hubby must be well on the road to recovery. Maybe you should move the wood stove into the travel trailer to burn away some of that extra moisture. You know you could probably add a few more sheds and some walkways/hallways between and forget about building the house! You are so brave Unicorn Woman and I am so excited for you! Enjoy your books and fan and watch out for bumps in the night!

    • Haha teehee! Millie, you are such a dear! It is good to be back, thank you! Let me tell you, building in California is a nightmare. We have so many requirements (title 24, fire sprinklers, WUI, etc, etc) that it’s almost impossible and pretty much unaffordable! So, your suggestion of adding a few walkways/hallways sounds pretty good at this point. Hugs!

  3. What a great little place. I’ve shared some pictures on my facebook page of our little cabin and someday we hope the kids will move into our family home and the man and I will live in the little cabin. The woodstove is really cute! We purchased a small propane heater for our cabin but in the future may switch to wood using a small marine stove. Very nice pictures! Tina

    • I have heard of those small marine stoves! Apparently they are expensive but work very well in tight spaces. Good idea, thanks Tina!

    • You are so welcome, Edye! It’s small but cozy, and being a temporary solution to a big problem, we are grateful to have it. Thanks for stopping by today!

    • You are so right – it really is just perfect – for now! I can’t wait until our houseplans are approved so we can get building, but we are waiting, and waiting, and w…..

  4. Hi Vickie,
    again a great, interesting post.
    We are very pleased that you write back and hope that it goes with you well advanced.
    many greetings to you and Ray
    Uwe and Angi

    • Well, I’m TRYING to be brave and optomistic, but as each day passes and we don’t have a building permit yet, the cottage gets just a bit smaller. Of course we have everything we need and more, but jeeze louise, I would love to be building our home right now!

  5. You should be featured on “The Tiny House Newsletter” ! I have aspirations of living a smaller life, but where the heck would I put all the ranch stuff we have collected over the years (every time we think we are clear to sell or give something away we need it again). Right now we manage a ranch that is over 8,000 acres, and it takes a lot of stuff to care for all the critters and to feed the crews, so I have multiples of most everything ranging from small (just for mtn man and I and used mostly during the quiet winter months) to X-Lg (big enough to fix and feed a branding and hay crew of up to 50 during the spring and summer months). I will be watching how you are doing, and will say a prayer that your house gets built soon.

    • Hello, Mary. Nice to meet you! We need all the prayers we can get right now. We are having serious problems with our engineer,and the truth is that we aren’t sure the new house is ever going to be built! The truth about downsizing is that it’s really not very fun – choosing what we need to keep and what we can let go. I do enjoy not having so much “stuff”, but as soon as the house is built (if ever) I’m sure we will fill it up again!

  6. Thanks for showing off your cute lil temporary home! I’m excited for the main cabin when it’s done. 🙂
    We actually had to stop reading Mother Earth News, because there are so many things we want to do but are not at a good spot in our lives for (like downsizing, moving to solar power, being as sustainable as possible, etc.) But hopefully, someday, we can. When isolation is more of an option.
    We did talk about getting a prefab shed from a box store and using it as a tiny house while building our own tiny house someday (after selling our current house) but I didn’t think it was feasible…and now I know it is. Yay!

    • I know what you mean about MEN! I keep reading about how to’s and off-grid projects, then run over to Ray and say “please, pretty please”. With all the other things we have going on right now, he just laughs at me. I will say, however, that if we didn’t have the outhouse, or if we didn’t have the travel trailer as a “back-up”, we would not be living so easily. I love reading your comments, Beth, thanks!

  7. Hello Vickie! I hadn’t realized it had been so many days since I had looked for a post. What a pleasant surprise this morning. It sounds as though things are back to normal for you two. Thank heavens for answered prayers. A lot of times when I am out in my gardens and orchard I wonder how all of yours are doing. It is a lot of work trending to it all. I’m trying desperately to fight all the bugs organically but I am losing. And the birds keep pecking up so many of my seeds. Well, I suppose they all need to eat, too, but I sure wish they would dine elsewhere. How did your bees fare over the winter?

    • The birds have been giving us fits! They got all but four of our cherries, most of our strawberries, and now they are eating my zucchini! Little stinkers! But we got some netting and now I think we have more control – finally! So far the bugs aren’t too bad, but I guess I should be knocking on wood. 😉 Anyway, the bees died. I have a post coming on that one soon, but we did get two more packages and have two hives going right now. It’s good to hear from you, Sharon, and know that you are doing well! Have a great weekend!