bungalitos match historic homes

In Austin, Texas, there are many lovely craftsman and bungalow homes within city limits. Red River Restorations not only renovates these charmers but also constructs backyard bungalitos to match the historic homes.

These tinies may be used as an office, guest house, play room, yoga studio, storage shed, art studio, garden room or sanctuary. They have electricity though no plumbing.

Here are two drool-worthy and elegant bungalitos!

This 140 sq. ft. tiny bungalito is an authentic craftsman structure, built from scratch. (Red River Restorations)

This 140 sq. ft. tiny bungalito is an authentic craftsman structure, built from scratch. (Red River Restorations)

Inside the bungalito, there are many fine wood treatments in the loft, ceiling and ladder. (Red River Restorations)

Inside the bungalito, there are many fine wood treatments in the loft, ceiling and ladder. (Red River Restorations)

In a bungalito with Germanic touches, note the wider yet smaller dormer windows. (Red River Restorations)

In a bungalito with Germanic touches, note the wider yet smaller dormer windows. (Red River Restorations)

Doors match nicely, with the main house on the left and Germanic bungalito version on the right. (Red River Restorations)

Doors match nicely, with the Germanic main house on the left and bungalito version on the right. (Red River Restorations)

Why create bungalitos?

John Hindman, of Red River Restorations, explains what motivates him and his crew to build bungalitos.

“We are craftsman, we make everything by hand. Our goal is to create a space for our clients that is beautiful, unique and very functional. The type of work that we do is not easily found in today’s economy or society. People don’t do this kind of work anymore. We want to bring woodworking back and quality back.”

“So many of the older houses which are wonderful and well-built are small, and it’d be wonderful to have a little bit more space. Thus we created an outbuilding that can give you 100 square feet, up to 200 square feet, that will match the house in terms of quality and design, and it will be a beautiful building and yet very functional.”

We think that John and his crew have a great gig, keeping up woodworking traditions  — and enhancing Austin with tiny houses that are built to last.

 

17th century castle joy

There are all kinds of castles in Europe, and some occasionally come up for sale. Kasteel Schaloen, located in Oud-Valkenburg, the Netherlands, is on the market for $13 million.

Schaloen was first built in 1200, re-built in 1656 after a fire, and last renovated with Gothic features in 1894. Since the castle was built on an island, it has a natural moat for protection.

Want a 17th century castle?  Kasteel Schaloen, located in the Netherlands, can be yours for only $13 million. Built on a tiny island, the castle sports 17,500 square feet, 28 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms and 6 half baths. (Christie's Real Estate)

Want a 17th century castle? Kasteel Schaloen, located in the Netherlands, can be yours for only $13 million. Built on a tiny island, the castle sports 17,500 square feet, 28 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms and 6 half baths. (Christie’s Real Estate)

Why are we sharing a castle on Tiny House Joy?

Today there are plenty of U.S. properties on the market with $13 million-plus price tags. While authentic castles from the 17th century are a bit hard to come by, Gothic features do appear on grand and less-grand homes built here. It’s an archetype that seems familiar.

We bet you felt some joy when looking at this Dutch castle. That feeling might come from fairy tales, imagining old lords roaming the place. Or perhaps the turrets, dormer windows shaped like mini-castles, large front door or simple landscaping caught your attention.

The good news? Any archetypal style may be borrowed and evoked in a scaled-down home. Going tiny or small doesn’t mean you must throw away your style ideas or preferences. You should live well — even when occupying 97 percent less square footage than a European castle.

cabinet knobs you don’t see around

Most of the cabinets in a small or tiny house are located in the kitchen.  While it’s fine to use standard or elegant drawer knobs, we suggest searching a bit harder for your cabinet jewelry.  Here are knobs and pulls that deserve a “12” rating on a 1-10 whimsy scale.

Take a close look at this pewter cabinet knob, which is an artistic, sculptural buffalo. (Black Forest Decor)

Take a close look at this pewter cabinet knob, which is an artistic, sculptural buffalo. (Black Forest Decor)

Picasso-like drawer pulls and knobs seem extraordinary. They are made with dichroic glass. (Uneek Glass Fusions)

Picasso-like drawer pulls and knobs seem extraordinary. They are made with dichroic glass. (Uneek Glass Fusions)

Try a potato pull in your kitchen, in green or gold colored silicon bronze. (Rocky Mountain Hardware)

Try a potato pull in your kitchen, in green or gold colored silicon bronze. (Rocky Mountain Hardware)

Verdigris leaves could provide a nice, classic contrast to natural wood, white or other painted cabinets. (Ann At Home)

Verdigris leaves could provide a nice contrast to natural wood, white or other painted cabinets. (Ann At Home)

Who puts hands on their cabinets? We would be happy to use these silver, well-gripped hand pulls every day. (HGTV)

Who puts hands on their cabinets? We would be happy to use these silver, well-gripped hand pulls every day. (HGTV)

take quiz: downsized house joy

Are you ready to move full-time or part-time into a smaller home? Take this quick quiz, below, with 21 questions about your attitude and living situation. Assess your readiness for the leap.

Live in this 262 sq. ft. studio with a tower lookout view. Add another 302 sq. ft. space by transforming the garage space below. (Houseplans, Peter Brackvogel)

Live in this 262 sq. ft. studio with a tower lookout view. Add another 302 sq. ft. by transforming the garage space below. (Houseplans, Peter Brackvogel)

Downsized House Joy Quiz

Please jot down which statements are TRUE for you.

  1. You are living in an apartment.
  2. You travel without much luggage.
  3. You like to have private space.
  4. You rent a house, and live there alone or with family.
  5. You own a home, and live there alone or with family.
  6. You feel house rich and cash poor.
  7. When you could afford it, you moved to a bigger apartment.
  8. When you qualified for a mortgage, you bought a house.
  9. You love buying new things for your home.
  10. You like the idea of a home with an extra bedroom, office and dining room.
  11. You can’t imagine life without a separate office or library.
  12. You have two kids living at home.
  13. You and your significant other share a large closet.
  14. Your love a galley-type kitchen.
  15. Trading up from a starter to larger house was a great experience.
  16. Your must live with a piano!
  17. You worry how your boss and colleagues think about your home.
  18. You worry how your friends think about your home.
  19. Moving across the country sounds exciting.
  20. You never want to move from your current home.
  21. You love being independent.

Score your TRUE answers, and learn where you land on the readiness scale.

First add 2 points for each “true” answer to q1, q2,  q6, q13, q14, q19, q21. Then subtract 1 point for each “true” answer to q3, q4 , q5, q7, q8, q9, q10, q11, q12, q15, q16, q17, q18, q 20.

  • Nine and Over:  A tiny house under 400 square feet might fit well.
  • Five to Eight:  Ready to move into a home under 1,200 square feet.
  • Zero to Four:  Try out a small cottage or tiny house on vacation first.
  • Under Zero:  Think about part-time living, as a second unit.

shining light from pendants

Consider pendant lighting in a tiny or smaller home, as a way to add artistic flourishes and to keep fixtures proportionate to your space.

Since there are so many kinds of pendants, we decided to hunt down more unusual specimens for your enjoyment. Take some time and discover all kinds of possibilities, to make your place unique.

White-painted branches were attached wall to wall, with many pendants hung for impact and light. (Buitenwijkjes)

White-painted branches were attached wall to wall, with many pendants hung for impact and light. (Buitenwijkjes)

Crafters from Chimbarongo, Chile created lamp pendants from recycled plastic bottles and natural wicker. (PET Lamp)

Crafters from Chimbarongo, Chile created lamp pendants from recycled plastic bottles and natural wicker. (PET Lamp)

A favorite way to store food or small items, mason jars also become terrific pendant lighting. (Etsy, BootsNGus)

A favorite way to store food or small items, mason jars also become terrific pendant lighting. (Etsy, BootsNGus)

These pendants show off Baby Plumen bulbs, which are sculptural low energy bulbs meant to be seen. (Plumen)

These pendants show off Baby Plumen bulbs, which are sculptural low energy bulbs meant to be seen. (Plumen)

bath house into tiny cottage

One look at this simple bath house, and we see a completely different purpose: a perfect, one-bedroom tiny cottage. Located in Pt. Reyes (CA), the bath house is used for summer fun at a seaside family compound.

Fortunately, architect Heidi Richardson creates flexible designs so you may re-arrange this tiny cottage with a larger great room, smaller bathroom and separate bedroom or sleeping area. Her building plans are for sale, with customizations extra, through houseplans.com.

This tiny place is inviting and simple. It's 150 sq. ft. for the main room, plus another 70 sq. ft. for storage or internal expansion. (Houseplans.com)

This tiny place is inviting and simple. It’s 150 sq. ft. for the main room, plus another 70 sq. ft. for storage or internal expansion. (Houseplans.com)

With a farmhouse look, you find a full porch that measures 90 sq. ft. Note the practical, long lasting trek deck for this wet climate. (Houzz.com)

With a farmhouse look, you find a full porch that measures 90 sq. ft. Note the practical, long lasting trex deck for this wet climate. (Houzz.com)

A country-cute bedroom is possible in a tiny cottage! There's plenty of room for two, including a closet, bench and dresser to place your items. (Houzz.com)

A country-cute bedroom is possible in a tiny cottage! There’s plenty of room for two, including a closet, bench and dresser to place your items. (Houzz.com)

kitchen items: keep 15, toss 16

While specialized kitchen tools are beguiling, it turns out that even the best cooks don’t bother using them. They don’t have a real place in kitchens of any size, let alone a smaller one.

Mark Bittman, a food columnist, says professionals use “dented pots and pans scarred beyond recognition, an old steak knife turned into an all-purpose tool, a pot lid held just so to strain pasta when the colander was missing.”

What are the 15 essential items in your kitchen?

The New York Times identified things which, if you do cook, are familiar and used frequently.  We will assume you have a working cook top, stove and sink!

KEY TO PHOTOGRAPH: (1) 8-inch chef’s knife; (2) 3 stainless steel mixing bowls; (3) strainer; (4) skimmer; (5) colander; (6) loaf pan; (7) instant read thermometer; (8) 9-inch tong; (9) 12-inch whisk; (10) measuring cup; (11) ladle; (12) 14-inch skillet with handles; (13) 3 aluminum saucepans; (14) Japanese mandoline; (15) 13×18 inch sheet pan. (NY Times)

KEY TO PHOTOGRAPH: (1) 8-inch chef’s knife; (2) 3 stainless steel mixing bowls; (3) strainer; (4) skimmer; (5) colander; (6) loaf pan; (7) instant read thermometer; (8) 9-inch tong; (9) 12-inch whisk; (10) measuring cup; (11) ladle; (12) 14-inch skillet with handles; (13) 3 aluminum saucepans; (14) Japanese mandoline; (15) 13×18 inch sheet pan. (NY Times)

What are the 16 non-essential items in your kitchen?

Besides considering what you need in your kitchen, it helps to remove the shiny, seldom-used gear as well. Bakers John and Dana Shultz recently shared 16 items to donate or discard, along with their reasons.

REMOVALS:  (1) kitchen aid mixer;  (2) crock pot;  (3) knife block;  (4) excessive pots and pans;  (5) more than 8 plates, glasses, and bowls;  (6) extra coffee/tea mugs;  (7) bread maker;  (8) toaster oven;  (9) wok;  (10) juicer;  (11) espresso machine;  (12) grilled cheese maker;  (13) rice maker;  (14) doughnut pan;  (15) quesadilla maker/ panini press;  (16) egg scrambler/milk frother/other trinkets.

You should be smiling with recognition, as the guilt has been lifted. Here’s the final kicker from the Shultzes, who also grant permission to donate your fine china and heirlooms too.

 

benches for a thousand uses

In a tiny space, an indoor bench will become your best friend. Anyone who has occupied small square footage understands the value of multiple uses for furniture — and benches fit that description.

Right-sized benches for a tiny house or small space. (Dot & Bo)

Right-sized benches for a tiny house or small space. (Dot & Bo)

Place an indoor bench.  Set a bench by your door, in a great room, near a dining table or anywhere you want seating or storage. There are a thousand uses, including some realistic and not-so-realistic ones.

Reality:

  • Place to throw your coat or grocery bags.
  • Underneath storage for many shoes you own.
  • Apparatus for those step-up or dip exercises.
  • Additional seating, with a cushion, for daily use.
  • Perfect spot for any mail, magazines or books.

Fantasy:

  • A pristine mid-century piece to balance your decor.
  • Where you place a vase and daily fresh flowers.
  • Additional seating only when guests come over.
  • Gallery of  your evolving, most-loved objets d’art.
  • Part of your always-ready photo shoot.

Show me bench love. Dot & Bo (log-in) curates a wide variety of benches so you can plan ahead.  They are made from long-lasting materials like steel and wood, rather than sawdust and glue.

We checked earlier today and some of the “here today, gone tomorrow” picks are shared below. (By the way, Tiny House Joy isn’t sponsored, affiliated, paid or given discounts by this company.)

Bethel Slatted Bench: Black birch legs and ashwood top. 60" W x 18.50" D x 14.5" H (Dot & Bo)

Bethel Slatted Bench: Black birch legs and ashwood top. 60″ W x 18.50″ D x 14.5″ H (Dot & Bo)

Black Fusion Bench: Elegant wood top and steel legs. 48" W x 15" D x 14" H (Dot & Bo)

Black Fusion Bench: Elegant wood top and steel legs. 48″ W x 15″ D x 14″ H (Dot & Bo)

Natural-Style Wood Bench: Eco-friendly bamboo wood. 22.5" W x 11" D x 15.75" H (Dot & Bo)

Natural-Style Wood Bench: Eco-friendly bamboo wood. 22.5″ W x 11″ D x 15.75″ H (Dot & Bo)

Sabrina Slatted Bench: Espresso, Asian hardwood. 40" W x 18.25" D x 16.25" H (Dot  & Bo)

Sabrina Slatted Bench: Espresso, Asian hardwood. 40″ W x 18.25″ D x 16.25″ H (Dot & Bo)

Mudroom Bench: Wood with rattan baskets. 36" W x 14.25" D x 28.5" H (Dot & Bo)

Mudroom Bench: Wood with rattan baskets. 36″ W x 14.25″ D x 28.5″ H (Dot & Bo)

Jacob Steel Bench: 100% stainless steel and industrial. 46.5" W x 15.3" D x 16.5" H (Dot & Bo)

Jacob Steel Bench: 100% stainless steel and industrial. 46.5″ W x 15.3″ D x 16.5″ H (Dot & Bo)

your desires in a great room

We’ll admit the term “great room” seems odd for a small space. Yet there is a central and open area in all tiny homes, right when you pass through the front door.

Great rooms express your desires and priorities, whether that’s spending time with family or friends, having a meal, watching TV, or even working at your computer. So great rooms need to serve multiple functions, without getting too filled up.

Here are some different great room treatments, for you to start thinking about arranging your own tiny or small house — and for maximum joy.

This tiny house on wheels looks so inviting! Great room chairs and a window nook are easy places to relax, and the table may be used for all different reasons. (Bayside Bungalow)

This house on wheels looks so inviting! Great room chairs and a window nook are easy places to relax, and the table may be used for all different reasons. (Bayside Bungalow)

Looking down from the sleeping area, this great room features plenty of seating, a dining table and a large cabinet. Two rugs pull the traditional look together. (Kanga House)

Looking down from the sleeping area, this great room features plenty of seating, a dining table and a large cabinet. Two rugs pull the traditional look together. (Kanga House)

Can you believe this is a kit house? The modern room has an Eames chair and comfortable sofa, to watch TV. Also there's a dining table peeking from the right corner. (Rocio Romero)

Can you believe this is a kit house? The modern room has an Eames chair and comfortable sofa, to watch TV. Also there’s a dining table peeking from the right corner. (Rocio Romero)

take ladder or stairs to sleep

When moving into a small place, a second-floor sleeping loft or area easily adds usable square footage. Space, mobility and even building codes lead people to selecting ladders or stairs to get there.

Let’s look at the trade-offs between ladder climbing and stair stepping. We’ll start with several staircases already installed in houses. Then we’ll check out ladders, which are nicer and safer than you might imagine.

stairs in a tiny or small house

In Bucharest, a special green home has been on display. It offers stairs with five side storage units, leading up to the bedroom. (Soleta zeroEnergy)

In Bucharest, a special green home has been on display. It offers stairs with five side storage units, leading up to the bedroom. (Soleta zeroEnergy)

In this tiny house, built in Minnesota, well-crafted stairs look like mission furniture with separate storage drawers. (Tiny Green Cabins)

In this tiny house, built in Minnesota, well-crafted stairs look like mission furniture with separate storage drawers. (Tiny Green Cabins)

Another option is to order the Karina stairs kit, which gets delivered with railings, balusters and treads for your own or builder's assembly. (Arke Stairs)

Another option is to order the “Karina” stairs kit, which gets delivered with railings, balusters and treads for your own or builder’s assembly. (Arke Stairs)

ladders in a tiny or small house

This ladder accesses the bedroom area and also provides storage shelves. It's permanently built into a 16'x30' cottage near Blanco, Texas. (Kanga Room Systems)

This ladder accesses the bedroom area and also provides storage shelves. It’s permanently built into a 16’x30′ cottage near Blanco, Texas. (Kanga Room Systems)

In this home near Portland, Oregon, the loft ladder ascends through bookshelves into a quiet and secluded aerie. (Jessica Helgerson)

In this home near Portland, Oregon, the loft ladder ascends through bookshelves into a quiet and secluded aerie. (Jessica Helgerson)

We admire the details in this traditional rolling library ladder, which you place and arrange for an optimal climbing angle. (Tumbleweed Houses)

We admire the details in this traditional rolling library ladder, which you place and arrange for an optimal climbing angle. (Tumbleweed Houses)

Made on Orcas Island, Washington, this substantial wood ladder has large treads and several hand-holds for safety to the second floor. (David Vandervort)

Made on Orcas Island, Washington, this substantial wood ladder has large treads and several hand-holds for safety to the second floor. (David Vandervort)