new england cottage, anywhere

Pining for a real New England cottage? Jamaica Cottage Shop offers styles where you imagine walking through the woods, splashing in the nearby lake, or even living year-round.

House kits get drop-shipped across the country, starting at over $20,000 for an insulated 16’x20′ cottage. You’ll need to budget for more materials, city permits and a contractor — unless you build it yourself.

Let’s take a peek at the Vermont Cottage.

The Vermont cottage looks exactly right in these woods, painted classic green. (Jamaica Cottage)

The Vermont cottage looks exactly right in these woods, painted classic green. (Jamaica Cottage)

This cabin greets you with formal french doors, multi-paned windows and cedar shake siding. (Jamaica Cottage)

This cabin greets you with formal french doors, multi-paned windows and cedar shake siding. (Jamaica Cottage)

Welcome to a cozy shelter, which features proportional windows and a hinged, barn-like door. (Jamaica Cottage)

Welcome to a cozy shelter, which features proportional windows and a hinged, barn-like door. (Jamaica Cottage)

In this cottage, the second floor loft has a bed, dresser and plenty of space. (Jamaica Cottage)

In this cottage, the second floor loft has a bed, dresser and plenty of space. (Jamaica Cottage)

This cheery interior is decorated for comfort, including cabinet storage and a futon for overnight guests. (Jamaica Cottage)

This cheery interior is decorated for comfort, including cabinet storage and a futon for overnight guests. (Jamaica Cottage)

See the stove to keep warm, seating area and hint of kitchen counter. (Jamaica Cottage)

See the stove to keep warm, seating area and hint of kitchen counter. (Jamaica Cottage)

Here's the complete floor plan for the Vermont Cottage A style. (Jamaica Cottage)

Here’s the complete floor plan for the Vermont Cottage A style. (Jamaica Cottage)

More info: Tiny House Joy simply admires Vermont cottages from afar. Visit the Jamaica Cottage Shop for more cottages, play houses and even a pond house.

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.

go for steel cladding

We favor modern homes featuring industrial steel and glass, with open views. They are becoming a practical response to shipping containers, which are not structurally or optimally designed as living spaces.

This industrial home archetype starts with rectangles. Its rusty exterior comes from steel sheets attached to a stick-built structure. The focal point is one glass side of the home which, through windows and doors, delivers stylish views.

An old granite farmhouse connects to this modern family dining and living space, clad in Cor-Ten steel. (Dwell)

An old granite farmhouse connects to this modern family dining and living space, clad in Cor-Ten steel. (Dwell)

The Z-Glass is a classic design, with hot-rolled steel siding. The home is only 350 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

The Z-Glass is a classic design, with hot-rolled steel siding. The home is only 370 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

For a house on wheels, this steel-clad Mica has curb appeal. It's just 172 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

For a house on wheels, this steel-clad Mica has curb appeal. It’s just 172 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

linden house squeezes into yard

There’s nothing like watching a tiny house on wheels, while it’s getting gently squeezed into place. We spotted one Tumbleweed Linden moving from an original build site to a backyard, the other day.

Fortunately, this little house cleared some fences with nary a scratch. Here are several cell-phone, low quality snapshots recording the action.

Spotting one truck and one Linden home. (Tiny House Joy)

Spotting one truck and one Linden home. (Tiny House Joy)

Driver checks clearances before backing up. (Tiny House Joy)

Driver checks clearances before backing up. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden window reflects sky as it passes by. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden window reflects sky as it passes by. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden home may squeeze in here, after all. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden home may squeeze in here, after all. (Tiny House Joy)

Clear sailing of truck and home, into the yard.  (Tiny House Joy)

Clear sailing of truck and home, into the yard. (Tiny House Joy)

building little storybook homes!

Have you discovered storybook structures around the country?  They remind us of Hansel and Gretel fairy tales, and were mostly built before World War II. Storybooks would make great little homes today.

The City of Oakland (CA) built this storybook cottage in 1927, as a fire station with full garage. It may become a museum. (Oakland History Room)

The City of Oakland (CA) built this storybook cottage in 1927, as a fire station with full garage. It may become a museum. (Oakland History Room)

These days we don’t see storybooks getting built, though some homes may incorporate gingerbread-like elements.  So Tiny House Joy decided to search for building plans with more signature features.

Storybook Homes came out the winner, after issuing The Truly Tiny Collection a couple months ago. Here are their smallest tiny cottage designs for your review.

Beesborough Studio measures 148 square feet, with a 12+ foot inside wall diameter. This space is for study or hobby purposes, rather than full-time living. (Storybook Homes)

Beesborough Studio measures 148 square feet, with a 12+ foot wall diameter. This space is for study or hobby purposes, rather than full-time living. (Storybook Homes)

Mustardseed Cottage offers 540 square feet on one level, featuring a great room, sleeping area for two, U-shaped kitchen and full bath. (Storybook Homes)

Mustardseed Cottage offers 540 square feet on one level, featuring a great room, sleeping area for two, U-shaped kitchen and full bath. (Storybook Homes)

Kestral Cottage features an 800 square foot, two-story plan. There's one bedroom and bath upstairs, and a great room with dining and kitchen areas below. (Storybook Homes)

Kestral Cottage features an 800 square foot, two-story plan. There’s one bedroom and bath upstairs, and a great room with dining and kitchen areas below. (Storybook Homes)

Gwyndolyn Cottage is a large one bedroom home, at 1,200 square feet. There's simply more space for each area, notably the great room and bedroom. (Storybook Homes)

Gwyndolyn Cottage is a large one bedroom home, at 1,200 square feet. There’s simply more space for each area, notably the  great room and bedroom. (Storybook Homes)

welcome to downsized joy

Over the past few years, there’s been an attraction to downsized and diminutive living spaces. Many reasons exist for this trend, including lifestyle goals. Doesn’t this bungalow beckon you?

Tiny House On Wheels

Relax in this Tumbleweed Linden bungalow, which is open, comfortable and has cooking and bathroom facilities. (tumbleweedhouses.com)

Yet today there’s a gap between what people want to do and their sense of whether it’s doable. Tiny homes are here to stay, whether built on wheels or foundations, and they answer needs for very nice living space!

We are going to help you figure how to start planning for one of these cuties, whether you buy it, have someone build it or, if so inclined, even build one.

Our tiny house joy extends beyond having a structure. It takes planning and ideas to figure out what to do with tiny spaces. They say a lot about you — and what’s important in your life too.