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Tiny homes popularity is growing across the country



Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell family lived in an 800 square foot World War II bungalow home in Turner in Kansas City, Kansas decades before tiny homes would become a new lifestyle for many.

The tiny home popularity is growing across the United States and in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Tiny House Collective Kansas City is a growing Facebook page for people interested in tiny homes in the urban core.

People have a variety of reasons why they may be looking into a smaller home and many do not consider it downsizing but as a lifestyle choice and leaving a smaller footprint on the environment.

Fivecoat-Campbell and her husband Dale decided in 2007 to move from their 1100 square foot home in the Turner community to their 480 square foot cabin on a lake in Arkansas. In making that move, they discovered a better way of life.

She discovered that by living smaller they were living larger. In her new book, Living Large in Our Little House, she shares her stories of adjusting to a lifestyle change but also profiles more than a dozen other families living tiny house lives and offers practical advice on how others can too.

When the couple first made the move to their cabin in the woods, it was their intention to build a larger home on their land and use the 480 square foot cabin as a guesthouse. Then the recession hit and their dream to build a larger home was no longer a reality.

There were adjustments that had to be made. She left behind a large country kitchen to a smaller kitchen space. They left behind several televisions that had been in several rooms at their former home. Living in a smaller space with one television and one remote, meant the couple had to compromise on what shows to watch in the evening. Sharing their living space with six dogs also meant learning to walk over sleeping dogs without stepping on them.

“When we first moved here, I knew I couldn’t take everything from our house. My mother had also passed away and I had some of the furniture from her house, so we had to put things in storage. I am still trying to get rid of stuff,” laughed Fivecoat-Campbell, “once you are in a small house you realize what you really need and what you can do without.”

The tiny home has given her and her husband the time to do what they both love—being outdoors.

“We like to spend our time on the lake or hiking or browsing through antique stores. When we lived in our larger home we spent either a half a day or a full day out of the weekend maintaining the house and yard. I clean this place from top to bottom in two hours,” laughed Fivecoat-Campbell.

In her book, Living Large, she walks readers through the financial advantages of small space living, help readers to define and find the right size home, teaches everyone how to scale down to the essentials to be surrounded by the things you love and gives tips on how to make use of outdoor space and decorating.

Her advice for other couples living in 480 square feet is to have a space of your own. Hispanic News asked her how they handle disagreements when residing in a small space.

“I have a writers studio that I can go to and he has a garage. But when you live in a small space, it makes you resolve arguments quicker,” she said.

Fivecoat-Campbell is a freelance writer and has been published in Audubon Magazine, Mother Earth News, Entrepreneur Magazine and MSN.com among many others. As she researched the topic of tiny homes, she realized that no one in 2009 was blogging about the lifestyle of living in a tiny house.

She decided to start a blog about Living Large in Our Little House—Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband and One Remote and see if there was an interest in her story. She was thrilled when people began to read her blog and would write to her and ask questions about what square footage determined a tiny house or ask questions about her dogs and their lifestyle change.

“I started a Facebook page after I began the blog. We have 47,000 Facebook page members. I knew there was an interest in the topic of building tiny houses and I just took it from the angle of lifestyle,” she said.

Her book, Living Large, is not about downsizing but discovering and living the “Living Large principal” which is decluttering your life of physical articles and emotional clutter, living a more sustainable life, and follow your passions and loving your life.

“My tag is Living Large is a state of mind,” she said.

When people talk with Fivecoat-Campbell they always ask her what square footage designates a tiny house.

“I tell them it is not about square footage, it is more about the passion and the life. You don’t have to downsize at all to Live Large. You can do that with the principles living anywhere,” she said.

According to her living a more sustainable life in a small home creates a smaller footprint on the environment. Her environment friendly tips for Living Large are to carry cloth bags when shopping, remove your name and address from catalogs and junk mail lists, use environmentally friendly cleaning products, shop at local farmers markets and reuse, recycle and reduce.

Living in a tiny home helps people decide what they really need to have and she suggests to look at furniture pieces that have multiple uses--storage drawers or magazine racks included or ottoman that also offer storage inside.

At a recent book signing at Prospero’s Books in Kansas City, Missouri, Fivecoat-Campbell discussed with her audience the humorous side of living with six dogs in a smaller space.

“Getting out of bed and through our living room is like a game of twister every day. We have to thread our way through so we don’t step on any paws or tails,” she laughed.

Fivecoat Campbell will be signing her new book on Saturday, June 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Books-A-Million, in the Legends shopping district, 1859 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas.