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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Living Large in Small Spaces - A Tour of Little House on the Hill

First post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces"


Little House on the Hill

Last April, while cyber researching small homes, I stumbled upon a charming 540 sq ft cottage built by Tim and Leslie.  I was so impressed with their accomplishment that I immediately contacted them and asked if I could share their home and story here at A Joyful Cottage.  They graciously agreed.  

Then life got busy for them and me, and our collaboration simmered on the back burner. Until today.

I'm thrilled to kick off the "Living Large in Small Spaces" series with Tim and Leslie's charming cottage.

It began with a vision

Three years from retirement Tim realized he and his wife would have to sell their home and downsize.  "There is no way I could retire with the mortgage and utility bills I pay right now," he said at the time. 




This little sketch, found on the internet, was the inspiration for Tim and Leslie's retirement cottage. In order to afford their dream, the couple planned to build the home themselves. 

"Financing the construction of such a little house is not an easy thing," Tim says. "Banks don't want to lend money to somebody building their own house. They also don't want to lend very small amounts of money.  I [had] enough money to build the house, or. . .buy the land. . .but not both."


The right stuff


Picture

Tim and Leslie found the "perfect piece of property" and worked out a deal with the seller whereby he would carry a contract on the land until they could finish building the house.  At that time the couple would secure a conventional loan and pay off the property owner. Their total mortgage would be around $15,000, which they could pay off during the first year in their new home.





Armed with past experience in construction, a truck and tools, Tim set to work.  

A dream come true



Building began in October 2011.  Nine months later Tim and Leslie moved into their new cottage, which was almost paid for by that time. Tim was able to save most of his income for the next two years as a "nest egg."



Leslie staining the siding.



A sign on the porch sums up
the couple's philosophy of simple living.

Although Tim and Leslie had to work within a tight budget,  they reached their goal of a "very nice, well built home."  

Interior motives

I know you're anxious to see what's on the other side of this charming screen door, so let's go in.



Carriage style lamps light our way to a warm and welcoming cottage.


Two loveseats in the living room offer cozy seating and conversation. 


Plank walls painted white and abundant natural light brighten the rooms.  


Soft lighting and polished wood cast a warm glow in the evening.




Furniture acts as dividing "walls" for the space. Dark hardwood floors are a stunning contrast to the white walls.


Red accents punch up the neutral palette.



Tim found the little kitchen table at a local antique shop.


The small kitchen is big on charm.  Tim and Leslie purchased in-stock unfinished oak cabinets from a home improvement store, painted them and added decorative trim and moulding to give them a custom look. A pantry next to the refrigerator provides lots of storage.


Tim designed and built the decorative range hood. 



A wood stove keeps the home toasty warm in the winter and enhances the vintage cottage look. 



The bathroom is a comfortable size.



It boasts a walk-in shower, space for stacked washer and dryer, and a large closet.


A wall cabinet opposite the closet completes the ample storage.


A quaint iron bed anchors the bedroom.  Leslie painted the walls powder blue to match the blue in the new bedspread.


The nightstands double as beds for the couple's pugs.



Floyd and Gunther supervising construction.
Say "hi" to Floyd and Gunther. 



Let's go back to the bedroom and see the his and hers closets.  Tim added cottage details to the doors.  Leslie scored the matching baskets used for storage of personal items.


A loft, accessed by a pull down ladder in the kitchen ceiling, accommodates visiting grandchildren.



Homesteading


By taking advantage of free Craigslist lumber, and seconds at local Amish saw mills priced at 20 cents a board foot, Tim built this combination tool shed and chicken coop for under $300.



Now Tim and Leslie have a business called Hickory Hollow Hatchery.



The daring young chick on the flying trapeze.


In Spring 2013 Tim built a shop and garage.




He explains why "Mail Pouch Tobacco" is painted on the side of the garage:

"From 1925 to 2000, there was a man by the name of Harley Warrick. . . Harley painted over 20,000 barns in Ohio and surrounding states with advertisement for Mail Pouch. He said 'the first 10,000 were a little rough, but then I got the hang of it.'  I decided to do a tribute to Harley on our garage."


HANGING SLIDING LID CANDLE BOX


Tim makes wood products and sells them on the Little House on the Hill website.


Raised bed garden



Although Tim and Leslie lead a busy life, they still find time to relax.



And enjoy the view from their back deck.

Thank you, Tim and Leslie, for sharing your lovely cottage and homestead with us.
 (All photos are the property of Tim and Leslie and used with their permission.)

Visit Tim and Leslie's website to see more photos and read the journal Tim kept during the construction:  http://littlehouseonthehill.weebly.com/




See the cottage decked out for Christmas in Tim's Youtube Video: Our Little Cottage - Living the Simple Life

Show Tim and Leslie some love by liking their Facebook Page: Hickory Hollow Hatchery


Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.


Would you like to share your small space story 
or have your home 
featured  in this special series?
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for email address.)

56 comments:

  1. Great use of space. Nice to not have a morgage when you retire.

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    1. I agree, Debby. Captain and I are very motivated to live debt free.

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  2. What a quaint, adorable little home. And I do love the coop. They really did make the best of a small space and I'm sure they sleep well knowing it is all paid for. :))) Deb

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    1. I think so, too, Deb. Tim and Leslie are an inspiration.

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  3. I really enjoyed hearing about this couple and their home. It is so pretty.

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  4. Hi Nancy ... I so enjoyed your first in a series of "Living Large in Small Spaces" ... such a charming little cottage. The front porch and the screen door say "WELCOME" ... such a warm welcome! I especially fell in love with the charming little kitchen. Love, love, love the little kitchen table and chairs. The little cottage is so homey and shares "simple living" and how to retire while staying within a budget. I will be looking forward to your second in the series. Sweet and Simple Blessings ♥ Teri

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Teri, and for your kind words. I think Tim and Leslie have a very special, inspirational story that deserves attention. xxx

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  5. Wow! What a great post of a great space! I would love this! I definitely would call this living large. I've been thinking the same thing.

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    1. Thank you. Our last home was 640 sq ft, and it was pretty interesting how many people said they envied us and would like to get to the point where they lived simply in smaller spaces. Tim and Leslie are a great example of how to do that.

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  6. What a neat home and how wonderful for the to live their dream. :)

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    1. I think stories like this make us feel good, don't you? Seeing someone fulfill their dreams just feels good.

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  7. That's fabulous! What a great story - thanks for sharing this and for the new series, I look forward to the next installment!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. This is a subject dear to my heart, and I'm enjoying sharing what I discover.

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  8. I love their home! Tim sounds like such a nice guy and he really has it all going on with the gardens and tool shed to boot. I would love to spend my retirement just like that!

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    1. Tim is a super nice guy, Gigi. It's been a pleasure getting to know him and Leslie.

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  9. Now that is the ultimate DIY! What a super charming space...love their story and can't wait to read more next week!

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I agree with you that Tim and Leslie's cottage is "a super charming space." I'm glad I could share it.

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  10. Fun series Nancy . . .
    Gives me more food for thought on living smaller . . .

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. I think a lot of us are thinking about smaller living; and if not smaller, at least living more simply in the space where we are.

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  11. What an enjoyable couple of hours spent reading Tim's blog. Thank you for finding and sharing.
    Joy

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    1. Joy, I'm so glad you visited Tim's blog, and I hope more readers will do so. There you can see family photos and so much more of where and how they live.

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  12. A lovely home & story. And their house is finished! We're still working on ours. :)
    Looking forward to reading more in this series!
    Hugs,
    Lin

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    1. Are we ever really finished, Lin? Tim mentioned on his blog that he doesn't enjoy not having something to build. I have a feeling he'll be adding more to his property. :)

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  13. This was just charming! A fun read :) My galley kitchen and little bathroom are about the same sizes as here ( Bathroom less, I think : )

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    1. Thanks, Deb. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We had a very small galley kitchen in our last home and I loved it.

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  14. Hi Nancy, thanks so much for the visit and sweet comment on my eggplant pizza recipe! This is an amazing story of this couple living in such a small house. I love it and it's so cozy and warm. Take care.
    Julie @ Julie's Lifestyle

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    1. Thanks for the visit and nice comment, Julie. :)

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  15. That little cottage is so cute! Love it!!! It reminds us of the one we purchased over a year ago and are in the process of renovating. It's about the same size as the one above, but we have an attic bedroom, in addition to the downstairs. We would love to sell our big house and live in it someday. Hope you stop by to see it! Stopping by from Savvy Southern Style

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    1. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts, Pam. Now I'm anxious to see your small home.

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  16. Nancy, the inside of the cottage is just darling! I love the white wood and the sliding doors. The pops of red are just perfect! Thanks for sharing it with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. I thought of you when I saw the red, Jann. We do love that color, don't we? xxx

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  17. Ciao,grazie della visitaIl tuo blog mi piace e anche la casetta che hai fatto vedere in questo post!Divento anche io tua follower!Baci,Rosetta

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  18. Such a fun tour! Love this home...charming! Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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    1. My pleasure, Cindy. :) Thanks for the party.

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  19. A really neat place and love that they did it within their means! Thanks for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays! And we LOVE pugs around these parts too!!

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    1. Living simply and within our means has been important to me for a long time. Thanks for visiting Jes.

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  20. I wanted to touch base with you again and tell you that I showed this post to my husband and now we are going to do the very same thing. We are already looking for the perfect piece of land and my husband is excited to build the house himself. Thanks again for this post!

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    1. Gigi, this is fantastic! I hope you'll share your experience on your blog. Thanks for coming back to share your news. I'm excited for you. xxx

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  21. This is such a sweet home - love the detail! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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  22. What a sweet, quaint and charming little house! I would always feel like a child in this house. I bet the grands love it! Thanks for sharing, I love it!
    Have a nice weekend.
    FABBY

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    1. Your comment made me smile, Fabby. To "always feel like a child" is a wonderful way to live. I'd like to capture that feeling as we plan our own small home. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. xxx

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  23. What an adorable cottage they have created. Obtaining the land and building a small cottage gives them the freedom they need from financial worries, and it's inspiring to others as well. New follower!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself, Diane. It's wonderful to make a new friend. I appreciate your comment. I think many of us long to live as they do. xxx

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  24. Hi Nancy,

    How charming and cozy!! They've done such a wonderful job of creating enough space to live comfortably, even when the grands come for a sleepover! Loved the video and Tim did such a fine job of showing us around their little house on the hill. Thanks so much for introducing this sweet couple and their cute cottage to us!

    Your newest follower,

    Poppy

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    1. Hello Poppy. Thank you for leaving the nice comment; you're very sweet. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour and Tim's video. He covered everything so well. I'm happy to have you as a new friend. xxx

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  25. Nancy, this is such an interesting post. I love the cottage and especially all the barn doors inside. The charm of the doors and that floor . . . love, love, love that floor. Well, it is perfection. So bright and cheery and so warm and cozy, who could ask for more:)

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    1. Thank you, Connie. I'm glad you like it.

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  26. OMG I absolutely love it.. Everything!!! Right down to the chicken coop and their darling pups. Such an inspiration..wow!!!

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    1. So happy to read this, Melissa. It does my heart good when someone writes such nice words. Thank you.

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  27. Nancy, thanks for sharing Tim and Leslie's cottage story. Love the way they finished the inside. This sounds similar to my husband's and my story-- we are trying to do as much as we can ourselves on our cabin (and kept it as small as possible) to save money and make our dream possible.

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    1. Tim and Leslie did a great job and were able to realize their dream with hard work and determination. They certainly have inspired me. I hope your dreams come true, too, Melissa! Thanks for stopping by. I'll be sure to check out your blog. xxx

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  28. I fall in love with this house on the hill! It's amazing! Thank's for sharing such admirable review! Wish you lot's inspiration and luck!
    www.toamsterdam.net

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  29. That is a wonderful story adn how inspirational! I just celebrated my 50th (whoa!) and my wife and rent only as we simply do not have a savings for a down payment but have determined that if we ever bought a house, it owudl need to be very small too--samller than even our current townhome. 540sq/ft would seem really small but then again, I lived in a 600 sq ft studio apartment a few years ago but I was single then. It was hard when the kids would come over--sleeping on air beds.
    I think it very wise to downsize. If you haven't read Marie Condo's "the Life changing magic of tidying up and decluttering" you have likey followed a lot of the same logic. (BTw, that is one of my top 5 fave books of all time! Truly transforming.) The reality is, we can;t take anything with us and we don't want our kids to have to sort through everything on their own so much stuff from years ago that may not mean as much to them as it did to us at one time. Learning to let go and simplifying is the way to go! In fact, it is liberating to be surrounded only by things you love.

    P.S. How wonderful to be able to save costs and build or design one's own home! I would have no idea how to do that but so admire those who can.

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Your comments bring me joy! Thanks for stopping by.