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Karenville: A Tiny Village of Tiny Buildings

Hello Alex (and Tiny House Talk readers), I love hearing about other people’s tiny house adventures. For a long time I thought I was the only one interested in living simple.

I kept thinking, it’s so easy why don’t more people do it? I live full time in a 270 square foot log cabin (you can see it below). Twenty years ago my brother helped me build my off the grid tiny home.

I also have a tiny village of tiny buildings that I built myself, I call this village Karenville. Karenville has a church, glass house, store/cafe, hotel, house, barn, silo and other small buildings.

Karenville: A Tiny Village of Micro Cabins And More in Ithaca, NY

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Images © Karenville

My Tiny Off The Grid Log Home Where I Live Simply

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The Entrance to Karenville, Showing the Church, Barn and Silo

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These building range in size from 4×8 feet to 8×12 feet. All are functional in some way or another, and are used regularly. Most of the buildings are wired for electric, even though I only have electric if I start the generator.

Two, soon to be three buildings have sinks with drains even though there is no running water. Three buildings have working antique stoves for heat and cooking.

The Main Tiny House in the Village of Karenville

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They all have charm, and lots of it! I built Karenville using wood from our family farm wood lot, cut and sawed by my father. I also used left over parts and pieces from my family’s remodeling projects.

When I walk through Karenville, I see lots of memorabilia. For example, my mother’s kitchen and dinning room windows, my daughter’s living room window, my brother’s sink, my other brother’s car window, and best of all the wood from the side hill behind Karenville.

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I started building Karenville about ten years ago after Robert, who is now my husband, came to visit me at my cabin one afternoon, but then he never left. After about a year of our living in my cabin I could see we needed more room, or rooms.

So I started building. Robert sometimes helps me in Karenville if I need help, but mostly he just lets me be my silly self and build silly buildings. And now even more silly I find out there are lots of people who like tiny buildings.

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Wow! Recently I put my village on Airbnb. People Love Love Karenville. I can’t believe it! There are lots of silly people like me liking tiny buildings. If you would like to see more pictures of Karenville you can look up, Airbnb Karenville.

Thank you,
Karen

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Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your wonderful village of micro homes with us! Great job! And thanks for being inspiring to all of us!

If you enjoyed the Karenville tiny house village you’ll absolutely love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more! Thanks!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Rob Gray September 2, 2014, 8:23 pm

    That is fantastic, I’m not surprised it’s a hit on AirBnB. Love the camera as well, I still have my large format camera but don’t use it any more.

    • Joe September 15, 2014, 9:30 pm

      Rob you might want to look at the digital pack for your large format camera. I just got one for my old klunker and it has given me a new zest for the old camera.It’s nice but I miss the darkroom.

      • Rob Gray September 22, 2014, 8:02 am

        Hi Joe, what back do you have? I did look at them a while back but they cost a fortune and/or were scanning backs that I think are not suitable for moving subjects.

        Yeah I miss darkrooms as well, oh well, that’s progress.

        Rob

  • Cosy September 2, 2014, 10:40 pm

    Charming & magical. Now she had a vision.

  • Chelle September 3, 2014, 1:12 pm

    This is the love! What a blessing! Can’t wait to visit.

  • Pat Kimball September 3, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Hi Karen, all I can say is WOW..you are one talented lady. I love your little Karenville. What’s not to like? It’s adorable and you’ve done a fantastic job with all your wonderful memorabilia and findings. I’m going to check out AirBnb for more photos.

  • Sarah September 11, 2014, 3:13 pm

    This is so totally awesome! What a wonderfully creative idea. I love it!

  • connie September 12, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Incredible! I LOVE your village!! How very charming. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I would love to create something similar…a main tiny house, a tiny greenhouse, a doggie house, even though they sleep in bed with me, a library tiny house, a chapel tiny house and a writing/work tiny house, as I am a writer. Thanks for the great ideas! 🙂

  • HappyNanaMO September 14, 2014, 8:07 pm

    OMG … magical is the perfect way to describe it. I am so in love with Karenville, especially the lavender house! Mega kudos to you, Karen, for your creative ingenuity and fortitude and love that went into this amazing little village! I hope it continues to grow, one tiny structure at a time! ~Karen 🙂

  • Gail September 19, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Absolutely awesome!! Where did you find property where you were allowed to do this?

  • Karen B September 19, 2014, 3:19 pm

    I used to live in Ithaca and visited there 4 years ago. Wish I had known you were building this as I would love to have seen it! You deserve many compliments for your vision and ability to make it happen. I wish you much happiness in Karenville.
    Another Karen

  • Lisa E September 21, 2014, 7:47 pm

    These are wonderful. I’d love to have seen the interiors, though.

  • bob & Joanna September 22, 2014, 11:58 pm

    I am thinking of building a small house boat and would love to talk to others with the same idea mid fl 33873 area have a farm for over night guest to park very much think this is the way to go small but every thing one might need land or water

  • Laurentia September 26, 2014, 4:46 pm

    Karen,
    I love, love, LOVE your vision! I am an art historian and sometime artist, and I have a dream of turning our 34-acre hobby farm into an organic tiny-home art colony. I haven’t sold the DH on it, yet, but I think an old, round grain bin would make marvelous studio space, and there are bldgs that are just…there…DREAM ON, Karen!

  • Mary Roberys September 29, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I would like more information on your tiny little houses

  • Karen October 8, 2014, 10:14 am

    Hello everyone, thankyou for all your generous and wonderful comments on my village of Karenville. And thanks to Alex too for sharing it and many others. It has been and continues to be, fun building my village. If you would like more info or to see more pictures search Airbnb Karenville.

    • Alex October 8, 2014, 11:02 am

      Thanks Karen! Happy I could share and help people find your amazing little village 🙂

  • Rebecca Ann November 10, 2014, 4:34 pm

    Karenville is totally awesome…nice job!!

  • cathy hooper November 20, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks so much for bring the the small/tiny house communities together, and being able to see the charming working like ones done at Karenville. my Husband and i have recently bought a property on plateau, looking out to majestic mountains, and overlooking a deep river below. we are cooking up plan for small living and your work is greatly informing and inspiring Us. Thanks again!

    Cathy Hooper

  • Elle May 10, 2015, 5:50 pm

    I second that “awesome”! What a wonderful way to live and a truly spectacular little village, not to mention the ‘so cute it hurts’ little pigmy goats.

    This was posted 8 months ago and I would LOVE to see it now. The owner said this is a work in progress with the addition of sinks, etc. This will continue to be as much of a work in progress as it is a beautiful, evolving work of art.

    You’re a courageous and very talented lady. I’ve been wondering if I’m being realistic about ‘building’ my own small dwelling and therefore find this charming little village greatly inspirational. Thank you for the wonderful tour and please treat us to more photos of your additions -that is, between projects of course. 😀

  • Susanne May 11, 2015, 12:00 am

    Adorable ! Yes, what about the legal aspects-no trouble ?

  • Colleen May 11, 2015, 12:08 am

    You two are adorable.

    • Linda Harkness May 11, 2015, 10:29 am

      They are pretty tiny. I’m building an 8 X 14 or 10 X 12 and I’m looking for floor plans. I want a small craft area, a daybed and
      a small patio type table and chairs to fit. Maybe a very small table
      for a coffee pot and a water dispenser of some kind. I’ll also have a loft with a blow up full size mattress. Any ideas?

  • Alain March 7, 2017, 11:19 am

    Hello Karen,
    I’m part of an association “Hameaux légers”, in France (Ardèche) that encourage the creation of spaces for light housing.
    We are looking for a picture of a tiny village for our documentation. We’d like to use one picture from your site, the third one “The Entrance to Karenville, Showing the Church, Barn and Silo”. Would it be possible ? Thanks,
    Alain

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