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Living Simply in a 585 Sq. Ft. Cottage After Downsizing

This is a Reader Submitted Guest Post – Share Your Downsizing Story Too

Once upon a time I lived in a large house of 4,100 square feet in Sydney, Australia.

I seemed to spend a lot of time and money cleaning and maintaining such a residence and eventually decided to downsize to a more manageable one.

I sold the property and bought one of just 1,800 square feet. Living alone I soon realized that this house was also too large for my needs.

So I decided to downsize again and move to the country. I was approaching retirement and so spent many hours looking at houses on the internet.

I found a small two bedroom house that was built in 1990 and was a copy of a traditional miners cottage and was just 585 square feet in size.

Simple Living in 585 Square Feet After Downsizing

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It was on a quarter acre block of land in a small town of just 1000 people and 500ks from Sydney. The town was picturesque and the locals very friendly.

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There was a supermarket, a bank, two doctors, and numerous other small businesses.

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I drove up to the property and met the agent there. I loved the house immediately and purchased it.

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Six weeks later I moved in and have now been here for two years.

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Living small allows me the time to follow my other interests. The upkeep and council rates are lower than Sydney by a long way and heating and cooling the house is simple and not costly.

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This lifestyle is not for everyone and I have called the house “L’Hermitage” which explains that I enjoy my own company, and am not a party goer. This is the best move I have yet made in my life.

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Video with Music

If you enjoyed this downsizing story and found it inspirational “Like” and share it if you want to using the social buttons below. Who knows what it might inspire someone else to do to improve their life?

Also- I’d love to hear what you liked best about this little cottage and the story behind it in the comments below. 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!
{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Tonita November 19, 2013, 3:28 pm

    This is one of the most adorable cottages I have ever seen. The gingerbread trim on the porch is amazing and oh so sweet. Ok, I am jealous. That awning is also a treasure and different from anything I have seen before. The leaded glass in the kitchen cabinets are just beautiful. The layout seems great and appears to flow well. I like your artwork choices and definitely your vintage antique pieces. It is just adorable. That stove on your covered back patio is so awesome too. I am loving it. The square footage seems like more than 585 because of the open kitchen. The wood on the walls adds character and warmth. The window grids add to that sweet cottage feel. I was wondering if the kitchen cabinets were original in that cottage as the hardware seems modern for the space? Because I dislike modern, clean lines and minimalist living or appearances, your cottage really appeals to me. It looks lived in, warm, inviting and just overall beautiful. I can definitely see why this house was speaking to you to buy it. And that picket fence and nice front yard…. ahh, you area a blessed woman.

    While you owned larger homes in your past, I bet you are glad you had them as stepping stones to buying your cottage. Large homes are not all the curse that many tiny home fans and dwellers that think they are. Often times buying and selling of large homes is a BIG BLESSING… in that we can sell them and make money and then pay cash for land and a smaller home or homes if we desire to do so. Glad you are now nesting in your little sweet cottage.

    • Brian November 19, 2013, 4:54 pm

      Yes it is just 585 sq ft and the Kitchen is mainly original although I changed the knobs to update the look somewhat. Yes big houses can be great fun but as I got older I realised that I was living in two rooms most of the time. Thanks for your positive comments.

      • Tonita November 20, 2013, 10:27 am

        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for responding. Let me correct my assumption and say “you are a blessed man” instead of “woman”. My eyes went right to those knobs and they didn’t seem from the period of the home build. Glad they work well for your needs. Nice job on all you have done.

    • Alex Pino November 20, 2013, 9:06 am

      Thanks for your sweet thoughts Tonita!

  • Mary J November 19, 2013, 7:25 pm

    Your little house is very Australian with its bullnose verandah and white picket fence. Perfect amount of room, looks very comfortable and well loved. The back porch with its potbelly stove and kittycat finish it off very nicely

  • Laurie November 19, 2013, 8:29 pm

    Love it! A comfortable couch. No ladders to a sleep loft a bathroom! A covered porch and a cat! Very nice!

  • libertymen November 20, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Its too neat.Too perfect.Its a staged house for a decorating magazine.???
    Nobody I know lives like that.Even the cat is too neat,my opinion.
    Would be nice if a floor plan was included.One might get some good ideas.I like the way the microwave is put in the kitchen. Also the look of less upper cabinets.Seems more open.
    No pending projects around I guess.,

    • Tonita February 5, 2014, 6:08 pm

      Libertymen– Ahhh yes people do live like this. Lots of people live in all white painted homes with white carpets and furnishings and keep their homes neat and clean & spic and span. What a crazy statement. Even if this little home of Brian’s is not normally as neat and tidy as shown in photos here, there is nothing wrong with cleaning up and staging before posting pictures online for all to see. Does someone really want to be distracted by someones laundry basket or junk left on the kitchen counter? I appreciate when people put thought into a picture before they air their laundry out on social media. This is why people have careers as professional stagers, to make the most of a property and draw attention to the positive. This comment and like comments is why lots people do not want to share their tiny spaces with the world. It is not perfect for you but it is for Brian. Each post can only feature a few pictures. Even magazines do not feature every nook and cranny for all to see. Why can’t people say positive things or use words like “Thanks for sharing”? So disappointing that there are so many rude comments on these blogs…Maybe the blog owners should just shut down comments altogether, so that tiny home owners will continue to share without having responses like this guy above left.

      • libertymen February 5, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Staged is staged.It is not how most people live.
        Lets have more solid reality and less Martha Stewart.
        Since we live in an all white finished house,I can affirmatively say it is a very high maintenance color.That is a fact.
        I cant imagine why anyone would want to live in 200sq ft.
        The house I commented on is bigger and its more suitable to live in.
        Extremes of homes- Mcmansions or Shed size are just extremes.
        You dont like comments unless they agree with you? Its a venue for discussion ?

    • Kelly Libert May 1, 2015, 6:55 pm

      I live like that. A place for everything and everything in its place. If it is important enough to keep, it is important enough to find a place for it where you can put it away. Put it away or throw it away.

      The cottage is lovely and I would have fallen in love with it, too.

  • Winnie November 21, 2013, 10:04 am

    I appreciate seeing a small, but not necessarily micro home. This is eminently liveable, and could serve a couple as well. The art nouveau decor is lovely, but with my collies it would be coated with dog hair, so I’ll enjoy vicariously! Wish more cottages like this were available, and that they were seen as desirable for the developed countries.

  • Claire Melton November 21, 2013, 11:58 am

    Brian after years of looking I think this is the most beautiful house I have ever
    seen. Your furniture is to die for and everything is so neat. This should
    be in a magazine or book. Looking for something like this in the US. They
    just don’t exist. I’m going to bookmark this page so I can just dream. Have
    a wonderful life.
    Regards,
    Claire Melton

    • Alex Pino November 21, 2013, 12:09 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it so much Claire, great to hear, and best wishes to you…. Alex

    • Tonita February 5, 2014, 6:11 pm

      AMEN.. Just a wonderful home. Thanks for posting such beautiful pictures. Your attention to detail is so refreshing. Your pics are amazing.
      A true inspiration for those who are small or tiny home dwellers.

  • Ralph Sly November 21, 2013, 11:58 pm

    What could anyone knock here, it is beautiful. I would never have a place that looked this good for any time at all even if I paid professionals to come in and stage it. This is too perfect for it not to be lived in by someone very comfortable in themselves with exceptional pride in their home. I had an Aunt who kept their summer home, much larger than this one in this condition and have to admit even Uncle George preferred to be in the boat house.

    STORY TIME Uncle George while sitting on the cement steps outside the house one day with us kids (probably 10 in all) around whittling on a piece of wood slipped with the knife and stabbed it into his right (I believe), Leg and let out a hell of a cry, all the kids scattered, some tossing lunch against a tree and I ran into the house to get Aunt Iren, she looked at me as I explained and she said, he what, “that damned old fool, cut another pair of pants again and just for a laugh” me, in tiers said “No Aunt Iren, I seen it he drove the knife into his leg, honest”, he is just screaming! she told me to go out and tell him to stab the other one, I was shocked, she didn’t care or didn’t believe me, not knowing what to do and ran over to the other cottage where I knew my hero father was and told him, he looked, with big eyes, and ask me if he stuck himself good, and I of course said yea dad, right in the leg, dad told me to go to Uncle George and tell him to stick it in the other one. Now, slow but not totally out to lunch, I knew my dad and there was something up so when I got back to Uncle George and my cousins all crying and heaving and Uncle George laughing his head off so hard tiers were running down his face was the day I found out Uncle George had a wooden leg. The thing he was whittling was a new one, seemed Uncle George enjoyed this game.

    Never did trust him much afterwards but did have many more laughs with him and once got to give dads advice to younger cousins. Probably his relief from living in sterility with Aunt Iren’s house cleaning, it was every bit as immaculate as this is so some people really do live like this. Not me, nice digs Alex, good find.

  • Mary Balthrop December 13, 2013, 3:50 pm

    I would like to see the floor plan too. If I am ever a widow I want to build one in my backyard!

  • Glema June 9, 2014, 2:27 am

    Brian, nice home. Question: Do you know if that front porch use to be part of a railway station? It reminds me of the old ones in style. Very nice. I’m glad too that you keep your home clean. I know when mine is clean it makes me feel better to walk in the door. Enjoy and God bless you. Thank you Alex for sharing Brian’s home with us. God bless you as well 🙂 Happy trails everyone, everyone that isn’t stationary like this hehehe

    • Brian June 13, 2014, 4:34 pm

      Hi Glema. Not this particular front porch. These type of houses are very common here in Australia. They are often called workers cottages. The front verandah is called “bullnose” here. This one was built if 1990 so it is not that old. Its made of Hardyplank siding, Concrete slab floor, Colorbond roof and built with Cypress pine with genuine 4×4 timber. The house is very well built and very strong and because of the building materials is most unlikely to be attacked by insects. The ceiling height is 9 feet and the windows are oversize giving the appearance of more space. I purchased this nearly 3 years ago and love living here. As I live alone the size is more than enough for my requirements, however two people could live here very comfortably. Thankyou for your positive comments.

    • Brian June 13, 2014, 4:48 pm

      Brian again…Please let me push my barrow again. The beauty of buying a small house in the country is the Power, Water, Gas, Phone etc is already installed. The houses are not expensive to buy and you can make alteration as and when you can afford them. Of course there is no work here but as I am retired that is not an issue. I also bought a small Winnebago which I use to travel to a larger centre for medical, shopping or just for a break. Many people here make a living from home. Either their skills include accountancy, design, or similar or they run a business on Ebay. There are many ways to make a living by working for yourself. Cheers from Australia.

      • Tonita June 13, 2014, 5:25 pm

        Still loving your home. My favorite small home on the net.

        • Brian June 13, 2014, 5:43 pm

          Thanks Tonita and thankyou for saving me from being beaten up on these pages LOL. Always read your comments on tiny houses and enjoy your insights.
          Cheers from Australia 😉

  • Glema June 13, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Thanks for getting back to me with that porch info Brian I appreciate it. I think it’s lovely old or new makes no difference really I like the style 🙂

  • Elle December 29, 2014, 1:49 pm

    Yes my post is a little behind… This is first time I’ve seen this home. It’s perfect! I really like the way the utility room is situated, and it eliminates the need to add an extra bathroom sink, if you choose not to. As one who loves to cook and bake I like the roomy, horseshoe-style kitchen. It has everything you need and plenty of counter and ‘human’ space to allow for “the joy of cooking”. The porch really got my attention as well. It helped me to think outside of the box. I’ve been trapped in a ‘screen and/or glass’ enclosure mentality. One of my priorities is a pet (as well as human) friendly home that will let my animals enjoy the ‘outside’ but remain safe without supervision. The trellace-style partitions let in sounds, sights and fresh air while keeping anything bigger than my critters from getting in, and the shade can be pulled down and secured when furry, four-legged house-members are out there. All of this can be done (and obviously) in a very attractive way at very little cost. Well done and a great buy.

  • Celeste December 29, 2014, 2:29 pm

    We are in a similar situation. We currently live in a 3000 sq. ft. house. At one time, this house was perfect for a family of 8. Now with our youngest son graduating and moving on next year, we are anxiously awaiting downsizing.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely home! I love looking at the options and space saving ideas. I think this home is a size we would be happy with. The 9 foot ceilings and well proportioned kitchen are a plus for me.

  • Lisa E. December 29, 2014, 3:53 pm

    I used to own and live in a 4,800 sf home. Then I downsized to 1,800 sf, then 1,200 sf, and now I’m looking to build a THOW. I’m tired of being a slave to the cleaning and maintenance of a big place and I, too, find that basically, I’m only living in a couple of rooms while the whole rest of the place stands unused as nothing but storage for stuff and stuff and stuff. I’m going to be really happy when I can bring my THOW dream into full focus and get a life to finally do the things I want to without always having to be a slave to income, outgo, cleaning and maintenance.

    • Lisa E. December 29, 2014, 3:55 pm

      PS I thought this home was fabulous. The owner has put a lot of time and thought into it and he has a real gem of a place to call home. Bravo, well done!

  • Roger LaPointe December 29, 2014, 6:11 pm

    As a retired builder I have to say the layout and proportion of this place is wonderful. At the risk of repeating the many great comments above this place is a dream and one I would love to live in, kudos to you for realizing what a gem it is. As mentioned above I’m jealous . . .just too cool for school.

  • CathyAnn December 29, 2014, 7:47 pm

    Brian, I love your house. It’s perfect, warm and cozy. I could really cook up a storm in your kitchen. Very comfortable and livable.

    I have to weigh in on neatness. It bugs me somewhat that when people take pictures of their home for people to see, that they don’t straighten up the place by cleaning and putting things away so their home is shown off to advantage. They give the impression they’re slobs. I’ve never understood that.

  • Audrey December 30, 2014, 1:49 am

    Brian,
    This is wonderful, beautiful, very personal. Love everything about it. Have just recently “escaped” from Sydney myself to the much slower pace of South Australia. Bought myself a very small house- 63 square metres, and I find that I really only “live” in half of this. Nice to have a garden to potter in though. Your home is so lovely, so “Australian”-that front verandah is divine-so inspirational. Well done you and may you enjoy many happy years in your abode! Thank you so much for sharing and living the dream.

    • Brian May 1, 2015, 6:16 pm

      Hi Audrey. Hope you are continuing to enjoy your new home in South Australia. At 63sm and mine at 65sm our houses are a very similar size. I am sure you have found, as I have that it is more than ample space for one or two people to live in comfort. Thankyou for sharing and cheers from the Hunter Valley.

  • Rebecca December 30, 2014, 9:29 am

    Lovely house. I lived in small homes in Dallas (McMansion central). All in older neighborhoods and all charming. Inexpensive as well. Don’t ignore older neighborhoods and smaller communities. I am closer to retirement and bought 5 acres in the mountains near a smaller city. I created a new career because my old one was tied to megacities. In spite of the glitches and fears, I am living a much better life now. Big cities are unlivable… amazing how adaptable we are to poor conditions. This house and story exemplify that shift to a better life. Beautiful home.

  • MariAnn January 4, 2015, 10:06 pm

    I love her style! The artwork & beautiful antique pieces. This is the first small house I’ve seen decorated in my taste.

  • Pat May 1, 2015, 10:23 am

    Your home is lovely!! ….inside and out.

  • isabel May 1, 2015, 10:52 am

    while reading this,my heart warmed up,i too went through a similar situation,and now i love my smaller home,it gives me time to garden outdoors,to stop & watch the birds,to notice how my plants & trees are growing, to take time to sit on the porch outside & look around.,,,,,,,,

  • Virginia May 1, 2015, 11:42 am

    I’ve seen this house before and absolutely LOVE it!!! And do you know why? Because the owner was able to keep (at least some of) her treasures, pieces that clearly are family heirlooms, pieces that turn a house into a home. Brava!!!

  • F. GILLY May 1, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Absolutely perfect. Does not seem small at all. Wish I could find something like that in Southern California. Fat chance!
    All the best.

  • F. GILLY May 1, 2015, 1:20 pm

    Absolutely perfect. Does not seem small at all. Wish I could find something like that in Southern California. Fat chance!
    All the best.

    p.s. Some of us think a little clutter makes a home a home, and not a museum. Just saying.

  • Dotty May 1, 2015, 2:34 pm

    I would love to see a floorplan too! I am a widow looking to move near my children and I would love to build a similar cottage.

  • Mark May 1, 2015, 3:27 pm

    G’day everyone.

    Can I ask you Brian, what area you bought in and is the cottage a kit or a custom build and what sort of cost would I be looking at for a similar build these days .. I’ve got a 3rd of an acre on the Hawkesbury and have often thought about building on it.
    I live in my own house in Frankston Victoria with my wife and the dog. We’ve often contemplated bailing to somewhere less expensive than suburbia including places like South Gippsland, the Lakes areas or even going north to somewhere like Ballina ..

    Cheers from this part of Oz.

    • Brian May 1, 2015, 4:37 pm

      The house is in a small village in the Upper Hunter Valley, NSW and was built by a local builder. Although it is not a kit, there are many kit
      homes with a similar floor design. I have owned it for 3 years and it cost me $165k. If I resold it now I would expect to get about $200k having spent about $35k on improvements. This property also has a lockup garage with electric door lifter and toilet and handbasin at the back, and carport as well. Any builder could quote you on a new build without too much problem. Its made of Hardyplank siding, Concrete slab floor, Colorbond roof and built with Cypress pine with genuine 4×4 timber. The house is very well built and very strong and because of the building materials is most unlikely to be attacked by insects. The ceiling height is 9 feet and the windows are oversize giving the appearance of more space. The entire house is 65 square metres and the land size is a quarter acre. Hope the above has been helpful Mark.
      Cheers from the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.

  • Mark May 1, 2015, 4:57 pm

    Thanks Brian and happy Huntering .. 😎

  • Anne Maguire May 1, 2015, 5:37 pm

    Hello Brian, I’m just across the “ditch” and had to say how perfect your home is. I am in a similar style but far too big cottage on about four acres and have faced the fact that I can’t manage it any longer. I have been researching Tiny Houses for a long time and can’t decide whether a “fixed” home or a moveable one would be right.Your charming layout seems to indicate that the space in a permanent building is more easily used. You are so fortunate over in “Oz”, you seem to have many more options than we do here.Your ginger Tom looks very well settled too. Peace and Joy to the house !

    • Brian May 6, 2015, 2:49 pm

      Hi Anne, I am originally from across the ditch but have lived in Aus for some 40 years. Actually you have lots of small houses in NZ, where
      they were called Batch’s in my day. Here we would call a Batch a Weekender. They are normally quite small but of interesting designs. My family had a Batch just out of ChCh and it was used as a Weekender. Many people now live permanently in them as they are the ultimate downsize, are often near the beach or river. Thanks for your comments Anne and Cheers from Australia

  • Marcy May 1, 2015, 6:40 pm

    Lovely! So livable.

  • Abbi May 1, 2015, 8:05 pm

    Yes, I will jump on the “jealous” bandwagon! Kitchen is my fav…although bedroom was a contender…anyway, a tiny house that makes books a priority (even in kitchen space!) goes to the front of the line. It’s all about comfort and warmth, and this space has plenty of both. 🙂

  • Dayl8r May 18, 2015, 10:58 pm

    A beautiful home! I’m fascinated by the kitchen counter and backsplash. Never seen one made with stained wood and ?stainless steel? before. Every0ne here is into granite and tile, so all-alike. Would love to find something like this. Can you tell me anything about it?

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