Guest Post by Reader who Lives in Mortgage-free Small Octagon House

We built this small octagon house in 1979 with mostly found/recycled materials that we pulled through the woods on a little path on a reinforced garden cart so we did it with no mortgage.

Later on, we got a little crazy with the add-ons as you’ll see.

And the sauna is near a river. While there are only 2 acres, it’s in the middle of the Green Mountain National Forest.

I raised 4 children with no running water here. I chose voluntary simplicity (mostly voluntary).

Oh, and one more, I built a tent platform then garden shed recently and my daughter made another studio with it.

studio shed   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

I’m 64 now and have never earned more than $10,000 a year. And except for lack of dentistry am joyful.

mortgage free tiny octogan house   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

mortgage free octagon house 1   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

Here we are hanging around the house. I’m peeling garlic on the porch and some of my kids are visiting and catching a breeze on the roof.

mortgage free octagon house family   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

deck   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

interior   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

You can see some of the interior living space in the photo above.

river   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons

I run an art/nature summer day camp for kids in the yard, woods and river. We are really connected to each other and the land here.

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   Mortgage free Small Octagon House with Add ons


Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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  • Spencer Limb

    I love your house, and have been planning on building with a similar design in mind. One of things hold me up is what to use for the foundation. What did you do when you built this place?

    • Alex

      Great question Spencer, I’ll see if I can get an answer for you from her. Thanks!

  • Joel

    Inspirational, thanks for sharing. I wish everyone could be this connected to the land.

  • Dominick Bundy

    How refreshing , to learn of someone else almost in the same category as me.. Imagine only living on 10,000 a year nowadays. But it can be done. Because I do it as well.. And i consider my self very rich. I don’t need or want any more than I already have.And everything I own is paid for. The key is be happy with what you have, Don’t buy crap you don’t need.Pay off all your debts and bills. then just sit back live life and watch the world go by. you’ll be surprise how quickly you can built a need egg for yourself. without depriving yourself the simpler joys of life.. so see that alone makes me very rich..

    • Dominick Bundy

      LOL!! Sorry I met to say nest egg instead of need egg.. that was a typo error.

      • Alex

        Thanks so much for sharing Dominick, I didn’t know that about you.

  • Autumn

    Thank you for such an inspiring post. What a wonderful house and a wonderful (though I’m sure not without it’s challenges) life! The writer is clearly a brave and strong woman.

  • Carolyn B

    Nice home. !979 –hmmmm, some very early forward thinking in the small house & voluntary simplicity movements.

  • Juliana

    What a wonderful life. I will be you at 64. I am 52 just embarking on my grid free journey. Thank you, you encourage me.

  • Brian

    What an inspiration you are. Thankyou so much for sharing. It really made my day.

  • connie

    I love your tiny house, your garden, your land and your life!

  • Melissa Potter

    I love your home! I am very inspired by you. I can feel the love, creativity and homey-ness through the pictures. What beautiful colors and joy! Thank you. I am also very inspired that you are showing us that we can create these homesteads and live our lives joyfully with smaller incomes if we have the land to have our homes on.

  • Dean

    The key is NO Debt! It is amazing how much people spend renting other peoples money. Being debt free and owning your own home, tiny, small or otherwise, is freedom!


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