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Couple Live for 7 Years in Tiny House with No Electricity

In search of a more simple life and completeness, the couple, Michael and Diana lived in a 144 square foot tiny home in Northern California for seven years. They feel their house was not tiny but just right for them.


The tiny house does not feel small as you will see below. The natural sunlight and surrounding trees there is magical.

Diana says you enter timeless time here. And it’s easy to forget about everything but the present moment.

The fireplace is a necessity in this home as it creates heat for the home and bathing water.

With no electricity which means no refrigerator, no meat, no ice cream Diana would cook beautifully colored fresh vegetables in one small cast iron pot over the open fire for their meals.

Enjoy the photos and video below of this unique simple way of living.

Couple Live for 7 years in a 144 Sq. Ft. Tiny House with No Electricity

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Images © Faircompanies

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Images © Faircompanies

Video: Thoreauvian simple living: unelectrified, timeless tiny home

Resources:

Related: Off Grid Solar Tiny Cabin with Yurt Guest House

Our big thanks to Kirsten Dirksen and Nicolás Boullosa of Faircompanies for this inspiring story!

If you enjoyed this story of a couple who live simply in a tiny house with no eletricity you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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Andrea
Andrea has lived simply in small spaces for more than 7 years and enjoys sharing her space saving (and space multiplying) tips from experience.
Andrea

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{ 29 comments… add one }
  • david von alst October 17, 2014, 12:02 pm

    anyone know private people who will finance little houses i have land paid for and another property free and clear where i live depending on prices i may need 3 homes e-mail me at [email protected]

  • Ms Betty October 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Listening to her, she sounds like she is at peace with the world. Very content with her life. That makes her a very rich woman in my eyes.

    • Patrick October 17, 2014, 2:17 pm

      I totally agree. I think most Americans don’t have a clue about the minimalist lifestyle. She is indeed rich because she has escaped from a world of mind boggling chaos, something I aspire to as well. Just imagine how much time it frees up for contemplation and reflection.

    • 2BarA October 17, 2014, 2:46 pm

      I sense a use of the past tense in this story. Are these people no longer living there?

      • Ms Betty October 17, 2014, 5:15 pm

        When you read the article it sounds like past tense but not when you watch the videos.

      • Sue T. October 17, 2014, 8:14 pm

        If you go to their website and read her blog, they left Innermost House in early 2013.

      • Cahow October 17, 2014, 8:19 pm

        2BarA: You are correct, they moved on, years ago.

        From what I understand, this ‘house’ you see was meant for meetings of clients that the husband and wife worked with. They were allowed to live in it because of some benefactor.

        They both drifted away from this place many years ago and when I last read about them, they had not yet found their newest place to perch.

  • LK October 17, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Beautiful. Serene.

  • Bonnie Lynch October 17, 2014, 5:36 pm

    The same thought occurred to me. If they don’t live there anymore, why not? It’s really valuable to me, as a future tiny home dweller, to know about the life cycle of tiny living. Is it like moving to Alaska (where the rumor is that most people change their minds and leave within a year), or is it something most people stick with for many years (or at least as long as they stick with any other house they might purchase)? I’d love to see stats on that, but I suspect no one is currently collecting them.
    I really enjoyed this video, Andrea!

    • Cahow October 20, 2014, 2:15 pm

      Bonnie: I LOVE STATS, and am with you 100% on wishing there was a boat-load of stats on age break down, length of stay, and other societal demographics.

      Here’s my completely unscientific observations of the Tiny House Dwellers from a couple of years of viewing Alex’s site:

      1) The bulk of Tiny Home dwellers are either Millennial’s or retired Baby Boomers cashing in their 4,000 sq.ft. homes for smaller. That leads me to believe that the folks who are between 30 and 60 are living in regular anchored homes with yards who are busy raising their kids and pets.

      2) The Tiny House community is very highly predominantly Caucasian-centric. How many Asian/Hispanic/Native American/African American people have you seen featured in Tiny Homes?

      3) Maybe ?half? of the people I’ve read articles about treat their Tiny Home as a Summer Vacation/Glamping spot, although they’ll never admit it. In other words, “Fair Weather Tiny Home Lovers”. They live in their tiny homes in the woods when the Winter has passed and leave their tiny homes when “Winter Is Coming”. <G.o.T.'s shout-out! Also, because so many of the teeny-tiny homes are primitive at best (no running water/no true source of heat) + a loft bed, when injuries happen to the tiny house dweller, they scoot back to society and live in some friend or relative's home with central heat, running water and toilets and a proper bedroom. Part of me thinks, if you're going to Talk The Talk about tiny homes, then you should also Walk The Walk and live full time in your tiny home, injury free or not. That's what the rest of us do when Winter comes and we hurt ourselves.

      That's the bulk of what I've observed. Your observations may vary from mine.

      • William Baird April 28, 2015, 9:57 am

        Hello Cahow,

        I think you are right to worry about number 2, although I do not think that the ethnic bias is built into the tiny concept itself. Also, keep in mind that the bias may be apparent – perhaps non-white folk just aren’t as interested in making their tiny living public on these forums.

        As for issue 1, we have a huge jamboree coming up in August – that would be an excellent place to amass some stats. However, I do not share your perception that people between 30 and 60 years of age are not embracing the tiny house movement. There are numerous instances of people in this range featured in this newsletter. My wife, Laura, and I were inspired by multiple families (some in their 30s) living tiny, and we embraced the lifestyle ourselves (with 3 kids, ages 8,8,3, three cats, and a hamster in 440 sq.ft.). Also, if there is such a generational bias, then perhaps we can overcome it by encouraging people of this generation to think outside of the box(home).

        As for point 3: living tiny seasonally has been common for many years, whereas doing so for a primary residence was much rarer until the last decade or so. Perhaps the ratio of part- to full-timers is quickly changing. There also does not appear to be any problem with embracing tiny living seasonally. People who decide to do so are not “soft” or merely “talking the talk,” but are instead trying to figure out what will help them live well (which we should expect to differ drastically with each personal situation).

        The popularity of this movement is rising, and with it the more wide-scale embrace of tiny living in many different forms. I am hopeful that some of the apparent demographic gaps you identify will be filled by new folk looking for a more simplified way of life who find the community welcoming. This life is quite rewarding for many, many people who have tried it, as attested to by some of the folks featured on this newsletter.

        Is the movement perfect? Of course not. There will be some shortcomings for any social movement. Do these imperfections pose irresolvable problems? I don’t see that they have to do so, especially if we recognize them and try to overcome.

      • Cahow April 28, 2015, 10:06 am

        Hi, William Baird. I really enjoyed reading your excellently written and well-thought out comment! That’s fantastic that your entire family + critters are enjoying life in a small home; you give inspiration to so many people. 😀

  • Bonnie Lynch October 20, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Cahow, I certainly fit right into your demographic prototype: I’m a boomer, Caucasian, and planning to cash in our larger (in this case, 1600-sf) house for something much smaller. I appreciate your views about going Tiny or going home (they remind me of all the times that it’s come up in conversation that I’m vegan, and people say, “Oh, I’m pretty much vegan too, except I eat eggs and cheese”). On the other hand, I am happy whenever anyone even dips their toe into simpler living, because even if they only live in that tiny home for 3 or 6 months of the year, that’s time they’re not paying huge electricity bills or watering a giant lawn, etc. Granted, if they rent out their big house, someone else is probably doing all that stuff in their absence, but the net result is still a smaller footprint and a chance to inspire others who may decide to make it their primary way of life. Tiny ripples can travel a long way.

  • Tiana October 26, 2014, 12:37 am

    Cahow, I think you are missing quite a bit. Maybe this site is Caucasian-centric because many of the other cultures you list already have tiny living down pat. And quite a few have been featured here as inspiration. Modern Asian micro-spaces specifically, but also Mongolian (ger/yurt) Romanian (Vardo, caravans, etc) American Indian (Hogan/teepee) American Pioneer (Prarie Schooner/Chuck Wagon) Central/South American (Adobe/COB, granted those are building materials, but still came from bare essential structure cultures). I live in Alaska (born here) and my too-big house is <800sq ft, husband, teenager, dogs and all. My husband has a couple friends who live in a yurt year-round, and I have a friend who lives in a Tumbleweed 365, surgical repairs, sheepdogs, and all. Look her up on FaceBook "Tiny House Big Adventure" to see how she adapted.

    • bobby tan December 14, 2014, 12:42 pm

      come to south east asia and east asia…and discover many families(often consisting of four or more people) live in houses measuring not more than 12 feet square,

  • signalfire December 21, 2014, 8:03 pm

    Sorry to burst everyone’s romantic bubble, but the Lorence’s appear to be more con artist than artist… go to Michael Anthony Lorence’s website and read… all the testimonials seem to be written by the same hyperbolic person, there are no photographs available of this ‘amazing man, someone out of time’ and he seems to be selling… well, himself… as a speaker, as a personal counselor to the sort of men Atlas Shrugged was written about, oh and as a bespoke tailor of fine men’s clothing and someone who will set up a room for you, just like ‘Innermost House’ where for I’m sure, a not -small fee, it will be filled with books and antique telescopes and globes, and other things that will make you the envy of all those who you deign to impress with your ‘otherworldliness’…. Take a good long look at this house, beautiful as it is. It isn’t lived in (and Michael has ‘monthly meetings with clients in NYC, Washington, San Francisco and Beverly Hills’); the fireplace has an immaculate ‘bed of ashes’ piled so high and in triple swoops to hold the perfectly tented logs; no smoke or ashes have ever fallen out of that fireplace, the white cushions, so near to the fire, supposedly used every evening for long intense conversations are equally immaculate, the candles are new and unburned, not a speck of dripped wax anywhere, the books are antiques, try reading them with candlelight!, (except all those covered in white paper like a House Beautiful staged photo-op)… all of it is a movie set, not real life. Where’s the car that Diana uses to visit the local farmer’s market for shopping? Who was the ‘benefactor’ who offered them that premium land in northern California for the house and water supply? How did Michael get from his little 12 foot square abode to ‘San Francisco, Beverly Hills, NYC and Washington, D.C’. all without umm… modern conveniences? Diana became a star in her own right, giving speeches about how wonderful her inexplicably phantomic husband was, and how wonderful life was with him, and writing long (very strange) blogs (from a computer we know not where) to a breathless series of wonderful friends on line… well anyhoo, look here and see what you think; to me, it’s a grand illusion, the ultimate con; has anyone ever seen this man in reality, has anyone ever seen one of his ‘bespoke’ suits? Undoubtedly, I don’t travel in the proper circles to have ever had the opportunity…

    I’d be happy to be proven wrong but this makes every cynical bone in my body raise a screaming red flag; maybe one of the people quoted in his website can actually vouch that such a person actually exists; apparently you can contact Michael Anthony Lorence the phantom but only if you come referred by a previous client, and he will possibly deign himself to come talk to your civic group, if you’re important enough.. but I bet it will cost you some bucks… http://www.michaelanthonylorence.com/#/wisdom-knowledge

    • Cahow April 27, 2015, 4:47 pm

      signalfire: I don’t know HOW I missed your comment but WOW…I like! I like! The following is a compliment, my friend: your comment and sleuthing reads like the lead story on The Smoking Gun! 😀

      • signalfire April 27, 2015, 10:29 pm

        Thanks, Cahow – you made my day! I’d love to ‘talk’ to anyone who has met the illusive Mr. Lorence or attended a talk by him. That said, I love this house, it’s one of my favorites in the whole tiny house genre. Make it a little larger with a bedroom instead of a loft, and you’ve achieved something quite special and compelling, especially if you can build it in mid-California with perfect weather as this appears to be. Another ‘house’ in a similar location would appear to be the ‘house of three tents’ that Kirsten Dirksen videotaped here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toFBj9qBLQo

  • Brian December 23, 2014, 9:34 am

    This ideal may work for some and not others. The talk about the people who once lived here and for what purpose is irrelevant to me. People will live as they wish just as I will live as I wish. I believe that this is but one reasoning behind the tiny house movement. Perhaps I am wrong, but it is how I see it. Disliked or not, this couple did in fact live modestly for quite some time. At least to some extent. There actions, (if accurate) will catch up to them. Most Americans (caucasian or otherwise) do not know what it’s like to live this way. The tiny house movement isn’t exactly a new concept but rather a re-birth of how life was a century or so ago. It wouldn’t hurt modern society to reflect back and experience a more modest way of living. Though I see many still having modern conveniences such as internet, cell phones etc. So much for minimalist right?!! Whether 144 sq ft. house or a 800 sq ft. house or anwhere in between, the idea behind it is still the same. It’s about searching your own self and finding your purpose. It goes much deeper than what is on the surface.

    There will be some who will “cash in” on this “trend” if you will. There is only one way to stop that. Build it yourself and as cheaply as possible. I personally have never understood the “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. Do we as a society in general really find it necessary to be top dog? Pathetic really and quite disturbing to say the least. I just don’t understand why anyone in this world cannot just be happy and content with what they have. It’s a lesson in humility. Of course, I suppose the next big thing will be to compare each other’s tiny houses, gardens, water systems, etc. To share for others to enjoy and possibly gain new ideas that may work for the next person is one thing. “Keeping up with the Joneses” Trash talking someone’s way of living or intentions be it minimalist or not. It just seems like to me that typical social behavior is more like being a trained animal than being our own self and being content. All very sad! Without sounding cliche’, can’t we all just get along? JMO (Just My Opinion).

    Happy Holidays to all!

  • Karen January 2, 2015, 4:09 pm

    People do live in tiny houses long term. I have been in my 576 square ft (outside dimensions) house for over 19 years.My daughter lived with me for over four of those years. I love it!

  • Monica Vinton April 27, 2015, 2:26 pm

    At this point I have been in my tiny house for 1 1/2 yrs. No plans of moving at all. I absolutely love it. Of course I live alone. If I make a change it will be to move into another one where I don’t have to climb a ladder when I get a bit older. I plan on building more to put on my property for rentals.

  • Mame April 27, 2015, 4:31 pm

    hmmm, I am affected a little like “signalfire” was. Yes, it all sounds idyllic and in many ways I would love it. I do realize that for a full-time living situation, I need electricity, which is not difficulty in today’s modern civilization with solar panels, etc. Also, to live without a refrigerator is simply dumb, in my view, in today’s world. When my children were young we went to an aunt’s cottage for a couple of weeks each summer and, even there, we had a propane refrigerator, stove and lamps. They were not fancy, quite simple actually, but provided anything necessary and so easy to provide. The little home here in this article is just lovely, no question, and I could be very happy in it with the addition of a few modern conveniences.
    Just as an aside, candle light can be romantic and emotionally soothing but it’s very hard on your eyes to read very long by it. And with our winters only allowing us 8 to 10 hours a day of day light, proper lighting is a necessity to even consider year-round use. And computers, etc., require electricity as well… So while I love this tiny house and the setting it is using, for my use it would need a great many ‘upgrades’ 🙂

  • Karen R April 27, 2015, 9:39 pm

    I have said before that it seems that very few stay in micro tiny homes. However the 350+ square feet (no ladder!) have long term appeal. My husband and I plan to spend the foreseeable future in ours, and they are great for singles, couples, small families, or widows/widowers. As tiny homes gain acceptance in more areas of the country, they will become increasingly popular.

  • Jim April 29, 2015, 9:00 pm

    I’m arriving late to most of this. There’s a lot of omissions and outright lying going on in the tiny house world. If you find or build a tiny house and live in it, I’m interested in your example and story. If you play around with it as a little hobby, but live elsewhere (like the other, bigger house on the same property), I’m much less interested. I’m curious about people who have actually bailed out of the phoniness and shallow consumerism that somehow took the place of the real American dream.

    • Papi June 24, 2015, 3:43 am

      What you call shallow consumerism, others call living the dream. The “real American dream” is different for everyone. A home like the one showed here, but with power and internet would be great for me. Especially if I ever learned to garden and gained a stomach for hunting. Others, for reasons I don’t get, really want 3600sqft of house. It’s their house, let’em have it.

    • Jim June 24, 2015, 1:24 pm

      Papi, you’re correct. I must have been in a sour mood. To each his own. That is a component of the American Dream.

  • Susanne April 29, 2015, 11:30 pm

    If they not using electric and the appliances that go with that, nor with solar either, why bother having running water? Should be a well, with buckets, or hand pump.
    The whole thing was creepy. 🙂

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