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From Pigeon Coop to Tiny Cottage in Florida

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Recently we got in touch with Frankie who renovated an old pigeon coop with her husband, Hector, and created an adorable vacation cottage in Fort Myers, Florida called “The Coop.” As dog lovers, they made sure this was a “big-dog-friendly” cottage and welcome vacationers to come with their pets.

The coop has a grand kitchen area with *all* the appliances, a lovely 3/4 bathroom, and a bedroom space with a queen bed and a couch. Be sure to read our interview with Frankie below as she shares all the details of the home and what inspired the build!

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Old Pigeon Coop Gets a New Life as a VRBO

the coop 00

Images via VRBO/Frankie

A lovely little porch with furniture leads into the space.

Tell us a bit about how this vacation tiny home became a reality.

I’ve loved traditional bed & breakfasts since I was a young girl visiting New England towns during the summer with my family, especially in Maine, and spent my working life mostly in restaurants, cafés, bars and in film and television (art department and props), and a bit of time in retail/private security and legal. One of my hobbies is furniture restoration/refinishing hobby, and I love vintage home decor and apparel.

The Coop

Images via VRBO/Frankie

A privacy fence makes the place feel secluded.

Hector is a fabricator, welder, aircraft mechanic and engineer who can fix or build just about anything I can think of! We left Broward for Lee County in 2020 for a property with great bones and income potential, including a delaminated old pigeon coop! We knew we would turn it into a little part of our American Dream, but we didn’t know just how much we would love the space as the work progressed and how much we, as New Yorkers in Florida over a decade for me and two for him, and sooooo many others loved pigeons until I started researching “pigeon art” for a gallery wall inside the tiny house aka The Coop! Hector did all the construction, painting, heavy lifting and carrying in furniture and appliances, sometimes with a little help, but often on his own. He built the deck, counter, a wall…and I sourced, decorated, photographed and wrote up the listing.

The Coop 2

Images via VRBO/Frankie

The interior has a red-white-and-blue theme.

We also wanted a tranquil, welcoming place to offer travelers with dogs-especially big dogs, so-called “dangerous dogs”, etc., as we experienced first hand how hard it could be to find a hotel or Bnb with 2-3 dogs, over 40 lbs., breeds/types on usually ridiculous “dangerous dogs” lists. Proud to say our first canine guests were two very well mannered, perfectly behaved, beautiful pittie mixes!

The Coop 8

Images via VRBO/Frankie

The kitchen has all the fun appliances, including a popcorn maker!

We were definitely a bit discouraged after Ian struck our new city and wondered if anyone would want to vacation here again. Well, hope was restored once our listing went live on AirBnB as The Coop was booked every night our first month (March 2023) minus one!

The Coop 10

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Love the red stools and the vintage bathing suit tea towel.

Eventually we may add a loft, small above ground pool, grill. We welcomed our first Vrbo guests last month and will be live on Booking.com soon…as well as a small menu like old school b&b’s and a special occasion menu which will consist of food & decor choices at an additional charge.

The Coop 11

Images via VRBO/Frankie

A coffee station!

What are the best features of this home?

Because this is our American Dream and because we love pigeons, everything is red, white, blue and pigeon. The walls are a blue white-cool and calming for guests who’ve traveled all day to get here or those working in sometimes stressful traveling medical jobs. Touches of vintage and retro Americana are everywhere, walls adorned with whimsical, eclectic pigeon art to foster smiles and conversation. The deck is cozy and private with a view of the moon and stars above the oaks and palms, lovely sunsets, and birds galore. You are even likely to see an eagle! The kitchenette is well appointed for short or long term stays. The bed is very comfy-not too hard not too soft. The bathroom is decent sized and features all necessary amenities. The wall desk/workspace/chair is convenient and easy to close up to make more space. Many pieces are on wheels so guests can move things around as they wish. The split and ceiling fan are brand new and adjustable. There are lots of games and a TV on a large adjustable mount for rainy days spent inside, beach gear for exploring! The yard is private, enclosed, and perfect for endless hours of zoomies and fetch.

The Coop 9

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Pigeon artwork near the desk area hearkens back to the area’s first life.

What do guests come here for?

So far, my guests have come from different parts of Florida-mainly cities-to reset, recharge, relax and explore this area’s natural beauty. Parents and fans come from the Midwest to watch Twins spring training (10 minutes away). Traveling nurses and emergency responders come to work at local hospitals, with hurricane rescue workers, and those here to rebuild Ft. Myers and surrounding towns. They come to visit their children at our local flight school and colleges or ailing older relatives. International travelers who love Florida come as well!

The Coop 14

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Plenty of information regarding what to do in the area.

Tell us about the amenities.

Folding table for 4, 4 lawn chairs and comfy loveseat, fresh basil to use for cooking or natural bug repellant, and one of the hundreds of aloes I grow, for sunburn, dry skin…

Parking for 2 vehicles, 3 by request and availability. We also have a separate listing for campers/RVs with full hookups, currently booked long term but inquire!

The Coop 13

Images via VRBO/Frankie

A lovely bathroom with glass shower stall.

Well stocked Kitchenette with coffee cart (Keurig, Florida Crystals sugar, Florida honey, creamers, variety of coffee pods, “Florida flavors” teas like blueberry and orange, even to go cups!), Brita pitcher in fridge, ice cube tray, bin and an ice pack for the beach in freezer, pots, pans, mixing bowls, etc. to make small meals on the ceramic burner 2 burner hot plate/in microwave or toaster oven, vintage Corelle dishes and cups plus paper products, utensils and prep/serving tools and baking needs, organic olive oil, salt & pepper, hot sauce, popcorn & retro popcorn maker for Netflix n’ chill nights, personal blender, cleaning products.

The Coop 16

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Toiletries and towels are provided.

Queen bed
Queen sofa bed
Extra blankets
Dedicated workspace (wall desk with some supplies inside), director’s chair
Rolling dresser with local tourist coupons, brochures, maps, the annual thrifter newspaper featuring all thrift and consignment shops from Naples up to Tampa, local newspaper
2 nightstands
Lane chest for sofa bed linens which doubles as a coffee table
Closet nook with rolling rack, adult & child hangers, luggage rack
Clothes/upholstery handheld steamer
Mini vac
Hair dryer with attachments
Essential Toiletries
2 small portable fans
Plenty of soft towels
Beach gear-lunch tote, styrofoam cooler, new beach cart on wheels, beach towels, sunblock, bugspray, umbrella
Rain umbrella, flashlights

The Coop 18

Images via VRBO/Frankie

This area stores the “extras.”

Dog Friendly amenities: (2) dog bowls, mat, bags, quick dry towel, a toy or 2 (gates, XL and S crates available, depending on availability-meet and greet & play time with our pups, dogsitting)

The Coop 12

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Family-friendly amenities: Pack n’ Play placard, portable baby tub with newborn sling, baby and child bath soap, baby washcloths, toddler utensils, bowls, cups, children’s books and games, step stool

There’s a shiplap bed and a navy-striped couch.

The Coop 15

Images via VRBO/Frankie

A chest holds additional linens.

Disability amenities: secured grab bar by toilet, suction cup shower bar, shower seat

The Coop 7

Images via VRBO/Frankie

I love the roofline in this area.

Sports equipment: yoga mat, foam footballs, soccer ball, plastic bat/ball and small child sized baseball mitt

The Coop 4

Images via VRBO/Frankie

Such a quaint little sitting area.

Games: classic American board games like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and others, a Normal Rockwell puzzle, and playing cards

The Coop 5

Images via VRBO/Frankie

The alarm clock matches the side table perfectly.

Kayaks are available upon request with a separate fee & signed waiver. Honda Element-easy clean for kids, dogs, bikes and more- also available upon request, availability & with signed waiver, copy of driver’s license & insurance, clean driving record.

The Coop 6

Images via VRBO/Frankie


  • Frankie and her husband, Hector, renovated an old pigeon coop into an adorable vacation cottage called “The Coop” in Fort Myers, Florida.
  • The cozy cottage is designed to be “big-dog-friendly” and welcomes vacationers to bring their pets.
  • The interior features a grand kitchen area with all the appliances, a 3/4 bathroom, and a bedroom space with a queen bed and a couch.
  • The decor is inspired by vintage and retro Americana, with a red-white-and-blue theme and whimsical pigeon art on the walls.
  • The cottage has a private and tranquil deck with a view of the moon, stars, and lovely sunsets, as well as a yard perfect for dogs to play.
  • Guests come to The Coop to reset, recharge, relax, and explore the natural beauty of the area.
  • Amenities include a well-stocked kitchenette, comfortable sleeping arrangements, essential toiletries, beach gear, dog-friendly amenities, family-friendly amenities, disability amenities, sports equipment, and games.
  • Additional offerings such as kayaks and a Honda Element are available upon request with separate fees and waivers.
  • The Coop is listed on VRBO, and guests can book their stay through the platform.

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    July 28, 2023, 7:54 am

    My daughter was hospitalized for two weeks from a pitbull attack. She still lives with physical and emotional aftermath of that attack, and she had known that pitbull from a puppy. Before that we had owned a couple of pitbulls, but when one, at 6 months old, tried to attack our 70 year old neighbor while she was tending to her flowers, we decided they were too aggressive and unpredictable to have as pets. After our daughter’s attack and another incident where my other daughter’s friend’s pitbull was aggressive with her, and after our friend’s 6 year old was attacked and bitten in the face by his neighbor’s pit, I decided that list isn’t ridiculous at all. Add to that the people who have died from attacks by dogs on that list. It’s not an arbitrary list. It’s based on statistics from insurance companies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, etc. It helps to protect from more injuries and even deaths from dangerous dogs. All the dogs I mentioned were pampered pets, not fighting dogs, well fed, well taken care of, and well treated. Yet they all acted out of their strong predator instincts. Please do not belittle the people who have been killed and injured by the dogs on this list, and don’t be surprised if one of your guest dogs, under the duress of a new surrounding and new pets, acts out aggressively protecting it’s owners from perceived dangers. Perhaps a good fence would be a better option than offering to “pet sit”.

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