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Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage

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This is a 800 sq. ft. off grid beach cottage located on Keewaydin Island, Florida that is only accessible by boat. The home was originally built in 1948 as a fishing cottage. When Sherry Irvin (Realtor in Naples, Florida), her husband at the time, and their two daughters (ages three and six at the time), moved into the small cottage, they updated the interior but kept the original wood floors. They also incorporated features in the home that we normally see in houseboats.

When you go inside you’ll find a kitchen, open living room with views of the ocean, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. To save space they removed all the doors in the home except in the bathroom where there was already a privacy curtain. They also added a large deck that is nearly the size of the home itself. They lived here for six years. And the children were best friends since they were the only kids on the island. They also got to go to school by boat rather than school bus. How cool is that? Sherry says she would live here again in a heart beat! So how would you like to live in a small home like this on an island? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

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Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off-Grid Island Cottage

Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage

Images © Sherry Irvin

Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage Family of Four Live in 800 Sq. Ft. Off Grid Island Cottage

Images © Sherry Irvin

Our big thanks to Sherry Irvin of Premiere Plus Realty in Naples Florida for sharing her off-grid beach cottage story with us!🙏

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Deadrock
    September 1, 2015, 12:15 pm

    I guess enforced solitude doesn’t make best friends of EVERYONE – seeing as how Sherry and her spouse don’t seem to have survived the experience. Hopefully she can find a way to come back with her kids (if they haven’t grown up by now) and again live someplace she obviously loved. Aside from the Florida address (too hot and sticky for me), it looks idyllic. And I guess there’s always the ocean to cool off in, if you keep a handy can of shark repellant spray with you at all times…or whatever it is Floridians are using to keep gators, sharks, stingrays, boa constrictors, jellyfish, et. al. at bay these days. How about we pick this sweet little house up and move it to the San Juans? Island life where Mother Nature isn’t trying to kill you.

    • Matt
      September 1, 2015, 1:21 pm

      I think u have Florida confused with louisiana lol

      • Deadrock
        September 1, 2015, 1:33 pm

        Well, Looziana shares the gulf coast with this little home on Keewaydin, and I figure the watery wildlife isn’t too particular about whose neighborhood they cruise. As for the boas, I only hear about them in Florida, although by now a few breeding pairs might have slithered their way east. As a native Californian, what I know about the Gulf Coast would fill the back of a post card – if I write big – but my general impression is you should go for a swim there only after having made your will and said your goodbyes!

        • Matt
          September 1, 2015, 1:39 pm

          Lol the wildlife isn’t that bad actually. Of all my trips to Florida we only had shark/jelly problems once after a storm, the climate is actually quite nice, very dry and always breezy. At the gulf the wildlife is the least of your worries. I say if the criminals don’t kill you, disease will. If you are lucky enough to survive that then yes, a gator will probably finish you.

        • Deadrock
          September 1, 2015, 1:48 pm

          Matt, point taken. Although I can’t say I ever heard of Florida described as “very dry.”

          And I meant to say “west,” not “east,” as even my limited knowledge of the Gulf Coast at least includes the fact that Louisiana is west of Florida!

        • CharlotteMo
          September 3, 2015, 3:05 am

          Matt, if it was dry, you weren’t in Florida. They should call it the sauna state, not the sunshine state. Summers with 110 degree humiture are miserable, I get cabin fever so bad. One lap around the yard on the lawnmower, and you have to take a shower. If you stand still too long, mold starts growing on your shoes. Are you sure you weren’t in Utah?

    • Steve in Palm Bay
      September 1, 2015, 1:41 pm

      Deadrock, living here in Florida, I feel slighted that you left out our rattlesnakes, water moccasins, wild boar, scorpions, brown recluse spiders, Burmese pythons, crocodiles and now a resurgence of black bears. But still, yamn dankees come to retire here.

      Wonderful island address over on the west coast near Naples….but bring lots of cash. Jobs in that area are rarer than a sheepherder at cattleman’s convention.

      • Deadrock
        September 1, 2015, 1:56 pm

        Danger lurks under every rock, behind every tree, and dangling from every ceiling even here in California, Steve. I live in black bear country too, and we just read the headlines telling us a new wolf pack has arrived as well. Rattlesnakes and deadly spiders abound. Heck, even the San Juan Islands I mentioned earlier have killer whales, for crying out loud. We’re way low on the food chain, most places on earth. (For we are crunchy, and good with ketchup.) It just always seems that “out there” there are more, bigger, and toothier predators than our “local” maneaters.

        • alice h
          September 1, 2015, 6:17 pm

          Then there’s the universal danger, crazy humans, especially the politician types. Up in the Canadian Gulf Islands we also have some unpleasant spiders, ticks and their attendant diseases, a rare but occasionally deadly fungus in some areas but no dangerous snakes and most islands have no bears or wolves. Killer whales, or orcas as we usually call them, aren’t really on the dangerous to people list unless you’ve trapped them in a marine entertainment park.

    • Eric
      September 12, 2016, 9:04 pm

      Oy! You forgot to include politicians in that list! Shame. On. You. lol

      • Deadrock
        September 13, 2016, 9:03 am

        Oh, have there been some Trumppopotamus sightings there lately? Or did some locals shoot a wild Clintonosaurus Rex?

  • Sara Brooks
    September 1, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Echoing another comment, is this cottage for sale?

    • CharlotteMo
      September 3, 2015, 3:00 am

      Sara, a residential lot is listed at $799,900. on this island. Houses are much more. This is very expensive territory, off-grid or not. Some of the ugliest old view-blocking condos you’ve ever seen can go for over $600,00o. I used to go to the beach there as a kid when it was still pretty. I miss Old Florida, jellyfish and all.

  • Marsha Thompson
    September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm

    Sure would like to see more pictures and a floor plan is always a bonus

  • Marcy
    September 1, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Don’t know if I would want to live there, but I would certainly enjoy a month or two.

  • Susie
    September 1, 2015, 10:34 pm

    I am South Florida born and bred. I grew up in the Florida keys on the bay and currently live in city. I have spent my entire life near the surrounding water, the reefs off the Keys, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf waters and have been a swimmer since I was 4 yrs old. I have never been attacked by a shark. I had one run in with a rattler in the woods as a child but only because my friend’s idiot brother woke it from hibernation by poking it with a stick. I still wasn’t bit, nor what the fool we were with. Alligators tend to be in swamps and yes, I avoid swimming in any lake in the country that is not man made- but lakes in the city with suburban house surrounding them do not harbor alligators or crocks. I have never seen a bear in Florida but have heard of one or two being seen in No Fla. They are common in north American in a lot of areas. There is a problem with Pythons in the Everglades because people who bought exotic, illegal snakes let them go in the Everglades when they got too big and now they are wrecking the eco-sytem there. They are not indigenous. As anywhere, you have to respect the wild life, especially predators in any environment. As to living off the grid, yes you can but you must abide by the laws and pay for sewer if you use it- (big mis-information on the internet about the lady in Cape Coral) laws do vary by city and county. Obviously, a composting toilet is harder to do in the cities. Septic tanks are popular, especially in older homes- that is what we had in the Keys growing up. What is harder here is to build alternative type houses because of strict hurricane codes. This is a lovely cottage but even for me, a bit too isolated in location. Would be nice in the keys. Thanks for sharing!

  • Doris
    September 3, 2015, 2:47 am

    Add coyotes to the list, which will eat your dog in a heartbeat, and massive rattlesnakes and water moccasins. Susie, you are not correct about “suburban lakes” not having gators. They are everywhere, including golf courses, canals in subdivisions, and anywhere humans have intruded on their habitat. Officials tend to shoot black bears on sight that wander into South Fl developments, but up here in the northern part of the state where we don’t suffer quite as bad with hysterical yankees and have more woods, they are fairly common.
    And please note Florida is Roach Central, “thanks” to all the water.
    This island house is cute, but the first thing I thought of when I saw it were the odds of a Gulf barrier island house surviving a hurricane hit, not to mention $5,999,000 price tags on nearby property. Taxes would have to be astronomical.

    • Susie
      September 4, 2015, 7:50 pm

      Doris, I have lived on a lake for 20 years and there are no alligators here! I live in the big city and there is really no way for alligators to get to the lakes in the city. I have heard of them rarely being found in canals but that is very rare. Maybe it is different out in the country or upstate. I have never seen a bear or a coyote down here either! It is like we live in completely different states. I agree, roaches are an awful part of living in Florida and the ones down here on huge and ugly. In the keys scorpions are plentiful. But all in all, Florida is a nice place to live and fear of sharks and alligators and other predators lurking in every corner is just a fallacy.

      • Doris
        September 6, 2015, 9:37 am

        My gracious, girl, how do you suppose the eight to ten footers wind up on golf courses, fall from the sky? They travel via canals, ditches, high grass, or get tossed by the owner who bought one as a baby, not expecting it to eat Muffin the Yorkie.
        Seminole and Orange Counties are ranked at the top for bear population. A record black bear was trapped in Lake County, and another enormous fella was killed in Naples a few years back. I guess they hide better up here in the northern part where there are still woods.

        Remember, just because you don’t see a gator or bear doesn’t mean they don’t see you.

  • jm
    September 14, 2016, 5:03 am

    I love Florida. Some people can’t handle the heat and humidity. I’m not sure I can handle all the people there now. Too crowded. Fla’s not what it once was. Too many old people (no offense). When I am old I want to live among young people. Maybe a college town…
    But still love Boca Grande. Swimming from island to island…
    More people die by lightning strikes there than all the animals put together. Stepped on a stingray once and got a nasty barb in the ankle. What pain! Poor Steve Irwin…

  • Nancy
    September 15, 2016, 10:25 am

    I love being a recluse ~~ This would be just about perfect for me. Well, up to hurricane season that is.

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