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From Shed to Sanctuary: Building a DIY Tiny Home to Foster Mental Wellness


Veerle was at University when her mental and physical health needed a break. While she could move back home, she needed her own space and the housing market was pricing her out of an apartment. That’s when she got the idea to build a tiny home in her parents’ backyard!

Her 75-square-foot cottage was once a construction shed with an adorable curved roof and big double doors to welcome you inside. They painted, built in a bed and a kitchen, and added electricity — and in 55 days she had a home sweet home. Enjoy the tour of her space and be sure to read her story below!

  • Veerle, a university student, faced mental and physical health challenges and decided to take a break from studying and move back home.
  • She built a 75-square-foot tiny home in her parents’ backyard, transforming a construction shed into a cozy cottage with a bed, kitchen, and electricity in just 55 days.
  • Living in this tiny house provided Veerle with a safe space for healing, a connection to nature, and personal development, positively impacting her mental health and well-being.

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Her Shed to Cottage Tiny Home! Just 75 Square Feet!

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 22

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

The main thing that got me into tiny living was my mental health. I moved back home to my parent’s house in the spring of 2022. Before that, I was studying Humanistic studies and living on my own in Utrecht.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 20

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I was going through a rough time and the best option was to take a break from studying and move back home to work on my mental and physical health.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 78

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

However, I missed my independent living space and more importantly, it was also very much needed for my own personal development.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 18

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I have also always liked the idea of tiny living. I have watched many hours of tiny house content, thinking to myself, will I ever be able to live like this? One of my favourite things to do is camping, as close to nature as possible.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 11

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

For me, tiny living is the luxurious version of this camping feeling. The opportunity to go tiny came a bit earlier than I expected for myself. With the current housing shortage in The Netherlands, this was my best option to have an independent living space and it was cost-efficient as well. I am very fortunate that my parents have a big backyard where I can reside.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I bought my tiny house second hand in November of last year. It used to be a construction shed. I fell in love with her because of her double doors and round high ceiling. It’s only 7m2 (75 sq ft), but because of its height and windows it feels a bit bigger.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Besides the frame, almost everything had to be redone/build. I am very thankful for my family and friends who helped me with the renovation process.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

There was a big hatch in the wall that got replaced by a window. We put in flooring, a bed, gave everything a coat of paint, build a kitchen and put in electricity. I moved in at the beginning of January 2023 when most of the renovation was done.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 6

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

The whole process took about 55 days and there are still some projects left. I used most of my free time renovating, a hard but rewarding process. I made daily video’s about the renovation, they are still up on my Instagram page.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 5

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I currently don’t have that many expenses and I work on a biodynamic care farm.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 2

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Tiny living has changed and is still changing my life in a positive life. Like said in the previous answer, the main thing that got me into tiny living was my mental health. Talking about that is still a bit uncomfortable and new to me.

I don’t want to share too much since I am in a vulnerable position, going through things and the moment that I can’t fully grasp myself. However, I do want to speak about it since it’s such an important subject that we need to talk more about.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home 77

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Moving into my tiny house gave me a safe space, a home, to allow myself to feel and work through things that would not have been possible otherwise. My tiny house is quite literally my safe haven, with it being so small, it gives me this enclosed feeling of safety.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Living close to nature has also a very positive effect, going/being outside is such a big tool to feel a bit more grounded and calm. For most part I have grown up in the country side, when I was studying I lived in a city. Living in the city did bring something but at heart I’m a country girl. Tiny living has made it possible to still live in nature.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

For me, it’s important to share this part of my life as well. What I share online is authentic but only a really small percentage of my life, mostly the good moments. Sharing these parts really helps me in a way to appreciate (small) moments and it gives me a creative outlet, but more importantly, my tiny house gives me the opportunity to develop myself.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

In honour of the 6 months of having my tiny house I wrote her a little love letter which resembles the importance of living in a tiny house, I’ll add it below:

My dearest Tiny House,

When you came in to my life about 6 months ago, I was in need for change. You not only provided me that change, you changed with me. When you arrived you were no more than a bare canvas, with a hole in your grey walls. The hole became a window, your grey walls turned bright white and yellow. You now host a bed and a kitchen, and more importantly, you host me. I had to change you in order to let you help change me. Thank you. Behind all those videos about your pretty exterior is a deeper meaning, 7m2 of a much needed home.

Lots of love,
Veerle

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Some of the challenging parts of tiny living are also the things I enjoy about tiny living. Overall, I’ve to say that I find it more rewarding than challenging.

My tiny house is just 7m2, which is really small. I do have everything I need, however, it gets messy very easily. I have to be strict about placing items where they belong. (Also a big advantage)

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I live very close to the elements, which means I always have to think things through, making sure I keep myself warm and making sure the water in my watertank doesn’t freeze (for example). Somedays this means going to bed earlier because I’m cold.
Not having a toilet can be a bit annoying, sometimes I do not look forward to go outside when it’s raining or very cold for example.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

There are so many good things about living in a tiny house, it brought peace and joy into my life. To name a few rewarding things:

I really enjoy living in a small space with just everything I need, less distraction and things to worry about. Like said before it gives me a very protected and enclosed feeling.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I mostly sleep with my windows open, it really reminds me of camping, but with the comfort of my bed. It also benefits my health a lot, it builds up my immune system and makes me more resilient again the elements/cold.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

I really enjoy being close to nature and surrounded by green and animals, I am following the rhythm of nature more than before. I also go outside more often since my living space is tiny.

Another rewarding thing is living in a space that’s I build and designed myself.

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Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

If you have the opportunity and desire to live timy, just go for it. For me, it brings so much peace and joy. The beginning can be quite daunting and overwhelming. I had so many questions, will the space be big enough, will I enjoy it, am I capable of tiny living and renovating and so on.

For me, taking the first step was the most important, the rest I was able to figure out along the way. You don’t have to know everything from the start.

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

As far as renovation/building goes, I would say come up with a good plan and be flexible. I had to learn to be patient, somethings take more time than you would expect. I found so much joy in using things I had on hand and find things second hand or for free. This might take a bit more time but is very cost-efficient.

Reclaiming Serenity: A Shed-to-Tiny-Home DIY Journey for Mental Health

Supporting Her Mental Health in DIY Tiny Home

Images via @_tinyfieldhouse

Highlights:

  • She’s been in the tiny house now for 6 months.
  • Veerle built a 75-square-foot tiny home in her parents’ backyard to support her mental and physical health during a challenging time.
  • She transformed a construction shed into a cozy cottage with a bed, kitchen, and electricity in just 55 days.
  • Living in a tiny house allowed her to have her independent space and a connection to nature.
  • Veerle’s tiny house serves as her safe haven, helping her work through personal challenges.
  • While tiny living has its challenges, such as limited space and lack of a toilet, it has brought peace, joy, and a stronger connection to nature into her life.
  • She encourages others to consider tiny living, emphasizing that taking the first step is the most important, and flexibility and patience are key when renovating or building a tiny home.

Learn More:

Related Stories:

Our big thanks to Veerle for sharing! 🙏

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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.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    November 27, 2023, 10:26 am

    Adorable! Absolutely adorable tiny home! The story is encouraging and seems to be heading towards a happy ending. I pray many blessings for you.

  • Maria Kentala
    November 28, 2023, 5:44 am

    Well done. I would get a portapotty . Tuck it under the bed.

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