Most of the time when you think of tiny houses, if you’re like me, you’re thinking of a “micro” home of around 65 to 200 square feet. This house is going to be a little bit different because I think it suits a small family perfectly.
Designed by Jessica Helgerson, photographed by Lincoln Barbour, and recently featured in Martha Stewart Living, the home won’t fail to impress you. As you’re walking up to the home, you’ll immediately notice the green, living roof. This small house is surrounded by beautiful trees and other greenery. If you’re like me, you’ll love the attention to detail everywhere in this house. Like the tree which comes out of the front porch flooring. I love that.
Please don’t miss other exciting tiny homes – join our FREE Tiny House Newsletter!
Classic Little Family Cottage
Notice the swing which is hanging from the tree, too. Wouldn’t you have loved to grow up in a house like this?
When you walk through the front door you’ll see the simple, rustic kitchen.
All of the appliances are compact, there’s plenty of storage, and there’s also open shelf space for frequently used items.
I really like the contrast of colors from white to the natural wood throughout the house and especially in the kitchen.
Walk away from the kitchen and you’ll enter the living room which is incredibly awesome.
There are book shelves from floor to ceiling along with ladders so you can reach the books up at the very top.
Notice how there’s no television and mostly books. No “sheep” living here (get it?).
But seriously, I really like how the environment encourages healthy habits like reading.
You’ll see that they designed and created custom furniture for this area which fits the space perfectly.
Continue climbing up that ladder and over the book shelves to find a super cozy upstairs sleeping loft, just like you’d find in a tiny house on a trailer.
Some of you will really like the large bath tub- something you rarely get to enjoy having in a tiny house on wheels because of extreme space constraints.
The last thing I want to point out to you is the children’s bedroom which features custom made bunk beds that compliment the rest of the home.
The design even includes matching, built-in closet space for the kids room. The bunks provide enough privacy for the children to feel they have their own space.
This remodel was completed using all reclaimed materials.
This small house was first built in the 1940s. Since then it has been through a lot.
From a goose-check station to a rental house, and now this wonderful remodel.
Check out the links below to get the complete story and to see more pictures.
Photos by Lincoln Barbour
Tiny house design by Jessica Helgerson
If you liked this small house design, send it to your friends using the buttons below then talk about it in the comments below. Thanks!
If you enjoyed this you’ll LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more!
You can also join our Small House Newsletter!
Also, try our Tiny Houses For Sale Newsletter! Thank you!
Latest posts by Alex (see all)
- Cow Shed Tiny House at Easton Farm Park in the UK - June 2, 2023
- The Redwood Tiny House: A Spacious and Luxurious Home on Wheels - May 29, 2023
- Game Changer in Electric Camper Vans: The ePro by Maxwell Vehicles - May 28, 2023
It is gorgeous! I also love the simplicity and rustic beauty.
I wonder where they put everything _else_ that they own, however. This seems like a fantasy of how life used to be before computers rather than real family life. I’d prefer to have my books on an e-reader of some kind and use that storage for other things that are meaningful to me, though I realize books are like that for some people.
The idea that a child would be fine with an empty bedroom and a book is pretty silly in the digital age. Digital fluency is every bit as important at literacy and critical for success. Though I realize that is most likely an artifact of the photographer’s preferences, I’d rather see real life, not faux Martha Stewart life. It’s vastly more beautiful, IMO.
our son if fine w/a room not filled w/toys & such in his room. Our family went through what I call the “GREAT PURGE” when we put our home on the market. We weren’t that bad to start with, but staging was highly recommended by our realtor. 1yr later our home hasn’t sold :(, but the fact that we are STILL purging on a regular basis is wonderful. We hope someday to have a much smaller home on 3-5 acres.
Its a staged home.Not a personal article in the house.Nary a family picture,
Where is the detritus of human life?
Where are your projects underway?The pets?
Dads and moms picture? Your HArvard Diploma?
People only live this way in MS MAGAzine,
Now THIS is my ideal of HEAVEN!!! Has everything I want except a cover over the front porch…I could live here happily ever after!!! (and I’m a sucker for white, anyway)
Yes, I am drooling over that serene tub. A bit too serene sans any proof of bathing gear. Very sweet but too posed, like all MS. A bit too stark for young children. Why do some people think you can’t develop an appreciation of reading unless you’re stripped of all else? And NO..the bunks will not provide enough privacy. They have a boy and a girl. Lastly…why is the ladder posed on the cushion?
I agree it’s a beautiful house, and the tub is quite inviting. One beauty of this mentality in building is that you’re not paying for the house the rest of your life, so when the time comes that boy & girl need separate spaces, adding on isn’t out of the question. Also, if you’ll notice on the floor plans (in the link), there’s a full size bed in that room as well, arranged so that a wall could be added between if really needed. It’s not about having everything you’ll ever need in the house you’re building now; it’s about having just what you need, and the option of addressing additional needs as they come. Ladder would be on the cushion when not in use to save floor space. Place it on the floor before you go up, obviously.
Floorplans? could someone add a direct link?
CJ…i grew up with five brothers and sisters in a two bed one bath home, it was a two bed cottage expanded to make the kids room a large bunk room about 9×20, in a small fishing village on the Chesapeake bay. We weren’t poor exactly, but for the time and place we were average.
Growing up we all moaned about privacy and space, but you know now that the six of us have grown up…3 boys and 3 girls…not one of us regrets our growing up there. We are all still very close and living as closely as we did we all learned some of the most valuable lessons life has to offer.
I wouldn’t hesitate to raise a family in such a way, brothers and sisters will avoid ‘looking’ at almost any cost!! In fact my sibs and i are probably better adjusted than any children raised in six separate bedrooms. Our oldest sister was in charge and dressed and bathed the youngest, we even had to double up for bath time as little ones. We never turned into ‘pervs’…
Americans have the most ridiculous ideas about body issues and sexuality, maybe that’s one of the reasons this country has so many freaks out on the loose. I don’t know, i’m no psychologist so i can’t be sure, but we don’t have those hang ups, body issues, shyness, as teenagers we weren’t sneaking peaks because it just wasn’t a big deal to us. Of course we weren’t born in America either, we came over from England, where nearly every family is packed into tiny spaces, we used to talk about our friends growing up and the attitudes and hang ups they had were just bizarre to us.
Five of us are married with children now, i’m the black sheep of the kids, single…but i have 22 nieces and nephews all being raised like we were, i don’t like the prudish American ethic…it causes a Lot of issues for children as they become adults and pass on those issues to their kids…i don’t claim the europeans don’t have their issues, but the kids over there are certainly better adjusted psychologically and are definitely raised differently from American children…again, on average.
This house happens to be my favorite of them all on this web site so far, as far as i can see the bunk room has room for four kids…of either sex.
Different time and place. I’m not young either and I didn’t grow up only in this country either. I’m also NOT insinuating that a family cannot be close and I certainly don’t know why you think I am speaking of ‘pervs’. (Although, I would actually like to see some of this ‘body shyness’ you speak of,in present day.) Because I think space is important? Why would you think ‘perv’? I am speaking of personal space…just personal space. Kids crammed in schools, buses, etc. with no space of their own for down time. Nothing perverted about it. It isn’t safe now for them to have forts in the woods…wander off on a horse, etc. Times truly are different.
We’ve all seen ‘Little House on the Prairie’. We aren’t there anymore. Many places actually have laws against having a boy and girl in the same room together now.
I think it’s wonderful if this is your perfect house. Understand that perhaps it cannot work for another and the forum is consistently pointing out the possible pros/cons…and they are nothing more than just that.
CJ…My post wasn’t meant to be antagonistic…i simply meant that life in a small home is going to mean changes for families. This is a newish concept only in America, the rest of the world…most of it…have always lived in small or tiny homes and there is absolutely not a bad thing for children to share a bedroom and it’s done the world over.
Only in extremist societies are the sexes segregated for even children, i’m sure i don’t need to name them all. It leads to some unhealthy attitudes like laws about women showing their faces or even ankles…true equality is all in, or all out…but i am from another generation, one with more sexual freedom, drugs and a time before casual relations didn’t kill you…but times and attitudes change, constantly, each generation has its own revolution of a sorts. I don’t know of many parents who are really comfortable or happy with what their kids get up to. its always been that way.
What’s normal for a family in one place and time works well if it’s culturally appropriate.
Not that there’s ever a shortage of folks idealizing the past …
But for these kids living in the here and now in Oregon?
By the time the boy is just a few years older he’s going to want privacy.
Among my children’s friends were two families who were nudists at home.
They’d each let us know when the kids wanted to do sleepovers because although the *adults* did dress when they had visitors, they knew their younger kids might forget.
I thought it was perfectly fine – but asked if they expected to carry that through the children’s teen years.
Oh yes, they each assured me.
Children raised this way don’t think anything of it…
Expect that as the oldest child in each family hit the teen years, guess what?
Yep. It bothered the teen.
And each family made the (wise) decision to respect the children’s requests that Mom and Dad cover up when in family use rooms.
It’s unrealistic to think that we can romanticize close quarters such that teenagers won’t want or need some privacy.
Even if we do carry watercolor memories of our youth…
What an interesting discussion.
Privacy vs. morality.
Space in homes is a function of income.Maybe personal mores?
People that can only afford so much make do.
The “Bedrooms” and closets in my wifes ancestral home from the 1600/s were nonexistent, The Master and mistress slept in the Parlor, The 10 kids ? Keep in mind this house at that time was one room down,one up and attic. They were big rooms but….
People in mobile homes double up the kids,They have to.
How people lived years ago has little or nothing to do with modern life.Social norms today are much different.Separation of the sexes is not prudishness,its normal.
Placement of the wood stove is poor, much of the radiant heat from the back of the stove will be absorbed by the wall. The stove would be better placed closer to the center of the room. I see no fans on the wall or elsewhere (you can buy special metal fans to place on the stove to improve heat circulation) or other means for circulating the heat from the woodstove.
I can’t really tell from the photo, but it also doesn’t look as though it would meet the code in some states (mine for example) for distance from a wall. In the state I live in a stove that seems to be as close to the wall as it appears to be would have to have a non-flammable/non-asbestos board attached to the wall w/a 1″ or so space (between the board and the wall) to allow circulation of the air. I lived in a rental for several years that had to have such a board installed–otherwise there’s the risk that the wall behind the stove will dry out and eventually char/catch on fire. The safety retrofit is easy to do and makes a big difference in the temperature of the air next to the wall.
In my experience (years of using a woodstove for most of my heat and then some of my heating needs), if you have a ceiling such as this house does, the heat from the stove will rise up & be trapped at ceiling level (and it can pretty stuffy/hot for anyone near the ceiling), or inefficient use of the heat provided by
the stove. A ceiling fan is helpful in circulating the heat/air.
All good points.
Firehazard-The stove is too close to the wall.
Yes,the heat will pool at the ceiling without a fan to force it down,I bet that loft is really hot in the winter,Summer too?
You raise excellent practical points.Experience makes one much more realistic and better able to evaluate.
I would prefer the stove was located in the center,but?
The kitchen might be more efficient swapped with the bookcase?
Lots of issuesand tradeoffs I guess.
Its still a good little house and with some tinkering,could be excellent.
I find many of these tiny designs…unrealistic,
I Love this house! I especially love the seating area in the living room: clean lines, looks comfortable, and looks like you could replace the mattresses when they’re worn out.
Agreed. And I bet you can lift the cushions to find more storage. The house actually has tons of storage built in if you look. Something I hardly pointed out when I wrote the post.
Wonderful space, ideas and organization. Some are really lucky to have the opportunity to ‘sample this’ type of lifestyle. Congrats.
I tried to read the dimensions on the linked pages but couldn’t make them out. It looked like 16 something x 36 something. Do you have the actual sq. footage? I’m into small houses not tiny houses, although I’m guessing that this is under 600 sq. ft. Obviously that was not a real family living there. Also at some age the boy and the girl will have to sleep separately. I’d hate to have the seat at the table that backs up to the stove in the winter time. Maybe these parents are young enough to climb that ladder every night to go to sleep, but I would put the kids there. Lofts without stairs aren’t make for old folks. The seating arrangement appears to have been designed for sleep overs. The stove may have a heat shield behind it allowing smaller tolerances. I used to have and old wood/coal stove with a shaker grate and a ash pan with a heat shield on the back. The areas under the stove and behind the stove were never hot to the touch.
Finally!!! A house for a family. I have been receiving your newsletters for some time and while all of the tiny homes are interesting and inspiring, they do not seem possible for a family. I have 2 children and I just can not imagine living in less than 500 sq ft. I would love for someone to prove me wrong, but as of yet I have not seen it. Anyways, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this small home! Would love to see more small homes. I appreciate what you do Alex;trying to help people to see that we do not need big homes. Thanks for all the inspiration!
The five of us (16 yr girl, 13 yr boy, 12 yr girl) plus an Australian shepherd and a cat have lived in 240 sq ft for the last two years. Storage is the difficult part. Privacy takes a back seat at times, but everyone copes. We lived in a 2800 sq ft home before this one. Much detritus disposed of in the interim. Children seem healthy, both physically and psychologically.
First house I’ve seen that’s small enough and big enough for the average family. For my empty-nester needs I’d omit the bunk beds and take the closet all the way across, leaving only the “adult” bed. I’d also have an extension ladder (NOT on the sofa) and the sofas against the walls – plenty of room for grandchildren there and in the loft. I’d also want it a bit larger, maybe 18 x 45, and a roof over the porch with NO tree in it!! I’d replace the heater with the new ENVI wall mounted that heat for four cents an hour. One on each end would be sufficient.
We need to see more like this that are suitable to a larger group. I’m ready for this house and hoping my family sized one will sell soon so I can build it.
Thank you Alex and I hope to see more soon.
I like the changes you would make. As a close-to retirement person with no children in the home, those changes seem ideal. This is a home I could see myself living in easily, but would not want to chop or drag in wood for the heat. At 540 square feet (per the article by the photographer) it is just about right. Wouldn’t this look grand either in the mountains by a lake or close to the ocean? Wonderful!! J. Halgren did a great job on this!
Very nice small house. Thanks for the article. The plan in MS Living shows the dimensions as 16’1″ x 36’1″, about 580 square feet.
I love this house! Being the proud owner of a 120 square foot fully functioning off the grid cabin up the hill at the back of my main property I love the presentations here of so many wonderful ideas!
Thanks! Anywhere on your blog that we can find your cabin? Would love to check it out.
I came across a book from 1953 (the house and the art of its design by robert woods kennedy) with a chapter entitled “livability”. this house has qualities that no mcMansion ever conveys; the true personality of it’s inhabitants. it is a place for them, to enrich their lives not to impress others. It’s wonderful that it has been featured in MSL and here. Has the designer been credited anywhere? Rich
Thanks Rich! The designers name is Jessica Helgerson and you can find more about her and her work over at http://www.jhinteriordesign.com/
Great job on creating a beautiful, functional home. I’m glad that it is not filled with electronic clutter and all the stuff we have grown accustomed to having. Electronic book readers make it easy to use space more efficiently because less is filled with books, this is extremely important because the house is small. I personally don’t think there is a problem with children not having their own room. I would have made the loft area larger and designated one side for each child. I would also make the couch shorter so the ladder wouldn’t have to be moved. This site is wonderful because it allows everyone to share likes and dislikes.
Love the look of this house. this is what I need here in Australia.
Love the ideas! I live in a tiny space with my husband, 3 year old daughter, 11 month old son, 3 hermit crabs and a chihuahua 🙂 and I love all the space ideas in these pictures! The shelving is all the way up too so my kids can’t destroy my books or artwork… lol
I found this page from a google search for “best shelving ideas in tiny space” this is just perfect. Thanks for the pictures!!
This is my dream home. So gorgeous.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the kitchen!! Want to print it out for in my design book! This is so close to what I have pictured and not been able to put on paper! Miss Jessica and I must have similar tastes, because the whole place is wonderful. I would also, as above, want to take out the bunks and lengthen the closet – (no kids to worry about)and use a different style for heating, but I do adore that wood stove – such a classic! In the warmer area that I live, it might not be such a problem, tho. With all those wonderful windows, cooling would not be a problem. This is a little bit of ‘perfection’ in a not so perfect world. Thanks for the sharing – you do such a terrific job of bringing us the best in ultimate living in small, comfortable spaces.
I love most of the houses you post, but this one has got to be one of my favorites so far. My wife and four children live in a 950 square foot two bedroom one bath, with a loft for the kids (approx 6’x 30′, 5’5″ peak). We have what basically amounts to an extra bedroom (or a large walk-in closet with a spare bed) as our six year old sleeps with us most nights.
After going on a three week journey from Tennessee to California and back, I realized that our house was too big even for us! All this wasted space, rarely used! We lack for nothing, yet live in a size space that most would not even dream of for the size of our family.
Whats more, our 13 year old son shares loft space with our 11 and 9 year old daughters. nobody suffers from not having enough personal space (everyone has at least 6’x8′ to himself), we just don’t keep as much stuff as most people.
I would prefer a housetruck, with a tinyhouse trailer, joined by a walkway like those big hinged busses in the cities. But it is not up to my preference.
I think they did an absolutely excellent job on this house, and I’d live in it in a flash.
No place to shower. In place of the freestanding tub, I would have used a compact tub/shower enclosure. I agree with some of the other posters about being digital-friendly. Also, given how little space modern audio/video gear takes up, a compact home theater could be built into the living room of the existing structure, mounting the display and speakers on the walls. In the kitchen, I would have used an RV stove, over-the-range microhood and compact 18″ dishwasher under the counter. For HVAC, there are safer, space-saving units that are much more practical than what’s shown. On the upside, I liked how spacious the house is. Instead of painting all the interior white, I would have finished the living room in a clear poly stain/varnish to enhance the natural wood. Minwax Polycrylic is easy to use and relatively safe. Not being a parent, I’ll leave the kids’ sleeping arrangements issue to the other readers.
The natural wood will look like the end wall in the kitchen,
It will darken with age,
White is a high maintenance color. It shows every speck of dirt. All wood is like living in a packing crate,my opinion.
I think the white in a small house is brighter. Makes it seem bigger than it is.
Our house is white inside.
At least this house is a more realistic concept than a too tiny house.
“The bunks provide enough privacy for the children to feel they have their own space.”
It seems unlikely that the bunk beds provide any kind of privacy. The floor plan published in MS Living shows that the room with the bunk beds also has a double bed in it. Since the loft looks like it’s less than three feet high, my guess is that the whole family sleeps in one room. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad, but private it ain’t.
Oops. I’m wrong. The article posted on the designer’s website states that the parents do, indeed sleep in the loft. The double bed in the kids room is for guests (as are the sofas–they can be used as twin-size beds).
I think it is amazing, ignorant, and arrogant, how many people are saying that these folks built/designed their own house poorly or wrong. They may only take baths, or have an outdoor shower. Maybe they don’t have electronics by choice.
Further, until the last two centuries, people did not each have their own boxes, and seperate bunks would have been a dream. But then, people who spend more on bookcases than home theater systems might already know that.
Jens, I am one of those rare people that value both electronics AND the written word equally in my life. People that espouse a sheer hatred of technology because they think that they are polluting the atmosphere, that technology is an evil construct, that it is from Lucifer, that it promotes idolatry, that it promotes witchcraft, and/or that it promotes a good way of life are guilty of not only the very same things in their lives, as are the Amish, Mennonites, Luddites, and hippies, but that they are also being xenophobes and technophobes. I also like the concept of free choice and if I had a home of my own, I would stock it with a small library of books, possibly an eReader with a lot of manga, a decent computer connection, and a sizable video game collection. However, due to also being a LEGO artist, I might also yearn for a much bigger home myself.
Thank you-you just helped a guy getting separated to decide on what type of home he will build for the second half of his life.
How can I get a clearer image of the floor plans? I would like to build a replica here in San Cristobal, Chiapas Mexico.
I absolutely am hands down in love with this house. I love to read and the wall of book shelves is pretty sweet to me. I love the open concept. I am extremely interested in a tiny house for my husband and I, just don’t know where to start. I do think this house is perfect, except for us it would be a tad more modern with television space and what not! Thanks for all your post’s I think I fall in love with almost every house listed on here!!!
Only by reading the fine print (in the linked article) do you realize that in fact this house isn’t big enough for this family’s needs. The designer says there is a walk-in closet in a nearby barn.
This one is my favorite 🙂 I absolutely love it. My husband will probably agree that this one could be the one we model ours after. I’m a reader/writer and so far, this is the only “tiny” house with a satisfying library!! Love it. And the seating in the living room is perfect for it. That bath tub just fits and looks classy. The floors are beautiful. And I agree with another poster regarding the placement of the wood stove. Would like to position it in a more central location and install ceiling fans.
This is actually one of the most livable houses to be featured.For retirees or singles. Turn the bunkroom into a bedroom and presto.
Most of the other homes are just too small for longterm living.
In the name of mobility they give up livability.
It’s Adam from the Tall Mans Tiny House. Ever since we built our house I’ve wanted a smaller place for my family of 5. I think this is one of the best diy family friendly small homes. We may be getting a 704 sq ft cottage to move into and I’ll now be modeling it after this!
Hey Adam!!! We can help each other out!! We are designing and building tiny houses on wheels for families of five or more!! I love this house and have ALWAYS loved living tiny but wanted to be on wheels and our family is five people. So we took an 8′ x 24′ trailer and put in it a large kitchen with full sink, full fridge, and full oven range and lots of storage and counterspace; a large living room where kids could play and we could still be undisturbed; a bathroom with optional bathtub; a all in one washer and dryer unit and laundry workstation, lots of windows for light; a six foot entry space that’s all the way from floor to ceiling; five closets; two lofts with three separate bedrooms for the kids to grow into and a privacy master bedroom loft! We are bringing this project around the nation!
Its very nice and a lot more practical to live in,
It would be great for a couple or single. Using the downstairs bedroom as the master.Forget the loft,I have had one.
I think the woodstove is too close to the back wall,even with a rear heat shield.?
I would like some opinions on that.Its close to the table too,
I love this little house! My parents live in west TX, in the outskirts of the city. Granted, its the desert and it gets hot. But they have beautiful scenery and amazing weather after 5 every evening. When we visit, we stay at a hotel nearby so that we have our own space. I would love to have my brothers build something similar for us, since they are into construction. The layout is great!
About the kids, you could swap the loft and the bunkbeds room roles. Since the loft is so big, you could divide it into smaller rooms and use the bunkbeds room as the master bedroom, just take out the bunkbeds and put a humongous closet in there.
I remember having seen the picture of the kitchen a long time ago (somewhere else), but not the whole house (I always save all the pictures, so that I can finally choose which items I like when I’m finally able to do my own)(which btw is really hard to do, I have so far many favorite designs lol).
What is the sq footage? It doesn’t say. Just curious. If you wanted to be off grid the house may possibly be too big?
Also, what is the advantage (if any) of moss or whatever that is on the roof? And how can you have a “green roof” without it rotting out or leaking? Will snow on the roof in the wintertime kill it?
I just love this place! Especially that tub! That looks so inviting!
I didn’t see the square footage, is that on here?
In any case, that is certainly a dream house! 🙂
I like this house but… no, make that BUT… look at all the walls and ceilings. Gaps, gaps, gaps… which means real inefficient in containing the heat. Even “if” there is insulation in the walls and ceilings with the gaps there will be heat loss. And, I hate the all white… too much glare, too stark, too… MUCH!
@ azure & Libertyman… stove is fine where it is. That kind of stove/woodburner will have firebricks in it which will temper the heat of the outside wall of the woodburner. Have a similar one myself and consists of steel firebox lined with firebricks and then on the outside is a sheetmetal casing which add even more of a barrier for non-fire safe walls.
@ Adina Hirschmann… if you look closely at the bath tub you will see a showerhead attached to a flexible hose on the set of bath taps. So, they have the best of both worlds.
This is the cutest one I have seen yet….How do I get one of these??????
What issue of Martha Stewart Living was this featured in?
Just found this website. Have been watching tiny house nation on fyi. I love this house. What was the cost of building this house?
Gaaawd I love this house.
Why must the kids sleeping arrangements change? As long as they are comfortable in single beds I don’t see a problem. I’m sure that things could be rearranged down the road if they desire a change.
I would like to do a living roof. I live in climate 7b, I wonder if I can do one here.