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Mortgage-free Small Octagon House with Add-ons

Guest Post by Reader who Lives in Mortgage-free Small Octagon House

We built this small octagon house in 1979 with mostly found/recycled materials that we pulled through the woods on a little path on a reinforced garden cart so we did it with no mortgage.

Later on, we got a little crazy with the add-ons as you’ll see.

And the sauna is near a river. While there are only 2 acres, it’s in the middle of the Green Mountain National Forest.

I raised 4 children with no running water here. I chose voluntary simplicity (mostly voluntary).

Oh, and one more, I built a tent platform then garden shed recently and my daughter made another studio with it.

Small Octagon House

I’m 64 now and have never earned more than $10,000 a year. And except for lack of dentistry am joyful.

Mortgage-free Small Octagon House

Mortgage-free Octagon House

Here we are hanging around the house. I’m peeling garlic on the porch and some of my kids are visiting and catching a breeze on the roof.

Family in a Mortgage-free Octagon House


Interior of Small Octagon House

You can see some of the interior living space in the photo above.


I run an art/nature summer day camp for kids in the yard, woods and river. We are really connected to each other and the land here.

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Spencer Limb October 8, 2012, 5:10 pm

    I love your house, and have been planning on building with a similar design in mind. One of things hold me up is what to use for the foundation. What did you do when you built this place?

    • Alex October 10, 2012, 12:47 pm

      Great question Spencer, I’ll see if I can get an answer for you from her. Thanks!

  • Joel October 8, 2012, 11:22 pm

    Inspirational, thanks for sharing. I wish everyone could be this connected to the land.

    • Alex October 10, 2012, 12:46 pm

      Thanks Joel, glad you liked it!

  • Dominick Bundy October 9, 2012, 10:03 am

    How refreshing , to learn of someone else almost in the same category as me.. Imagine only living on 10,000 a year nowadays. But it can be done. Because I do it as well.. And i consider my self very rich. I don’t need or want any more than I already have.And everything I own is paid for. The key is be happy with what you have, Don’t buy crap you don’t need.Pay off all your debts and bills. then just sit back live life and watch the world go by. you’ll be surprise how quickly you can built a need egg for yourself. without depriving yourself the simpler joys of life.. so see that alone makes me very rich..

    • Dominick Bundy October 9, 2012, 10:06 am

      LOL!! Sorry I met to say nest egg instead of need egg.. that was a typo error.

      • Alex October 10, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing Dominick, I didn’t know that about you.

    • brian September 2, 2015, 7:23 am

      Dominick, it could not have been said any other way, you hit the nail right on the head. If we take a look around our living space and just look at the things we have purchased, and some of the things we bought and have not seen in years in our closet, cellar, garage there is a lot of money we could use for just living simple. This is my biggest goal, when I buy something I think first, how many hours do I have to work for it, and do I really need it. Living life at home, or with friends and not spending most of our life working just to spend our money on (things) that don’t mean a thing. Enjoy nature, simple pleasures, and life will be so much better

  • Autumn October 14, 2012, 3:56 pm

    Thank you for such an inspiring post. What a wonderful house and a wonderful (though I’m sure not without it’s challenges) life! The writer is clearly a brave and strong woman.

  • Carolyn B October 15, 2012, 12:38 am

    Nice home. !979 –hmmmm, some very early forward thinking in the small house & voluntary simplicity movements.

  • Juliana October 15, 2012, 9:58 pm

    What a wonderful life. I will be you at 64. I am 52 just embarking on my grid free journey. Thank you, you encourage me.

  • Brian May 9, 2014, 6:07 pm

    What an inspiration you are. Thankyou so much for sharing. It really made my day.

  • connie May 9, 2014, 7:41 pm

    I love your tiny house, your garden, your land and your life!

  • Melissa Potter May 10, 2014, 6:04 am

    I love your home! I am very inspired by you. I can feel the love, creativity and homey-ness through the pictures. What beautiful colors and joy! Thank you. I am also very inspired that you are showing us that we can create these homesteads and live our lives joyfully with smaller incomes if we have the land to have our homes on.

  • Dean May 10, 2014, 11:23 am

    The key is NO Debt! It is amazing how much people spend renting other peoples money. Being debt free and owning your own home, tiny, small or otherwise, is freedom!

  • KC Makeup August 6, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Hurrah! Finally I got a website from where I can really obtain useful data concerning my study and knowledge.

  • Kim W August 31, 2015, 1:05 pm

    I love this little house, which is really a home! What a lovely place to raise your children! We have 4 children and lived mostly in a big village near Ilkely Moor. The children didn’t necessarily appreciate the beauty of the area at the time or the freedom they had there, but they do now !

  • Marsha Cowan August 31, 2015, 3:03 pm

    So cool!

  • Jjannice Joyner August 31, 2015, 3:24 pm

    I admire your courage. Simplicity breeds a sense of peace and tranquility. To free ourselves from the burden of” things “, open up the doors to noticing and appreciating the small things in life. The beauty of the day.

  • dave August 31, 2015, 10:06 pm

    She mentions lack of dental care as one of her regrets in only make 10K a year..well, high quality dental care is available across the border from Yuma in Algodones Mexico for a fraction (sometimes as much as 70% less) than what US dentists cost. Snowbirds flock to Algodones for the cheap dental care, prescriptions and opticians. The blogs I read all say they are very happy with the level of care and quality. The world outside the USA is much less expensive, most Americans just don’t realize it.

  • David September 1, 2018, 5:36 pm

    You didn’t mention the source of the $10,000. per year. I’ll bet it’s selling garlic.

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