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Mother Moves Family into Tiny Home After Husband’s Tragic Death

Meet Alysha, her kids, and their tiny house in Red Bluff, California. It was built with the help of the Oregon Cottage Company.

She decided to move she and her kids into a tiny home after her husband passed away tragically and unexpectedly in his early 30s after serving in the United States Air Force.

Alysha knew she had to do the best with what she had. So she decided to pick up a lifestyle that would allow her to spend the most time raising her two young children, especially since she would do it alone.

Her tiny house was built by architect Todd Miller in Eugene, Oregon. She now rents out her former ‘big house’ for immediate income and lives in the backyard.

Woman Goes Tiny with Family After Husband Dies

I encourage you to enjoy the complete story and tiny house tour below in video:

Alysha’s Family Tiny House Tour

If you enjoyed this inspiring tiny house living story you’ll LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! 

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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!
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • 2BarA
    June 24, 2014, 1:43 pm

    What a brave and smart young woman you are, to make the best of a bad situation by embracing the tiny house solution! Your house is lovely, with so much light, and everything you need for your young family. Your children are fortunate to have a mother who can roll with the punches and be a positive role model. My best wishes to all of you.

  • June 24, 2014, 1:51 pm

    Childrens’ toys. That’s one of the things I’ve not realized I missed seeing in these tiny houses. It’s good to see.

  • Cahow
    June 24, 2014, 2:12 pm

    ~phew~ This was a tough video to watch; I bawled my eyes out through most of it. What to say about this brilliant/smart/loving woman? Jeepers.

    Kudos on your life choice. Kudos on surviving the death of your beloved husband at such a young age. Kudos to ALL who’ve helped her make the transition. Any woman like this will surely not be alone for long; within 3 years, I hear wedding bells in her future and a more secure life. If I knew how to do Crowd Sourcing, I’d set up an account for her and the kids for financial safety.

    I know this is just temporary (can’t imagine a teen girl wanting to sleep “three to a bed”) but what a solution for NOW. God Bless you and your family, Alysha. <3

    • Linda
      June 24, 2014, 2:30 pm

      Does the couch make into a bed?

    • CBreaze
      May 10, 2015, 3:25 pm

      She doesn’t need a replacement man, especially for a ‘more secure life’! Geez…. My DD16 and I have lived the last 2.5 yrs in <200SF house (23 ft travel trailer, road schooling, traveling, LIVING) and it is wonderful!! This is not temporary. Even after my 16 year old flies the coop, I will continue, possibly downsizing even more. Daughter will always be a tiny house/apt dweller.

      I do wish the boy would STOP playing with the gas knob on the front of that stove, tho!

  • jerryd
    June 24, 2014, 2:21 pm

    A smart woman!! Many don’t realize it’s not what you make, it’s what you spend.
    By cutting her expenses with a TH allows not only living near free for , utilities but income from her old house .
    And a really nice TH.

  • Brian
    June 24, 2014, 2:36 pm

    A truly inspirational story about a very brave young lady and her children living in a beautiful TH. The house has light in abundance and a great feeling of space. Thankyou for sharing and cheers from Australia.

  • Jennie K
    June 24, 2014, 2:53 pm

    So inspiring. I wish her and her family the best!

  • Dominick Bundy
    June 24, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Her children are very small right now. But realistically, they really can’t live that way for any length of time permanently. They both will be growing up.. And that family will need their own spaces. Sooner than maybe expected..

    • Sally
      June 25, 2014, 1:07 am

      “Realistically” my son-in-law’s “bedroom” from birth to 18 was the fold-out couch in his parents’ airstream. He is a fine grown man, a career Marine. My aunt raised 4 kids in a microscopic Jim Walters home in the 50s and also made room for her paintings for Hallmark cards. No ill effects on her kids. Hasn’t this young woman been through enough without your Kardashian mentality making suppositions about her children? How dare you presume? Please post a picture of your glass house. .

      • Dominick Bundy
        June 25, 2014, 1:38 am

        Glad to hear your son in-law, turned out to be such a fine grown Career Marine. after having to use a fold out couch sleeping for the first 18 years of his life. in a Airstream. And that also goes for however your Aunt raised 4 kids in her micro whatever home.. My comment wasn’t met to be rude, crude or disrespectful to that young widow or children. As is your comment was to me. So right back at you lady. How dare you?? to accuse me of having a Kardashian mentality (what ever that is) and asking me to post a picture of “my” glass house..What gives? enough said… ..

        • Doris
          June 25, 2014, 10:39 am

          Oh Sally! Thought you had retired from this blog? There you go again, busting people for being snarky and expecting them to admit it. “Oh, I didn’t mean tha-a-at.”
          And this time, I have to say, Welcome back. A widow and her tots should be off-limits. What a bunch of busy-bodies, nitpicking about someone else’s living situation ten years down the road.
          The young mother said “I had to decide what was most important TO US.” I’m glad the majority of people on here saw that and added her family to their prayers. In my opinion, that works a lot better than “”BUT what about” comments. Blessings on everyone here 🙂

        • Dominick Bundy
          June 25, 2014, 10:56 am

          SNARKY? HUH!, Guess that could be better than being sarcastic. Okay I’ll end it right here, You may have the last word. I won’t dignify your response by commenting any further. You or Sally got the last word in. enjoy

  • June 24, 2014, 3:55 pm

    A beautiful story,, This young mother found “beauty for ashes” and her heart, soul and home is a reflection of her love for her family. In time, she will have to upgrade, as I see other comments, say the same., but in the meantime, this little family gets to enjoy the closeness, safety and security of this adorable humble abode.
    I am wondering I missed the part about who owns the property this home sits on? There is a lovely play structure and a nice yard for the children to play in. Land ownership and city codes can be an issue sometimes.

  • Pat
    June 24, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Truly a wonderful story, which born out of grief, turned in something inspiring for us all. I’m sure once her heart heals, this woman will be given the blessings of another wonderful marriage, and I wish her the best! This works for now, and will be a wonderful vacation home for the future, but it won’t be a permanent solution once those children are too old to sleep together. In the meantime, what a wonderful foundation of love this mother has given to her children to further build on in the future. I’m sure your husband must be looking down with pride!

    • Jeff
      May 11, 2015, 9:46 pm

      Come on people, if a tiny house works for a small family, then why not add another tiny as the family grows for the kids to have their own space. Plus when then move on in life, to college or a career, then they can take their room with them. What greater gift to give your child but to have a mortgage free place to start their journey in life.

  • Linda
    June 24, 2014, 4:33 pm

    So sad, but I’m glad she was able to move herself (not she) and her 2 children into a wonderful tiny house and carry on life. Sometimes life throws us a curve and we have to step up to the challenge. I think she has done well.

  • Linda
    June 24, 2014, 4:41 pm

    As far as downsizing goes, the Salvation Army will take your overflow and their CEO (or head) makes only $32,000 per year, unlike other charity heads who make 3-figure incomes! 🙂

    • Linda
      June 24, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Oops! Meant to say “… 6-figure incomes.”

  • A
    June 24, 2014, 5:34 pm

    Gotta have room for the Awana Cubbies vest! God bless that sweet family in their lovely tiny home.

  • Marsha Cowan
    June 24, 2014, 5:47 pm

    What a smart and intelligent woman. How wonderful that you get to be with your children at a time when they really need you, and still be able to keep the family home that holds such good memories for you all. May God bless you richly. Enjoy your tiny house!

  • Cosy
    June 24, 2014, 9:44 pm

    I’m thinking of what wonderful memories the family will have of their childhood years in this th. The small home creates a bond that just doesn’t develope in a big rambling home & after such a devastating loss is so necessary. I’m sure after what she’s been through she fully understands how important it is to cherish the present because that’s truly all that we are assured of having. As for when the kids grow up, she still owns her large home & may choose to move back in & rent the th. But for now what fun for the children to feel safe & close to their mommy who is free to enjoy them without obsessing about bills constantly. Truly a woman of character & devoted mom. Blessings to you & your family.

  • Glema
    June 25, 2014, 12:31 am

    God bless you and your little ones and your mama Alysha now and forward! In Jesus name. Amen
    You’ve done a wonderful job and I’m sure hubby would be proud of you dearheart! As for the future, who knows, furniture isn’t permanent a couple of bunk beds, or day and trumble who knows, whatever she likes. It is after all Their future! 🙂 woohoo! you go little sister!

  • Jal
    June 25, 2014, 3:23 am

    The concern over future sleeping space can be resolved with a loft added at the front end and a sleeper couch (if not already there) added. A large backyard and books are the best things for kids and these kids seem to have both. Kudos Alysha!

    • Doris
      June 25, 2014, 10:52 am

      Jal, Thanks for offering her a solution, instead of one more “But what about the codes” or “Are they sleeping together?” Why wouldn’t a young widow want to sleep with her toddlers? They need all the comfort they can get. Her strong, gentle spirit amazes me. I’m glad there are people like you, Glema and Cosy on here who offer light.

  • Maria
    June 25, 2014, 7:28 am

    These houses from Oregon Cottage Company start out with a price of 36,000.00. Sorry for her lost. But there are plenty of single mothers out there who have less than she does and raising children on their own. I raised two boys on my own for 8 years and worked three jobs to support us. So thank God she has a house she can rent and land large enough to put a Tiny House. I guess her neighbors don’t mind. Other wise she would have problems. City codes. Love the design of this home.

    • Sally
      June 25, 2014, 12:21 pm

      It’s wonderful that she can buy a decent home for only $36,000. I had no idea you could get one that cheap on the West Coast. I don’t understand the rest of your commentary, though, sounds like you’ve got sour grapes on your plate instead of being genuinely sorry for her and glad for her self-recovery.

      • Doris
        June 25, 2014, 2:00 pm

        Yep, I spoke too soon. Go ahead, Sal, I give.

  • CharlotteM
    June 25, 2014, 1:57 pm

    As I read these comments, I can’t help wondering if Alysha will, too. This newsletter usually covers tiny house construction and code politics, and therefore invites debate and opinion on those issues. It has been difficult for me to read some comments that don’t show much awareness for her personal triumph over tragedy. That Alysha could go forward at all indicates incredible strength on her part.

    Ten years ago, I lost my son and daughter in separate car accidents within a year of each other. Some of you do not seem to know that when you lose someone you dearly love, you don’t worry about ten years from now, nor do you think about next week. You have to force yourself to keep breathing each minute. Planning any kind of future is beyond most people.
    I hope that Alysha will take heart that many people here have been moved by her courage, and rejoiced in her wise decisions for her beautiful children. Through her hardship, she has found out what’s important, and what does not matter. I suspect that the shallow comments don’t bother her as much as it did her defenders :-), although a little Old Testament rage was appropriate in one case. Many prayers go out to you from here, Alysha, your love for your children will carry all of you down a sunlit path toward happier days, one step at a time. God bless.

  • Peg
    June 30, 2014, 8:49 am

    It is normal for children to want to sleep with their surviving parent after losing a parent. As a young widow who also lost my husband to cancer, I know from experience. I think Alysha has made wonderful decisions for her family. I think this house will work for them for many years because they live in a climate where they can be outdoors a lot.

  • Christina
    May 10, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing Alysha’s story. She is a true inspiration!

  • Brian Michael Page
    May 10, 2015, 1:25 pm

    Nice job on your tiny house. My wife and I have been considering going tiny as well. But most important – thank you to your husband for his service in our country.

  • Kate
    May 10, 2015, 2:55 pm

    I love all tiny home stories, but this is by far my favorite. My family and I begin our tiny home journey this July and it is the strength of amazing inividuals like Alysha that reaffirm my desire to live intentionally. I actually just sat down to check my email as a break from rummaging, boxing, selling, and giving away our unnecessary material belongings. I’m so so glad I got to watch this video. Your story has given me even more perspective on what matters. Hugs to you and your beautiful babies from Pennsylvania.

  • Rahn Sidebotham
    May 10, 2015, 3:49 pm

    The Lord bless you and your precious children.

  • Mary J
    May 10, 2015, 9:14 pm

    I love this tiny house, I’ve seen it several times and I still get the same thrill from seeing it and reading the story attached to it. The house is so well laid out and having a side opening door has made it very liveable. This little family has got a wonderful home which appears to hug them within it’s walls.

  • Susanne
    May 11, 2015, 12:08 am

    I know from experience that in tragedy, without money, a person can’t even dare to think about 10 years down the road! They are focusing on week to week survival.
    God bless her!

  • Linda
    May 11, 2015, 8:22 am

    So Smart! This article is fantastic! I would do the same, ans by keeping her other home, she produced an income & an investment! $$$ Smart lady!

  • Kiki
    May 11, 2015, 9:57 am

    Alysha has since remarried and had another child with her new husband. She now lives in a much, much larger home.

  • Kathleen
    May 11, 2015, 10:39 am

    I like the layout, colors, and style of this house a lot, especially the French door entrance. Also, I googled her name and found out she has remarried, moved to Boston, had a baby, and has a website called anintentionalfuture.com. Very inspiring.

  • May 12, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Wow, what a story. She is so smart to build tiny and rent out her other house, this should hopefully create some positive cash flow for daily expenses. Kids don’t need all the crap we buy them these days! The fact that she lives in California with great weather means they can play outside all the time! It looks like she has the best of both worlds and the support of her family. The kids will grow and 3 to a bed will soon pass, but for now, I think that is fabulous! These kids will remember this forever! They will love and respect her because she is smart and loving and is doing a great job!

    The TH is also lovely! I would assume that there is a nice closet opposite the kitchen cabinets… she showed a closet in the video but didn’t show where it was, I’m just assuming here. But it looks like she has everything taken care of, and is de-cluttered. WOW. I’m impressed!

  • JAVA06
    May 24, 2015, 12:22 am

    Beautiful home. Beautiful Mother. Beautiful Children. Beautiful Family. God bless you all <3

  • Toni
    October 11, 2015, 8:45 am

    One of my favorite homes. I love this floor plan! Where would I find that cook stove, and is it off grid?

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