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They Went Tiny To Save For A Small Home


Many people are skeptical of how long people really live tiny before throwing in the towel on cramped quarters. But the Reed Family’s story shows that sometimes tiny living can be a useful stepping stone to dreams come true.

The family were struggling financially trying to serve at a church in the LA area (Dad/Husband Nick is a pastor), and finally decided to fix up an RV, move 35 miles away from the church (long commute!) and live tiny to remove the financial burden of rising rents. During their RV life, they were able to save up enough money for a 1100 square foot fixer-upper just 10 minutes away from their church! They sold the RV and used that money as part of their down payment on the home.

The family of 6 (@reedsindeed) feels like their little home is a mansion in comparison! The four girls share one of the home’s two bedrooms with amazing built-in quad bunks, and the home features the coolest glass dining area. We got to interview mom, Rachel, so be sure to read her story at the end of the post!

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Reed Family of 6: From RV to Financial Freedom to Little Home

What a beautiful quote! The french doors take you out to the glassed-in dining area/porch.

An aesthetic coffee nook makes everything better.

Room for a piano! And a precious portrait of their girls.

Living room watching Live-Stream church.

One of their girls helping out in the galley kitchen.

Washing dishes. Lovely subway tile on the wall.

Sisters snuggling on the sectional.

That wall art is hand-painted by Rachel!!!

Master Bedroom with awesome woodworking.

All-in-all a very peaceful place.

Corner of the girls’ room.

I’m so jealous of these bunk beds!

Arts and crafts at the family table.

Look how awesome their backyard is!

This space is also Rachel’s design office.

How cool is this room?

Such a quaint garden area.

Amazing little harvest!

Q&A with Rachel: RV to Little Home

Tell us about your journey from full-time RV life to buying a little home! What inspired you to live in the RV? Why did you end up buying a home in the long run? And why a little one when most people go *big*?
We moved to California in 2012 for my husband to take over a church that was in a lot of financial debt and dwindling. We moved from rental to rental because of the rising rent. After a few years, our church was forced from our meeting place and had to begin a two and half year renovation project while we met in temporary spaces. My husband and I personally worked on the building for six months to help with costs, and after we moved in, our family’s finances were barely enough to keep us afloat. We moved to another city 35 miles away, and after a year, we decided to renovate an RV so we would not have any more financial burden on us.

We realized we needed to let go of the idea of buying a home in CA because it seemed like a dream that we could never attain. I had been frustrated for so many years not having a home, but after a missions trip, I realized our call was to LA, not the American Dream. I surrendered, and God opened up the door for us to get the RV.

We lived in the RV for a year and our expenses were so little that we had a big chance to save. I also had several design opportunities come my way, allowing us to pay off debt and raise our credit.

After those two (really three) years of transition and not being able to host people in a home, we felt like God was telling us we needed a home in the city where Nick pastored. We met with people by taking them out to dinner, but there’s something special about having people over to your home. Plus the traveling back and forth all the time had taken a toll on our family.

After ten months of living tiny in the RV, we found a fixer upper and God worked out all the details for us to renovate our little house in Glendale, CA, 4 minutes from our church building. We sold the RV almost a year to the date of moving into it.

Tell us about your family: Who lives in your little home?
Our home is listed at 931 square feet and has an added on porch with windows which brings the square footage up to 1,100. It is a 2 bedroom 1 bath home. We live here with our four girls ten and under and they all share a room together.

Where do you live? How long have you lived tiny?
Glendale, CA and we have been here 10 months.

What do you do for work? Did you work while living in the RV as well? Or travel full-time?
I work part time at the church office, but I also have a design business called Reeds Indeed Design Co. I do interior design for churches across the US. I have done both jobs even when living in the RV. We were stationary, I wish we could’ve travelled!

How did you first learn about tiny house life? What inspired you to renovate an RV rather than a bus or getting a tiny house on wheels?
My husband has always wanted to go tiny to save money, but I wasn’t on board until he told me I could fix it up to look like a house! A travel trailer its the opportunity we had, so that’s the one we went with. We bought it from a friend.
CA laws are strict so a bus or tiny home wouldn’t be allowed here. Just a recreational vehicle.

Did your new home need a lot of renovations when you purchased it? If so, did you tackle it yourself or hire someone?
We hired someone for the restoration of the wood floors, the plumbing in the bathroom, some of the kitchen work and the trim in the house. We did all the rest, which was a LOT!

Are you comfortable sharing how much your home cost (or maybe your RV)?
We bought our new home for 660k and we’re about to get appraised. We think it will be valued close to 800k! This will help lower our payment once we refinance it. We bought our RV for 21k and renovated it. We sold it for $34,500 and was able to put that money towards the downpayment of our home.

Before you lived in your RV, where were you living? Did you downsize significantly?
We lived in Santa Clarita for the year before and part of when we lived in the RV. We sold everything we owned down to a few boxes of clothing and some kitchen items for the RV. We used that money to renovate the RV. Then when we sold the RV, we sold it completely furnished and with all those kitchen items. We went into our new home with NOTHING!

What does it feel like having so much space now compared to your RV?
1100 Square feet feels like a mansion to us. I have no desire for anything bigger!

Is there anything from your old life that you miss? Anything about RV life you miss?
I miss the feeling that you could just leave if you ever wanted to. That your scenery could change whenever you decided to move it! We moved it a few times, but never had the chance to travel in it! This week, we started the paperwork for a little 16’ trailer so we can travel with the kids! We have just enough driveway for one! We are looking at the Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 16bhs

What makes your house special?
That we worked hard for it, that we didn’t expect it, and that we have more than we ever thought we would.

Is there anything you’d change about your house now that you’ve been living it?
We would one day like to convert the garage so we could have an extra room and bathroom when the girls get older, but other than that, I love my little house!

How do you think your time living the RV life has impacted how you live now?
It has made me appreciate living simply. I am careful of how much I bring in and not collecting too much. It has taught me not to get attached to it because “things” come and go.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?
It will change your whole perspective on life when you learn to appreciate your family and be thankful for God’s blessings. You’ll view possessions differently too. They won’t mean as much and you won’t feel obsessed to have them once you’ve loved with little. It’s such a humbling thing. I wouldn’t change that experience again and if I had to do it all over again, I would.

Highlights:

  • Family lived in RV for a year
  • Were able to save up enough to buy a small home in LA area
  • Used money from selling RV for downpayment
  • 2 bedroom home
  • 4 girls share 1 room with epic bunkbeds
  • Garden area outside
  • Couple did majority of the home renovations themselves

Learn More:

Related Stories:

Our big thanks to Rachel for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

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 two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Jan
    August 2, 2020, 11:13 am

    Layout floorplans would be great!!! They give you a better understanding of size and room placements. Sweet house love the bunks too!

  • Avatar Sherry
    August 2, 2020, 1:12 pm

    This is one of the very best tiny homes I have ever seen, so bright and pretty and what I see of the floor plan is perfect. NO dark gray or dreary colors, just bright and sunny and so delightful, wish them the very best in life with all those beautiful daughters.

    • Avatar Rachel Reed
      August 2, 2020, 10:21 pm

      Thank you so much!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 3, 2020, 12:10 pm

      Love the aesthetic of this home!

  • Avatar Annette
    August 2, 2020, 1:20 pm

    Congratulations! Thanks for the inspiration. The new home is gorgeous!

  • Avatar Pete Wilson
    August 2, 2020, 2:17 pm

    Love it. So tasteful, clean, neat and functional. Can it get any better.

  • Avatar Denise
    August 2, 2020, 4:12 pm

    This is such a beautiful home in every way, and what a wonderful testimony of God’s grace and leadership.

  • Avatar Melody
    August 3, 2020, 12:07 am

    Rachel is my cousin, and I remember playing on that piano in our grandma’s living room! It looks super cute painted white. <3 She is so talented with decor!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 3, 2020, 12:08 pm

      Oh that is too neat! Thanks for that insight.

  • Avatar Marsha Cowan
    August 3, 2020, 6:18 pm

    Amazing story. . .beautiful home! Lovely family😊

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