Today I am featuring a very special house. Melissa’s 500 square foot house in Denver, Colorado may be small in stature but it is loaded with family history and precious memories. You see, it has been in her family since the 1930′s.
I first saw Melissa’s house featured on the Tiny House Blog and was instantly smitten with the cute 1916 cottage and the fact that Melissa inherited it from her grandmother. I contacted Melissa and asked her for more information. She not only had an amazing story to share, she had old family photos of the home.
I’ll let Melissa tell the house’s story in her own words…
Located in Denver, CO my house has so much rich family history! My grandparents moved into the house in 1936. They came from Corsica, SD and picked Colorado because the doctor said the climate would be good for my grandfather’s asthma. They moved with my grandma’s two sisters, and my uncle, who was an infant at them time. My Grandmother was also pregnant with their second child.
Previous to them moving in, the house only had 2 owners that I know of – the original builder and a lady who bought the house for rental property. Even that must be an interesting story – a lady in the early 30’s owning property all around the Denver area as rental income! As far as I could tell she did not live in the house. My grandmother would tell me stories about how dirty the house was when they moved in. I guess no one had lived in it for a while! They quickly made it a home and began farming all the land around it. At the time, the railroad owned the land to the south and up until the early 80’s they ran trains.
Ever wonder what motivates a person to go into an uncommon line of work – like building tiny cabins?
I love a good personal story behind an unusual shelter. Dwellings are all about people, after all. It’s easy to forget that fact in our modern fast-paced real estate world filled with assembly line, carbon copy McMansions.
So when I came across one of Kevin’s custom mini cabins on the Tiny House Blog a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued.
I emailed Kevin to see if he might be interested in having some of his cabins featured on my website. He wrote me back with his personal story – the story of why he started building mini cabins in the first place. I found it compelling so [with Kevin's permission] I wanted to share it with you.
Below is Kevin’s story as told in his own words – and interspersed with photos of his work:
My story begins about twenty years ago. I’ve always dreamed of building my own home and raising a family. Neither one has happened …yet.
I’ve been self employed most of my life and love being creative. My family came over from Norway to America before I was born. They had the American dream …buy a home with the white picket fence. I’ve aways been close with my family and especially my mother. She had a dream to own her own home and raise her family there. When I was in my early twenties it finally happened.
She told me she was going to try a bank loan. My father worked a lot and was away most of the time. With a lot of praying and persistence the loan went through. I was so excited for her. I took the next six months to build the house. I felt as if it was my home also and was not going to let her down. It wasn’t easy. The headaches and stress from building the home seemed endless. On Christmas eve we were finished and moved in. I stayed for about a year then moved out. I always came back on weekends to help around the house.
At the same time I had purchased a five acre piece of property with money I had been saving for years. I was hoping to build my own home on it some day. I had all the timbers and lumber cut by a saw mill for a timber frame home. All the mortis and tendon joints I made by hand which took me weeks to do. I found out that the township where the property was did not give extensions on building permits. They wanted everything done and completed in six months. I was figuring on maybe two or three years to build my home. A little at a time as the money came in. I couldn’t do anything but wait and cover the timbers and lumber from the rain and snow.
It took me years to save up enough money to try again but about five years ago my mom passed away. What a living hell!! My father was upside down with all the bills which he never payed attention to when she was alive. So to keep the home from going into foreclosure I helped him financially. I put my dream on hold again.
We all chipped in, even my sister and her family moved in to help out. I guess you can say we were a little bit like the Amish. Three different generations living under one roof helping one another to get through a tough time.
This house is for real. There is no photo shopping taking place – I promise. The house really is built on a teeny tiny island only a few feet bigger than the house. No yard to speak of. Just one tree and water lapping at your front door.
As someone who formerly owned a house in a flood zone, just looking at this house gives me great anxiety.
It is said to be the smallest inhabited island in the world. The island is indeed technically considered an island because it has one tree.
Located on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands area, Just Room Enough was built by the Sizeland family in the 1950s as a weekend getaway.
Unfortunately for the Sizelands, their hideaway became an instant tourist attraction and has been so ever since.
As anyone who has ever lived near a body of water knows, water levels go up and down from year to year, season to season. So this house begs the question: do they have to bail it out each spring? Do they have flood insurance? How would that foundation NOT be eroded away by now???
At Just Room Enough, you can almost literally reach out and touch a shipping freighter…
This little cutie was featured on tinyhouseblog.com a couple of months ago:
The tiny thimble-of-a-house is perfect fodder for us here at House Crazy because it is both unusual, funky AND full of character.
The Mushroom Dome Cabin located in Aptos, California is used as a vacation rental and apparently, does very well for its owners. It rents for around $90 per night or about $600 a week, depending on the season. It is currently the #1 rental on www.airbnb.com.
Have a look inside…
The cabin is a pentagon shaped dwelling with a geodesic loft dome.
Compact, rustic and cozy!