Who says you must reside in a single place? Possibly a number of tiny houses could be preferable.
That’s what Robert Losonsky and Edith Wassenaar found after they traded a typical residence within the Netherlands for a number of smaller ones, adopting a peripatetic life-style — one which prioritizes actions like browsing over work — within the course of.
Oddly sufficient, their embrace of small-scale residing started with a hunt for more room.
In 2017, they had been residing in a 1,500-square-foot condo in an upscale neighborhood in The Hague. “However we began to work an increasing number of from residence,” mentioned Mr. Losonsky, now 54, who had a profession in gross sales at Microsoft, whereas Ms. Wassenaar, now 49, labored as an unbiased advertising and marketing advisor and enterprise coach.
Inevitably, there have been conflicts. Ms. Wassenaar, for instance, may need to entertain shoppers within the condo whereas Mr. Losonsky was on a convention name. “So I believed, ‘Properly, why don’t we discover one thing small on the aspect, so we don’t all the time need to disturb one another?’” he mentioned.
Tiny Residence No. 1: a Nineteenth-Century Fisherman’s Cottage
As a result of they had been avid kite surfers, they determined to search for a spot on the North Sea in The Hague and located a 600-square-foot fisherman’s home in-built 1878 simply steps from the seashore. After shopping for it for 180,000 euros ($190,000) that April, they spent 18 months and 150,000 euros ($158,000) doing a intestine renovation with assist from Global Architects.
“It was in actually dangerous situation and appeared like not a lot upkeep had been performed during the last hundred years,” mentioned Arthur S. Nuss, the agency’s proprietor.
In order that they eradicated the partitions that divided the home into a number of cramped rooms and proceeded to create an open inside with a beachy vibe: plastered partitions, micro-cement flooring, rustic wooden beams and a small sitting space anchored by a wooden range.
To attenuate the presence of the kitchen, which doubles as a eating area, they hid the fridge and oven beneath a staircase main as much as the only bed room. In addition they added wood-fiber insulation, new home windows and photo voltaic panels on the roof to make the house extra power environment friendly.
When the renovation was completed, the couple had been so happy with their new compact residing area, its proximity to the seashore and its pleasant neighborhood that they arrived at an surprising conclusion: They needed to reside there on a regular basis.
“That’s how the downsizing began,” Ms. Wassenaar mentioned. “We began residing within the small place and renting out the larger residence within the posh neighborhood.”
Mr. Losonsky added: “The humorous factor is that we left virtually all the pieces behind within the outdated residence. We might hardly take any cabinet or any desk as a result of it wouldn’t match. We actually left our outdated life behind and utterly re-evaluated what was actually necessary to us.”
Earlier than lengthy, Mr. Losonsky, who had purchased the couple’s outdated condo earlier than assembly Ms. Wassenaar and had paid off the mortgage, got here to a different realization: With lease coming in and few bills, he not wanted to work. He retired in late 2019, simply earlier than turning 50.
Tiny Residence No. 2: Wheels!
Impressed by surfers who journey round Europe chasing waves in camper vans and buses, they quickly determined that additionally they wanted wheels.
As a result of Mr. Losonsky not wanted to be in an workplace and Ms. Wassenaar might work from wherever, “We felt this freedom,” he mentioned. “Europe is so small, however so dense with tradition and alternatives that we needed to discover it extra.”
They purchased a evenly used 2018 Fiat Ducato van for about 25,000 euros ($26,500), dreamed up an inside design scheme for his or her residence on wheels, and employed Custom Camp to outfit it for about 35,000 euros ($37,000). The camper now has a loft mattress, wool-covered partitions, a wood-paneled ceiling, a kitchen with a cooktop and sink, a bathe and a composting rest room.
“Covid hit simply because it was prepared,” Ms. Wassenaar mentioned, however that didn’t cease them from touring.
They drove 1,000 miles to the south of Spain, the place they camped for a number of months. Then they traveled by ferry to the island of Sardinia, in Italy, the place “we had been residing on probably the most stunning seashores, with no one round,” Ms. Wassenaar mentioned. “We discovered ourselves in paradise.”
Tiny Residence No. 3: An Island Fixer-Higher
Whereas staying of their van for longer than they anticipated, they noticed a run-down 650-square-foot home on the market in Mandriola, on the western aspect of the island. “We checked out one another and mentioned, ‘It’s a challenge, however we already did this as soon as, so we are able to do it once more,’” Ms. Wassenaar mentioned.
They purchased the house for 120,000 euros ($127,000) in September 2021. Then they employed an engineer who instructed them that the roof was coated with asbestos and the sandstone partitions had been not structurally sound. The whole home, it turned out, wanted to be rebuilt.
This time, the couple labored alongside their contractors, in between journeys to The Hague. To save lots of area, they put in a folding staircase by Klapster as much as the sleeping loft; when it isn’t getting used, it disappears into the wall. They stripped the bark off hemlock bushes so they may use the trunks as ceiling beams and repurposed slices of the unique sandstone as an ornamental characteristic to present some partitions the looks of age.
“Once you stroll into the home now, the sensation is, ‘Oh, what a beautiful outdated home it’s,’” Ms. Wassenaar mentioned. “However it’s all new.”
The home, which they name Microcosmos, was accomplished in March 2023, after a renovation that price about 120,000 euros ($127,000).
Now the couple can hardly consider the lives they’re residing.
“It’s nonetheless beginning to sink in what freedom we’ve got created for ourselves,” Mr. Losonsky mentioned. “All our pals ask after we’re going to remain in The Hague and after we’re going to remain in Sardinia. The true reply is we don’t know. We simply need to float.”
Dwelling Small is a biweekly column exploring what it takes to guide a less complicated, extra sustainable or extra compact life.
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