Although I’ve featured plenty of unique, petite-sized living arrangements before, it’s been a while since I’ve watched anything quite as inspiring, intriguing — and somewhat eyebrow-raising — as this video tour of a 320-square-foot shotgun shack-style residence in Arkansas belonging to proud home downsizers Debra and Gary Jordan, who live, mortgage-free, in said 320-square-foot shotgun-style shack residence with their 13-year-old son.
Summarizes former TV producer/small house proselytizer/HuffPo blogger Kirsten Dirksen on her always-fabulous website, faircompanies (Debra Jordan shot the video tour of her home as part of a call for submissions posted by Dirksen on the Tiny House Blog):
Two years ago, Debra and her family lived in a nearly 2,000 square foot home on an acre and a half of land. Then her husband lost his job and they began to work 4 jobs between them to pay the mortgage, until one day they remembered they had a choice.Before having their son, Debra and her husband Gary had spent 9 years living in very tiny homes in South America. Living small hadn't felt like a sacrifice, but a way to stay focused on what is important. They decided they wanted to get back to that.They stopped working so hard, sold or gave away all of their extra stuff and began looking for the perfect tiny home.Debra had always liked the Mississippi shotgun style homes, but they decided the 100-square-foot places that are “kind of curious at the moment” were too small.They considered converting a shed or an old school bus. They decided RVs or mobile homes were too expensive.One day, while browsing craigslist, they noticed an ad for a local Arkansas company custom building tiny homes for a price that could mean an end to house payments.Six weeks and $15,000 later they had their own fully paid-off dwelling. Today, Debra, her husband and 13-year-old son live in a 320-square-foot home that is not a sacrifice, but exactly what they need.
After watching the video, Debra’s “focus on what you have and not on what you don’t have” mantra and the evidence of her superb clutter-reducing and organizational abilities really stuck with me. It's inspiring stuff.
The only thing that gives me pause — numerous commenters over at Gawker picked up on this as well — is the issue of Max, Debra and Gary’s home-schooled teenage son who lives in the home’s cramped, windowless loft space. He seems like a happy, well-adjusted young man, but the last I checked, teenage boys need ample privacy, breathing room, and room to actually stand upright — this former 13-year-old certainly did — especially when they’re schooled at home and when their parents run an Etsy-based business out of a really tiny workshop that’s located directly next to the tiny home.
What do you think of the Jordan's experiment in extreme home downsizing? Do you find it at all odd that a growing teenage boy is living (and learning) in such close quarters with his parents?
Video screengrabs: faircompanies