Cottage on the Hill

by Zinta Aistars

I’ve long enjoyed Tiny House Blog, admiring the philosophy and the tiny houses. In March 2012, I moved to a 100+ year old farmhouse in southwest Michigan on 10 acres, my dream come true, sweeter still because it had a tiny cottage on a wooded hill.

This fall, I weatherized the cottage, added a small deck, an outhouse, painted it inside, furnished it, creating a writer’s retreat. With its quirky angles and mismatched windows, it’s been likened to a place from a Tim Burton movie, or from Dr. Seuss. No two windows match, each are at a different height. It’s approximately 120 sq. feet on the main floor, 80 on the upper floor.

cottage on a hill

Cottage on the Hill, or COTH as I have come to call it, reminds me a little of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, that tiny cabin in which the writer lived for several years. Actually, it is more expansive than Thoreau’s, as it has approximately 120 square feet on the main floor, and a stepladder up to a second floor of about 80 square feet. And, in cooler weather, a space heater adds warmth.

Being a writer, I found it irresistible, conducive to meditations in solitude, connecting to one’s Muse while being completely “unplugged” from the busy world seemingly so far, far away … although, admittedly, the Cottage does have electricity! Continue reading

Tiny Yellow House Videos

TInyhouseblog Readers,

Thanks to Kent for sharing these. The two videos here from our “Tiny Yellow House” youtube series are based around a Boston area hand built gypsy wagon (owned and designed by “Sage” who runs, and the other video is a simple tour of the REAL site where the Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Woods cabin once stood.

Sage’s wagon, alongside a few others (and MANY other tiny houses, shacks, cabins) will be part of the new photo insert (all in color) section of the NEW edition of “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” by the way (The Lyons Press), which you can now pre-order through The new edition has brand new tiny house designs/sketches, new chapters, an intro by David and Jeanies Stiles (the author duo behind many GREAT books- “Cabins,” “Rustic Retreats,” etc), and a tiny house design/small space use-advice section with input from the likes of Dee Williams, Mimi Zeiger, Alex Pino, Kent Griswold, Jay Shafer, Duo Dickinson, Gregory Paul Johnson, Tammy Strobel, Cathy Johnson, and more….the book, in pre-order is only $11.53 right now.

The old version is still available in small numbers through too- and when it goes out of print- soon- several sketches/plans/concepts will sadly die with it- as some of them won’t be in the new version of the book.

Again, Kent, and all the tiny house supporters/scenesters out there- Thank You. We’re also off to install a sizeable treehouse out in NY for a client soon- and will hopefully have some video of that down the road for all the THB frequenters.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen-

A Tiny House Thought from Thoreau

Jesse Smedley has been reading Walden, by Henry David Thoreau and shared this with me.

This past weekend I was re-reading one of my favorite books: Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Many of your tiny house readers are probably familiar with the book, and I would urge those who have not read it to do so. It’s a wonderful meditation on the virtues of the simple life. As I read it again I came across the following passage, which seemed so relevant to your tiny house weblog that I hoped you might share it with your readers. It comes from the chapter titled “Economy,” in which he describes the building of his own tiny house beside Walden pond, and muses on the simplest way one might obtain shelter:

“Formerly, when how to get my living honestly, with freedom left for my proper pursuits, was a question which vexed me even more than it does now, for unfortunately I am become somewhat callous, I used to see a large box by the railroad, six feet long by three wide, in which the laborers locked up their tools at night; and it suggested to me that every man who was hard pushed might get one for a dollar, and, having bored a few auger holes in it to admit the air at least, get into it when it rained and at night, hook down the lid, and so have freedom in his love, and in his soul be free.”

–Henry David Thoreau

I have attached a photo below that I found on the internet of a 3 x 6 tool shed. This would be minimalist living to the extreme, but it is fun to imagine how you could use this size space and make it a complete and livable home.