Tiny Iceland Cottages

On my way back from Copenhagen, I stayed for a few days in cold and dark Iceland. This fascinating and stark island in the North Atlantic is fast becoming one of the top places to visit in Europe — with or without Eyjafjallajökull blowing it’s top. Reykjavik is stylish and easy to get around in and the rest of the country is a mix of mountains, seaside, towering cliffs and, of course, hot springs like the famous Blue Lagoon. It’s interesting how the Icelandic tourism industry has turned this essentially inhospitable land into a place that is comfortable to stay.


While most Icelanders live in modern homes and apartments, even up until the 1940s, many lived in tiny houses called turf homes. Since wood was so hard to come by on this nearly treeless island, farmers scavenged driftwood from the black sand beaches, marked the wood with a brand to show that they belonged to his family, and planed them down to build small homes. These homes were then surrounded with turf as insulation. These homes were not heated as there was a real fear of fire burning down the precious driftwood homes, so a separate “fire house” was built to hold a fire and cook food.


While there are some beautiful hotels in Reykjavik and the main touring areas in the south and east part of the island, I kept seeing tiny cottages nestled up against the volcanic mountains topped with creeping glaciers. Many of these cottages are available for rent all year long and feature small kitchens and amazing views.


Hvoll Cottages

The Hvoll Cottages near the small town of Vik is about two hours from Reykjavik. “Vik” means “bay” in Icelandic and these cottages have access to several black sand beaches, rock outcroppings and many of the waterfalls and parks in the south. Vik has become more famous since becoming the setting for many scenes in the Games of Thrones TV series. Also near Vik are the Hotel Laki cottages. These little cottages are for two to three people and have simple beds, cooking facilities and showers. Most of these little cottages are heated with steam or power from local geothermal power plants. Continue reading

Mini Vacation at the Tumbleweed Linden

by Kent Griswold

Last week my wife Janelle and I took a mini vacation across the Healdsburg, California valley at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Linden home. Though less then ten miles from our own home this short one night vacation was a lot of fun and relaxing.

The Linden is a new Tumbleweed Tiny House designed by Meg Stevens an architect for the company. We found it to be perfect for a tiny house getaway. The goal of Tumbleweed is to give those interested in living the tiny life a chance to spend some time in actual tiny home so that they can get the feel of what it might be like to live in something this small.

Tumbleweed Linden Rental

Tumbleweed Linden

We started our evening by eating out at a local Healdsburg restaurant and spending a little time on the square looking at the shops etc. Playing the tourist in our own town. Then we drove the few miles out to the house which is located in a redwood grove with a pond out a windy road. You really feel like you are out in the boondocks.

We arrived and unpacked and toured the home. We had seen it briefly at the Sonoma County fair but it had been crowded with visitors so did not get a true feeling for the home. The house has a nice porch with some chairs overlooking a small pond. Another little home sits across on the other side of the pond.

kitchen and living area

Kent and Janelle in the living area

Inside the door is the great room with an easy chair, a table with a couple of smaller chairs, and entry into the kitchen. The bathroom with toilet and shower are off to the left as you go into the kitchen area.

The sleeping quarters are a loft above the kitchen with a moveable ladder accessing it. We settled in and played some table games and did some reading before climbing into the loft and going to sleep. The most challenging aspect of staying in this tiny home is the loft. Though well designed and with an extremely comfortable bed you do still have to climb up and down a ladder to get into it. The loft is roomy and light with two big windows behind the bed and another facing the pond. We had a full moon so light streamed in through the windows as we went to bed. We slept fairly well, though as most people know the first night is usually an adjustment to any sleeping quarters.


The Sleeping Loft

In the morning we fixed a light breakfast using the supplied cooking utensils and found the kitchen to be a very nice place to work in. We then went on to try out the shower. The Linden is hooked up to a septic system has good water pressure and uses a instant hot water heater so you don’t feel like you are roughing it.

We then took a walk on a trail on the property which was about a half mile up a creek bed through the redwoods. When we got back we relaxed in the main living area in the house. I really felt relaxed and like I was on vacation.

I would highly recommend staying here if you have a chance. You really get the idea of what living in a tiny house is all about. To reserve time in the Linden go to the Airbnb site to this link. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1287779

I hope this type of vacation becomes more available across the country.

view out the front

Entry way and folding table

tiny house and pond

Side View to Pond

tiny house across the pond

Tiny House across the pond

Linden at night

Linden lighted at night





Canopy & Stars Tiny Houses

The name of this vacation rental company in the United Kingdom might have picked the best name to describe the simplicity of staying in or living in a tiny house. Canopy & Stars have taken it a step further and offer handpicked quirky and eco-friendly small places to stay within Europe. They include tree houses, cabins, vardos, caravans, barges, yurts and more. Several of their properties caught my eye and stilled my heart: two shepherd huts on wheels in Hampshire, two shepherd’s huts located at a farm in Norfolk, and a train carriage in Wales.


Alex Evan’s Wiggly Tin shepherd huts (one pictured above) are located in Hampshire in the South Downs National Park. The huts (named Beacon and Butser) are completely off-grid and contain raised beds with storage underneath and wood-burning stoves. Showers and a bathroom are accessed in a nearby converted shepherd’s hut. Continue reading

The Tiny Houses of Belize

To kick off the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would add a little color to the Tiny House Blog with some tiny houses from Belize, the land of perpetual summer. My husband and I recently returned from the tropical country where we stayed on several cayes (pronounced keys) and on the mainland including Placencia, Caye Caulker and Rendezvous Caye and Tobacco Caye which we reached by sailboat.


Since the weather in Belize stays around 85 degrees F with nearly 100 percent humidity, most homes in Belize are raised off the ground on stilts to create airflow and catch some of the ocean breezes. Sometimes hammocks are strung in between the posts for lounging. Belize is an interesting mix of cultures from Jamaica, Cuba, Guatemala and other Central American countries and the styles are reflected in the colors of the homes which range from Caribbean blue to bright pink and orange. Continue reading

Tiny House Blog on Vacation

My family and I are taking a vacation during the holidays and I will be away from a computer and the internet most of this time. I have pre-published a few posts and they will show up at different times. Christina will continue with the usual Monday posts so be sure and check in on those.

I will not be answering emails, but want to encourage you to continue to send in your stories and photographs like you usually do. I will also not be posting on the Facebook fan page or Google+ during this time. Please, feel free to dig back through the archives for inspiration and visit some of the other tiny house blogs during this brief vacation.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will return on January 5th and will get back into the normal routine shortly there after.

on vacation