Joyful Paws Cottage

by Christina Nellemann on March 4th, 2013. 22 Comments
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Barbara Techel is a writer who recently finished her first adult nonfiction book in memorial to her wheelchair-bound dog, Frankie. Frankie’s story and other stories about animals who have changed Barbara’s life were envisioned and brought to life in Barbara’s 10×12 foot writing studio which sits just behind her 1,100 square foot house in Wisconsin. Even though Barbara still lives in the larger house, she has been actively thinking about tiny spaces ever since reading Tammy Stroble’s new book You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap).


“I’ve begun smart-sizing the stuff in my home, donating many things to second-hand shops as we begin to think about moving to a tiny, or least a tinier home, in the future,” Barbara said. “When I started telling my husband about tiny home living and subscribing online to tiny house communities and blogs, he really embraced the idea also.”

Her tiny studio was built over the course of 3-4 weeks by her husband, who’s a contractor, and has been decorated in a cottage style by Barbara. Her husband, seeing that his wife spent a lot of time reading and relaxing in her little space, named the studio MySpace.calm.

MySpace.calm has large windows and in the warmer months, Barbara works with the door open so she can hear the birds bathing in the birdbath outside. During the snowy months, a petite gas stove heats the studio. Her new wheelchair-enabled pooch, Joie, enjoys sitting in front of the stove. The studio doesn’t have a bathroom or kitchen, but Barbara teases her husband about installing them for her.



“I’ve always loved small spaces,” Barbara said.”In fact, quite a few years ago we thought about building a bigger house and it just didn’t feel right to me. I love how cozy small spaces feel. I feel that big homes and open spaces are somewhat cold. Not all, but most. Also as I learn more about tiny house living I love how you can be so useful of space. I also love the idea of taking up less room in the world and not being so wasteful.”

Barbara’s book Through Frankie’s Eyes: One Woman’s Journey to Her Authentic Self and the Dog on Wheels Who Led the Way is available now. Barbara has written several children’s books including Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House, A PAWSitive Coloring and Paper Doll Activity Book, and the ebook For the Love of Animals: A Collection of Short Stories. Barbara is the founder of National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day for dogs with Intervertabral Disc Disease (IVDD) and dogs in wheelchairs.





Photos courtesy of Barbara Techel

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

22 Responses to “Joyful Paws Cottage”

  1. This is really a nice job!

  2. Lynda says:


  3. Lucie says:

    This is absolutely charming. Thank you for sharing it (and leaving me wishing I had such a space!). And congratulations to Barbara on the publication of her book, which I imagine will touch a lot of hearts.

  4. Rebecca says:

    What an awesome story! And I love the studio as well. It’s beautiful!

  5. [...] I announce the schedule, I do have to let you know that I was interviewed for the Tiny House Blog today. I was so excited to be featured on this blog that I’ve been following and admiring for [...]

    • carrie says:

      OK, this little cottage is cute enough..but that dogs’ face(eyes) is beyond stunning!!!Yes, I am a dog insane person too.I took almost a 3 yr leave of absense from my flight attendant job to care for my dog when he was ill…
      My husband and I live in 2 joined camps in the Mississippi bayou country. We love it and no longer fool ourselves into believing that we are going to build again someday. Tiny (or small)is fun!!!!

  6. Thank you, Christina for interviewing me for Tiny House Blog and sharing my sweet cottage with your readers. I’m so honored to be on this blog today!!

  7. Susan Juetten says:

    Sweet little cottage, and the owner has managed to get a lot of stuff in there!

    • Susan, I had to chuckle at your comment. I do want to streamline things in my little cottage a bit more. I’m just very attached to so much of it. :)

      • I was the same way. Then, I discovered two things. One, I could photograph and keep the memory of my things. The other was…who out there would absolutely be over the moon to have that teddy bear, fat chef tin, cat cup or any of the hundreds of things I have given away or sold.

        Sometimes, things come into our lives for a short time so in theory, if it’s something durable, it needs to be shared.
        I hope that is an idea you can embrace, and a good one for others to think about. If I gave even one person an “Ah Ha” moment, then my work here is done.

  8. Pam says:

    I LOVE this!!! I’m an aspiring writer and have been wanting to build a place like this in my back yard. And I also just finished reading Tammy’s book—-but have been researching tiny houses for the last year. So fascinating!

  9. Brian says:

    Cute cottage, is that fireplace safe?

  10. Gracie Rugile says:

    That is absolutely the sweetest little house I’ve ever seen. I love it!!!!

  11. Heather says:

    Absolutely darling.

  12. This is the most adorable cottage!! I haven’t heard anyone put into words what I feel and say about large homes. I built a large house of 3,000 square feet so my mama could live with us while she was sick. I didn’t like that place. Felt like I was at a resort. I am now living in an 850 sq ft rental apartment and have so loved the cozy over-stuffed feeling of my treasures around me. It’s like my family’s antiques and the things I’ve collected that tell about my life are wrapped around me with loving arms. Just like in your precious studio.

  13. Kathryn says:

    Darling and cute!

  14. RebeccaH says:

    I would love to have something like this. It’s beautiful and so cozy! So glad you have it to enjoy. Your hubby deserves a “thumbs-up!”

  15. Glenda says:

    I love the studio! I am a crafter(Scrapbooking mainly) I would love a space like this, I want to downsize so bad, but we would not know where to place clothing, Christmas items and a family of 4. When my children move out, I told my hubby I want to move to a smaller home, but we are in our mid 50′s, I can’t see myself going up a ladder to sleep, but hopefully a smaller home would work.

  16. Janice says:

    Spectacular yet small! Your places look great to me

  17. Art says:

    Any chance there might be a set of plans somewhere around for that gorgeous little studio?

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