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