Imagine an adorable tiny home nestled in big sky country on the wide-open, peaceful prairie. Sound appealing? Now add a handful of kind neighbors and a slew of sweet dogs. Sound even better? If you answered yes and yes, Tiny Lots on the Prairie might just be the perfect fit for you and your tiny house on wheels. It is a quaint tiny house community in Decatur, Texas, within the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
I had the pleasure of visiting with my tiny home this past week and was warmly welcomed into the “family.” The residents are tight-knit, fun-loving group, ranging from ages 8 to early 60’s. We parked our home on one of the seven pads. The pads are staggered and form a V-shape on the front acre of a 7.5-acre property. Each concrete pad is reinforced with rebar and features tie-down anchors— perfect protection against the prairie’s high winds. The community is home to the West family and their small home, along with three tiny housers (Robyn, Cheryl, and Rae) and a total of nine dogs. Another small home on the property serves as community clubhouse, guest lodging and the office for Brett and Mindy West’s US Storm Shelters business. This business is run out of the backside of the property. In case of a tornado or bad storm, the residents have access to several ATSA certified storm shelters. Other amenities include well water, septic, metered electric (50/30/20 Amp serve), trash and WiFi.
Perhaps the best community features are the readily available helping hands, easy conversations, and hilarious “family” game nights. During my stay, Christian and I heard a heart-warming story of neighbors helping their neighbor in need, an injured Cheryl who needed to paint her house but couldn’t get on a ladder. One day when Cheryl was at the doctor, Brett, Robin and a few of his workers secretly painted her house for her. What a wonderful surprise! Brett and Mindy have created a caring atmosphere because they are kind and generous people. The tiny house movement and living minimally and lightly on the earth concepts deeply resonate with them and their values. They created this community to support the movement, provide legal parking opportunities and to more fully utilize their lovely piece of prairie. Tiny Lots is on unincorporated county land, and the Wests thoroughly investigated how set-up the community by the book. Ultimately, they were only required to install and permit a septic system. No other zoning or building codes are required or enforced in their area.
After launching the community, Brett and Mindy were pleasantly surprised by the close bonds and friendships they formed with their new neighbors. We joined them, current, past and future residents for a community potluck and game night, complete with a few lively rounds of spoons and Rock Band performances. It definitely felt like a tight-knit extended family experience, including playfully ribbing of each other and a healthy sense of competition.
After abruptly receiving an eviction notice, Molly, their first resident, moved into Tiny Lots. She lived there for several months, but later moved to an RV park closer to her job in north Dallas. Molly still stays in touch and comes out for hangs with the community. Tiny Lots is only 30 minutes to Denton and about 45 minutes from Forth Worth and DFW Airport, but closer to 75 minutes from downtown Dallas.
Robyn was the second tiny house to move in. Her beautiful “Roost” is 24’x10′ beauty built by Tiny Houses by Darla. It features a loft and a downstairs sleeping area that pulls out from under her raised kitchen. Robyn will be retiring soon, and her retirement plan is to live tiny and free. She has two sweet weimaraners, Boo and Pink. Stay tuned for Boo’s upcoming blog, tiny house community life from her doggie point-of-view.
Cheryl came next. She built her tiny house with the help of Incredible Tiny Homes, through their Tiny Home University, a week-long intensive workshop. They dried in her tiny house, and she finished it at their shop with the help of friends, workshop participants, and Incredible Tiny Homes supervisor. The end-result was Chery’s dream retirement home, adorably cozy and manageable. Rae is the newest resident, a veteran and current college student. Her DIY 16′ tiny house is called the “Wolf Den,” and it is home to her six “wolves”— four chihuahuas, one miniature poodle and one bearded dragon. They all fit right in with the rest of the fun, friendly bunch at Tiny Lots.
Besides the great company, I particularly enjoyed the fiery sunsets and the bright, starry nights.
Looking for high-quality tiny house parking in a welcoming community setting? Join Tiny Lots on the Prairie. They currently have two lots available for long-term lease. Contact Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog Contributor
My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we’ve been on the road two years for our documentary and community outreach project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life and our true passion project. We are very grateful to be able to experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.