Ampersand House - A South Carolina Backyard Retreat - Tiny House Blog

Ampersand House – A South Carolina Backyard Retreat

Here are some pictures of Ampersand House, a tiny shelter our son, Willy Schlein, designed for us as a writers’ retreat. It’s constructed on a bridge spanning a stream in our back yard. While not a house in the usual sense of the word, it is roofed to protect against the rain, and screened in to protect against mosquitos.

We can use it nine months of the year as a sanctuary, and the built-in benches are large enough so that two people can use it as a sleep-out shelter with sleeping bags.

There is nothing better than an afternoon in Ampersand House with a good book; the noise of the stream below and the birds all around me are delightful. And the nicest touch of all is the metal roof, so that we can listen to the patter on the roof in rainy weather.

Alice Schlein

The first picture shows Ampersand House under construction in 2010. The architect, Willy Schlein (left) is discussing the construction details with the builder. The old bridge, on the left, was removed and a new reinforced bridge (right) was constructed for the little house to rest on.

The framing in progress:

Ampersand House completed:


A view of Ampersand House in winter (one of the infrequent snows here in South Carolina):


An interior view:



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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below - February 14, 2012 Reply

Stunning!Only a micro house could be built and enjoyed over a creek like that .The economy of scale in action again.

    Darrell - February 14, 2012 Reply

    Guess again. When I was a kid, we went to Anna Texas to visit my grandmother, and the house she was living in was built across a creek. You walked in the front door on one side of the creek, and out the back door on the other side. It was a large two bedroom, but the best part of the house was the sleeping porch on the north side. I loved sleeping out there in the summer. The sound of the water trickling down the creek would put me to sleep so fast.

Beth - February 14, 2012 Reply

Lovely, inviting, unique, wonderful!

Mary M - February 14, 2012 Reply

LOVE it! What a wonderful retreat.

Angie - February 14, 2012 Reply

Will bugs get in throught the spaces?

It does look inviting for reading, but I wonder about the bug factor if after dark.

    Alice - February 14, 2012 Reply

    It is totally screened in, including under the floor/bridge, to keep the bugs out!

      Angie - February 14, 2012 Reply

      Thank you – that makes it even better. It is lovely and I can just imagine listening to the water pass under it.

      Benjamin - February 15, 2012 Reply

      My first impression was that all the windows were glass. Are you saying the openings are all screen, no glass?

Denise - February 14, 2012 Reply

Remember, Nothing could be finer than to be in Car-o-lina in the morning. Or any other time, for that matter! What a beautiful spot! 🙂

A. Bear - February 14, 2012 Reply

What a lovely little house. Great!

BigGoofyGuy - February 14, 2012 Reply

It gives new meaning to ‘covered bridge’? It is a really neat place to retreat from it all. Perhaps it could be called a ‘bridge house’? 😉

Todd Miller - February 14, 2012 Reply

This looks like a great place. Glad to see you used a metal roof and that you’re happy with it. I have launched an educational website for residential metal roofing at There are articles to read, podcasts to listen to and videos to watch. And I am always happy to answer questions!

barb - February 14, 2012 Reply

Beautiful! Even the pictures look so peaceful and serene. A real treasure!

Deek - February 15, 2012 Reply

Even the back slatted wall is screened? Love this lil’ place though- I’ve seen a few bridge houses/shelters before, but this is one of the more fun ones…. Very nice and congratulations.

    Alice - February 15, 2012 Reply

    Yes, the back wall is screened, too. Lotta screening here. Total insect control. Thanks for your comment – love your book!!!

V - February 15, 2012 Reply

I know without looking that in addition to the BLUE LINE on the left side, that there is one on the RIGHT side too….. It’s all about being with one with the land ….and creek.

Andrew - February 19, 2012 Reply

I love it, great idea! It looks soo peacful and unique, i wish i were there!

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