Tiny homes, smart living – Hopkinsville Kentucky New Era
At one time, Annie Tucker lived in a 2,000-square-foot home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
That’s where she first became interested in tiny homes — the subject of HGTV’s hit series “Tiny House, Big Living.”
Typically, tiny homes contain between 100 and 400 square feet. Using those guidelines, Tucker’s Tulsa home could hold about 10 tiny homes, depending on their size.
When Tucker left Tulsa with her 4-year-old daughter, Jessa, they returned to Ohio County to be near family.
From the get-go, living tiny was part of Tucker’s plan. About a year ago, she and Jessa moved into a newly built 607-square-foot home.
“It was important to me to live as simply and cheaply as possible,” Tucker said.
Her two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is economical. It’s so easy to heat and cool, the pair made it through their first year without a central cooling and heating system. Instead, they relied on ceiling fans and space heaters.
Beside paying less in utilities, there are other advantages, Tucker said. Tiny homes don’t need a lot of furnishings, which can be pricey, and living itty-bitty means less clutter. If an item doesn’t bring Tucker joy, out it goes.
Tucker’s monthly house payment costs less than most local rent. By living small, Tucker has managed to pay down some debt and take her daughter to Florida.
Although 600 square feet is not as big as living rooms in some new homes — the median size single-family house built in 2015 measured 2,520 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — Tucker’s home sits on the large side of tiny.
Surprisingly, Owensboro has more than 50 homes between 234 and 550 square feet, according to the Daviess County Property Valuation Administrator’s records. Some are shotgun homes built more than a century ago, but many were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s.
So the tiny home concept is not new.
Dennis Frantz lives in a 468-square-foot house that was built on Ebach Street in 1958.
His dad paid $7,840 for it in 2004. Frantz said they’ve spent about $20,000 in renovations since. It’s like new now, he said.
Frantz, 40, has lived in much bigger homes.
“I’m a single person with no children,” he said. “I don’t need a big place. … I’m just mad ’cause my yard is so big.”
In October, Haley Dersheimer bought her first home. Going tiny made it possible to settle in the coveted Griffith area.
Her 528-square-foot bungalow sits on Cottage Drive. “It’s such a good area,” Dersheimer said. “It’s quiet.”
The house has a generous front lawn. Built in 1968, it features original hardwoods and an upstairs loft.
She spends about half as much on utilities compared to the duplex she used to rent. And neighbors don’t complain about her pit bull named Tesla.
“I love it so far,” Dersheimer said. “… I would probably live in a tiny home the rest of my life.”
Mary Hesher’s home on the 900 block of Hall Street was built in 1993 for $19,000. Hesher bought the home in 2004 for less than some people spend on a mid-priced sports car.
The four-room design includes a bedroom big enough for a double bed, dresser, two nightstands, exercise bike and an extra-large closet.
A spacious bath/utility room holds a full-sized washer and dryer, bathtub/shower combo, vanity, closet and toilet, along with a freezer. Even with all that, there’s room to spare.
Hesher’s eat-in kitchen seats four comfortably.
She has four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “My kids all fit in here,” she said of her home.
In fact, one of her daughters and two grandchildren once lived with Hesher for six months until they could afford to buy a home of their own. “It was all right,” she said. “Toys were everywhere, and it got a little cramped.”
Piecing together puzzles helps her deal with cabin fever during cold months. But when weather allows, Hesher heads outside. Her manicured backyard has a bed of berries and other work to keep her busy.
Her home is convenient to shopping. Taxes, insurance and utilities are cheaper than they would be on a larger place.
Hesher, who has lived tiny for 10 years, wouldn’t trade it for anything. “It’s big enough for me.”