When Tim Francis and Laura Hubbard-Miles had their third child, rather than buying a larger house, like most people do, they actually bought a smaller one! Most people think tiny houses are great if you’re young and live alone, but wouldn’t think of a family of 5 living in one. Well, this family is a great example of how to do just that!
After traveling for an entire summer in a camper while volunteering for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, Tim and Laura decided to move their family out of London and into the country. They renovated a small Victorian stone building that used to store fruit on Tim’s parents’ property in Gloucestershire.
According to an article The Guardian wrote of the couple’s decision to go smaller, Tim said:
“The [London] flat was enormous, but there was no outdoor space and just taking the boys to the park was a real expedition. We knew there was no way we could afford anything bigger and after eight years in London we were getting really frustrated.”
So, Tim and Laura convinced his parents to let them renovate the small building. Once they obtained permission for the renovations from the county, they began designing the “Fruit Store,” the name they’ve given to their tiny home. Their experience of spending the Summer in a camper is where the couple got their inspiration for the minimalist design of the house.
There is a loft upstairs that performs double duty as a bedroom/playroom for the children, while benches in the downstairs used for seating during the day, transform into the parents’ bed at night. The house has electricity and running water, but no indoor toilet.
The family now spends much more time outside gardening and engaging in fun, outdoor activities. The move also afforded Tim the opportunity to start his own design firm called the Rural Workshop.
While the couple isn’t sure how well living in a tiny house with teenagers will go over, the family is enjoying their time in the house for now. They feel that the family is closer and more content since the move. As Tim stated in the article:
“I asked [my son] what he thought about us living here the other day, and he said: ‘I like it. We’re like a herd,’ which I thought was a nice way of looking at it. As an architect you tend to work on the assumption that a family house is X number of bedrooms, arranged in this particular way to a particular set of measurements, but those are quite sloppy assumptions about what a home is or should be. Trying out living on this scale allows us to test what we really need to live.”