From plywood box to farmhouse Americana: A tour of our tiny house

Earlier this year, my husband and I bought a hunting property, and later, a tiny house to sleep in while we’re there. It was so much fun to furnish and decorate that I thought I’d write a post to share what we did.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch a Facebook Live about the joys I find in linear tasks like this one, as opposed to the circular tasks that are required in motherhood.

Welcome to our little slice of heaven!

In January, my husband and I purchased 84 acres of wild pine forest and wetlands in central Florida, near Gainesville. We decided to invest our budget on the land, and as a result, there was no structure on the property when we bought it.

With 4 kids, this is a problem. I mean, camping is fun and all. But not every weekend.

First, we just rented an RV each weekend and stayed in that. But, the drop-off times were strict and the RV itself just never felt clean to me. Plus, there is not much hangout space inside. And the worst part? We had to bring everything, every time. I mean, towels, wash cloths, soap, bedding, toilet paper you get the picture.

One day, my husband and I were driving on the highway near our property, and I saw a bunch of these cool-looking tiny houses at a lot on the side of the road. They were so cute! They almost looked like playhouses, with a porch and all!

My husband was in the worst mood and did not want to pull over, but I made him.

We went inside a tiny house and fell in love with the potential, and the price!

Here’s a picture from that day:

We bartered on price for a few hours and ended up buying the thing that day! (It’s technically called a “portable home.”) I believe ours was about $9K.

Once it arrived at our property, my husband installed spray foam insulation in it, and then we hired a contractor to install drywall and flooring and paint the walls white. I also had the contractor paint the outside all black. I love how it turned out! (And no, the black paint outside does not make the house any hotter.)

Now I had a blank canvas to furnish and decorate and make our own little functional tiny house hideaway!

I knew we wanted a pair of bunkbeds under the loft for the kids, so I ordered those on Amazon right away. Because they would be going under the loft, I had to find low bunk beds, which basically means there’s no space under the bottom bunk. These ones worked out perfectly!

We also had the contractor install a ladder and guardrail on the loft, along with baseboards and framing around the windows. This was necessary to keep the bugs out, and it added a nice contrast to all the white. I was originally going to have him paint it all white, but then I decided against it because I thought it would be too bland.

I just love how the natural wood pops.

Oh, and a quick side note: I would’ve loved to have shiplap or some sort of natural wood on the walls instead of drywall, but you can’t beat the price of drywall! Wood is so much more expensive, and it is not as good at keeping heat, cold and noise out. We use a generator that runs constantly at night when we need AC, so noise control is important.

So, I decided we’d use drywall to finish it, and I’d use my decor and accents to bring in some much-needed texture, personality and an overall rustic feel.

After the bunkbeds were ordered, I ordered a foam queen mattress for our loft. I looked for a very low bed, and just decided the mattress on the floor was the most practical to give us as much headroom as possible. It works!

We just love it up there!

The loft feels totally hidden away, and our rule is the kids can’t come up.

My husband initially wanted to throw 4 twin mattresses up there and make it the kids’ loft, and I fought it. I’m so glad I did. It’s our little haven. I chose the most cheerful Americana quilt I could find, and the red and white checkered gingham sheets underneath just make me so happy. I use an Ikea basket for the “nightstand” with my books, my favorite lip balm and a battery-powered light switch (that we use as a nightlight), and I store my boots up there as well.

We also have a fan up there to make it cool on summer nights, and it works amazingly! (Side note: I was worried it’d be too hot to stay here during the Florida summer, but with the AC on at night, it actually gets freezing inside. Like, so cold that the kids complain they were chilly all night. So yes, spray insulation and drywall work very well to keep the climate comfortable inside this thing!)

Okay, real quick I just need to talk about my floors because I’m obsessed. Again, keeping the budget in mind, I knew I wanted peel-and-stick tile because I did not want to pay lots of money for install. (In fact, we thought originally we would install these floors ourselves but later decided to just pay our contractor to do it.) Anyway, I found these, and I love them so much.

I love the black and white geometric that also leans toward vintage Americana.

They complete the whole space and add personality and a fun vibe. I could not be happier with how they turned out. We had our contractor use a latex primer in addition to the stickers on the bottom of the tiles to make sure the tiles would stay in place in the intense heat, since this house obviously doesn’t stay climate-controlled when we’re not there.

Overall, in designing this space, I wanted to make sure it felt really different from our home, which is lots of whites, grays and an overall casual coastal vibe. My initial gut here was to do whites, black and natural wood and keep the color pallet minimalist, but I knew it would look so inviting to have Americana vibes, including patterns, red color and cozy blankets and rugs.

So, with each design choice, I went against my natural default of minimalist clean and dove straight into color, patterns and farmhouse Americana.

On that note, I thought it’d be fun to have different quilts for each kids’ bed. I went to Amazon and typed “Americana quilts” and ordered the ones that spoke to me. Our daughter has the blue starred quilt on the bottom left, and our middle son has the red and blue stars quilt in the bunk above it. Our littlest boy is our little animal lover, so he got the bears quilt on the bottom right, and our oldest son got a fun blue and red gingham patterned quilt on the top bunk. I was worried all the patterns would be too busy or loud, but in this small space they are perfect and feel playful.

Instead of buying wall decor, we hung functional items that we use while we’re here.

That includes turkey feathers, a crossbow, my hat, gun storage and plastic deer antlers. Storage and decor all in one!

Thankfully, when we redid our Fun Zone last year, we saved our brown leather couch and chair, and they fit perfectly here as additional furniture! My grandma had bought us this set as a wedding gift 18 years ago, and even though it no longer fit in our house any longer, I just couldn’t get rid of them and hoped we’d find a new home for them.

Mission accomplished!

Cozy, functional and fun! I just love it!

I don’t have rugs at our house because it’s just one more thing to clean, but I decided I wanted one here to tie the space together and kind of anchor all the patterns.

I wanted something low-cost that wouldn’t stain or show dirt (because it definitely gets super dirty!) and ended up on this one from Amazon. I love the knit look it has, and initially I wasn’t sure it worked because it has hot pink in it and the quilts have red, but I think, together, it all flows.

Because I literally refused to spend any unnecessary money on this space, this table is one we found in one of our neighbors’ trash! We passed it on the golf cart on the way home from school, and we worked together to load it and bring it home. It fits perfectly.

And it also represents a fun and spontaneous memory. It has a story.

The 2 chairs and side table were all $5 each at Goodwill. I found the brown frames there too, all marked way down and perfect for an eclectic corner that showcases all our pictures we’ve taken so far here at the property. The wall clock was repurposed from my sons’ room after we made it a surf shack hangout this summer. I’ve had the black bird cages for 15 years, and I put battery-operated candles in them that we turn on at night. Much cuter than regular night lights, and no power needed! They have remote controls so it makes it super easy.

Okay, I just love our Fielder Outpost sign! I got this as a gift for my husband through a creator on Etsy. There are lots of signs like this on Etsy, and I loved the simplicity of this one as a focal point in our tiny house. It’s actually a canvas, so it’s super light and easy to hang.

And now to the part that’s not really cute, but it is functional and I’m sure you’re curious how we prepare food.

I put our “kitchen” area on the wall next to the front door so you don’t see it first thing when you swing open the door and walk in.

We used an Amazon shelf with wood crates as our kitchen storage and prep area. The wood crates contain: coffee and mugs, bathroom toiletries and towels, paper goods, outside stuff and paper towels. They are easy to pull out when we need things, and the kids can reach them, yet we don’t have to see the clutter. I usually do food prep on the table, or our picnic table outside.

On top, we have a microwave and coffeemaker. Then, above, my husband installed simple shelving using unfinished wood and $5 brackets from Home Depot. The shelves are a total game changer. First, they store a ton. Second, you can also see it all. We use the shelves for our food we bring with us, so we can see what we have. Games and coloring books also live up there, along with ammunition and my husband’s mini humidor for cigars, and a caddy with stuff we use often like bug spray, lighters and baby wipes.

This isn’t related to decor but I know there will be questions about the logistics of staying out here, so I’ll share!

As I mentioned, we have no power or running water. That means no toilet, shower or sink.

But, we’ve made it work. My husband built an outhouse. This is really gross — because what can I say, poop is gross — but we didn’t want to poop in a hole… because the hole stays there forever and stinks! And, it can mess with the water table which you don’t want. So, what we do is put a 5-gallon bucket inside the toilet hole, and a black trash bag inside of the bucket. Each time we stay out there, we start with a new black trash bag, and yep, my husband ties up the top of it every time we leave, double bags it and we stop at the dump on the way home. Yes it’s disgusting but what can I say. Actually, it’s kind of weird but when I use the outhouse, knowing it’s just my family’s disgusting stench somehow makes it less gross than a portable potty. Weird but true!

We finished the outhouse on Father’s Day, and I gave my husband this Would Poop Here Again sign as a gift that day. The kids thought it was funny.

For showering, my husband bought a solar shower bag that we hang on the back of the house. It’s so perfect! Let me tell you: forget about a toilet… as long as you can shower out here you feel like a million bucks! By the time we shower at the end of the day, the water is nice and warm, and my husband even installed slate underneath it so it feels like a wilderness spa. Haha, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but it totally works!

For water and the occasional dishes, we use water jugs that sit on our porch and a manual water pump spigot my husband bought on Amazon. It works great! We had a fancy USB-charged spigot before but it kept malfunctioning so the manual one is more foolproof.

For food, we bring a Yeti cooler with drinks and ice (which stays frozen all weekend), and we have a second cooler for food. It works!

Alright, that’s all I can think of now! I hope you enjoyed this tour of our tiny house!

If you have any questions or want me to add sources for anything here, check out the Facebook post and leave a comment, or head on over to Instagram to check out my video tour. Thanks for being here!

This post has some affiliate links, which means that when you buy, I get a few pennies. It doesn’t cost you any more. Thanks for being here!

Leave a Reply