While measuring in at only 220 square feet, M Rathsack points out that her new tiny home is bigger than some apartments in New York City. Rathsack, owner of Mâ€™s School of Art in Hendersonville, designed the house she just moved into keeping her favorite things in mind: nature, fine art and baking.
â€śIn my mind, this is my forever home â€” I really thought about what I want in it,â€ť said Rathsack. â€śIâ€™ve moved around a lot, and I love that I can always have my home no matter where I put it. I can tow it anywhere at the drop of a hat.â€ť
While the Colorado native admitted she might eventually hitch up her diminutive home and head west, sheâ€™s enjoying being in western North Carolina and the landing pad sheâ€™s found at Acony Bell Tiny Home Village in Mills River.
Rathsack said she spent â€śforeverâ€ť researching tiny home designs before settling on an amalgam of what she liked best from two house plans. â€śI liked the back part of one and the front part of another,â€ť she said. A scrapbook containing her sketches and favorite photos and design ideas lives among the books she selected to be housed in her homeâ€™s living area.
The entire footprint of the home is 30 by 8.5 feet, built on a custom-sized trailer, under a shed roof thatâ€™s around five feet ten inches on its lower side.
Knowing that she would likely prefer not to climb a ladder to a bed loft as her knees age, Rathsack opted for a somewhat atypical â€śsingle levelâ€ť tiny home design, with storage space under the bedroomâ€™s elevated floor.
She didnâ€™t skimp on space for a full-size range (with a double oven) in the kitchen, to feed her love for baking. Thereâ€™s even a â€śdrawerâ€ť style dishwasher and an apartment-sized fridge.
â€śEvery spot that can be used is used,â€ť Rathsack said. â€śItâ€™s so nice and compact. Everything has to have a home â€” itâ€™s a different way of looking at functioning in a house.â€ť
A small window above the sink offers a view outside in addition to lettingÂ in light. Rathsack is especially proud of a dedicated spice drawer and the kick-plate drawers that the builder created for maximal storage. Counters are made from oak butcher block, as isÂ the hinged shelf Rathsack uses asÂ a desktop. Color LED perimeter lighting gives the illusion of added space while adding aÂ fun elementÂ to the open-planÂ living and kitchen area.
â€śThey did everything I asked them too, it was kind of amazing,â€ť she said of Brevard Tiny House Company, the builder. â€śI told them, I just want light everywhere.â€ť
It helps that Rathsackâ€™s tiny home site is situated above Boylston Creek with southern exposure and an unimpeded view. She decided to add a picture window in the living area to take advantage of the view. â€śThereâ€™s a heron that comes by every day, and deer from the field across the creek, too,â€ť she said.
â€śI take pictures every once in a while, because it looks different every day,â€ť added Rathsack. â€śItâ€™s like a picture-perfect composition.â€ť
Jake Hagedorn, owner of Brevard Tiny House Company, was impressed with Rathsackâ€™s design, so much so that her custom home is featured as a design option on the companyâ€™s website â€” itâ€™s called â€śThe Poppy.â€ť
â€śWe had a great time building M’s home,” said Hagedorn. “She was wonderful to work with. We love to create custom homes with features that reflect the vision and personality of the customer.”
A place for art
Pottery and nature-themed art and objects line shelves and walls throughout the homeâ€™s interior, which features natural whitewashed pine paneling. Bamboo flooring â€” with an antiqued finish to look like barn wood â€” completes the outdoorsy look of the little home that Rathsack has dubbed the â€śTree House.â€ť
Before moving in earlier this summer, she agonized over which art pieces she would keep from her collection to display in her new space. â€śEverything I kept, I know where it came from and who made it,â€ť she said. â€śIf I could remember a story, I could keep it. I wanted to fill my home with art.â€ť
The edge of a slim storage area above the bathroom is lined with art objects, under a ceiling painted light blue to mimic the outdoors.
The bathroom is another area Rathsack thought deeply aboutÂ in order to maximize space. A low-profile, water efficient toilet and clear, curved shower doors add to the spacious feel of the room, which includes a recessed area for a front-loading washer and dryer set.
A barn door on the bathroom keeps the space clear, and eliminates the possibility of doors clashing into one another. A handy bendable shower hose adds versatility and makes it easier to clean the shower stall, Rathsack said. A light fixture from IKEA that looks like a row of illuminated bubbles adds a whimsical touch to the space.
Just outside the bathroom door, three steps lead up to the bedroom, which has no door and three windows. Rathsack was surprised that the closet, situated in the space directly above the washer/dryer, turned out to be spacious enough to hold her clothing as well as knitting supplies and shoes.
A tall bed frame allows for a place to store her painting supplies, sewing machine and belly dance outfits underneath the bed. She was worried at first that she would have to sacrifice a studio space, yet Rathsack has plans to create a folding easel that could be mounted on the wall. â€śIâ€™ll just have to paint smaller,â€ť she said with a smile.
The exterior of the home is totally custom; Rathsack combined five different types of siding in various colors to add visual interest. â€śI didnâ€™t want it to look like a wooden box,â€ť she said.
On one side, a keyed exterior door opens onto the storage area under the bedroom. Rathsack plans to have a woodenÂ deck builtÂ for the entry door, on the north side of the house, as well as installing a rain barrel for watering outdoor plants.
Rathsack is settling in well to her new neighborhood, which she appreciates for its close-knit community. â€śI love the natural surroundings and the fact that the village was built specifically for tiny houses,” sheÂ said.Â “Itâ€™s wonderful to have like-minded neighbors.”