The American Dream varies depending on who you ask. It could be owning and operating your own business. Or it could be living in a home with your family, without any debt and still being environmentally conscious. Well that’s what it was for the Jessica Helgerson and her husband, Yianni Doulis, and their two children. They went on a hike in the area of Sauvie Island, Oregon when they absolutely fell in love with the beautiful landscape surrounding them. Other homes in the area were very large, which also came with a hefty price tag. After searching and searching, they found this one bedroom, one bathroom home. It had been used for a variety of uses in recent history. It’d been rented by a shipyard worker, an auto mechanic, and even at one point in time it was used as a goose-checking station for local hunters. Most people would have thought it was just a run-down shack, but luckily for this family Yianni is an architect and Jessica is an interior designer. Jessica remembers, “We fell in love with the area after our first hike, but it took awhile before we found our home. We saw so much potential in this house despite finding it in a completely run-down state. Its size is definitely out of the ordinary for this area, but since we have to scale things down, we’ve all become more disciplined when it comes to what we consume and bring into the house.” One of my favorite things about this house is the roof. It has been planted with moss and ferns which have been collected from the Columbia River. Having these items on the roof has helped keep the house efficiently insulated.
The outside of the home is cute, contemporary, and looks like it would be found on the front of a magazine.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, and this family took full advantage of Jessica’s interior design skills!
Opposite of the kitchen is this great room. It has built in bookshelves for added storage and plenty of places to lounge around.
The kids share a room that has built in bunk beds. It seems like they are young enough where they don’t quite mind this yet.
The parents sleep upstairs in a loft. What a great space where they can escape the hustle and bustle. Laying up there with the window cracked while it’s raining sounds like heaven.
The house is only 540 square feet, but they optimized the space adding windows to make it brighter and give it a bigger feel.
At least the parents are realistic. Jessica recently said, “It’s not a perfect way to live. The toilet gets runny from working hard, and we know that the clock is ticking when it comes to our kids sharing a bedroom. But, despite all of this, we get along pretty well for living in such a small space.”
They recently had a birthday party for their son. Because of the lack of storage space, they did ask guests to forgo presents.
“We got him a lovely bow and arrow, which is what he had wanted, so he wasn’t deprived. One friend cheated and brought him a little box of Mexican jumping beans,” remembers Jessica.
Jessica also said, “I’m not about to preach to somebody else when it comes to how to live their lives. But I think most of my clients know that my colleagues and I are pretty thoughtful about what we do. We want each and every one of our remodels to be our last for that home.”
It sounds like this family has it figured out, at least for the time being. Maybe adding on a small bedroom will help solve the bedroom issue when the kids get older, but it seems like it’s a pretty peaceful way of life. I know there are a lot of times when living in a tiny house may not seem feasible, but this tiny family home may have proven some of those critics wrong.