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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who needs a mortgage... live in a garden shed


Who needs a mortgage? Couple's ultimate downsize from a 2,500 sq ft home to a shotgun shack

Last updated at 12:27 AM on 2nd June 2011
    In these recessionary times, many people have had to make sacrifices just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
Faced with a frantic, four-job lifestyle with little time for their son just to pay the mortgage, one couple found the perfect solution - they moved from their luxury, 2,500 square foot home to a 320 square foot shotgun shack.
Two years ago, the Jordan family lived in a large, four-bedroom house on an acre-and-a-half of land.
When Gary Jordan lost his job as manager of a construction company, the couple had to take on cleaning jobs and other work just to make the mortgage payments.
Home sweet home: The 320 square foot shack that Gary, Debra and their 13-year-old son Max live in
Home sweet home: The 320 square foot shack that Gary, Debra and their 13-year-old son Max live in
Compact: The couple only pay rent for the lot on which their house and their workshop stands and they have no mortgage
Compact: The couple only pay rent for the lot on which their house and their workshop stands and they have no mortgage
Before: Aerial view of the Jordan's old house on a one-and-a-half acre plot of land. Their parent's house is next door which they also lost in the recession
Before: Aerial view of the Jordan's old house on a one-and-a-half acre plot of land. Their parent's house is next door which they also lost in the recession
Overworked: Debra and her husband were working four jobs just to pay the mortgage and were spending little time with their son
Overworked: Debra and her husband were working four jobs just to pay the mortgage and were spending little time with their son
Now they live, work and school their child in a shotgun 320-square-foot shack they custom built.They pay no mortgage, they have few belongings, they spend more time with their son and they are happy.
Their house cost them less than $20,000 to make their home and they only pay $145 rent for the lot on which their shack and workshop stands.
Speaking about making the move, Debra said: 'It was not a simple idea, this of scaling down.  It was even more difficult to execute, and required mountains of courage, and truckloads of patience.
'I was worried about what my family would think, so after making the decision to downsize, I decided I didn't want to tell them. It's just not what people do. They don't live in 320 square foot homes.
'The 2,000 square foot home was too much for us to keep up with and as the economy got worse it became harder. 
'I employed a couple of staff myself for my Minkee baby gift and accessory company and I had to let them go.
'Running a business meant we were not spending enough time with our son and we just did not want to struggle any more. We knew we needed to make a change.'
Multi-purpose: Their sofa doubles as a guest bed enabling them to have company over
Multi-purpose: Their sofa doubles as a guest bed enabling them to have company over
Needs: The family spend most of their time at the table where they prepare food, eat and seat their guests
Needs: The family spend most of their time at the table where they prepare food, eat and seat their guests
Before: Debra and Gary's previous spacious kitchen and dining area
Before: Debra and Gary's previous spacious kitchen and dining area
Son: Max, 13, is schooled from home in the tiny shack and sleeps in a loft bedroom
Son: Max, 13, is schooled from home in the tiny shack and sleeps in a loft bedroom
Bedroom: Debra and Gary even have an antique bed in their room. They also have a chest of drawers for the whole family's belongings
Bedroom: Debra and Gary even have an antique bed in their room. They also have a chest of drawers for the whole family's belongings
Debra said she had always liked the Mississippi shotgun-style homes, but they decided the 100-square-foot places that are 'kind of curious at the moment' were too small.
They considered a mobile home but at $60,000 even they were too expensive. They even considered converting a shed or old school bus.
One day, while browsing craigslist, the couple noticed an ad for a local Arkansas company Slabtown customs, who custom build tiny homes for a price that could mean an end to house payments.
Six weeks later and they had their custom-built home. In this home they have a walk-in closet, full-sized appliances, an antique bed, a loft room for their son and even enough room for guests to stay over.
Spacious: The couple's previous bedroom, one of the four in their house
Spacious: The couple's previous bedroom, one of the four in their house
Lucky: Not many homes boast a walk-in warbrobe
Lucky: Not many homes boast a walk-in warbrobe
Touch: The house measures ten feet across and Debra said she likes the fact the family have to make a lot of physical contact around the shack
Touch: The house measures ten feet across and Debra said she likes the fact the family have to make a lot of physical contact around the shack
The office: Debra's work station where she makes baby gifts and accessories
The office: Debra's work station where she makes baby gifts and accessories
In fact Debra said their home probably sleeps 'about six people comfortably, eight to ten uncomfortably'.
Speaking about their tiny living space, she said: 'We really only needed a place to eat, sleep and home school our son and when we knew that we designed it around our needs.
'We lived in South America for nine years and when we came back it struck us how big the houses had become and how much stuff people had accumulated.
'Then suddenly over the years we started doing the same thing and gathering stuff until finally we decided to go back to the way we were.'
The mother-of-one believes that there are added bonuses from living in a small house that you don't get with larger spaces.
Pantry: The family squeeze their microwave, coffee maker, cutlery and condiments into the one cupboard
Pantry: The family squeeze their microwave, coffee maker, cutlery and condiments into the one cupboard
Company: Debra shows off the 'guest bedroom' and said you can sleep six people comfortably, eight to ten uncomfortably in their house
Company: Debra shows off the 'guest bedroom' and said you can sleep six people comfortably, eight to ten uncomfortably in their house
She said that when your house measures ten feet across you cannot move without touching someone.
'The close physical contact forces you to interact and be even more pleasant to people saying thank you and excuse me,' she said.
They even have a separate studio next door for their home business where they make tiny baby gifts and accessories.
She said: 'It's not what you don't have it's what you do have. We just wanted a simple life and this helped us contribute to that simple feeling.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393194/The-ultimate-downsize-Couple-ditch-2-500-sq-ft-home-belongings-live-mortgage-free-320-sq-ft-shack-son.html#ixzz1O5Qh9bTp

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