Knock Knock: The Triangle’s Most Unusual Houses

Living in a 404-square-foot home
Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

How small of a house do you think you could live in? Think about it. Do you really need the study, and the spare room, and the guest room, and the den, and the media room, and the 3-car garage and the man cave? Could you manage with much less? Well, how about living in a 404 square foot home? I know, that just sounds insane.

At least that’s what I was thinking as I drove up to Bethany Chaney’s 404-square-foot 2-bedroom 1-bath cottage in Carrboro.

I knocked on the door thinking “this is going to feel like you’re living in a shoe box.” But, I was wrong. Bethany’s house is warm and cozy and (dare I say) even spacious. She has a modest but efficient kitchen, a comfortable full bathroom, a flexible room that can serve as a den or a guest room, an office niche with a 2-story ceiling, a spacious living room, a beautiful sleeping loft tucked under the pitch of the roof, a lovely front porch and a good-sized deck into the back yard. That’s actually a lot of house. And it’s all only 404 square feet. I know. That’s just insane.

Bethany told me that living in a tiny house seemed like the right thing to do. It fit with her core values. Bethany is on the Planning Commission in Carrboro and works with non-profits who focus on affordable housing. She’s passionate about her community and the environment. Living small, and efficient and affordable, seemed like a logical choice for her. So, she purchased a plan from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and built her dream cottage.

I asked Bethany if there are any challenges to living in such a small house.

She told me that she does tend to use the outdoor spaces more than she expected, but she never feels cramped in the house. All the spaces are thoughtfully designed. It’s as if all the fat has been trimmed from each space, leaving you with just what you need to live simply and comfortably.  After seeing how Bethany lives, I’m beginning to think that my 1,800 square foot house just might be insane.