Natalie's Peaceful & Free-Spirited Tiny Home on Wheels

Natalie's Peaceful & Free-Spirited Tiny Home on Wheels

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Tamara Gavin
Mar 10, 2016
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Name: Natalie Pollard, owner of Villagers, and cat Melon
Location: Candler, North Carolina
Size: 265 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months

Natalie's home may only be eight feet wide, but it is packed with inspiring design details and unexpected features for a tiny home including a large side entrance, a central bedroom loft, and the creative use of heirloom furniture pieces to contribute to that familiar feeling of home. She worked with the designers at Nanostead to create the 265 square foot portable home with the features that were important to her—mostly lots of windows for natural light—and the result is one of the sweetest small homes you will ever see.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Natalie practices a self-sufficient lifestyle and helps others do the same with her urban homestead supply store in West Asheville. She offers supplies and workshops to support sustainable activities such as gardening, composting, and beekeeping, and her home was a natural next step for her. As a contributor in the design process—see her Pinterest board for her inspiration—she was able to guide decisions and make a home that was uniquely hers. She documents the project on her blog Hello Tiny Home as well as her minimalistic life in a space that's smaller than most folks' garages.

Sit on Natalie's window seat and you can experience the peaceful views of the surrounding nature, a view that could change should Natalie choose to move her home to another property—an easy task for a house on wheels. But regardless of location, the interior's serene colors, soft textures, antiques, and display of comforting plants and herbs nurture a tranquil atmosphere which promotes a life we can all appreciate, one that's a little simpler and a little freer.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Minimal and Natural

Inspiration: Mid-century design, anything Japanese, Scandinavian country homes

Favorite Element: The windows and natural light. Given the size of my home, it was essential to me that the design incorporate a lot of high quality windows. The 8-foot-wide sliding glass door, the panoramic window in the sleeping loft, the double-hung windows in the living area; all of these elements greatly effect the openness of the interior space, while also framing and welcoming the outdoors into my home.

Biggest Challenge: Water. My house is 'parked' in a field with no access to water. Currently I carry in 5-gallon jugs of water for washing dishes and brushing my teeth, and I shower at the gym. But this spring I have plans to setup a rainwater catchment system with a water pump, connected to the on-demand hot water system that was installed on the house. It will feel wonderful to have hot water and shower at home again! That said, I've learned a lot about my water consumption and understand more than ever how very precious water truly is.

What Friends Say: I hear the words cozy and beautiful more than anything.

Biggest Embarrassment: I can't think of anything embarrassing about my home. I love it. There are projects I'd like to improve upon, such as better shelving in the kitchen and bathroom and better lighting in the loft.

Proudest DIY: I just recently finished a project—building a bench seat/daybed and bookshelf for the 'living room' space. I had limited time and access to tools, and only one day to work on the project. It ended up snowing that day, and so I rushed out to Home Depot in the morning to buy two sheets of cabinet grade plywood before the snow fell. I brought accurate measurements with me, and asked them to cut down the plywood to those specifications. It made it easy to transport the pieces back to my tiny home, where I was able to construct the bench seat and bookshelves with nothing more than a drill and screwdriver.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably my kitchen appliances! I have a Zojirushi ricecooker, Blendtec blender, and most recently an Omega masticating juicer. I bought each of them refurbished, which helped cut the cost in half, but all the same they are expensive. They end paying for themselves in time considering the cost of prepared foods outside of the home.

Best Advice: A friend recently told me about the Japanese principle of only having things in your home that are truly useful or that bring you genuine joy. I try to do that as much as possible, and find that when I clear out extraneous or stagnant objects, my home feels lighter and brighter.

Dream Sources: Mostly I love finding things at thrift + antique stores, sourcing from local makers and friends, or making things myself.

Lately I've been coveting japanese housewares and linen textiles for the home: Analogue Life, Joinery, Kiriko, Fog Linen and vintage textiles + turkish rugs on eBay

Resources

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

MATERIALS

  • Locally milled, rough-sawn pine exterior siding, treated with non-toxic Lifetime Wood Treatment. //www.valhalco.com/
  • Pre-finished pine flooring
  • Lighting from Triple7 Recycled on Etsy
  • Wall paint is a warm white; brand and color unknown
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

ENTRY

  • Mirrored Armoire: Care Partners Estate Sale (Asheville, NC). I love going to estate sales to find antique/vintage goods. Care Partners is especially wonderful because your money goes to a non-profit hospice care organization. The armoire was found after the house was designed, and it just barely fit. It works well as a closet, and the mirrors reflect the light from the sliding glass door entry. They also work well for styling in the mirror – sometimes I even step out onto the deck for a full length view (which would be close to impossible otherwise, in such a small home)
  • Ocean Plait Mat, at doorway: Mario Rabaglia. This beautiful mat was made by Mario, a man who used to live in Asheville. He crafts a lot of rope and leather works, which I sold at my shop until he moved away. It's a simple design, something that people could do for themselves with some nautical rope.
  • Horseshoe above door: From my grandparent's farmhouse in Illinois. The farm has been in our family for over 150 years.
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM

  • Walnut dining room table: From my grandparent's farmhouse (Roseville, Illinois). The table was made from a walnut tree on my family farm in Illinois. It was the main dining table for my mother's family, with so many large family meals shared around it. When my grandparent's decided to move into a retirement home, they told all of us to come grab what we wanted. I immediately rented a van and drove from Philadelphia to Illinois to pick up the table and matching chairs. It has many leaves, and can extend to about twelve feet long, but it also folds down to 2' x 4', just the right size for my little house.
  • Vintage ceramic pendant lamp: Tobacco Barn (Asheville, NC). It's perhaps from the late 60s; I like the way it diffuses light.
  • Vintage table lamp: Ragtime Vintage (Asheville, NC). My favorite vintage clothing store in Asheville also sells a small selection of home goods. Often times whatever they are using for display/decor at the shop is up for sale, if you ask.
  • Salvaged wood wall: From my friend Mary's family cabin, built during the civil-war (Asheville, NC). I was at my friend Mary's family cabin, and her mother was clearing out a lot of old wood from the barn. I snagged several of the nicer pieces and asked the builders of my home to use it somewhere in the home. We decided to create an accent wall in the living room, and they used the remaining scrap piece on a small section of a wall in the kitchen.
  • Jade plant: saved from a compost pile (someone had tossed it out) and brought back to life! It's still on the mend and a bit oddly shaped, but I like the character of it.
  • Framed screenprint: Found at a thrift store in Philadelphia
  • Various pillows and throws: All found at thrift stores in Asheville. I have plans to sew new covers for some of the pillows.
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

KITCHEN

  • Spalted sycamore countertop: Green River Woods (Asheville, NC). At my shop, I sell cutting boards by local woodworker, Matt Christie (Green River Woods). I asked him to find a piece of local wood for the kitchen counter where I do all of my food prep. It's beautiful (far nicer than the cheap Ikea counter top I ended up using for the kitchen sink, for budget reasons, which is already showing signs of wear). If I ever have the means to upgrade that countertop, I'd definitely go for another solid wood slab.
  • Vintage buffet cabinet: Oddfellow's Antiques (Asheville, NC). I prefer open shelving for most of my kitchen storage, but knew that I would need one cabinet. I found this 70s buffet at one of my favorite local antique shops. It is the perfect height to support the kitchen counter, and has ideal storage inside with shelving and drawers for cutlery.
  • Walnut knife rack: Hankworks (Asheville, NC). The knife rack is special because it was made by my friend Tony, one of the builders of my home who helped to found the company Nanostead. The knife rack is made of salvaged walnut from his late father's woodshop.
  • Hanging Planter: Half Light Honey (Brasstown NC). I sell these lovely hand-pinched hanging planters at my shop
  • Weck Jars: From my shop, Villagers (Asheville, NC). I often jest that I should have just opened a jar store, as most customers covet the selection of jars at my shop, especially these Weck canning/pantry jars. They are great for canning as well as dry goods storage. I especially like the way they stack and that the lids are made of glass.
  • Mugs: Made by Saralynn Belmer and Melissa Weiss (Asheville, NC). Local potters made several of the mugs hanging in my kitchen. Also sold at my shop.
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

BEDROOM

  • Storage baskets: found at TJ Maxx
  • Pillow shams: Joinery
  • Stained-glass piece in the window: a gift from one of my dearest friends
  • Candles: made from local beeswax (also sold at my shop)
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

BATHROOM

  • Composting toilet: JT Homesteader. My friend in Joshua Tree, Stephanie Smith, designed and manufactured the composting toilet in my bathroom. I love that even my toilet is made by someone I know! This says so much about the nature of my home, how each element has a story and connection to a person or place that means something to me.
  • Walnut shelf above toilet: Made by a friend.
  • Stained-glass piece: Made by my mother in the 70s.

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Thanks, Natalie!

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