Name: Matthew Connelly, Andy Taylor (Maine Coon)
Location: Upperco, Maryland
Size: 280 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, owned
"It's bigger on the inside!" is a familiar reaction to Matthew Connelly's book-filled tiny house. Soaring ceilings and intentional decor make the home feel spacious and uncluttered. Matthew, an artist, moved into the space six months ago, where he lives with his Maine Coon kitten, Andy Taylor.
"Simple and confident," with an astounding range of woods and materials, the house was completely custom designed and built by Ben Kirk of Bmore Tiny Houses. Matthew contributed as an assistant throughout the project, and he cites being involved in the construction of his own home as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.
The home was designed with a focus on Matthew's book collection, and he specifically chose not to have television or Wi-Fi. The tiny house does, however, have a full kitchen, a heating and cooling system, and a combination washer/dryer. Clever small space storage solutions can be found throughout, such as drawers underneath the library floor, built-in bedroom bins, and a closet doing double duty for both coats and laundry. Like the Arts and Crafts Movement, which Matthew is inspired by, the home is defined by beautiful and fine workmanship.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Modern, straightforward, unfussy.
Inspiration: While brainstorming for the concept of the house I found a lot of benefit in watching online videos of other tiny house builds: The YouTube series 'Living Big in a Tiny House' is among the best for anyone looking for a good place to start.
The direction of the house design was inspired by The Arts and Crafts movement; the simple and confident style has always appealed to my taste.
Favorite Element: Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, made from reclaimed redwood.
Biggest Challenge: The breadth and range of materials that go into building a house can be bewildering and intimidating. It can be difficult to be mindful of an overall budget when you are making a thousand purchases both large and small: from unrecognizable parts, essentials for utilities, the endless array of finishing materials and furnishings, and all the other bits and bobs. Ultimately, I'm happy to say I did not compromise my sensibilities, and managed to finish the project without being left penniless.
What Friends Say: It's bigger on the inside!
Biggest Embarrassment: Not an embarrassment but maybe a peculiarity, the house has no TV or Wi-Fi. I have an AM/FM radio, a wonderful cat, and my books to entertain me and occupy my time.
Proudest DIY: I was very fortunate that my house was designed and built by Ben Kirk of Bmore Tiny Houses, and I was lucky enough to contribute in an assistant role throughout the entire project. Being involved in the construction of my own home was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Biggest Indulgence: This may be woefully pragmatic but I chose to build the tiny house on a 26-foot Tumbleweed trailer. As it's the foundation of the house, I felt obligated to get the best and most reliable model, specifically designed for tiny house construction. It wasn't cheap, but it was the right decision.
Best Advice: Measure twice and cut once.
Paint color — Arsenic, by Farrow & Ball
Orange reading chair and ottoman — Wayfair
Storage chest with mahogany top — Built by Ben Kirk
Benjamin Franklin ladder chair — Library of Congress
Studio easel — Richeson Dulce model #840200
Area rug — L.L. Bean
Ductless mini-split for heating and air — Blue Ridge
White oak hardwood floors
White pine barnsiding ceiling, with recessed lighting
Redwood bookshelves — Built by Ben Kirk
Built-in steps with black walnut treads — Built by Ben Kirk
Carbonated poplar accent wall, sourced from Reisterstown Lumber company — Built by Ben Kirk
White pine Dutch door — Built by Ben Kirk
Combination washer/dryer — Haier
Skylight — Wasco
Hercules and Antaeus sculpture — eBay
Paint color — India Yellow, by Farrow & Ball
Built-in pantry with Spanish cedar — Built by Ben Kirk
White oak countertop — IKEA
Natural cleft slate flooring
Apartment-sized refrigerator — Danby
Convection microwave — GE
Paint color — Cook's Blue, by Farrow & Ball
Built-in linen closet — Built by Ben Kirk
Vanity — IKEA
Composting toilet — Built by Ben Kirk
Yellow tiled shower
Hidden drain system
Paint color — Red Earth, by Farrow & Ball
Spanish cedar built-in cabinetry — Built by Ben Kirk
Mahogany mattress divider
Operable skylight — Wasco
Wool blanket — Pendleton
Quilt — L.L. Bean