Laura M. LaVoie is a freelance writer and blogger living in a 120 Square Foot Cabin with her partner, Matt, and their Sphynx cat, Piglet. Laura and Matt built the tiny house with their own hands after researching several types of alternative building techniques including Cordwood Masonry and Earthships. They decided on a small house because the Tiny House Movement matched their values and lifestyle perfectly. They began building the house in the mountains of North Carolina in 2009 and construction took three years as they lived and worked in Atlanta and would travel and build on weekends. Now Laura, Matt, and Piglet live and work in the tiny house full time. Follow their blog Life in 120 Square Feet for more about their tiny lifestyle. The tiny house has been featured in Huffington Post, CNN iReport, The Laurel of Asheville and a number of tiny house community websites including the Tumbleweed Tiny House website. When not building or living in a tiny house, Laura enjoys brewing and drinking craft beer and spending time in downtown Asheville, NC.
Even though Laura stays extremely busy with her various projects including being co-host of the r(E)vo Convo podcast, she somehow found time to write 120 Ideas for Tiny Living, the story of how one couple downsized their lives to fit into a tiny house measuring only 120 square feet. In this book, Laura describes just 120 of the ideas they had to turn their tiny house into a home. Everything from construction to decorating to spending time in the tiny house is explored. If you’ve ever thought about building or living in a smaller home, then this is a great resource for you.
And as luck would have it I was recently able to procure my own copy for reading as well as sit down with Laura and talk about the book, its inspiration, and what may be next for her.
Tiny r(E)volution: 3 sentences or less. What is this book about?
Laura M. LaVoie: 120 Ideas for Tiny Living is really my story of building and living in a 120 square foot house. By organizing it into 120 different ideas I thought the book was more fun and easy to read.
TR: What made you want to write a book about tiny living? Isn’t it just like big living only smaller?
LML: In a lot of ways you’re absolutely right. After living in my house for over a year it was no longer a novelty, it was just my house. However, there are some things to take into consideration when you’re living in a home the size of some people’s closets. Things like storage, cleaning, and cooking are all just a little different. There are a lot of books on the market that talk about building a tiny house but there weren’t many about the experience of living in one.
TR: Do you have any writing experience prior to this book?
LML: I am a professional freelance writer and make a full time living that way. Years before writing 120 Ideas for Tiny Living I had written some articles for a magazine that no longer exists. I also published a couple of stories and essays in anthologies a long time ago, but this is my first book. I also have been writing my blog, Life in 120 Square Feet, since 2010 and always come up with ideas for new blogs. Some of them stick, some of them don’t.
TR: One of my favorite ideas is #64 regarding summertime. I think the seasons play a big role in tiny living. What are your thoughts on that?
LML: The seasons play a big role in my life in general. I love the changing of the seasons and try to experience each one fully even though I know it will come again in a year. In our tiny house, since we chose to be off the grid, the seasons really do make a big difference. There are some rainy days that we have to come up with indoor activities. There were a couple of 100 degree days last summer that weren’t the most comfortable in a non-climate controlled home, but we made the best of it. As the sun moves throughout the year, we have to readjust the solar panels to get the most out of our power system. I get rewarded in the fall when the leaves paint the mountains with their splendid colors and the evenings are crisp and cool. I think we should all be mindful of the turning of the seasons.
TR: What is your favorite idea in the book?
LML: I really love food, and I really love beer – so my favorite tip would have to be #66, the Baconalia. The concept started while we were camping with friends and decided to cook up 2 pounds of bacon. Our campsite hosted an impromptu bacon party for all passersby. Now we often will cook bacon – and potatoes in the resulting bacon grease – when we are celebrating something fun. We always make sure we have delicious beer on hand, too.
TR: Is there a book being planned even now? A follow up maybe?
LML: Honestly, I hadn’t planned on a follow up book but shortly after I started the editing process on this one I developed a “Live Deliberately” series on my blog. The concept comes from a quote by Thoreau and it has always inspired me to make sure I live every day as fully as possible. I thought that if I did the whole book thing over again, I might write about that. The tiny house is only a small part of my journey to deliberate living. It breaks my heart to see and hear about people who are so unhappy in their lives and simple changes can make such a huge difference.
However, I am currently working on another eBook but this one is on another favorite topic of mine: Beer! It will be a beginner’s guide to beer with information on different styles and flavors. It will make suggestions like “if you like this flavor you might like that beer.” I know there are a quite a few craft beer drinkers in the tiny house community so I hope there is some cross over marketing there.
To celebrate the publishing of Laura’s book and to invite all readers to procure a copy we are hosting a FREE giveaway of the Kindle version of her book. Why the Kindle version? You’ll have to read the book to find out why. (Hint: Read #87 of 120). There are three chances to win.
- Comment on this blog post letting us know a tip of your own that Laura may have overlooked.
- LIKE the 120 square feet Facebook page.
- Send a tweet out with this blog post link and the hashtag #120ideas
Winner will be chosen via random.org on Monday, November 11 at 9:30am EST. Good luck!