Today marks the first day of a new ongoing series on the At Home blog! We take you inside the construction and interior design of a Certified Green Home underway in Little Rock–all from the perspective of its young owner, Lyndsey Lewis!
Little Rock readers, you might recognize Lyndsey’s new house in progress on the corner of Van Buren and Lee in Hillcrest. Check back here weekly for an inside look at its planning, construction and interior design, plus ideas for how to adopt green principles in your own homes.
Read below for a little introduction from Lyndsey, and stay tuned for more!
I grew up in aÂ small house (approx. 900 sq-ft) in L.A. (Lower Arkansas) with my parents and older sister. As a kid, IÂ dreamed of a big house and nice cars and 2 kids. But then life happened… and I wasn’t so sure anymore.
Last fall, I faced a challenge. My life hadn’t quite turned out how I’d planned. I was 28, married but separated, and facing the holidays. Ugh.
Although it was a difficult time, it was also an opportunity to think about my life and how it could be different if I chose to live it simply and with purpose. Now let me stress here: I am not a spiritual or environmental guru. I go to Starbucks; I wear a uniform to work; I use disposable forks sometimes; Iâm totally average. I was just ready to do what felt right rather than what I thought was normal.
Building site at the corner of Lee and Van Buren as of August 2011
So began my love affair with building a small house. After hearing a segment on KUAR about Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, IÂ was ready toÂ start over andÂ go back to when things didn’t matter so much. I wanted a life thatÂ was more about people and doing, rather than collecting stuff.
After finding a list of Green Built Partners (www.hbaglr.com/green-built-arkansas/GREEN-BUILT-Partners), my search led me to Bret and Jennifer Franks of Bret Franks Construction. They are passionate about green building, and youâll get to know them better as the story of my home unfolds.
Bret and me on ground-breaking day: August 22, 2011
I also had to select a location for my new home. A major hurdle in building a small or tiny home is zoning regulations, including minimum square footage requirements. After some searching, I found the perfect lot in Hillcrest at the corner of Lee and Van Buren. A rental house burned and was demolished on the site, making it build-ready.
If youâre thinking of building a tiny home (small enough to mount on wheels), zoning regulations can often be creatively bypassed. Example: Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed, simply parallel parked his home on a public street until he found a permanent spot for his home!
Now comes the fun part: I also started an “Idea Book” that contains clippings and notes from any and all sources. I organized it into sections of my home (bedrooms, living room, etc.) and collected ideas on everything from paint colors to furniture arrangement. It has become my obsession, and I love every minute.
My project will span 14 months (building but mostly planning) or more and culminate next spring in a 708 sq-ft home. Every inch will have been planned and choreographed; each detail will have purpose or meaning. I invite you to join me in this process and learn (along with me) from my successes and my failures.
Bathroom and bedroom clipping from my Idea Book. I am incorporating some of these designs, but not all. I use many of the clippings as a concept rather than an absolute guideline.
More from the Idea Book: These pages display the unfinished look of the hardwood floors I hope to achieve, as well as bead board walls and hand-drawn kitchen layout designed by Jennifer Franks.
Iâm using the idea of the bench seat and dining area to save space as well as the concept of layering white paint colors. However, the âlaundry in the boxâ idea didnât make the cut due to space concerns.