When artist Michelle de la Vega bought a full-size house on a tree-filled property, she had no intention of living in it. Instead, she rented the house to others and moved into the property’s tiny free-standing garage. "At that time I was coming out of the ashes," she told The New York Times, "and knew I needed to come up with a good survival strategy for starting over as a single person." In nine months, she transformed the 250-square-foot space into a model of minimalist living.
Acting as her own general contractor, de la Vega completed the remodel with just $32,000, according to The New York Times. She furnished and decorated her home with secondhand, free or handmade stuff. “I call myself a minimalist, so I can’t collect a lot of things,” she says in an episode of "Tiny House Nation." “When I do bring something in, I usually have to get rid of something else.”
A super-efficient wood-burning stove heats the entire space and provides cozy ambience.
The living room and kitchenette share a single light-filled space.
The pitched ceiling, which she raised from the original to allow for a sleeping loft, creates a sense of airiness.
De la Vega created her kitchenette work space with an industrial stainless-steel countertop and a two-burner camp stove for cooking.
"The garage and all the elements in it are all defunct, unwanted things that were reclaimed and given new life," de la Vega told the New York Times. That includes the old janitor's sink she installed in the kitchenette.
The daybed in the living room serves as both a sofa and extra sleeping space for guests.
The door next to the kitchenette space leads to the bathroom, which de la Vega added on to the existing garage structure.
Three vertical metal lockers store her clothes and and other necessities.
The ladder leads to the sleeping loft above the lockers and front door.
Double doors help open the inside to the outside, creating a sense of space. The doors are also floor-to-ceiling glass, letting light in even when closed.
The bathroom addition is her sanctuary.
She allowed herself enough space to include a full-size bathtub.
Decorative landscaping makes the transformed garage look and feel like a home.
Tiny home living takes commitment to a scaled-down lifestyle, which de la Vega fully embraces. “I like the process of continually having to decide what is essential and what isn’t,” she says on "Tiny House Nation."