Who lives here: Vina Lustado, a designer
Location: Ojai, California
Size: 140 square feet (13 square meters); 1 bedroom, 1 bathroomLustado, who has been designing homes and commercial buildings for more than 20 years, has seen and designed her fair share of extravagant homes. But she’s always liked the simplicity of living in 400- to 500-square-foot apartments or guesthouses.
She eventually discovered the Tiny House movement, composed of people who design and build homes on trailer beds that are usually less than 200 square feet. She took a workshop by Jay Shafer, who helped popularize small homes, and liked the idea of living a pared-down life, the economy of using fewer materials and spending less money, and the challenge of designing a compact home that met all her needs.
Lustado spent a year — and about $40,000 — planning and building her home, which she moved into in early 2014. The home sits on a 1-acre lot in Ojai, California, that she and her boyfriend, who has his own small cabin on the property, rent for $400 a month; they split the cost.
The deck is about the same size as the living space and allows for large dinner parties. “Well, what I would call large,” she says. “You can have 10 people there, and it’s intimate and cozy. No one is having a separate conversation, because everyone is so close. It’s not supertight, just comfortable.”
The posts are from fallen trees that her boyfriend found on the property. The decking is from an old house and was reclaimed, remilled and stained. “Nothing was bought on the deck except the screws,” she says. The exterior siding is cedar.
She found the French doors on Craigslist for $200 and spent three months painting and refurbishing them to swing outward, fit the doorway and keep water out.
But she also wanted the project to involve the community. She enlisted local artists to design things like a custom frosted glass window, draperies and pillows.
She got the oak hardwood flooring for free but paid to have it replaned, stained and installed.
Her friend also created the same graphics on the glass pocket door that leads to the bathroom.