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Tiny home fits a family of four and their two dogs

Tiny home fits a family of four and their two dogs

What began as a personal choice to live in a 1924 craftsman-style tiny house, grew into a bustling home for Whitney Leigh Morris, her small business and her growing family. 

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An outdoor garden area with a bench

The Tiny Canal Cottage, as it’s dubbed, sits by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. With a small footprint of less than 400 square feet, the interior space includes a living room, kitchen and office all in one space. There is an additional single bedroom and bathroom.

Related: This tiny home makes a big impact with a small footprint

A woman and a man holding a baby in their hands with two dogs on either side of them

Since moving into the home, Morris and her then boyfriend married in a ceremony that took place on the front stoop of the Tiny Canal Cottage. They’ve also welcomed two children and adopted two beagles. After ten years in the tiny home, the family recently relocated, now dividing their time between a small 1800s Farmhouse in France and a compact cabin they are building in the woods of North Florida. 

A white crib fits inside a closet space

Living in a compact space gave Morris the opportunity to explore the “less is more” ideology. She’s adopted the idea so completely that she wrote a book sharing tips and tricks to embrace the tiny living lifestyle titled, “Small Space Style: Because You Don’t Need to Live Large to Live Beautifully.” 

The couple adapted the Tiny Canal Cottage to their changing lifestyle over time. However, they benefited from the original architectural design that incorporated space-saving features like pocket doors and vaulted ceilings. Windows, including skylights, provide natural light into the space and large openings through windows and doors provide natural ventilation. 

A dog walks inside a white room with a rectangle mirror hanging on the wall

Additionally, Morris uses vertical interior design methods to make the small space feel larger. She relies on vertical shelves and strategically-placed plants to draw the eye upwards. She also uses mirrors inside and outside the home to reflect a larger look. She also uses everyday items as part of the décor. This eliminates decorative accents that are merely for display and reduces the need for storage. 

The tiny home is as much about the outdoor space as the interior. There is a shared porch and private garden area that allows room for the outdoor exploration and additional living space. The family’s backyard features a custom sofa, an outdoor shower and mirrors to make the space feel larger. Plus it provides room for the dogs to roam. 

A bed with a bookshelf lined around and above it covered in plants

Furthermore, living in a small space allows the family to concentrate on leaving a small footprint, not only in an architectural sense, but through minimalist living. Morris is dedicated to avoiding single-use or disposable items. She points out that limited space saves the family money in reduced electrical bills and the deterrent to buy unnecessary things due to space constraints. 

A child laying on a bed with two dogs at the feet of the child

The experience of living in the Tiny Canal Cottage gave birth to a lifestyle that Morris now shares with the world through her website and her small business as a professional small-space lifestyle consultant.

+ The Tiny Canal Cottage 

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