CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — While downsizing is not unheard of, for Brent Hollenberg and his family, their next home is a significant size reduction.

The new place of residence consists of 196 square feet and will house Hollenberg, his pregnant wife, Megan; their two sons, Channing, 3, and Terran, 1; and their dog, Lulu.

“I thought my wife would think I was crazy, but she was on board,” Hollenberg said.

Although there exists no formal numerical definition as to what constitutes a tiny house, typically structures under 500 square feet bear the name. Hollenberg said a major benefit of living in a tiny house is the reduction in time required to maintain it. With less time invested in upkeep, Hollenberg said his family will be able to spend more time together.

“Obviously we’re going to be closer, and there’s always going to be situations and issues in any size house you live in, but you really have to deal with them straight on,” Hollenberg said.

While the couple purchased the home’s trailer last December, Hollenberg estimates construction commenced at the end of March. The tiny house currently stands, but is expected to be completed in September after the addition of items including counter tops and plumbing.

For Hollenberg, the owner of Reclaimed in Crystal Lake, construction of the house granted the opportunity to incorporate techniques from his business to use reclaimed materials such as wood and metal. Strategic thinking also was used to condense all necessities into the tiny house.

“Every spot has its own function. So that’s the fun part, figuring out what that is,” Hollenberg said.

A look into the Hollenbergs new home reveals amenities including a tank-less water heater, a three-way refrigerator and freezer, an LP gas stove, a 36-by-36-inch rain shower, a composting toilet, a mini split air conditioner/heat pump, a vanity sink, a standard entry door, a private kids room, two lofts, approximately 17 windows and a freshwater tank.

“It’s crazy because I sell 15-foot dining room tables, but my house is only 26 feet,” Hollenberg said.

Hollenberg said another benefit to residing in a smaller house is the minimal square footage. The cost of using higher-end materials is much cheaper than for a traditional home.

The Hollenbergs plan to live in their new tiny house on and off for the next two to three years, spending a few weeks to a month at a time in the close quarters. Additionally, their home is equipped for travel, minimizing the need to pack for vacations when the home travels along.

“Our long-term plan is to get a plot of land, build a bigger tiny house under 1,000 square feet and put this in the back as a guest suite, or rent it out on Airbnb,” Hollenberg said.

But for the Hollenbergs, downsizing is not a new feat. Over the years, each of their new places of residence has gotten smaller, 1,000 square feet became 850, 850 was compressed to 700, and 700 square feet shrank to 600.

“Every place we moved was a smaller apartment, and we found out we didn’t need all that space. Our life was very simple because we didn’t have all this clutter around,” Hollenberg said.

Now with 196 square feet to inhabit, there appears little room for excess.

“When I’m in here I’m so relieved,” he said. “I have this feeling of ‘This is it, this is all we have to maintain.’ “


Source. The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald, http://bit.ly/2ck7WvK


Information from: The Northwest Herald, http://www.nwherald.com

This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald.