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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
– Henry David Thoreau  
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 10 October 2017  

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  Living small
  By Bill Radford

   Raymond and Cindy Thillet wanted freedom.
   Freedom from house payments. Freedom to travel.
   And so they turned to tiny living.
   They live in Falcon, Colorado, in a tiny house they call The Murphy; they picked up their 208-square-foot house on wheels in Idaho a little more than a year ago.
   They moved to Colorado two years ago from Missouri, where they had a three-bedroom home. After moving to Colorado, the Thillets lived in an apartment in Northglenn for a year, then relocated to Falcon after they purchased their tiny home.
   The couple has not only tapped into the popular tiny home movement, but they also became ambassadors for it. In July, they took their house to the Colorado Tiny House Festival in Keenesburg, Colorado. Their house was among about two-dozen featured at the festival. Colorado Springs hosted the Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree for two years, until the organizers of that festival moved the event to Texas this year.
   The tiny home movement has been accompanied by growing pains, particularly zoning and code issues. El Paso County does not have a size requirement for a house, but does require that it is eligible for a building permit. Since many of the popular tiny home models are only built to an RV standard, they are classified as such and largely restricted to RV parks, although the county did allow a tiny home built to an RV standard on an individual parcel this year. The Thillets have their home in an RV park off Judge Orr Road.
   Build-it-yourself tiny homes that do not necessarily meet building or RV codes further complicate the issue. The Thillets thought of building their own, but had no space to construct one on their property in Missouri, where they first caught the tiny home bug. They also didn't have enough faith in their building abilities. "We'd probably have had to redo it a hundred times," Cindy Thillet said.
   They did come up with the design before settling on the builder, Tiny Idahomes. A member of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the Idaho business touts "start-to-finish solutions for your custom RV or tiny home-on-wheels project."
   Cindy Thillet’s first reaction to seeing the house: "It's so little! And then the second was, I love it. It was exactly like I pictured it.”
   There is no set definition for a tiny home, although 500 square feet or under is a common figure.
   "I'm from New York, so I'm used to tiny," Raymond Thillet said. "This is actually bigger than my studio apartment."
   Still, downsizing to The Murphy did require some sacrifices. "The one thing I had to literally give up was my comic books," Raymond Thillet said.
   The Murphy packs a lot into a little space. A seating area at the front of the house offers storage space and can be converted into a sleeping area. At the back of the house is the bedroom, with a Murphy bed (thus, the name The Murphy), and a pocket door, which allows for privacy. When the bed is folded away, the room serves as an office, with space for a desk and computer.
   In the middle of the house is the kitchen. "I insisted on an oven, because I like to bake," Cindy Thillet said. The bathroom is in the middle, too, and has a composting toilet. There is also a loft, which provides more sleeping space and additional room for storage; storage space is also found inside the steep steps to the loft.
   Because they use a composting toilet, there is no need to be hooked up to a sewer line, Raymond Thillet said. All they need to get by is a hose hookup for water, an electric hookup with a three-pronged plug and a filled propane tank.
   Cindy Thillet said that tiny living makes some things more of a process. For example, without a sewing room, if she wants to sew, she has to lug the sewing machine down from the loft and set up the desk for it, then return it at bedtime.
   Still, they both seemed enamored with their tiny home. They're often asked if the tight space forces too much togetherness. But the house still provides enough room that Raymond can watch "Star Trek" in one part of the house and Cindy can catch "The Bachelor" in another.
   Besides, Raymond Thillet said, they value that closeness. "We cuddle all the time.”
   To see videos and more photos of the Thillets' tiny home, look for their Facebook page, "The Murphy, living tiny."
Raymond and Cindy Thillet joined the tiny house movement just over a year ago, and now live in this 208-square-foot home in Falcon.
Raymond Thillet had to give up his comic book collection to live in a tiny house and Cindy Thillet has to lug around her sewing machine, but both are happy with their new, smaller lifestyle. Photos by Bill Radford
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