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A Peek Inside a Unique Tiny House

Todd and Pemly Fink downsized from a 1,800-square-foot home to this delightfully eclectic 540-square-foot tiny house and they'd love to show you around.

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Home sweet home

Todd and Pemly Fink are used to strangers stopping by and asking them questions about their tiny home. Everyone is curious about the carport with a solar-panel roof and many want to know if they truly like living in their tiny house. The answer is, yes. Here are a few facts about this tiny house:

• Built in 1927, the structure is 18x30 feet and it has been a store, a laundromat and a residence.

• Except for the original maple floors, the structure was gutted and rebuilt.

• Pet hair accumulates very quickly, but the whole house can be cleaned in 30 minutes!

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Great room

Great room

When you step inside this tiny house, it's surprising how open and spacious the living room/dining room/kitchen great room is. The living room, has comfortable seating and room for two cats. And it blends seamlessly into the fully functional kitchen. The kitchen features the original 500-lb. laundry tub from the basement. Note the clever hanging pot rack above the sink and open shelf on top of the hood vent. And Pemly found the skinny fridge on Craig's List. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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One of a kind

By using reclaimed wood and other salvaged building materials, the Fink's created a home that works well for their individual needs. However, the 20-inch stove is not the place to roast a large Thanksgiving turkey. But it works perfectly for these two empty nesters.
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One splurge

One splurge

Among the many repurposed materials used, reclaimed fruit crates make handy open shelves for dishes. And one new item the Fink's splurged on was this Builders Shoppe Single Handle Spring Deck Mounted Kitchen Faucet. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Storage lockers

In the kitchen, a gray metal cabinet is repurposed as a pantry. In the bedroom, blue metal school lockers are used as a linen closet. Pemly says, "You can't go to a warehouse store and stock up, but having less storage space means we don't buy things we don't need."
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A place to hang your hat

Just inside the reclaimed rolling doors which separate the kitchen from the bedroom, is the original brick chimney. And in addition to its rustic charm, the chimney is used as a hat rack.
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Where's the bed?

Where's the bed?

This wood panel hides one of this tiny house's big secrets. It's the bed! Tips for turning a shed into a tiny hideaway. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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A Murphy bed

A Murphy bed

A fold-up Murphy bed makes perfect sense in a tiny house, but this model is like no other. Todd custom-built this bed. And he is in charge of putting it up and taking it down. Aside from the extra floor space you have when the bed is up, it's also easy to clean the room when the bed is in the upright and locked position. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Another look

Another look

In the great room behind a beautiful door is the tiny home's bathroom. And the transom window above the door lets in lots of bright natural light. 15 incredible tiny homes you can buy now. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Everything you need

Everything you need

The bathroom features metal walls, plumbing-pipe towel racks, a large mirror and a stand-up shower. But Todd says he misses having a tub. However the shower is quite spacious. What was once their daughter's nightstand now functions as a vanity, with the addition of a small IKEA sink. And, out of view, there is a stacked washer and dyer. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Backyard gardens and catio

Through a door in the bedroom, the tiny house opens up to a backyard deck. And beyond the stairs you'll see the terraced gardens where the Finks grow vegetables and flowers. A large solar panel is on the south-facing wall. And under the deck is the outdoor catio—yes, that's a cat patio. The Finks have two cats. And noticeably absent when you enter this tiny house is the absence of cat odors. Want to know how they do it? There's a wooden trap door leading into the basement. Todd cut a hole into the door and the cats' litter boxes are kept in the basement!
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Solar saves money

Solar saves money

The solar panel on the south side of the house provide electricity and heat. And there are also panels on the carport. The two layers of insulation between the ceiling and roof help to keep it cozy and warm inside during Minnesota winters. Also, there is 2-inch-thick insulation in the exterior walls. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Tending the garden

Tending the garden

Pemly loves to garden and she's happy with her success, so far. Sweet smelling flowers by the front door welcome guests. And multiple tomato plants flourish in the terraced garden in the lower backyard. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Custom lights

Custom lights

Todd created all of the overhead lights from old plumbing parts and new LED bulbs. And check out 15 tiny homes from TinyFest Midwest. Photo: Brad Stauffer
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Is the tiny house lifestyle for you?

Is the tiny house lifestyle for you?

If you're considering downsizing and embracing the tiny house lifestyle, keep in mind this advice from the Finks:

• Be prepared to make tough decisions about what stuff to keep and what to give up. And consider renting extra storage space at first. Store the things you just can't part with and after a year of not seeing them, it'll be much easier to part with them.

• There is a best way to arrange your furniture. When you have less space you have fewer options. And once you get your furniture in an arragement that works, settle in and leave it that way.

Storage is a challenge. Keep an open mind and try clever (and quirky) solutions.

Photo: Brad Stauffer

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