The teardrop-shaped home supplied just enough room for two people to lounge on the cushioned floor that also acts as a bed.
Two doors were carved into the blue abode and kept open to enforce the intense need for connection with nature. Books about spirituality, photos of loved ones, and a small vase filled with flowers lined the walls of the tiny house.
Despite the distinct lack of room, the little home managed to give off a welcoming aura that stayed with those who entered.
People from all different backgrounds attended the first annual St. Pete Eco-Village Tiny Home Festival on Saturday, April 1.
What exactly is a tiny home, you might ask?
A tiny home typically ranges from 100 to 500 square feet. Owners of tiny homes are motivated by all sorts of reasons, but many mention their efforts to live a more environmentally and financially sustainable life.
People slipped into the tiny state of mind while munching on gourmet Pop Craft popsicles and standing in line to check out the tiny homes. Guests were also fond of basking in the sun and wandering through Eco-Village’s community garden.
The 10 homes on display ranged from 40 to 234 square feet. The quarters may have been small, but the owners were mighty.
Each home was accompanied with its own stylistic spin. One house touted an early 1800s feel, complete with a piano that folded out into a bed. While another was a vibrantly painted school bus decorated with a cow skull on the front grill.
The sold-out event was packed full of visitors as soon as the doors opened at 10 a.m.
Among the sea of people were Angie and Todd, who neglected to give their last names. The couple traveled to the festival from Sarasota to see what the tiny house madness was all about.
Although the couple doesn’t currently own a tiny house, Angie said she could see one becoming a part of their life later. Todd, a contractor, believes he would be able to easily master the feat of building a tiny home.
Angie’s ideal location for a tiny home is out west. She says that she’d love to live in the mountains to get away from Florida’s warm weather.
“I would love to live in the snow rather than the heat,” she said.
In addition to the tiny house models, Eco-Village offered workshops during the event for participants, like Angie and Todd, who dream of one day achieving tiny home nirvana.
Each workshop was taught by the tiny home owners and targeted different elements of building a tiny home from scratch.
When the owners weren’t teaching their workshops, many were lounging about in their houses. They were all happy to welcome their new visitors and explain their unconventional living quarters.
Tiny house renter James Granger, 26, found his way to the minimalist movement when he realized he no longer enjoyed driving his car.
“Driving a car everywhere isn’t good for your mental health,” Granger said while strumming his guitar. “In a city where you can bike everywhere, I don’t see why anyone would drive.”
Scattered around Granger’s home was a keyboard, an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. As a local musician, Granger felt it was important for his tiny home to be a welcoming, creative space that allows him to work on his music.
Granger discovered his tiny home at an intentional living community, a planned residential community designed with social cohesion and teamwork in mind, and with the help of a few friends he was able to transform the once-gray home into a sea of color.
The smallest home belonged to Liza Bailstein, 28, and her husband Hal, 56. They met at The Blueberry Patch in Gulfport. It was there that they fell in love with the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle.
Originally living in Hal’s Volkswagen van, the Bailsteins decided that a tiny home would be the right move.
Hal designed and built their tiny oasis in 2 and half months, just in time for the couple to take off for the first eco-village on their tour. The Illumi-Nation Project, the name of their tiny home, has traveled everywhere from the depths of deserts to the tops of mountains and back to downtown St. Petersburg, the city they hope to call home, for good.
“We know that [minimalism] is the way we love to live,” Liza said with a smile. “It just makes sense.”