Tiny House, Growing Clan
Part house, part RV, this tiny house is all the Carlsons need.
PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON
Baylie and Bjorn Carlson are doing it tiny. The couple and their two small children (with one on the way!) Freyja, 4, and Ogden, 2, live in a 204-square foot, 24-foot-long “tiny house” that is currently parked in Olympia, an hour south of Seattle. Consisting of two lofts, which serve as their family bedroom and office, and a living room, kitchen, bathroom and shower, the house weighs about 12,000 pounds. It’s on wheels — able to be hitched and hauled just about anywhere — and currently has clocked about 8,000 miles.
Originally built during the second season of Tiny House Nation, which runs on the FYI cable channel, the house was designed with the intention of being fully functional off-grid. It boasts solar panels, a water holding tank and composting toilet, plus a few surprising elements like a climbing wall, which serves as the entrance to the office, and a play space beneath the sofa.
PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON
The climbing wall makes a grand office entrance.
In their third year of “tiny life,” the Carlsons’ initial goal was to live in the house until Freyja enrolled in kindergarten. Now, they aren’t in such a hurry to leave their home. “We have no inclination to buy a big house. Though our space is small, we absolutely love it,” says Baylie.
They do, however, plan to buy a plot of land where they can continue to build onto their tiny house, and build even more. “Our actual plan is to buy land and park the tiny house for a few years, and then build another nontraditional house, made from shipping containers,” she says.
The best part about living in a tiny house is getting out! The Carlsons are always outside, taking full opportunity of what nature has to offer and going on daily adventures. They visit children’s museums and other kids’ playspaces to cut down on the mess at home (tidiness is very important in a tiny house) and have been able to test out different communities and areas, narrowing down exactly where they want to raise their family without the stress of even packing!
The space does not come without its challenges, cleanliness being the first. Each night the family cranks up “Flight of the Bumblebee” and hurriedly puts away toys and games before bedtime. Also, zoning laws can sometimes prove to be a nuisance for tiny houses, as they straddle the line between a house and an RV.
When gearing up for the holidays, the family keeps it simple, with minimal storage. “We got a topiary that we bring inside for Christmas and lives outside the rest of the year. This summer it hosted a bird’s nest!” says Baylie.
Follow along with the Carlsons’ adventures on their blog (tinyhousegrowingfamily.com) and on Instagram: @tinyhousegrowingfamily.