The best part of this job is the friends we make along the way and the learning that takes place on a daily basis……

I ran across a feature on Tim and Debbie’s home several years ago in the newspaper and was immediately drawn to their story.  The salvage aspect of the materials they used and the intentional choice to live small was definitely something I myself wanted to hear more about and I knew that others would enjoy it, too.   The visit certainly didn’t disappoint…..They welcomed our crew, all our gear, and were very patient with the sometimes lengthy process of shooting (especially on a 100 degree kind of day).

Their homestead was charming to say the least.  Tim and Debbie were so hospitable and I could have sat and talked with them for days.  Like minds were connecting and I always cherish when that happens.   I appreciated the refreshing honesty when it came to discussing their motivation for creating this new lifestyle.   They weren’t down on their luck, they weren’t following a ‘green trend’, per say, they were simply doing everything that just ‘made sense’ to them and what they were wanting for their life.  There was also the resourceful challenge of it all.  The ‘green / sustainable’ factor just came about naturally, the greater connection to nature, the do it yourself, ‘working with what you have’ mentality, the realization that they didn’t need all the prior stuff they had in their lives.  They weren’t afraid to try different things and LIVE with them.  I LOVE that.

Some of the memorable takeaways from the day:

  • Debbie likes to swim in a primitive looking basin that gets filled with rain water.  There’s a bungee cord hooked to a tree that she latches on to for her own unique version of a lap pool.
  • Their home runs entirely off the water that nature provides.

  • They have a toaster oven outside their back door that they cook in to prevent heating up the house during the warm summer months.
  • I loved the fact that they could just hook up to their carefully crafted home and take it with them.  (The side that juts out is actually detachable and designed to fit inside the unit if they decide to move it.) Build it once and then live your life to the fullest, putting your natural gifts and talents to work each day, the way YOU want.
  • I was surprised to learn that their city had a rule in place preventing people from building a home less than 1,000 sq. feet?
  • The cats were carefully considered in their design plans.

  • Their ‘bedroom’ actually felt spacious and cozy….we all wanted to crawl up inside there and grab a good book.

  • Their gypsy wagon inspired chicken coop and their delightful new family of chickens brought me closer to raising chickens in our own backyard this coming spring.

  • The creative use of every ‘inch’ (versus ounce) :) ha… of space for storage.  The filing cabinets with the ‘built in’ dresser function and the overhead options.

  • The economical heating and cooling system..Doesn’t take much to keep this small open space comfortable throughout the year.

  • The oriental long beans she had growing in her garden…I will definitely be planting them in our garden next year.

  • Debbie is a beautiful seamstress and has her own line of children’s clothing that celebrates reclaimed materials, the idea of double duty, and clothes kids can ‘grow’ into.

  • Did you see Debbie’s closet?  How many of you ladies out there could do that?

I know I went home and looked at my wardrobe a bit differently.   My whole house for that matter.  I understand there are a multitude of variations to the smaller, simpler living plan for people, but a common thread to it all is the freedom that comes with living more debt free, to be able to sustain ourselves better by growing as much food as we can, and by being resourceful with what is naturally available to us ALL.

They graciously introduced us to some of their friends in the area and it’s our intent to get back there soon to capture more of these inspiring lifestyles to share with all of you.

You can learn more about this interesting duo at their website…..and see a slideshow tour of their home….they’re also in the process of writing an e-book about their home, designs and such, so keep an eye out for that in the near future.

Anything about smaller, simpler living that appeals to YOU?!

Cheers, all!

(A reminder for those of you across the rest of country….that this new round of shows that’s currently airing here in Iowa will roll out nationwide in about 11 weeks for more of you to see!) 


  1. Wirginia898 says:

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  2. Celeste says:

    I loved this episode. We have sacrificed so much in this country for ‘bigger and better’ when, obviously, bigger isn’t always better. I yearn so much for simpler, but it is hard when you have children who just want ‘what everybody else has.’ I had opportunity to spend time in Europe where things are enjoyed on a much smaller scale (smaller living space, smaller appliances…) and always remarked on how the European’s live ‘better’ than us. They just experience a higher quality of life by design. I have this episode on the DVR and will certainly be watching it again—a lot can be learned. Thanks for sharing all your rich ideas, every Saturday is a new learning experience for me, and I LOVE it!

  3. Christopher Eberley says:

    Another great story Michele. People would have such a defined meaning of life living simple like Tim and Debbie. You are a remarkable woman for all that you do! My new hero in this world, and I havent had a hero since I was 7, and his name was Spider Man. You are THE REALEST and most down to earth woman I have seen. Please dont stop what your doing, we need you now more than ever!! Your biggest fan Christopher.

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