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Going Small in Matlacha: Discover A Charming Village On Florida’s West Coast

Apr 01, 2021 07:25PM ● By Story and photos by Lisa Ballard
My rental car crunched to a stop atop the gravel and seashells. A riot of red, orange, yellow, and teal colored the gap between me and a canal, 40 yards from my bumper. I grinned, wondering which of the three brightly colored “tiny houses” filling the right side of the gap would be my home away from home. They looked so cheerful.

Tiny houses first appeared on my radar two years ago on a trip to South Fork, Colorado. The proprietor of a local coffee shop had erected several of them as vacation rentals alongside his café. They looked the size of a large RV but taller. Made of wood and painted with an attractive southwestern flare, I wondered what the insides looked like, but they were occupied.

Last summer, while picnicking in the Adirondacks, I asked one of my fellow dinner mates what his daughter was doing. “She’s in Montana, living in a tiny house,” he replied. A few days later, while scanning the television channels for evening entertainment, I came across the show Tiny House, Big Living on HGTV. Tiny houses were sprouting up everywhere! I couldn’t resist watching. The miniature lodgings featured on the show were so luxurious, yet, well, tiny.

By definition, a tiny house is under 400 square feet. Some are as small as 100 square feet. These diminutive domiciles began to catch on during the financial crash in 2008. As banks foreclosed on thousands of moderate to mega-sized houses, a number of would-be homeowners turned to tiny houses as an alternative to a major real estate investment.

To continue reading this story please see page 58 in the Image Spring 2021 digital edition.

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