Inside our dreamy isolation life: Family-of-four who ditched conventional living to move into a luxury 32sqm tiny house in the yard say lockdown is better in a small space
- Marnie Prowse, 37, and her family ditched conventional living several years ago
- Now, they live in a tiny house in Sydney that measures 32 square metres
- Marnie shared how she and her family are coping with COVID-19
- She said there are many benefits to small space living, even during this time
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A family who built and moved into a second home in their backyard so they could rent out their original house for an extra $770 a week are ‘loving’ self isolating in their luxury 32 square metre space.
Dan, 39, and Marnie Prowse, 37, from Sydney, along with their two children and cat, decided to embrace the ‘tiny house movement’ around five years ago, in a bid to create a ‘simpler life focused around what is actually important’.
A new Sydney home averages 183 square metres, which is five times the size of the Prowse family’s home.
In spite of a few challenges that have been thrown at them while the family are isolating in the small space during COVID-19, Marnie told FEMAIL they couldn’t be happier with their new situation.
A family who built and moved into a second home in their backyard so they could rent out their original house for an extra $770 per week have revealed why they are loving self isolating in their luxury 32 square metre space (Tiny Haus pictured)
‘It’s pushing us to go further into our simple life,’ Marnie told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We’re baking more, fermenting fruit and vegetables, not eating takeaway, so we’re cooking every meal at home.
‘And we’re doing these things as a family. All four of us are often around the kitchen bench rolling pizza dough or making a dessert.
She added: ‘It’s strange because we’ve come from one daughter at school five days, one daughter at day-care three days, one husband at his office five days and me working from home to all of us home all day, every day.
‘But while being together all of the time can sometimes be overwhelming, we’re thriving more than ever.’
In spite of a few challenges that have been thrown at them while the family are isolating in the small space during COVID-19, Marnie told FEMAIL they couldn’t be happier (kitchen pictured)
She explained that it is pushing them ‘further towards the simple life’ as they are cooking, baking and fermenting their own produce and growing their own (outside area pictured)
The stunning home, which is called ‘Tiny Haus’ and is a far cry from the pokey interiors you might think would come with such a small space, was built by Dan, a builder, after being designed by Ironbark Architecture + Design.
The home uses every centimetre of space inside the 32 square metres, and makes use of natural light the entire way through to make it feel more spacious – something which the Prowse family are grateful for while all four of them are home 24 hours a day:
‘By building small, we were able to afford the things that fit well with our lifestyle,’ Marnie said.
‘We have our pool, landscaping and our fire pit. These have made staying at home enjoyable – which is all the better seeing as now staying in is what we do.’
The pool is 33 square metres – or one metre bigger than their family home.
Marnie (pictured) said: ‘It’s strange because we’ve come from one daughter at school five days, one daughter at day-care three days, one husband at his office five days and me working from home to all of us home all day, every day’
How has tiny living changed for the Prowse family since COVID-19?
The Prowse family shared how living in their tiny space (pictured) has changed during COVID-19
* WORKING FROM HOME: Working from home is a struggle, with all four family members being in the 32 square metre space. Marnie said Dan has the shed office space during the day while she looks after the kids, and she has it into the evening.
* EXERCISE: Dan used to get up at 5am for a gym class, while Marnie went to a yoga studio three time a week. But in a tiny house, there is no space for this. Now, Dan gets up and starts working at 5am, before going for a run or cycle in the national park when the sun is up. Marnie does ‘incidental’ exercise through swimming, cleaning and running around after the children.
* FRIDGE/FREEZER SPACE: While the Prowse family are trying to stay away from the supermarket as much as possible, Marnie said they do not have a big fridge or freezer. She is growing a lot of their food and getting deliveries from local suppliers, and it’s teaching her to cook half and store half in the freezer for later.
* CLEANING: Marnie said she is having to clean the tiny home more than usual, because all of the family are there full time.
The coroanvirus pandemic has changed things howeved. Dan and Marnie take it in turns to work in the office space (right), while the other looks after the children (left)
That is not to say that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t thrown a few challenges at the family.
‘There have been challenges for us, as I’m sure there have been for every family,’ Marnie said.
‘Working from home was initially a struggle as there wasn’t any room in our house for a private office space to continue business as usual and make phone calls, while working uninterrupted.’
But the family said they turned their shed into an office, and now take it in turns to work in there undisturbed.
‘I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to work while I have the children and I simply won’t be able to get through the amount of work I used to, but that’s okay,’ Marnie said.
During COVID-19, Dan has the office space during the day while Marnie has the children, and then she has it in the evening.
‘I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to work while I have the children and I simply won’t be able to get through the amount of work I used to, but that’s okay,’ Marnie said (Tiny Haus pictured from the outside)
The home uses every centimetre of space inside the 32 square metres, and makes use of natural light the entire way through to make it feel more spacious (the girls’ bedroom pictured)
Marnie said how the family work out has also changed as people cannot be selfish and work out at the crack of dawn at home while the family sleep (Tiny Haus pictured from outside)
‘The way we exercise has changed too,’ Marnie said.
‘Dan used to attend a gym session at 5am each morning, and I went to a yoga studio three times a week – but early morning workouts just don’t work in a small space, unless you want very cranky kids and an angry wife.’
Now, Marnie said Dan will start work at 5am as an early riser, before he goes for a run or mountain bike in the closest national park once the sun has risen.
Meanwhile, Marnie said her regime is entirely ‘incidental’ and encompasses gardening, playing with her two daughters, cleaning, lifting a toddler and swimming.
However, the family are loving embracing making all of their dinners together (pictured) and getting hands on with the cooking
The only other thing that has been a small issue for the Prowse family is their lack of fridge and freezer space.
‘We are trying to avoid the stores as much as we can, and we grow a lot of our own food supplemented with home deliveries from our local farmers so there isn’t a need to store bulk food – but on delivery day the fridge and freezer can get very squished,’ Marnie said.
‘The plus side of all this is it’s making me very productive. I’ll cook two soups and freeze half and I’ve also started fermenting our fruit and vegetables, so our food is lasting a lot longer and staying fresh.’
Marnie also has to clean more, with so many people in the house all the time.
Marnie said she is having to clean Tiny Haus (pictured) a bit more as there are four members of family there 24 hours each day
Marnie said she embraces a toy rotation at home so there is never too much clutter in the house for her girls; some toys are stored away (Tiny Haus pictured)
When it comes to making the setup work, the busy mum-of-two has a few tried-and-tested methods in place that means her tiny home never feels cramped.
‘We don’t have a lot of room for toys, so what we do is we cycle our children’s toys once a month or once a week.’
This means Marnie said she puts away some toys while others are out to ‘stagger the play experience’ and keep her girls playing with their toys for longer, all the while keeping the house clean.
‘I’ve also found a change of scenery works really well with the toys,’ Marnie said.
‘The same toys in a different location. For instance, in the morning, the play is set up in the lounge room, before it later on moves to the deck, the girls’ play area and finally the yard.
‘We are lucky because we have the pool and the outside space. That means it never feels claustrophobic.’
Marnie shared her top tips for other families who are looking to thrive in a small space, which includes the idea that you can’t be precious about either space or stuff (interiors pictured)
What are Marnie’s tips for creating your own dream tiny home?
* If you want to create your own tiny house, start with a list of non-negotiables. Plan from there, but always come back to your non-negotiables.
* Think about furniture at the start of the process.
* It’s a good idea to mark up your house before you build to get a feel for the space.
Lastly, Marnie shared her top tips for other families who are looking to thrive in a small space.
‘You can’t be precious about space if you want to give small space living a go,’ she said.
‘Our bed transforms into a kids’ hangout spot where they read or have screen time.’
She also recommends you strip back your stuff and think about what really matters to you:
‘We decided to live with less and remove the excess from our lives. We now live with everything we need and nothing we don’t.
Marnie said this entire period has taught her that she is more of an introvert than she first thought and loves being in cooking (pictured)
‘Everything in our home has a place. Our home is visually calming,’ Marnie said.
If you’re struggling to get rid of stuff, she recommends you consider whether you’ve used it in the past 90 days.
‘If the answer is no, that is because it either doesn’t bring me happiness or doesn’t have a place,’ she said.
Marnie said this entire period has taught her that she is more of an introvert than she first thought.
‘When isolation ends, I’ll be making a conscious effort to spend more time at home, rather than filling our schedules with activities and social events.’
The tiny house created by Dan and Marnie features a triple-storey bunk bed for both of the children as well as a play area on the bottom bunk, a master bed tucked neatly into a corner, a kitchen, table and chairs and seating area (the house pictured)
The tiny house created by Dan and Marnie features a triple-storey bunk bed for both of the children as well as a play area on the bottom bunk, a master bed tucked neatly into a corner, a kitchen, table and chairs and seating area.
There is also a generous outdoor dining area with a barbecue, as well as the pool area complete with sun loungers and space.
The couple have documented every aspect of the renovation on their Instagram page, Tiny Haus, which is all about ‘living life in a beautiful small space’.
To find out more about Tiny Haus, you can visit their Instagram profile here.
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