What do you do when you are retired, and the children have left the roost? Move into a tiny house retirement home and enjoy the next phase of your life!
Ken and Laurel Shrang have lived in big houses for most of their lives, and when their children moved out, they decided to make a change.
In the tiny house retirement complex called Escalante Tiny House Village in Durango, Colorado, they learned to appreciate living in a tiny home and community, without compromising their usual comforts.
Laurel said, “We knew we wanted to downsize from our suburban home once the kids left. I wanted a house built for us.” Built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, their tiny house retirement residence cost about $120,000, since the Shrangs also spent more on the best appliances that would give them the most return.
The couple moved into the tiny house retirement community in October 2020, and have since enjoyed the freedom of living there, and the sense of community that came with it. When they sit outside, everyone waves hello, and that was important to the Shrangs.
The home may be tiny, measuring 10 feet wide and 32 feet long, but it doesn’t scrimp on creature comforts. The yellow home with the green rooftop gives off a feeling of being at the beach. When the windows are open, they don’t let the rain in.
The couple uses propane in their tiny house retirement home, which runs their gas stove and instant water heater. They use a bigger split air conditioner, compared to what you see in conventional homes, which keeps the house very cool in the summer. During winter they use a heater to keep water pipes from freezing.
Inside, Laurel shares some of the best features of the 320 sq. feet-tiny house retirement home. The door has a stained-glass window that can be brought down and replaced with a screen to let the air in. Laurel stressed that, “Any air circulation you can get is a bonus in a tiny home.”
The living area is half the size of the tiny house and has a big TV. The couple wanted a big open space, so they kept the ceiling as high as possible, with a fan to cool the room. The area also holds some pieces from their art collection.
The Shrangs have around 25 pieces of signed art, most of which are in storage. Once or twice a year they change the pieces displayed at their tiny house retirement home, making the space fresh and new each time.
Ken loves to cook, so it is important that the kitchen has all the appliances they need. The kitchen holds a full-size refrigerator with an ice maker, dishwasher, microwave, four-burner stove, and complete oven. The kitchen space is wide enough for two people to work there at the same time.
The kitchen cabinets are built at a certain level so that the top can display family pictures and glass work the couple has collected from around the world during their travels.
Laurel shared, “Blown glass to me is one of the nicest forms of art there can be. We are fortunate to have these little trips, and whenever we went, I tried to meet the local artists. Take what’s really important and add that to your tiny house.” Even the kitchen window is used to display glass art pieces.
The tiny house has a complete bathroom with a full sink, mirror, shelves for shampoos and other bathroom supplies, a fully functioning toilet, regular washer and dryer, closets, and shower. The mirror with a mosaic is particularly special, since the Shrangs have had it for 30 years.
The bedroom holds a queen-sized bed and there is still enough space to walk around it. There are reading lights at the head of the bed, a full closet, TV, and enough headroom for a ceiling fan. There are three drawers on both sides under the bed for additional storage.
The outdoors is just as valuable in their tiny house retirement home, and the couple were fortunate enough to find a deck builder in the community. Their outdoor deck gave them a whole new room to live in.
Laurel said, “This outdoor space is really important to us. We sit out here a lot. I love to barbecue. And you can only use a gas grill in most tiny house communities. We probably grill 2–3 times a week when we’re home. It keeps the heat out of your tiny home but it also makes some delicious food.”
The home also has a vegetable garden. Laurel said, “Having vegetable gardens in every house that I have ever owned is very important to me and my happiness. And so, I didn’t feel like living tiny would take that away from me.”
The garden holds around 12 tomato plants and a variety of herbs. Laurel stressed the importance of placing things that bring pleasure into your home, and a garden is certainly one of those since her husband loves to cook.
Tiny house retirement certainly suits the couple. Laurel said, “We had big homes, we had a lot clothes, we had… you know, anything you would have thought from a couple that has been together for 40 years. But you have to be willing to give up things that are just not important day-to-day.”
Ken added, “Your life is not about stuff, it’s about family, friends, experiences, events, and to be free yourself to be able to do whatever you want, when you want.”
Take a look at their cozy tiny house in the video below:
You can check out other unique and cozy tiny home builds on Tiny House Giant Journey.