Many parents of teens, especially during these past nine months, have at some time fantasized about living close to their kids, but not under the same roof as their kids.
The Brinks, a family of four formerly living in Michigan, had that thought and they actually followed through. In 2015 they moved to the edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest, in Eastern Kentucky, and began building an environmentally friendly hobby farm compound with lofted cabins that would give their teen daughter and son a mini home each to call their own, all while keeping the family together.
Watch the video below for a guided tour from their 18-year-old daughter, Lennox.
The compound has a barn, for the animals (mostly goats and chickens).
There’s a sweet tiny house with painted shutters for Lennox. Inside there’s a sofa, a loft bed, a keyboard for jamming and the quintessential teen-decor finishing touch: LED strip lighting. Brother Brodey (16) has a tiny house chock full of his football memorabilia, and he went with a deep blue and green interior colour scheme.
The family congregates in their pool house for dinner, games night and hanging out. And there’s a communal bathroom building, which Lennox says means she has to run across the yard to use the rest room.
The tiny house where parents Keli and Ryan reside has a kitchen, where meals are prepped, and every effort is made to keep their carbon footprint small. They dry clothes on a line, for example, and compost and recycle, which means they only generate one bag of trash per week for the entire family. At 280 square feet, the parents’ house is the biggest on the property. At a cost of $9,000 U.S. to build (that’s about $11,750 in Canadian dollars), it was also the most “expensive.”
Last stop on Lennox’s tour: the office building, where the computer, printer and modem reside. It’s a peaceful little stand-alone cabin ― something every work-from-home parent has surely wished for since the pandemic began.
The Brinks’ together-but-apart living situation was created four years before COVID-19 arrived. But it certainly seems to make for a dreamy solution to so many of the challenges the pandemic has brought into our lives. And the total cost for the land on tiny houses? $77,000 U.S., which converts to a grand total of $101,150 CAD.
Maybe 2021 will be the year we all build our own tiny family village?
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