Dee Williams: Dream big, live small

In 2004 Dee Williams designed and built a house that was roughly the size of an area rug.

rug

Dee went from a 1,500 square foot house to an 84 square foot house.
DeeWilliamsHouse

(a downsizing of 1,416 square feet)

Why downsize?

Dee’s motivations for downsizing included a trip to Guatemala, losing a close friend to cancer, and her diagnosis of congestive heart failure at age 40. These events made Dee question the time, energy, and money that her home required. She started dreaming. Dee dreamed of a bigger life in a smaller house.

While 84 square feet might seem ridiculously small, her house feels much larger. Like maybe 120 square feet. This magical expansion of what Dee calls her 6 X 7 “great room” is made possible by an 11 foot ceiling, a skylight, and space saving ingenuity.

Here you can see Dee’s inspiring story and TED talk:

Twelve years after building her tiny house Dee still lives in it. What, tiny house living is not a fad? Downsizing, or maybe I should say rightsizing, gave Dee something that many Americans crave: more time, less busyness. A smaller home allowed Dee to leave the rat race.

(insert small sound of envy here)

Today, Dee works part time for the Department of Ecology and volunteers in her community. She spends time noticing the world around her, while I inhale a Starbucks muffin on my way to work.

Last year Dee wrote about her house building adventure in The Big Tiny, A Built-It-Myself Memoir. In this memoir, Dee describes her building project from inception to completion. She also shares her thoughts on the benefits of slowing down, letting go of stuff, and connecting with nature and her community.

BigTiny

My favorite quote from Dee’s book:

“I discovered a new way of looking at the sky, the winter rain, the neighbors, and myself; and a different way of spending my time. Most important, I stumbled into a new sort of “happiness,” one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want, but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of satisfaction—to a sense of humility and gratitude, and a better understanding of who I am in my heart.”

In her TED talk, Dee asks us to think about the end of our lives and what it means to be human.

‘Gratitude, humility, grace’

Yes, the world needs more of this.

(and perhaps more tiny houses)

What do you think? Have you thought about downsizing/rightsizing? 

 

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Author: Kate

I'm a writer interested in photography, philosophy, bikes and simplicity.

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