Small Spaces and Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are becoming popular.

We are realizing the importance of space…the space we actually need to live comfortably.

If I had the opportunity to build another home, it would, undoubtedly, be much, much smaller than Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLiving comfortably means a warm home, less opening and closing of doors, one big room where all comforts are to be found, much in the same way as the old cottages used to be here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in this little Lodge, built onto the back of the cottage, constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, over-wintering is now embedded into my lifestyle.

www.bealtainecottage.comEnergy use is one-quarter of that needed for the cottage.

Small pieces of coppiced wood has fed the wood-burning stove, keeping all snug and cosy.

This was a decision I made out of a challenge, to prove that it was possible to be warm and comfortable through winter…and it is more than possible, it is a new-found freedom!

Cheap energy!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is possible with a multi-faceted approach: one small, medium or even big living space; masses of insulation; small wood-burning stove; low energy lamps; a sofa bed, or, as in my case a bed that doubles as a sofa; woollen blankets and rugs; thick curtains and menu plan for cooking one-pot meals on the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.comA small clothes-rail doubles as a drying rail as the heat from the wood burner keeps the place toasty!

www.bealtainecottage.comI am a fan of the Tiny Home movement for many reasons, but, primarily because this way of living empowers one…absolutely! www.bealtainecottage.comThe more one can conserve and live minimally, the more power one actually has !

www.bealtainecottage.comPlanting lots of shelter-giving plants, shrubs and trees around it also helps the micro-climate inside and out.

www.bealtainecottage.comA place to sew and knit in comfort with the luxury of a kettle of ever-free-boiling water is magic!

www.bealtainecottage.comA door that opens onto the most sheltered part of the garden is a bonus.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd yes…that is an old table top up-cycled as a step!


  1. I’m curious as to why you built onto the back of your house (if you did) and decided not to use the ordinary rooms that came with your cottage. I know you said it was to save energy, but was that the only reason? Or do you prefer to live in just one room? Where is your bathroom and bedroom, clothes, etc? Are you basically living in the Kitchen of the old house? I really wish we could see the entire room, if you’re living in just one room, that is?
    Thanks for sharing your life with us! 🙂

    • The wooden lodge was built for my mother, now deceased. It is incredibly warm and I live in there during the winter months. The website has over 3,500 pics…and every aspect of the cottage and lodge is there to be seen…not one corner is missing… 🙂 Do have a look!

  2. I’m an American who has been following the tiny house trend in the US for a few years. I live half-time in the US and half-time in France (my husband is French), but, given American politics, I’m ready to transfer my Florida time to Ireland (land of my ancestry and love the people). I would like to do a tiny house there and would really appreciate any info you can offer regarding builders of tiny homes, land regulations and hook ups, finding land, costs, etc. Links to websites would be great too. I’m just beginning my research. Thanks so much. Cynthia

    • Hi Cynthia…you are not alone, for I am getting regular enquiries in the same manner about leaving the US and re-locating. Unfortunately I don’t have any info on what you enquire about as I have never needed to find out. There will be lots of links online and maybe even a directory of Irish architects. However, this much I CAN tell you…land is cheap and no planning permission is required for a mobile home. Also, there are lots of second hand such mobiles on the market here. I hope that this helps in some small way. You are right to follow your path back to your ancestral homeland and blessings to you XXX Colette

  3. I have lived in three small cottages during my lifetime. There is definitely an appeal to living in a minimal environment where everything you own matters. It also helps you avoid collecting junk. And the utility costs are certainly lower.

  4. Colette, I read somewhere that in Ireland you don’t need planning permisson for a building under 25m2, I don’t know if this is true or not but I was thinking of buying a small plot and building a one roomed small circular house made of stone and round wood on it in the old Celtic style. Pity I just don’t have any money or time to do it right now but maybe in the future, le cunamh Dé.

    • Ireland is definitely the place for tiny homes. Many people buy some land here and a used mobile home…no planning permission there either and both can be done for around £7-8,000!

  5. We have lived in a 400 sq ft fifth wheel for five years now (one in the winter, in Canada). It makes you realize just how much “stuff” you don’t need. If something new comes in something old has to go. Less is best.
    Ruth from At Home on the Road

  6. I felt an instant camaraderie with you as soon as I saw those blue sun and moon curtains. I made curtains out of the very same material. Great minds (and thrifty ones at that) think alike :). I love the idea of tiny homes. Spaces where you are forced to consider what you choose to include within that space rather than having the luxury of all kinds of surfaces to clutter up and collect dust. A few special pieces that actually mean something to you, clever consideration of your bed that should also act as a couch and maybe even storage as well…everything functional and aesthetically pleasing because you are going to live and move in that space constantly. Permaculture to the max and back to how we humans lived when the world was a much smaller place and when seasonal cycles actually meant something. A lovely post. Cheers for sharing your early spring and the last of your overwintering in that lovely little cottage and how clever of you to use a tabletop for a step! 🙂

  7. Greetings Colette,
    You are so right about your small cottage, we can live more simply with less damage to the earth. You have proven it Today reading your blog I finally understood how I can adjust my life in the winter and get myself out of the oilmans grips. It may take some time to get it done but its something that can be done.
    I am reading your story about finding Bealtaine Cottage, its inspiring, thanks for sharing this with us Its encouraging and uplifting.
    Blessings to you

  8. Oh, how right you are! How often I have seen TV programmes, depicting a retired couple being shown a four bedroom house with every modern convenience (whatever that means), only to say that it’s not big enough). Greed and snobbery prevails.

Your comments are welcome!