Room enough, barely

Moore family--Tiny house

Photo by Clarke Davis
The Blaine Moore family are now residing in their smaller-than-usual abode that will be featured on “Tiny House Nation” sometime in the new year. From left are Matthias, Jonathan, Blaine, Michele, and Luke.


by Clarke Davis
The Blaine Moore family was in the process of downsizing to a smaller home as the five sons were maturing and moving out. Along the way they discovered the tiny house movement and will soon star in their own reality television episode.
Tiny House Nation, a cable show on the FYI Network, will air the Ozawkie family’s tiny house adventure after the new year, maybe in February.
Blaine and Michele Moore had lived in a 3,100-square-foot house for 20 years—plenty of room for a growing family. Sons Brayden, 22, and Jack, 19, had moved out and Luke, 17, and Jonathan, 16, will be gone after the end of the next school term. That leaves Matthias, 12, with his parents.
Apparently their house appeared to be quite large at that point, but it was more than that. They were restless and needing an adventure, needing to do something different. It was early in the year 2014.
“Does the American dream exist anymore?” Blaine asked, answering his own question, “No, I don’t think it does. It’s harder these days to do what people did years ago—get a job, pay off your house, work a few years, and retire. It doesn’t work that way anymore.”
“If we were wealthy, we might have done it anyway, just because the idea was so intriguing,” he said.
Getting out from under a mortgage, being in a better position to help their kids, and not having a large house to care for began to appear attractive to the couple. So they began the process — first to declutter. That process began in August 2014.
“We weren’t hoarders . . . we kept a tidy house, but it’s unbelievable the amount of stuff that was in that house,” he said. “Stuff we didn’t know we had or why we had it.”
“It was almost like we were working to provide a place to store stuff— every closet, storage bin, and attic was full,” Michele said.
There were garage sales, lots of items given away, mounds of stuff was left on the curb for the trash hauler, and the furniture was sold.
These people weren’t messing around. There were only pillows and a television in the living room and mattresses on the floors of the bedrooms to sleep on by the time it ended. “We were ready,” he said.
“Truth be told,” he said, “we did rent a small storage unit that contains some boxes of keepsakes from the boys’ childhoods and a couple pieces of furniture we couldn’t part with.”
Michele said the boys were maybe somewhat apprehensive, “. . .but they trusted us,” she said.
A small house is considered to be about 1,100 to 1,300 square feet and Blaine said that was the early assumption. “That’s what we assumed we would buy or build,” he said.
The process began to evolve and Michele remembers Blaine being the first to say, “Look at these tiny houses.” But it’s Michele who really researches things.
She found Tiny House Nation on the Internet, pushed the tab that said “casting” and told their personal story.
“It was not an hour later she had a response wanting to know more information about the family,” Blaine said.
That was followed by an interview over Skype to the New York agency and communication remained open through the winter. The network sent word in June, “You’re in.”
The footings for their tiny house were poured Aug. 31 and the house was built in 20 days. “Reveal Day,” the filming that will be broadcast showing the family entering their new home, was Sept. 20.
Mel Armstrong, Ozawkie, was the general contractor. The house is on Valley View Drive about a half mile east of the Village Greens Golf Course.
“The house was done except for the utility hookups,” he said.
The house measures 16-by-36 for a total of 576 square feet plus a 12-by-14-foot loft—the boys’ bedroom—that brings the total to 730 square feet.
“We are living on the big side of tiny,” Blaine said. “There are many who build much smaller ones, especially for just one or two people.”
The house has a bath and a half, closet space for clothes, and a closet for the washer and dryer. Michele has a fully equipped kitchen and the couple were able to keep their king-size bed.
He said they spent a lot of time on the floor plan and it has a lot of “Wow!” factors that the production people added that he would not divulge until the show is aired. The house has a one-pitch roof that slopes the ceiling from 10 feet up to 14 feet and one side is nearly all glass so the house has an open, airy feel about it.
“It feels open and flows into the outdoors,” Blaine said. “People are surprised when they come in that it doesn’t feel that small.”
In Tiny House Nation, renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them.
Moore said the advantage of having the assistance of the show involved was to acquire those “Wow!” factors they are good at. While no money changed hands, they did receive some building materials, such as the windows, roofing, and siding, given to them that helped with construction costs.
“These were really top quality materials that we would not have gotten had we done this on our own,” he said.
Blaine, 45, has been the associate pastor at Jefferson Assembly of God Church near Meriden for 20 years and Michele is a paraeducator employed by Keystone Learning Services working at Jefferson West Elementary School.
Blaine is an Ozawkie native and Jefferson West High School graduate. He recently served on the school board.  His parents are Dan and Carol Moore, who live next door to their tiny house.
Michele’s parents are Ken and Melinda Heuertz, Manhattan, and are related to the Heuertz and Reich families at Valley Falls.
The paper will try to report when the show will air once it’s scheduled.

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Posted by on Jan 25 2016. Filed under The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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