Family downsizes to a 151-square-foot home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marc Boese, a tenured professor, downsized and moved into a tiny home. Living in a tiny home is cheaper, the utility bill is only about $20 a month.

Many of his friends asked if he lost his job. Boese didn't move because he had to, he and his wife because they wanted to.

"We were living in a big house because we could afford it and we were paying about $400 a month in heat and electric bill because we could afford it," Boese said. "We were kind of disgusted at ourselves in a way. We saw the trash we were generating. We saw obviously the electric bills that we were burning. It was just bad."

Instead of talking about making a change, he and his wife decided to take action. He built a house from the ground up on a car hauler in Middleburg. surrounded by an acre of land.

"We aren't doing this for money. We were doing it because it's better for everybody," Boese said. "It's better for her future."

"I was working at FSCJ full-time teaching night classes and what I would do is wake up at 5 a.m. and pull out the hammer and nail and start going out it. Go to work and come back, and do it the next day until it was done."

The home was move-in ready in three weeks later.

"The house itself is 117 sq. ft.," he said. "If you count upstairs where I sleep it's 151 sq. ft. with recycled goods it cost between $6,000 to $8,000 to build."

He spent an extra $12,000 on solar panels so he and his wife could be off the grid, not tied to the internet, cable, electricity or water. He said they lived like that from 2009 until the birth of his daughter, who is now 2 years old.

Today, their house is partially on the grid.

"The refrigerator, the heater and air conditioner are all on the grid. When I cook, I occasionally have to put my burner and oven on the grid."

The two bedroom, one bath house is tiny, but he says it's big enough to fit everything his family needs.

"We have storage up top for all of my pots and pans and the kitchen fully-equipped with a microwave, oven, ice tea maker, my Cuisinart."

What you won't find in the home is a television or wasted space, and they like it that way.

"She [his daughter] gets the best stimulation. She has an imagination. We have a huge yard over an acre. She planted probably about half vegetables in the front yard. She mixed the soil. She made the compost. She knows what that is."


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