Making the Most of Our Little House in the Big Woods

How we successfully transformed what we thought would be a small, temporary cabin into our little house in the big woods.

| December 2009/January 2010

Remember the game of Twister? You put your feet and hands on different colored circles, which sometimes ties the players up in knots, and if you fall off of the space, you lose.

Often when I’m getting up for a bowl of ice cream in the evening, or especially when I get up in the middle of the night, I feel as though I’m playing Twister. Place my foot on the wrong spot, and I’m stubbing a toe on the dresser, tripping over a pair of shoes left in the wrong spot, or — worse yet — stepping on a dog’s paw or tail.

Still, I wouldn’t trade our 480-square-foot house in the country for the largest of McMansions in the suburbs.

Our “Little House in the Big Woods” — the moniker my sister-in-law has given our tiny dwelling in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains on Bull Shoals Lake — wasn’t originally intended to be a full-time residence. Sometimes, though, some of the best things that happen in life aren’t planned. Our little house was intended, and used for four years, as a getaway for me, my husband, and our four dogs to escape our lives in the city.

Our original dream of living in the Big Woods involved a second house on our nearly 10 acres — not a mansion by any means, but large enough for us and my elderly mother. The Little House was to be a guesthouse and my writing studio.

On New Year’s Eve heading into 2007, we made the resolution to make our dream a reality. We began ridding our lives of unnecessary clutter. Our plans changed, however, when my mother passed away. Now, instead of my mother, I had only her antiques and heirlooms to take to the Big Woods.

5/20/2014 1:01:04 AM - This Insulated Garden Room is ideal for those seeking a place to relax in their garden without worrying about those cold winter nights! - Natural gifts and home decorations which are fair trade too. - - offering a fantastic quality designs & products of bathroom basin, counter top basin.

1/19/2012 6:07:15 PM

The people who are quibbling about the size of the author's added buildings might remember that in past times, it was common to have basements, plus sheds, barns and other outbuildings to store equipment and things that were not regularly used. The only way to live in that small a space without added storage areas is to buy your food from supermarkets instead of growing it yourself (and canning or freezing it), and to buy your clothing from department stores instead of making it yourself. Being even remotely self-sufficient requires space for equipment and materials, and it requires space for storing food. In addition, most people work in spaces that are far larger and more energy consuming than the author's 320 square foot office

1/18/2012 6:35:12 PM


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