kids

Marnie's family of four lives in a tiny home that's smaller than their swimming pool.

In November 2017, Dan and Marnie Prowse moved out of their beachcomber home in Sydney’s southern suburbs, and moved into a 32 square metre tiny house.

The couple, who have two young daughters together, made the decision to rent out their original home and build their dream tiny house in the backyard in the hopes of living a simpler life.

“Before we moved in, we were in the rat race,” Marnie recalled, speaking to Mamamia.

“We were working all the time, our eldest daughter was in and out of daycare, it was just so busy.

“We decided that we needed a change of lifestyle.”

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The kitchen. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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The lounge area and staircase, which doubles as a storage space. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
tiny house living
The lounge area. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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Unlike many tiny homes on the market, Dan and Marnie's tiny house has a unique factor.

The build, which was managed by 39-year-old Project Manager Dan and designed by Ironbark Architecture + Design, incorporates a swimming pool, which is actually one square metre larger than the house itself.

"We're outside all the time," Marnie told Mamamia. "Having that outdoor area really adds to the home."

In addition to the swimming pool, the family's outdoor area, which is perfectly-sized for entertaining, incorporates a small spa, a fire pit, a cubby house, a grassed area, two kitchen gardens, and a large seating area.

Besides the outdoor area, however, Marnie's favourite aspect of the house is the kids' bedroom.

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Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
tiny house living
Image: Supplied/Tiny Haus Lifestyle.
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The outdoor seating area, which is alongside the kitchen. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.

The couple's two daughters, six-year-old Ella and one-and-a-half-year-old Frankie, share a unique vertical bedroom.

"The kids' bedroom is a lot of fun," Marnie said.

"It's like a stacked bedroom – there's bunk beds with a play area underneath, a small wardrobe and a bookshelf.

"We have everything that a normal bedroom would have – we've just configured it differently."

Although the thought of raising kids in a tiny house may sound daunting, Lifestyle Coach Marnie shared that it's working well for her family.

"At the moment, they're at ages where they don't really want to be separated from me. They're happy playing on the deck, while I'm nearby watching them. It's working really well at the moment," she said.

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"We've done a few things for the kids recently, like building a cubby house outside and converting our under-bed storage to make a space for our eldest daughter's toys. We've evolved as their needs have evolved," she continued.

"As for their bedroom, I'm not 100 per cent sure how long it is going to last. I don't want to put a time limit on it. We've always just said that if it works, it works."

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The vertical kids bedroom. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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The cubby house. Image: Supplied/Tiny Haus Lifestyle.

As for cleaning, living in a tiny home comes with the added bonus of being easier to maintain.

"It's quicker to clean but I think I clean more often," Marnie, 37, said.

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"I vacuum every day but it literally takes me about three minutes. Even though I'm doing it every day, I'm saving so much time.

"There are less things and you don't have to move around a big house, putting things away. I'd say it's a lot easier."

Much like the rest of Australia, Marnie and her family have spent the past several weeks self-isolating at home, while Dan has been working from home.

"When we built [the tiny house], we converted our old shed into a guest room. Because we don't have guests at the moment, we've converted the shed into an office for the time being. It's separate from the house and quiet, so that [Dan] can work from there, while I work with our eldest daughter on her school work," she said.

"We've just sort of managed, I guess, to make do with what we've got."

As for any tips she has for a simpler lifestyle, Marnie shared that one of the first steps in the process is decluttering.

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The main bedroom. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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The bathroom. Image: Supplied/The Palm Co.
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"I don't have doubles of anything anymore," she said.

"We used to have two dinner sets – one good one and one everyday set. Now, we just have the one set. We used to have multiple sets of sheets too, but now we just have one set and I do the washing on a nice sunny day and put the sheets straight back on the bed. It's a lot more simple."

Now, over two years into their new-and-improved lifestyle, the family of four couldn't be happier.

"In terms of our social lives, our lives are a lot easier," Marnie said.

"We just get to focus on what makes us happy, instead of being in that rat race," she added.

"We basically do a lot of the things that we couldn't afford to do before. We can go on holidays, we've bought a caravan. On the weekends, we're not busy maintaining a big property. We get to spend more time with our family. I'd definitely recommend it."

Marnie is a simple living life coach, she teaches what she is living out every day in her tiny house. She offers face to face coaching to families throughout Sydney and Wollongong and virtual coaching across the globe. Her service is unique in that she works with you and invites you to see the practical side of living simply and what this lifestyle can offer you. Marnie believes living simply is something we can all achieve. It's not a 'one size fits all' concept, although we all have it within ourselves to live with less 'stuff' that distracts us from what makes us truly happy.

You can find out more on Facebook, Instagram, or on Marnie's website here.

Feature Image: Supplied/Tiny Haus Lifestyle/The Palm Co


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