We hear a lot about the tiny house movement these days, but Bonnie Bowen knew nothing about it in 1994 when she bought a cabin in Cherry Creek. At 616 square feet, it exceeded the square footage usually used today to describe a tiny house (less than 400 square feet), but there is no doubt Bowen is living if not tiny, then certainly small.
Here is how she described her year-round cabin in this first in a weekly series you will be seeing on BuffaloNews.com:
“I love my home! And so do visitors. I bought it in 1994 when it was little more than an 18-by-24 cabin (plus a loft) on a 1-acre lot filled with big old trees.”
It had been owned by the husband of a friend of hers, who was selling it because the couple had moved into another home. The night she first saw the cabin, it was raining and the electricity had been shut off. Bowen, who has three grown children, saw her future home by the light of a lantern – and knew it was for her.
“I had no grand plan, but created a project a year. When I saved up enough money I jumped in. First were the custom cabinets in the living room that I designed and were made locally. Then windows and doors to let in light! Then woodwork and pine to cover the rafters,” said Bowen, who bought her post-divorce abode for less than $18,000.
Along the way there was painting to be done as well as items to add such as a water tank and heat stove. Once the mortgage was paid off and Bowen was closer to retirement, she made kitchen improvements and what she calls “the grand finale.”
“An addition in the back gave me enough space to be comfortable (but not too big; the ground floor is now 18-by-34 plus the sleeping loft). And of course more built-in cabinets – a must for small spaces,” said Bowen, who worked for 20 years as a crisis counselor in the emergency department at WCA Hospital in Jamestown. Cedar siding and a roof were also added at the time of the addition.
She said her home is small enough to be affordable and easy to maintain but roomy enough to have people gather for dinner.
“It’s not a fussy house. Its cozy and quirky and filled with the art of friends. The plan was to be done and paid for by retirement, and it was. Oh, did I mention the gardens?”
Do you love your house enough to show it off like Bonnie Bowen did? This could be your chance.
The Buffalo News is looking for other beautiful local homes and the stories behind them and their décor. Those chosen will be displayed in a weekly feature at buffalonews.com and could be chosen as Home of the Month with a three-page spread in a Sunday edition of The Buffalo News.
If you are interested, tell us about your home in 150 words or less, and email 10 jpeg images of the interior and exterior to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those chosen for buffalonews.com will be contacted by Home and Style Editor Susan Martin. Single-family homes, condominiums, lofts and apartments are eligible.
The News will include your name and the city or town in which you reside but not your exact address.