The wood burner is too hot, and will be for next few moments at least. I have foolishly piled it full of logs before I climb into bed on the mezzanine, I had let that childlike part of me take over, the part that stands in awe of warmth in otherwise cold places. Lauren is already in bed and jokingly complaining of how hot it is up in the double pitched roof. I think the next fire will be smaller.
Our first experience of a ‘Tiny Home’, our first night and we have settled into the space easily, we are not surprised by this. The smell makes me smile when first walking through the stable door. It smells right, not a sterile environment, but one of seasoned timber, and texture and life. I have stayed in cabins and small structures of various design, but this is a first. Nestled in a gently sloping field in Belgium is a beautiful cabin on wheels. Built by Tom, Sofia and their team, this cabin was their first and is quite special. The interior is simple and we like it. Having driven 400 miles from Denmark the day before, any place we could sit in front of a log burner would have felt like home. This feels like an alpine chalet, I expect to see snow and mountains through the windows. I have to admit that I already knew I would love this space, I have the same excitement that I would get from sitting in my sisters Wendy house as a kid.
There are now television programs on tiny house living, on some of the larger networks in the UK and America. I have seen many photos of how people have fitted out similar spaces, butwe know we cannot appreciate a space without visiting it, staying in it, living in it. We both sit and ask, could we live in here? We both laugh and say of course! Of course we could. Our van is parked at the top of the field behind the gate and is a fraction of the size. We could live in here and be happy. I believe we could build this too, with some help. Granted, it is heavy, due to its timber construction, and cannot be towed as easily as a traditional caravan or trailer.
O, but if we had a piece of land to park it on, one with a beautiful view, we would not want to move it anyway. Maybe we could live in the woods in Sweden? Or cross our fingers and hope to rent a plot of land back in the UK? We drink wine and fill a few pages of a sketchbook with ideas, layouts of kitchens and seating areas. If you need to visit the toilet it is a walk outside, to the back of the trailer, where a separate door leads to a small toilet cubicle and a compost toilet. There is no shower, but for our short stay this is no problem.
The bed is huge! remarks Lauren as I climb up the ladder. It really is.
Sofia stopped by the next morning with pastries and fresh Orange juice. She explained how herself and her husband Tom first had the idea to build a cabin on wheels whilst looking for a space to work. Rather than spend time and money on constructing a static space in their back garden, they opted to build a tiny home. A space that could be moved to various places across their land. A separate place where they could be outside and relax, away from their home. They have since teamed up with their friends and workshop owners and are now constructing a third tiny home for clients. Their way of sharing their outdoor lifestyle, showing people how to disconnect and exist with less.
I would like to think we know a little of what it means to create something that inspires others, this is what Sofia, Tom and everyone at Wildernest have done by building this cabin on wheels. They now rent it through AirBnB and have all sorts of people come and stay. They learnt a lot when building this particular cabin, and plan to cut down the weight of future builds by utilising a metal outer frame. Sofia explains why people are so attracted by these homes on wheels, not only do they capture your attention instantly from the outside, but they are versatile and easily adapted to your needs. Want more light, design yours with bigger windows. Love cooking, let the kitchen dominate your design.
The thing that becomes apparent during this stay is the notion of designing your home around you. We humans come in many shapes and sizes and were never meant to squeeze into a box.
Thank you to Sofia and Tom for letting us stay for two nights free of charge, and for helping us reach some important decisions of our own concerning cabins and wheels and small spaces that smell nice.
Words & images by Calum Creasey