Tiny House for a Single Mum

Back to Basics – Tiny House Living

Shaye Boddington’s tiny house measures a mere 8.5m by 2.6m, but that’s enough space for her and five-year-old daughter Hazel.

With separate bedrooms, they can escape each other if need be. And there’s always the covered deck, the great outdoors – and the chickens.

“Hazel has taken on the role of lead chicken carer,” says Boddington. “She has totally become a chicken master, cuddling them and feeding them.”

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Boddington, a single mum says the pair have also been gardening and gathering all the feijoas dripping from the tree to make feijoa jams and chutneys – not necessarily activities that would have been on the agenda pre-lockdown.

“We will take some of this (experience) forward when the lockdown ends,” she says.

The pair have been in their tiny house, which Boddington built, for just over six months, but it’s not the first time in a tiny house for the family. Boddington says she and her ex-partner built their first tiny home seven years ago, so they could have an affordable home on their land.

“I loved designing it and building it together, and after we separated I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I also wanted to get back to the lifestyle.”

And Boddington says being close to nature makes it extra special. Her tiny house at Oratia is parked on land she leases in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges. “It’s nice and sunny and there’s lots of forest; I feel so blessed.”

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Mother and daughter are in the same bubble as the landowners, and that has helped tremendously. “Since we have been in this isolation period, I have valued this little community so much,” says Boddington. “We get together for coffee every morning, and being a single mum I really look forward to that interaction. Sometimes we swap seedlings and we have a good chat.”

Boddington’s tiny house is one of 28 designs she and her team at Shaye’s Tiny Homes produce in her two Henderson Valley workshops. “This one was designed with my mother, and we call it The Hazel, after my daughter. It’s a design that’s great for families, and those are the tiny houses I really enjoy working on. Because I understand it (the lifestyle). I live it. It’s a design that can be for long-term living, for people with kids.

“Even though this house has a small footprint, it doesn’t feel like a small house. We can close our own doors, and the covered deck helps when it’s raining.”

“We are people who do a lot of different things, and isolation has been an interesting test, but we’re having fun. Hazel actually said to me the other day, ‘I love isolation’.”

Boddington also has another string to her bow – she is a championship springboard diver and right now she was meant to be in Tokyo for an international diving event. But that, of course, has been put on hold.

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As has the construction of her tiny homes, but she says the calls keep coming in. Like other tiny home builders, she has found many people have reassessed the way they are living over the past few weeks and have decided to buy a tiny house.

“I think there are people feeling quite vulnerable in their own situations. They want to simplify, and they want more control over their housing accommodation.”

And it’s that security that Boddington treasures – she has very quickly stamped her personality on her own small space, and she has created a haven for herself and her daughter during a very difficult time.

As she posted on Instagram: “I’ve found that for both me and my daughter this isolation time in our tiny home has been a time of love and togetherness. When my baby girl looks back on this experience I think it’ll be one that she cherishes – and that for me has been an important lesson in slowing down. I know that for thousands this epidemic has stolen the breath from their lungs – but in a strange twist, for many, its taught them how to slow down and breathe.”

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Hazel loves the tiny house

Thinking about a Tiny House?

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