By now, we may all be familiar with the tiny-house movement, but have you ever met a tiny-house community? They exist! And they’re working to redefine the way we live. By bringing together a collection of tiny-houses, communities focus on sharing time, skills, support and sustainability. And while these collectives are beginning to pop up all over the country, one single family in London, Kentucky has created a village all their own.
Meet Keli and Ryan Brinks.
Together, along with their 16-year old son, Brodey, and their 18-year old daughter, Lennox, they each inhabit their own tiny-home on the same property. The houses are separate, but next door to one another. The property holds six tiny-homes in total and offers one unique living situation.
The Brinks erected a miniature village with a focus on sustainability.
Previously, the family occupied a 2200 square foot home in Michigan, but felt compelled to traverse a more sustainable path to living. The family felt their calling in the form of the tiny-house movement. They knew the homes produced less waste, required less energy to cool and heat, and left a smaller footprint overall.
Keli Brinks revealed to Insider in an interview:
“Initially, my husband wanted us all together in one cabin, but I argued on behalf of the kids for their own privacy.”
Instead, the Brinks included a house for each family member in their personal community.
The family left Michigan and bought 21 acres for $57,000 in London, Kentucky in 2015. They then went on to turn the land into a private tiny-home village. For an additional $20,000, the family installed six tiny-houses.
The Brinks explored their options, eventually settling on Kentucky:
“We chose London, Kentucky, because of the lack of restrictions for housing and because the land was much cheaper than in areas of Tennessee that were closer to the family but more expensive and with restrictions,” Keli said.
In the village’s first home, Keli shares a 280 square foot space with her husband Ryan.
Their house is coincidentally the largest on the property. In total, it cost them $9000 to make, as they included extra amenities (such as additional windows) to make their interior seem more spacious. The home features vaulted ceilings over a cozy living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a lofted bedroom.
Next door to them, is a bath house of sorts.
The house features two separate bathrooms, as the kids do not have this amenity in their personal homes. It also has a guest bedroom, as well as a washer and dryer for the family’s laundry.
Moving on is the pool house, where the family gathers to spend time with each other.
This house features just one 180 square foot room with seating arrangements. The family uses this space to connect and play games. Additionally, it opens up to the Brinks’ above-ground pool.
16-year-old Brodey lives in his own home, next to the swimming pool.
The model is actually a wooden cabin, which Brodey picked out himself. The home features a tiny porch, as well as a ground-floor living area and a lofted bedroom area able to fit a king-size bed.
18-year-old Lennox lives next door to her brother, in a 160 square foot model of her own.
The model she chose is actually a barn, but the family simply requested they install a regular entry door. The ground floor of her home features a living area, and the loft contains a full-sized bed. The full-time college student is mostly away, but weekends there in her own space.
Many people have found the children’s living situation to be strange.
However, the kids themselves embrace this unique and independent perspective on family life. They happily insist it is the same as having their own bedroom in a regular home. Mother Keli Brinks elaborated on this concept to Insider:
“When we lived in a house, the kids spent much of their time in their own rooms,” Keli said. “They’d come downstairs for snacks and meals or to use the bathroom. It is the same in the village. As teens, they spend a lot of time in their own cabins and will come to ours very often to get snacks or at mealtimes. If we need them for something, we simply knock on their cabin doors instead of their bedroom doors.”
The property’s 21 acres is an honest approach to sustainability.
It also features a 64-square foot shed that’s been converted into an office, as well as a barn, a chicken coop, and a goat. All of these things are aiding the family in reaching their sustainability goals. And it seems that their efforts are working. So far, their utility bills are less than their previous home in Michigan, and the family only produces one bag of trash a week altogether.
All in all, The Brinks hope to teach their children what a sustainable approach means.
Kelli leaves us with some final, but poignant thoughts:
“We have taught them to value the Earth and to do their part to take care of it and encourage others to take care of it,” Keli said. “Family togetherness, fresh air, outdoor exercise, growing and cultivating food, and taking good care of animals so they can take good care of us is what we want them to live for and pass down to the next generations.”
Together, the family is redefining what family life looks like, in a way we could all learn from.
Check out a quick tour via Lennox in the Tiktok below!
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