Tours
Woman builds historically-accurate Civil War-themed, Victorian tiny house for retirement
The way she used her grandparents dresser as stairs is brilliant! I couldn't of think of a better way to incorporate it in to the building. So much love in that little house.
D.G. Sciortino
12.06.22

It took three years of weekends. But Shorty Robbins finally built her Victorian replica home to use during historical reenactments.

She loved it so much that she moved into it full-time.

In addition to being filled with old-timey charm, the home has several unique elements that wow guests, like a bed that folds up into a piano.

There’s also a copper sink and faucet that looks like a pump and a big drop-leaf table that was cut in half and bolted to the wall.

Robbins got the idea to build a tiny home after a rainy weekend during one of her reenactments.

She was tired of staying in a tent and decided to build a small home that could be moved.

Originally she had only planned to decorate the outside to look like a home from the mid-1800s.

However, she had so much fun doing research that she decided to decorate the inside in a historical manner as well.

She didn’t have any experience with building a house. But she figured she would give house building a try and bought a tiny house kit.

She also never really saw herself as a tiny houser. But the more she met people from the community and learned about it, she decided it was something she’d like to do full-time.

“Everything I love and care about, materially, is in this house,” she said.

She attended some workshops and watched some YouTube videos before rallying some friends to help with the build.

Robbins’ house, which is named Nawaka after a camp she went to as a girl, is 125 sq. ft. with another 125 sq. ft. of storage.

“It is so cozy and has everything I need. Plus, I can do my housework in 15 minutes!” she says. “I originally planned to just use it for attending the reenactments, but I loved it so much that two years ago I sold my home and downsized.”

The house has a water pump and a pot-bellied stove which was typical in the mid-1800s, as was a piano bed.

But her home still has modern touches.

She has a TV hidden behind a painting, though she likes to keep modern touches like the remote control out to see if people catch on when she gives tours during the historical reenactments she takes place in.

And just because she lives in a tiny home doesn’t mean she had to compromise all that much.

She still got to keep her grandmother’s dresser and piano.

She just repurposed them to fit in her house. She also got to include some new beautiful antique pieces, like some heart pine from 1906 that she used as the ridge beam in her home.

YouTube Screenshots - Tiny House Giant Journey
Source:
YouTube Screenshots - Tiny House Giant Journey

While homes during this period didn’t have bathrooms, Robbins’ has a small RV bathroom and shower in her home covered by a curtain.

She also has loft bed that is accessible via steps made from her grandparents’ dressers.

Now Robbins offers information to others on Facebook about how she built her tiny home. She is even a “key player” in the tiny house festival scene.

She has worked with John and Fin Kernohan to host 11 festivals over the past five years.

Take a tour of Robbins’ home in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
[email protected]
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected]
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