The mortgage-free, 320-square-foot home

By Kirsten Dirksen

Two years ago, Debra and her family lived in a nearly 2,000 square-foot home on an acre and a half of land. Then her husband lost his job and they began to work four jobs between them to pay the mortgage, until one day they remembered they had a choice.

Before having their son, Debra and her husband Gary had spent nine years living in very tiny homes in South America. Living small hadn't felt like a sacrifice, but a way to stay focused on what is important. They decided they wanted to get back to that.

They stopped working so hard, sold or gave away all of their extra stuff, and began looking for the perfect tiny home.

outside of tiny house

Debra had always liked the Mississippi shotgun-style homes, but they decided the 100-square-foot places that are "kind of curious at the moment" were too small.

They considered converting a shed or an old school bus. They decided RVs or mobile homes were too expensive.

One day, while browsing Craigslist, they noticed an ad for a local Arkansas company custom-building tiny homes for a price that could mean an end to house payments.

living room of tiny house

Six weeks and $15,000 later, they had their own fully paid-off dwelling. Today, Debra, her husband, and 13-year-old son live in a 320-square-foot home that is not a sacrifice, but exactly what they need.

They have a walk-in closet, full-sized appliances, and even an antique bed. Their son has his own lofted bedroom big enough for sleepovers.

living room of tiny house

They've done a bit of DIY to create a custom sofa that becomes a guest bed so their home now sleeps "6 people comfortably, probably 8 to 10 people uncomfortably."

bedroom of tiny house

They even have a separate studio next door for their home business where they make tiny baby gifts "made by hand in a little cottage."

(Photos courtesy of Debra Jordan)