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Could you drastically downsize? Couple talks about "tiny home" they built

Caitlin Barrale
Credit Caitlin Barrale
Interior of "tiny home" built by Caitlin Barrale and Mark Walther

A local couple who built their own "tiny home" is offering advice to other minimalists.  Caitlin Barrale and Mark Walther started construction on their home in the spring of last year. They just recently moved in to the 238-square foot space.  Caitlin said it wasn't too difficult for her to pare down her belongings because she likes to live a minimalist lifestyle and keep her home tidy.

"Because I'm a 20-something who’s just moving out of my parents' (house), and so I don't have a whole houseful of stuff. I think it's harder for people who are transitioning to a tiny house after having a normal-sized home."

Barrale says if you're thinking of drastically downsizing, it's good to know what's most important to you.

"So, for instance, I really wanted a bathtub, so I sacrificed the space for a bathtub. Also make sure that you realize that while having a tiny house can relieve money issues, it's not going to fix everything

Unlike communities on the west coast, Rochester area towns and villages aren't necessarily zoned for tiny houses, other than in trailer parks.  Barrale isn't revealing the location of her home, other than to say it's on a friend's property.

She said her expensive tastes meant hiring someone to build the home was out of the question. It has quartz countertops in the kitchen and reclaimed hardwood floors. The exterior is cedar clapboard. The couple did hire contractors to do electrical and plumbing work.

Barrale, who is an RIT student, and her boyfriend will be part of a "Tiny Homes Panel" tonight at the Penfield Public Library from 6:30 to 8:30. Another panelist is Eric Menz, an architect and co-founder of Community Together, an organization that empowers people to build their own homes and then use those skills to pursue a career in one of the trades.  

The presentation is sponsored by the group Rochester Minimalists.