How a Family of 4 Lives in a 320 Sq. Ft. Home (Pretty Happily)

While many of us commit to the three decades it takes to pay off a mortgage, Hari and Karl Berzins come at home ownership from a completely different viewpoint.

They live in a tiny 8-by-21-foot home they built with salvaged materials in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Counting the loft space with its three feet of headroom, that’s 320 sq. ft., or about the size of most people’s master bedrooms.

It might be a tiny house, but it’s paid for. “We wanted to really cut back our overhead as far as we possibly could and own what we live in outright so we have the choice to do what makes us happy,” says Hari, who works part time for a non-profit while husband Karl works as a chef.

Sharing that 320 sq. ft. are the Berzins’ two kids, ages 7 and 9, and a Great Pyrenees, a 3-foot-tall dog weighing in around 90 pounds.

The inspiration to live tiny came to the Berzins after they lost both a business and a 1,500-sq.-ft. home in Florida during the recession. While they didn’t want to go into debt again, they do value home ownership, so Hari and Karl moved into an affordable two-bedroom rental and spent the next year saving $25,000 to buy the 3-acre lot in Virginia where their tiny house now sits.

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