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Thoreauvian simple living: unelectrified, timeless tiny home

Seven years ago Diana and Michael Lorence moved to a 12-foot-square home without electricity in the coastal mountains of Northern California.

They’re not back-to-the-land types- they’re not growing their own food, nor raising animals-, but, like Thoreau, they were looking for a place where they could get away from the noise of society and focus on their inner lives.

Diana described it to House Beautiful in the summer of 2011 as “a small, concentrated domestic space conceived for the purpose of what Wordsworth called ‘plain living and high thinking’”.

For nearly 30 years they lived in tiny houses, often in guest homes, though their current abode is the smallest and most fitting their needs. It was designed by Michael based on their experiences living in nearly 20 tiny homes across the country before finally settling here.

They don’t have electricity nor any other type of alternative energy (i.e. solar power). They don’t have a refrigerator so they eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.

There’s also no oven, but Diana says she doesn’t bake anyway and she cooks their meals with their one cast iron pot over the fire. The fire is also their source of hot water, heat and light (in addition to candles).

The Lorences are a private couple, but recently they have begun to speak out more about their lives in hopes of showing others that options such as theirs exist. The has been featured in not just House Beautiful, but many blogs and top ten lists.

Until now, the couple has turned down requests appear on video, not wanting to be categorized as simply another couple choosing to live in a tiny space. So I was pleasantly surprised when Diana and Michael agreed to let me visit their home with my camera.

  • saifom46337@mail.ru

    They lived in just a 12 square foot room. Wow, this is really amazing. And how would they survive without electricity. We cannot even think a minute without electricity and they lead their whole life without it. This fact really surprised me.

  • jeanne456256@mail.ru

    They lived in just a 12 square foot room. Wow, this is really amazing. And how would they survive without electricity. We cannot even think a minute without electricity and they lead their whole life without it. This fact really surprised me.

  • Jacqueline Stigman

    I’ve been watching Tiny House videos lately and this brief look at a small house and an alternate way of life is the best one I’ve seen for me for layout and would suit me perfectly. I wish they would publish Michael’s house plan or blue print so that if I am able to have one built I would use it. They don’t raise animals or have a garden so they must go into a town to purchase and I imagine then get laundry done. I would love to live in forest and very much a thinker, poet, artist, and writer and recently as much as I have said I love my computer I have more often lately felt the onslaught of information and all the negativity in word and image that our electricity brings to us and fills up our days and nights and minds. I remember visiting a family on a weekend when the power went out and it was wonderful. Candles everywhere and we all sat before their fire and talked instead of watching a movie in the evenings. Their young boy at first was upset without tv but very soon relaxed into the peacfulness.