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French rural property becomes tiny home village (on wheels)

When Ludivine inherited a rural property after her mother’s death, she decided to make it work for her by renting out the main home for income and building portable tiny homes on wheels to fit her changing family.

Her then-husband built the first mobile home on top of a 150-euro farm trailer out of local wood, crafting a built-in bunk bed for their then-two-year-old daughter Prâan (below) and themselves (above), along with a shower, kitchen, and mini-living room.

The 2.5-hectare (6-acre) plot is an “airial Landes,” a traditional barnyard from the region (Les Landes) that typically includes a main home, a caretaker cottage, a well, and an outdoor bread oven. When Prâan turned six and outgrew the bed in their farm-trailer home, the family refurbished and moved into the small (450-square-foot) caretaker cottage.

When Lou was gifted an old bus from her work with a canoe company (the vehicle was no longer needed to transport passengers and gear to the river), she and her new husband Rich hired her ex, J. Christophe (J.C.), to build it out in wood as a rental unit (particularly catered to those hiking the “Way of Saint James” pilgrimage route). When J.C. needed a place for his own family to live, they moved in for a year, and Prâan spent alternating weeks living in the bus with her dad, step-mother, and little sister.

When Lou and Rich wanted to save money to travel, they rented out their caretaker cottage for the summer and moved into a vintage camper that they parked next to the old bread oven and lived there for two months. They created an outdoor living room (with indoor furniture under the overhang of the bread oven) and used a pump-style camping shower for bathing.

The family doesn’t have a television or computer and choose to spend more time reading or in the surrounding nature, but when Rich wanted a place to watch Patriot’s games, the couple hired J.C. again to transform an old horse trailer into a two-story tiny house on wheels. This man cave now serves as a rental in the warmer months.

This year the family will add their newest member (Lou is pregnant with her second child Jío), and they have converted Prâan’s closet into his bedroom. The end goal is to save enough money to convert the main home (now rented) into something suited to their future family of four.

More info:

  • Lou and Rich’s tiny house rentals: intothewild.location@gmail.com
  • J.C.’s woodworking: sowoodconcept@outlook.fr