Meredith Stannard, 66, knew she would be retiring this year, but instead of selling their house and moving into a retirement community, she and her partner had another plan.
The couple did downsize, but they took it to an extreme by moving into a 613-square-foot tiny home in the backyard of her daughter, Drew, and son-in-law’s house in Seattle.
“Everybody was curious,” Stannard said of her former co-workers. “I started doing these happy hours where I’d have one or two people over at a time. There’s a lot of buzz with people wondering if they could do this too.”
Drew said that when she first shared the idea with her friends, the reactions were mixed.
“When I told friends, their reaction was either, ‘That’s so wonderful, wish I could do that with my family,’ or ‘Oh my god, you’re crazy, I could never do that with my parents,’” said Drew. “You know whether or not it would work for you and your family.”
The family first toyed with the idea of having a “granny pod” about three years ago when Drew and her husband, Jacob, were buying a house. The couple eventually found a large enough property to fit a tiny cottage.
“Drew’s an only child and we’re very close, very direct with one other, but we wanted to make sure Jacob was absolutely on board,” explained Stannard. “We made sure that they were sure before we even contacted the architect.”
The retiree has since moved into the house and the family dynamic couldn’t be better.
The family worked with many different contractors to bring their vision to life, and they furnished the home with items from retailers that make furniture for smaller spaces.
The final result is amazing.
The tiny home or “granny pod” trend has gained popularity among the Baby Boomer population in the last few years, especially as the housing market in metropolitan cities continue to get more expensive.
Stannard and her partner enlisted the help of Bruce Parker, owner of Microhouse, a company that specializes in designing small houses and custom backyard cottages. Together they built a two-story cottage modeled to complement Drew and Jacob’s house.
The abode features one bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room and a fully equipped kitchen.
Downsizing from a 1,300 square-foot home to a granny pod was no easy task for Stannard and her partner.
“We brought 40 boxes ahead of the moving company and when we put them in living room it was like what were we thinking?” Stannard recalled.
However, they’re happy to have found a home near their family, especially since they’re about to become grandparents. Drew and Jacob are expecting their first child in May, and the mom-to-be is grateful to have her parents nearby.
“That intergenerational connection is important,” said Drew. Stannard agreed, adding, “I see lots of Baby Boomers pushing strollers in this neighborhood. They probably have to commute to push the stroller and we won’t have to!”