Built by a Bold Woman, This Wee House in North Carolina Is a Perfect Getaway

  • Covered Porch

    Covered Porch

  • Open Living Space

    Open Living Space

  • Outdoor Space

    Outdoor Space

Brasstown, NC, is known for "two things," according to Realtor Susan Christensen: the John C. Campbell Folk School and the New Year's Eve Opossum drop. (Yes, really.) But it should be known for one more tiny detail: namely, the location of a tiny house, built single-handedly by carpenter and owner Melissa Vines. The sweet house is now on the market for $120,000.

"This is where you come when you say, 'Stop the world, I want to get off,'" Christensen says of the town. And the 480-square-foot wood cabin just might be the perfect getaway retreat.

Located on 2 acres of woodsy land, with a creek nearby, the private spot could work as a year-round hideaway or a vacation home.

Vines, who lived in the one-bedroom, one-bathroom home full time, first camped in a trailer on the land she had purchased. "I decided I wanted to get away from the city and came up here," Vines recalls.

The Atlanta native had worked on home remodels and restorations since 1981. But this was her first home build, and it took 21 months. She completed it in 2005.

She did enlist her sister, "who is pretty rough and tough too," to help with the roofing and an electrical engineer to do the wiring. Otherwise, the cabin -- from the kitchen to the bathroom to the 14-foot ceiling in the living space -- was put together by Vines. "I did it by myself. That was when I was younger," says Vines, 56. "It was fun."

"She's one of the best carpenters you've ever seen," Christensen says of the owner. "She's very proud of her work. She's really, really particular." For example, Vines won't use a nail gun, so every board is either screwed in or hammered. Reclaimed wood beams, a farmhouse door, and locally sourced wood for the interior walls give the cabin a rustic appeal.

Vines' favorite space in the home is the covered porch. "It's like a little outdoor room, very peaceful, and it looks out on the creek. You can hear it. It's really woodsy, and it's comfortable. I sleep out there in the summertime. It's like an inside room that's outside."

The listing agent notes that the outdoor space is key, given the tiny size of the house. "This is for a minimalist," she says. Downsizing is a must, as well as being able to cohabitate in tight quarters. "If you're not single, you'd better get along really well with whoever you're living with."

Of course, with the small house comes a small price, a selling point that has already led to inquiries on the listing. "People are just tired of living to pay bills. The smaller the house is, the smaller your bills are. It's so minimal. It's ridiculously low," the agent says. Annual taxes for the home are under $300.

A wood stove heats the home in the winter, and air conditioning is not needed during the summer. The climate is "pretty temperate," Christensen says.

After over a decade of country living, Vines is moving on, perhaps to build another tiny home in a less rural setting. If so, she ponders getting more help during construction. "It couldn't hurt," she says.