First Community Foundation Administrator Cindy Sue Gepfert stands with Trent Haery of Modern Tiny Living outside of her tiny house. The home was recently displayed for students of Wellington School in Upper Arlington. Photograph by Michael Barber

Story and Photo by Michael Barber

They go by many names; The Little Blue House, Yellow Door House and The Latibule (small hiding place).

But for a growing number of tiny house enthusiasts, including First Community Foundation Administrator Cindy Sue Gepfert, they simply call it, home.

Within 230 square feet, roughly the size of an average bedroom in most houses, Cindy Sue enjoys all the comforts of civilized living. A kitchen with oversized sink, sofa, washer-dryer, bathroom and sleeping loft – all nestled in neatly and with purpose.

“I was just fascinated by the concept,” Cindy Sue said. “I challenged myself asking, ‘How many things do I need to live with?’ I liked the simplicity of it, the quaintness of it.” In a moment of personal reflection five years ago, Cindy Sue attended a tiny house seminar in Texas. She aspired to build one on her own. Five years later, on New Year’s Day 2017, she watched a tiny house special on HGTV where Modern Tiny Living, a Columbus, Ohio builder, was featured. She learned that their model was for sale.

“The model looked like it had enough of the things I wanted. I had researched enough to know what my priorities were, so I bought it.” The tiny house came with its own name, The Mohican. It’s maximum road width of 8.5 feet sits atop a 4-wheel trailer, easily pulled by a large pickup truck and any driver patient enough to endure top freeway speeds of 45 mph.

The windows are all screened, allowing a nice cross breeze in the summer. Heat comes by way of electric units and stoves are fired by portable propane. Although some tiny house residents prefer to live “off the grid”, water and electric hookups are common. Cindy Sue’s mobile dwelling will soon rest on a new 3.5-acre community named Cedar Springs Tiny Village, the first of its type. It borders a 15-acre pond and is located in New Paris, Ohio, about 100 miles west of Columbus. She will be the first official resident of the village that will soon play host to her 25 to 30 neighbors.

“When I started looking at tiny houses, it was all about me and my house,” she said. “Now it’s about sharing, educating and building community. Now that I have mine, I need to make good use of it. You have to have a purpose.”

Cindy Sue is looking forward to spending more time in her itty-bitty abode.

“People kiddingly say that I live in my kitchen,” she said. “Now, I’m actually going to live in my kitchen! Not all of life happens indoors. If you’re an outdoor person, why spend all of your money on a mortgage?”