Mona Cossitt was living small before tiny homes were trendy. Ten years ago, prior to HGTV television shows and documentaries chronicling the intrigue of downsizing (way down), she moved into a 225-square-foot cottage in Accomac on the Eastern Shore.
A change in her life plan inspired the simplification and transition from Richmond to rural country life, where she spent nearly four years sharing the tiny but charming abode with three sons 5 and under. Her saving grace was that the home sits on a 50-acre working farm, and she says the boys spent most of their days outdoors.
But whether she was outside or in, Mona, a work-from-home website designer, speaks fondly about living full time in the “Little Red House.”
“Instead of paying a mortgage, I socked away money,” she says. “It was easy to clean, and I was outside and socialized more.”
Mona says she entertained frequently, though hot plate cooking turned every meal into a three-course operation. “For breakfast, I’d deliver the bacon first, then the eggs next and so forth,” Mona jokes.
Though her growing boys eventually necessitated a move to a newly constructed (and much larger) home next door, Mona says that due to living small, she learned many lessons about material possessions that you really don’t need.
“You can’t have a Costco membership living here,” she says. “Every couple of months I needed to purge, and all I bought had to have at least two uses.”
Other keys to making a small home manageable, she says, are a lot of natural light, cathedral ceilings, bright colors and a full-sized bathroom. You can find all of these elements in Little Red House, which includes just two very well-purposed rooms.
The main living space (aka kitchen/bedroom/living room) feels bright and airy, with a high porthole window, pops of blue and lime green decorative accents, heart pine barn floors and a bright white, custom wooden bunk bed that fits a queen size mattress on the bottom and twin on top.
A few steps from the bed, a newly remodeled kitchen is outfitted with a microwave, fridge, light-colored Atlantic Granite & Tile countertop and Kevin Daley oak cabinets with a driftwood stain.
And just a few feet from the kitchen, a bathroom with bronze fixtures and an old dresser converted to a vanity offers a 4-foot-wide shower and standard-sized toilet.
Outside, a cute home is made even more adorable with red HardiePlank siding and trim and windows, doors, decking and custom window boxes, all by Delisle Custom Homes.
Nestled between farm fields, woods, salt marsh and creek, time outdoors is a must here in a hammock, around the fire pit or simply sitting and soaking in the wide open space and break from noise. Mona says the cottage and property’s appeal to people looking to “get away from it all” led her to list Little Red House on Airbnb a few years ago as a vacation and weekend rental spot. She says it mainly attracts folks from big cities looking for some revitalizing time away.
“It caters to people looking to see something different,” she says. “They want to have a more authentic experience and are tired of franchises and chains.”
Mona can relate. She says despite enjoying the spacious residence she shares with her now much older (and bigger) boys, she wouldn’t hesitate to go small and go home once again.
“I call it my tricked out RV or Manhattan studio apartment,” she says of Little Red House. “I love it, and if it was just me, I’d still live there.”