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Living large

The Tiny Pad Airbnb in Austin, TX paired with Lalesso Kufanua Playsuit.

The Tiny Pad Airbnb in Austin, TX paired with Lalesso Kufanua Playsuit.

Size matters: Tiny rules. A statement writ large by my stay in this decidedly small Airbnb in East Austin. By design, this 96 ft2 roost perfectly suits its surrounds – a city backyard populated by agave plants, string lights and two smiley dogs, Muddy Waters and Penny Lane.

The Tiny Pad is independence incarnate: owner Denise bought the property with an Airbnb revenue stream in mind and turned to Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses of Durango, CO for a custom design. In a matter of months, the house was parked in its habitat and open to overnighters, allowing Denise to remain self-employed and guests to explore Austin from an inspired, unencumbered launchpad.

A consummate host, Denise has thought of everything from the hanging couch that allows for suitcase storage to the OJ and English muffins in the vintage cobalt fridge. Nothing is spared or extraneous: Built atop a 12-foot trailer, the tiny house puzzles together a kitchen, bathroom, living space, storage stairs and a sleeping loft – all laced with steampunk, industrial flare (pipe fixtures, sliding barnwood door, machine-age lights). The space itself feels like an organism you coexist with: I found myself more aware of my footprint, more consciously careful and tidy. Living large by living light (though bundled up: it was too cold outside to pair the tiny house with a tiny, equally-ethical romper). After my Tiny Pad stint, I believe in another mantra: Keep Austin weird. And vanguard.

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