Little is the New Large: A Tiny Home with a Big Message

A Tiny Home with a Big Message

by Whitney Leigh Morris


I live in a tiny home. I moved here four years ago, not because I was on a minimizing-mission, and not because it was the “on-trend” thing to do. I don’t even consider myself a minimalist per se. I simply fell in love with the space. I had no idea that it would ultimately change not only my entire outlook on life, but also  completely reroute my professional career.

My Tiny Canal Cottage, located in Venice Beach, California, is just 362 square feet. That’s roughly the size of a standard two-car garage. It’s my office, studio, and living space, and I share it with my fiancé, Adam, and our beagle-mix, Stanlee. Thanks to editorial coverage, creative collaborations, and the power of Instagram (#TheTinyCanalCottage), the Cottage is now widely known by individuals and businesses around the world. And while I am still madly in love with my home, I must admit that it isn’t this exact space that has captured everyone’s attention. It’s the message within the space that resonates with audiences: We don’t have to live large to live beautifully.  


"We don’t have to live large to live beautifully." 

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For decades we’ve been inundated with the message that bigger is better, and that full, successful lives are measured by large homes, expensive cars, extravagant vacations, and numerous belongings. To each his or her own, but I personally am delighted by the recent shift towards finding fulfillment in simplicity.

Let me be very clear—I am not demonizing larger homes nor lifestyles that differ from my own. (I was raised on a 10 acre wildlife preserve, and my favorite place to live/work when I’m not at my cottage is an insanely gorgeous rustic castle in France, so I can hardly claim that my entire life fits into 362 square feet.) But I’ve never felt happier and more balanced than I do while “living little” with my guys in our mini-home.

Downsizing my possessions allowed me to focus on exploring new projects and endeavors, and gave me a mental clarity that resulted in discovering the love of my life, enjoying a lack of jealousy or resentment over other people’s lives, and experiencing ever-increasing success with my small business.

As the economy continues to shift and the freelancer community expands, presumably more and more people will find themselves operating predominantly from live-work spaces. Thanks to the capabilities of our latest gadgets, most of us no longer need dedicated offices in order to properly do our jobs. 

(I routinely fit up to three comfortable workstations in the Cottage with ease. See here & here.)

I challenge anyone who is thinking of downsizing to take the plunge. Truly commit to it, and I believe you’ll find pride and remarkable joy in the mindful curation of your belongings, and in divesting the weight of the unnecessary.

Whitney Leigh Morris is a firm believer that you don’t have to “live large” to live beautifully. She operates her creative consulting firm from her 362 sq. ft. #TheTinyCanalCottage in Venice Beach, California, where she is dedicated to making life—even the little things—delightful, thoughtful and meaningful. Her company specializes in simple style for small spaces, gatherings, and visual content, and has recently been featured via Domino, One Kings Lane, Design Sponge, CB2, Urban Decay, and more. She’s a must-follow @whitneyleighmorris.