NELSON COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - Paul and Katie Wheatley and their two dogs have enjoyed their 2,100-square-foot home for the past few years, welcoming foreign exchange students to live in their Nelson County home.
There’s a map in their living room with red, white and green pins on it on dozens of different countries around the world.
“The red ones are the kids we’ve hosted, white is where we’ve been and green is our next trip,” Katie explained.
Five or six years ago, Paul and Katie talked about downsizing—maybe transitioning into a tiny home—but for several years nothing happened. It wasn’t until a year ago that they finally decided it was time.
“I said, ‘Are we going to be the type of people that just talk about it forever and never do it? Or are we going to do it?’" Katie recalled. “And the next weekend, he went and picked up the trailer.”
Over the past year, the Wheatleys teamed up with Casey Clark at Clarkmanship to build a tiny home.
“I wanted to be debt free and travel,” Katie said. “So those are things that it was worth giving up everything we have to consolidate here to have those goals."
Over the past year, they have gotten rid of a lot of stuff because now they’re consolidating into an 8-by-24-foot home.
“You’re only in one room at a time anyways,” Katie said. “It sounds a lot smaller. I think once you’re in here it feels big though.”
Paul said getting rid of stuff hasn’t been too hard.
“I look at it like do I really, really need this?” he said.
They haven’t moved in just yet—they’ve been traveling to different tiny living festivals to show off the new space.
When you walk in the door of the tiny home, you see the kitchen, with a refrigerator, sink, shelving, cabinets and a toaster oven. To the left, is a couch, with storage bins under the cushions. The couch can convert to a guest bed, too, if needed. Above the couch, is the king size bed on a pulley system that they can move up toward the ceiling for added space.
On the opposite side, through a barn door, there is the bathroom and some closet space. The Wheatleys say it’s about living a more sustainable lifestyle.
“It lowers our carbon footprint," Katie said. "It allows us to be more mindful.”
They still have some finishing touches to add to the home and to move some stuff in. They are also waiting for their 2,100-square-foot home to sell, and their last two foreign exchange students to finish up the summer here.