Share, source and sigh over all things vintage

Tag Archives: tiny house

There is a type of person who aspires to live in weird places.

Like, a lighthouse, say.

Or, a converted barn.

Who me?

Yes me, but not just me.  There are other weirdos about.

Behold the Tiny House movement.

Naturally, I would love a Tiny House.

Of course, a vintage Boler is really a kind of Tiny House.

Our vintage Boler travel trailer with awning up, rug and chairs in front, door open


Arlo Guthrie memorialized the cool, weird house back in the 1960s with his song, “Alice’s Restaurant” in which Alice, Ray, and Potcho the Dog lived in an old church.

My dad introduced me to the song when I was about 12.  As an adult, my friend and fellow Alice’s Restaurant fan, Bamboo Guy, even owned a church that was very swoon-y.  Bruce Cockburn lives there now and how cool is that?

I’ve wanted to live in a church ever since.

And, even before.

In fact, my fascination with weird houses manifested itself as a child when, with every snowstorm, I attempted to build a house made from snow.

Unfortunately, I never learned the Inuit tradition of igloos (although I tried to build one many times!)

Usually, it was just me and my sister with shovels and soggy mittens, making a hole in the snow bank at the end of our driveway and trying to pretend that the result was a cozy as a Hobbit house.

In a melty, collapse-on-your-head kind of way.

My mother was concerned (as all Canadian mothers were) that the snowplow driver would kill us, by accident, with all that gallivanting at the street side.

That meant, my other option was an old margarine container in the back yard.

I would pack the snow in the container tightly, then tip it out carefully on the ground.

Sometimes, it was that dumb sugary snow that wouldn’t hold together.

Boo, hoo, hoo.

Other times, it was close to Spring and my “bricks” had a lot of leaves and twigs in the mix.

It marred the pristine, crystalline, margarine beauty I was going for, but I tried to just pretended it was mortar.

I wonder if Frank Lloyd Wright ever had these kinds of issues?

I’d lay out the floor plan:  kitchen here, library here, secret passageways there.

My projects always seemed to cover the whole back yard.

Not one able to keep to minimalism even then, no siree.

Which meant that either I got discouraged, or the snow melted before my margarine-tub-formed walls were more than about ankle height.

As an adult, I drag Practical Man around to look at every weird building I can find.

Yesterday’s schoolhouse was very fun.

Historic brick schoolhouse front with bell tower

Built in 1847, it counts as “very old” among buildings in Canada.

It was kind of in the boonies, of course, since that’s where country schoolhouses tend to spring up.

It still had slate chalkboards.

Original slate blackboards with wood wainscotting below

Be still my heart.

There were tin ceilings in what used to be the girl’s and boy’s entrance foyers.   Oh yes, they were of a time:

tin ceilings - scrolly square pattern

And the original schoolhouse lights (SIX!):

Wooden floors, blackboards, view of one schoolhouse light on the ceiling

Swoon-y swoon, swoon.

As you may have observed, it even had a bell tower.

Ding, ding, ding!

Minus the bell, but I’m sure we could remedy that.

Alas, it had a bidding war planned for Monday and about 10 years of hard labour involved after purchase.

Boo, hoo, hoo.

One of the things stopping me from buying some of these weird buildings (besides a usefully-practical Practical Man) is their one-room schoolhouse size.

Since we can’t usually afford the life-size ones that don’t have 10 years of hard labour, I’ve been collecting small buildings.

Fisher Price vintage ones.

I’m sure you guessed that’s what I meant, since I have no children and I’m pushing 50.

They do take up a bit of space, as you can imagine.

So far, I have a castle:

vintage fisher price castle with Queen and Princess standing on the drawbridge

A farm:

Vintage Fisher Price farm with animals, silo, and farmer driving tractor

Sesame Street:

Vintage Fisher Price Sesame Street with garbage truck, The Count, Mrs and Mr. Hooper, Ernie

an A-frame Cottage:

Vintage Fisher Price A Frame Cottage with RV

A Firehouse:

Vintage Fisher Price fire station with fire trucks, ladder truck, ambulance, police car

and perhaps best of all,

the School house:

Fisher Price Schoolhouse with bus, swing set, merry go round

This Schoolhouse was the perfect price and size.

It even has a bell in the bell tower.



Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Banana, who?

I interrupt this vintage joke to ask an important question:

Do you like orange?

It seems like one of those colours that people have a love it or hate it thing for.

Christine wearing an orange and burgundy striped hat and burnt orange scarf.

Lately, I’ve been cozied up in this burnt orange scarf.

I’m on the side of love it.  Maybe that’s because I learned the magical, mystical power of orange when my friend, Grover, introduced me to Ugly Orange Sweater, way back in 1986.

Y’see, not only is orange the colour of creamsicles and beach vacation toenail polish, it is one of the few colours Grover can really identify, on account of the fact that he has colour blindness.

And, even though he is super talented and great at lots of things including but not limited to gift giving and swinging on non-pinchy-bum swings, Grover couldn’t really appreciate the nuances of periwinkle blue, Tiffany blue, or the colour of a certain Leonard Cohen raincoat.

So, orange it was.

Then came the day that his mom (if I’m remembering the legend correctly) knitted him a gigantic orange sweater.  It was (let me emphasize again) gigantic and orange and the wool kind of pilled up and the sweater ended up looking like a gigantic and orange, wearable muppet.  Grover (who I also think of as a lovely, wearable muppet, hence his nom de plum) named it Ugly Orange Sweater (U.O.S.) and it became a Thing.

If you don’t get the significance of a Thing to teenagers, you need to stop everything and read more John Green books.

Anyway, ever since 1986, I have loved Grover and U.O.S. and orange.

I found these two melamine plates recently and even though I have enough vintage melamine to host the entire cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show, they had to come home with me.

On account of the orange.

melamine plate with orange funky flower design

Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Even though I keep putting “tiny house” pics on Pinterest and we’re supposed to be downsizing, not bringing even more stuff that Practical Man gave away in 1976, into the house.  And, even though the orange in these awesome plates is not really the same colour as the orange in U.O.S.


These are vintage Maplex (from Toronto, Canada).  And, even though I’m definitely down-sizing, I just love their funky, flower-power motif.

Of course I do.

They go so well with the vintage daisy Pyrex (that my friend Shades gave me) and the vintage orange melamine (that we found in the melamine-mecca of Ompah, Ontario two years ago) and the little Japanese creamer that almost looks like the same flower-power pattern (that I found for 10 cents on a sunny morning of yard sale-ing with my sister-in-law in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, four years ago).

Vintage pyrex bowls with daisy lids; orange melamine coffee cups and plates

It’s as if they were all meant to be together, from the beginning.  So, if you happen to find this Maplex pattern anywhere (I can’t find it, even online), please save it for me because, these would look great in our vintage Boler trailer.

Yes Indeedy, I am incurable.

It might be Grover’s fault.  Too much cozy orange scarf and not enough non-pinchy-bum swings or U.O.S. sightings.

Or something.

But in the end, all that really matters, of course, is:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Orange who?

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?!


Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet