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  4. I'm a New Yorker who stayed in a tiny house for the first time. The cozy experience made me want to give up city life forever.

I'm a New Yorker who stayed in a tiny house for the first time. The cozy experience made me want to give up city life forever.

Erin McDowell   

I'm a New Yorker who stayed in a tiny house for the first time. The cozy experience made me want to give up city life forever.
After staying in a tiny house in North Carolina for the first time, this New Yorker thought it was comfortable enough for an extended stay.Erin McDowell/Business Insider
  • I'm a New Yorker who stayed in a tiny house for the first time during a trip to North Carolina.
  • The house was located in rural Efland, North Carolina, and was a perfect retreat from city life.

I traveled from New York to North Carolina to try out the local food scene and explore some real estate.

During the trip, I decided to stay in a tiny house for the first time to see if it was something I'd do again.

I have become quite accustomed to the comforts of city life. However, I grew up on a farm in England and then another in Connecticut, so I was interested to see whether the more rustic lifestyle could tempt me to leave New York, where rent prices are becoming increasingly untenable.

According to one recent report, the average rental price for a one-bedroom in New York City is a staggering $3,775 a month. Suddenly, living in a rural tiny house is sounding a lot more appealing.

Here's what it was like.

I arrived at the tiny house in Efland, North Carolina, on a hot summer afternoon.

I arrived at the tiny house in Efland, North Carolina, on a hot summer afternoon.
The chicken coop.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Before my arrival, I was notified of where to park and the passcode to get into the "tiny getaway."

When I arrived, I could see the chicken coop and sprawling garden. The Airbnb listing had said the property was home to multiple chickens, so it recommended I should wear sensible shoes — and it warned me to watch where I stepped.

The house was listed on Airbnb when I visited, but appears to no longer be available to rent through the website.

One of the owners of the tiny house was gardening when I arrived.

One of the owners of the tiny house was gardening when I arrived.
The garden at the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

After introducing myself, I walked down the short path to the tiny house. I only had a duffel bag with me — if I'd had multiple rolling suitcases, that might have been a little more troublesome.

When I arrived, the tiny house looked even more quaint in person.

When I arrived, the tiny house looked even more quaint in person.
The outside of the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The house was painted a cheerful blue color with a yellow door. It was nestled among the trees a short distance from the owners' house.

Fairy lights were strung outside the front door, with a few signs indicating where to walk. However, I found that getting from one point of the property to my car or the surrounding nature was self-explanatory.

There was a bench with colorful cushions outside the tiny house.

There was a bench with colorful cushions outside the tiny house.
The outside of the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

This would have been a great spot to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. However, I'm not a huge fan of getting bitten by mosquitoes and other bugs, and this was simply unavoidable in such a rural setting. There was bug spray provided, which helped, but I still didn't find myself wanting to spend extended periods of time outdoors.

After using the code to get into the tiny house, I took some time to look around.

After using the code to get into the tiny house, I took some time to look around.
Inside the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

There were hooks on either side of the door to hang my jacket and handbag. A bright-red sheer curtain covered the door, adding privacy and color to the space.

I spotted a daybed covered with colorful blankets and pillows.

I spotted a daybed covered with colorful blankets and pillows.
The daybed.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The daybed offered additional sleeping arrangements if you had more than two guests, or if you didn't want to use the lofted bedroom up a somewhat steep spiral staircase. I mainly ended up using the daybed as a couch for watching movies or reading when I wasn't out reporting.

Before coming to the tiny house, I worried about how comfortable I would be in such a rural setting. However, touches throughout made me feel right at home.

Before coming to the tiny house, I worried about how comfortable I would be in such a rural setting. However, touches throughout made me feel right at home.
A shelf with fake candles and a reed diffuser.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The place smelled absolutely amazing thanks to a reed diffuser on the first floor, and a remote-controlled AC unit near the ceiling allowed me a refuge from the humid North Carolina summer weather.

The most stunning part about the tiny house, I thought, was the view.

The most stunning part about the tiny house, I thought, was the view.
The table and stools inside the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Large windows on the side of the house gave me a perfect look into the surrounding woods. I felt like I was in a treehouse, with all the comforts of a real house. There was a high-top table with two stools that I ended up eating dinner and breakfast at, which I really enjoyed.

The tiny house had a full-size kitchen and everything you needed to make a meal.

The tiny house had a full-size kitchen and everything you needed to make a meal.
The kitchen.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I was pleasantly surprised to find the tiny house had full-size appliances — this definitely isn't always a given in a pint-size dwelling.

Just like with the rest of the house, handmade elements really added to the experience.

Just like with the rest of the house, handmade elements really added to the experience.
The kitchen.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Rustic wood shelves housed all the dishes, which mainly came in sets of twos. Built-in shelving contained all the spices you could need to make a meal.

The owners also left me some farm-fresh eggs from their own chickens.

The owners also left me some farm-fresh eggs from their own chickens.
Fresh eggs left in the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I thought this was a really unique touch and made me feel at home with the surrounding animals and nature.

There was no dishwasher in the tiny house, but there was a large farm sink.

There was no dishwasher in the tiny house, but there was a large farm sink.
The kitchen sink.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

There was dish soap available in a mason jar-shaped holder, which I thought was a cute rustic-inspired touch.

On a bookshelf, a welcome book listed the house rules and gave some recommendations for things to do in the area.

On a bookshelf, a welcome book listed the house rules and gave some recommendations for things to do in the area.
A bookshelf with the welcome book.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The book included a map of the property, what to do before checking out, and a list of restaurants, shops, hikes, and other activities to check out while staying there.

String lights were hung throughout the space, giving the house a warm, inviting glow.

String lights were hung throughout the space, giving the house a warm, inviting glow.
The spiral staircase leading up to the loft.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Off the main living space and the kitchen were the small office space and the bathroom.

A wooden desk overlooked the front of the property.

A wooden desk overlooked the front of the property.
The office area of the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

During my free time, I used the space to read and work on my computer. I imagined this house would make for a perfect writer's retreat, free from any city noise or outside distractions.

There was also a large armoire and two chairs inside the office space for more clothing storage and seating.

The bathroom was the smallest space in the house.

The bathroom was the smallest space in the house.
A tile mosaic on the floor of the bathroom.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

There was a tile mosaic depicting a sun on the concrete floor of the bathroom — something designed by the owners, I presumed.

There was a small bathroom sink that worked perfectly for one person.

There was a small bathroom sink that worked perfectly for one person.
The bathroom.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

However, I imagined it would be next to impossible for two people to squeeze into the small space in the morning. There was also no large bathroom mirror located directly above the sink, thanks to the window that overlooked the property. Instead, there was one located just to the left of it, in addition to a smaller makeup mirror.

I found the space comfortable enough to do some light makeup, but I decided to just keep my beauty routine really simple while I was there. I didn't even attempt to blow dry or style my hair while I was there, so I'm not sure what that would entail.

One of the most interesting parts of staying in the tiny house was the shower.

One of the most interesting parts of staying in the tiny house was the shower.
The galvanized bathtub.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

When I arrived, I took note of the galvanized tub. It was a hand-rigged shower using reclaimed pipes and operated by a water heater.

When I ended up using the shower before going to dinner, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to operate. To get hot water in the shower, I was instructed in the welcome manual to first turn the hot water on from the sink, and then adjust the now turned-on electric water heater to my desired temperature.

I thought the water pressure was fantastic, although the shower water hitting the bottom of the tub was very loud. It was also a little cramped and required stepping in and out of the high edges of the tub. If you're less able than I am, this might pose a bit of an issue.

After settling into the house, I decided to take a spin around the property right outside.

After settling into the house, I decided to take a spin around the property right outside.
Chickens walking outside the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

When I stepped outside, I noticed three of the property's chickens had gathered near the porch. One ended up digging a spot to sit in the dirt, while the others pecked at the ground near the tiny house and in the surrounding wooded areas.

I also saw a black-and-white cat, who was friendly enough to let me pet them. I grew up on a farm with chickens, so I felt comfortable being near them. However, I didn't get too close in order to not frighten them away.

There were two red Adirondack chairs facing the woods and the nearby creek.

There were two red Adirondack chairs facing the woods and the nearby creek.
Chairs set up outside the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The tiny house's yard was well-maintained and simply beautiful.

A short walk away from the house, there was a babbling creek and a hammock.

A short walk away from the house, there was a babbling creek and a hammock.
A hammock hung up near the creek.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I came out here once in the morning to drink my coffee and enjoy some serenity in nature. As someone who usually wakes up and immediately jumps in to work or scrolls on my phone, this felt like a much-needed break.

When dinnertime rolled around, I decided to take a drive into the nearest town to get some takeout.

When dinnertime rolled around, I decided to take a drive into the nearest town to get some takeout.
A street in downtown Hillsborough, North Carolina.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Downtown Hillsborough, North Carolina, was located about 10 minutes from the house and offered shops, restaurants, and more. I placed my dinner order over the phone, and it was ready by the time I hopped in my car and arrived at the restaurant.

After parking my car in a large lot, I walked down the street to pick up my dinner.

After parking my car in a large lot, I walked down the street to pick up my dinner.
A street in downtown Hillsborough, North Carolina.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

On the way, I passed galleries, stores, and a cute wine shop, where I picked up a bottle of local rosé. I decided to order spaghetti and meatballs, plus a side of Gruyere mashed potatoes, from Antonia's Restaurant, a local Italian eatery.

When I returned to the tiny house, food in hand, I set up a movie on my laptop and ate at the table.

When I returned to the tiny house, food in hand, I set up a movie on my laptop and ate at the table.
My laptop displaying a movie and a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

There's no television in the tiny house, but I didn't mind that. I decided to watch "Twilight," which was a perfect choice given the many trees surrounding me.

The food was absolutely delicious. It was a perfect cozy night in.

After eating dinner and changing into my pajamas, I settled into bed for the night.

After eating dinner and changing into my pajamas, I settled into bed for the night.
A sign notifying guests to turn the lights off before going to bed.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

A sign near the door explained I should turn off all the lights before going to bed in order to avoid disturbing "the natural flow of wildlife." I thought this was really nice and made me reconsider how I usually live and its impact on nature. That was one of the biggest takeaways from my stay — the owners of the tiny house clearly work with nature, rather than against it.

After climbing up the spiral staircase to the lofted bedroom, I made sure to watch my head on the low ceiling.

After climbing up the spiral staircase to the lofted bedroom, I made sure to watch my head on the low ceiling.
A sign in the lofted bedroom telling guests to watch their heads.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I'm not especially tall, but I nearly bumped my head a few times climbing up and down from the bedroom.

The bedroom is pretty high up, with some branches acting as a barrier between the lofted area and the downstairs.

The bedroom is pretty high up, with some branches acting as a barrier between the lofted area and the downstairs.
The view from the lofted bedroom.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

This space is probably most suitable for adults, simply for safety reasons.

The bedroom was super cozy and comfortable.

The bedroom was super cozy and comfortable.
The bed.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Some fairy lights added even more ambiance to the room, while windows on the side of the bed and directly across from it gave even more views into the surrounding nature.

Before drifting off to sleep, I found myself more relaxed than I had been in a very long time. I've stayed in quite a few Airbnbs, but I'd never stayed in one that made me feel so peaceful and at home.

The bed was comfortable, and I slept through the night effortlessly, with no roommates or cars honking outside to wake me.

When I woke up on my last morning there, I was sad to be leaving.

When I woke up on my last morning there, I was sad to be leaving.
The path leading out of the tiny house.      Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I really connected with this way of life, from the animals on the property to the handmade touches throughout the home, which gave me insight into who the owners were and what they valued.

The peace I felt staying in the tiny house outweighed any desire for more space. While some areas were cramped — and I don't know if I'd want to duck my head every time I went into my bedroom — I realized all of these negatives were combated by the near-magical feeling I got every time I walked back into the tiny house.

I only wish that my stay had been longer, so I could have done more activities and soaked up the peace for a few more nights.

Every tiny home is unique, but I would definitely stay in one again. I would also book another stay at this tiny getaway in a heartbeat the next time it's available and I need a weekend away from the city.

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