Smaller dream house replaces home lost to fire

At first glance, the home seems so small that it must be an optical illusion -- but it isn't.

On the ashes of their dream home lost during the Lower North Fork Fire, Kristen Moeller and David Cottrell now live in a 500 square foot house.  Their solar panels are nearly as big.

"Most people, most average Americans and most of our friends, nobody lives in something this small, so people say, 'How are you doing it?' Moeller said.

After the 2012 fire, the couple sifted through the ashes of their home and wondered if they would rebuild.

"It was probably one of the worst day's I've ever had," Cottrell said. "Every time we would come in we'd drive in and I'd just get this knot in my stomach."

For a time, they lived in an Airstream trailer on the land, until the idea for their tiny home.

Now, Moeller and Cottrell live in the highly-efficient two-story home. The floor plan includes a kitchen, loft bedroom, bathroom and two offices. It also boasts radiant heating and a wood-burning stove.

"The first time it was forced upon us. It happened (and) we lost everything. This time, we are choosing what matters to us, what we want to keep," Moeller said.

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