Is a village of tiny houses the ideal setup for life with teenagers?
It seems to be working well for the Brinks family, that’s for sure. They moved from Michigan to London, Kentucky, in 2015 to build a village of tiny homes — one for parents Keli and Ryan, one for each of their kids and a few outbuildings.
That’s right: Brodey, age 16, and Lennox, 18, have their own homes. The choice was deliberate, according to Keli Brinks, who spoke to Insider about their unusual lifestyle.
“Initially, my husband wanted us all together in one cabin, but I argued on behalf of the kids for their own privacy,” she said.
The 21-acre property cost the family $57,000, and the six tiny houses cost $6,000. The kids have 160 square feet in their living spaces, with lofted beds, a small living area and room for a little storage. The parents have a larger home, at 280 square feet, with a full bathroom and a good-sized kitchen. They pay about $200 in utilities a month.
Lennox has been sharing their home village on TikTok to her hundreds of thousands of followers. She gave a nickel tour of the village, including a quick look inside her house, on the social media platform:
@lennoxbrinksVILLAGE TOUR! i’m gonna go live tonight at 9pm eastern time so come ask me questions! #foryou #fyp♬ original sound – lennoxbrinks
Lennox is now a college student at the University of Kentucky and just comes home to visit on the weekends, but she seems to love the place. Here’s a glimpse of her brother’s house:
@lennoxbrinks3 down, 4 to go. #foryoupage #foryou #fyp #TheReplay #StayFresh #friendsgiving♬ demarcus makes bedroom pop – childbride
And here’s Lennox’s house when she’s got company:
@lennoxbrinksnew year, same tiny house. happy new year! thank you for all the support💛#goodbye2019 #fyp #foryoupage #foryou♬ Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Everyone gets their privacy — but there is one challenge for the kids. Their houses don’t have bathrooms, so they have to run outside to a separate bathroom structure.
“That was the scariest part in the beginning, when I’d have to go to the bathroom,” Lennox told “Today.”
The bathroom-house has two bathrooms and also has a wee bedroom, turning it into a private guest house. Check it out, via Lennox’s TikTok:
@lennoxbrinksbefore you ask, yes it’s scary to run over at night #xmasballin #lastminutexmas #foryou #foryoupage #fyp♬ Im in the ghetto remix by htttp.audio – mukhtarhuh
Even though the houses are tiny, there’s still room for a touch of luxury. The Brinks’s family village has a pool! And the pool house also serves as a gathering place for the whole clan. Another extremely tiny house functions as an office for parents Keli and Ryan to occasionally work from home.
So, why did the Brinks family take such an unconventional path? Keli Brinks told Insider that it’s their way of living more sustainably. Having several smaller buildings reduced their energy usage compared to the 2,200-square-foot home they left in Michigan. The family also composts, recycles as much as they can, repurposes leftover vegetables for their chickens and tends a garden. There’s a barn on the property as well as a chicken coop.
“Family togetherness, fresh air, outdoor exercise, growing and cultivating food, and taking good care of animals so they can take good care of us is what we want them to live for and pass down to the next generations,” Keli told Insider.
Rather than splitting the family up, the unusual configuration has actually brought them closer together.
“We always eat dinner together and we’re constantly outside. In Michigan, I don’t remember playing yard games,” Keli told Today. “On Sundays, after church, we’ll play three different yard games like corn hole. Some people might think, ‘Oh, the parents want to push the kids out and have their own space,’ but it’s the opposite.”
Despite the inconveniences — like those outdoor bathroom runs, Lennox is a fan:
@lennoxbrinkscons and pros of living in a tiny village… going live soon👀 #foryou #foryoupage #fyp♬ original sound – radkylee
Better make sure Mom and Dad aren’t peeking in the window, though!