Much like cutting back on coffee or foregoing sugar for a spell, I found our stay at Blue Moon Rising, an eco-friendly tiny house community in Deep Creek, Maryland, to be a detox. Mentally, I like to escape to the woods to de-clutter my brain, but the minimalism of this cabin added a lesson in physical simplicity as well.
As a food & prop stylist, my life requires a certain excess- a variety of plates, an array of cutlery, an arsenal of fabrics and a corner’s worth of backdrops. This cabin had none of that excess. The cubby of a kitchen had just enough plates, just enough utensils, just enough mixing bowls and juuuuuust enough counter space. By stripping away the many, many options I typically have at my disposal, I returned to intention.
Each ingredient I chose to stock in our pantry had to perform double duty. Dinner needed to become lunch, and breakfast needed to mirror dinner. It’s a way of cooking and eating I should adopt in my everyday life, but I rely on convenience. I all too often tend to stare into the refrigerator (or into the eyes of a burrito assembler at Chipotle) and make meals on the fly. I buy groceries haphazardly, or I make special trips throughout the week. The size of the tiny house kitchen forced me to plan, which in turn forced me to be creative.
The kitchen included an electric cooktop surface, a toaster oven, a sink, a mini fridge, a counter and my favorite addition- a compost bin. That economy of scale forced me to consider how dry goods could complement fresher foods, how to save space in the fridge, which fresh foods would last the longest, and how to waste as little as possible.
When we returned to our home, I found myself washing dishes immediately after using them and using less utensils in preparing a meal. I’m not ready to overhaul my collections and strip everything away, but I do value the sense of simplicity the cabin imparted.
A tiny house may not align with my values. I am a collector and an entertainer. I love clearing out my living room to host my closest friends for a brunch. I love setting my table seasonally. I love when friends and dogs gather in my dining room for southern staples. Most of the time when I lose myself to my dreams, I envision a larger space, in which I can spread out creative projects and host even more friends (with a cabin in the woods for weekends of course).
But I respect those who can simplify and retreat to a small quiet space. If I were to minimize in a grand way, I would glean so many lessons from Moon Shine, from the many windows, to the relaxing porch to the detailed craftsmanship, to the open space at the core of the design. If given the choice between staying there forever and returning to our apartment, I’m fairly certain Julep would still be roaming the little hillside, sniffing at all the enviable cottages.
What do you think? Could you live in MoonShine on a full-time basis, or are you a big space dreamer like me? Check out my recount of all the cabin options at Blue Moon Rising and stay tuned for Tiny House Cooking, recipes inspired by our stay.
Disclaimer: Our stay was sponsored by Blue Moon Rising, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support With The Grains.