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How One Family Reconnected With a Compound of Tiny Homes

To be closer to family, the Bishops created a neighborhood of tiny homes on a lakefront property they found near their daughter in Alabama

The Bishops share their tiny home story. For more details, watch the video above.

Ron Bishop, 69: We were living in Pennsylvania, and our daughter and grandkids, 6 and 14, lived near Birmingham, Alabama. That was too far away.

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Amanda Bishop, 43: My parents heard about a property, on a lake near us, that they bought, sight unseen, off a great old friend. It was meant to be a vacation house. The original thought was Mom and Dad would live in an RV. But it’s so stinking hot in Alabama. I said, “What you need is a container house.” We started looking online, and they fell in love and ordered a 40-foot shipping container house from an Alabama builder who specializes in tiny homes. I got jealous and ordered a 20-foot one.

Deborah Bishop, 69: Downsizing our stuff felt great. All your life you want stuff, you work for stuff — then you work to get rid of stuff. Retirement worked backward for us too. We retired 10 years ago from running a motorcycle business. But Ron’s terrible at not working. He saw an opportunity to start a dock-repair company at the lake. Now he’s working five days a week.

Amanda: Our two houses are in an L shape. The plot already had water and power. It took about a year between order and delivery, but the units are amazing. My 300-square-foot home has a Murphy bed that comes out of one wall at night. When it goes up, there’s a hammock chair that hooks into the ceiling. The boys have sleeping bunks with gaming TVs at the foot of their beds, so they’re happy as clams. We have a round table that can seat eight, which I love because I’m social.

Deborah: I’m not social, so I insisted that our home have a larger bedroom and room only for Ron and me to sleep. I love having family and especially grandkids around. But I also love when people go home at night.

Ron: At 400 square feet, this place feels like a palace compared with an RV. The sunsets over the lake are beautiful. And if cozy living gets too cozy, there’s always another dock that needs fixing. 

For more on the Bishops and videos of other tiny homes and their owners, see the AARP series Going Tiny With AARP at​​​

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