Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restoredbut, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxurytimethat would come with downsizing.
Deciding to build an eighty-four-square-foot houseon her own, from the ground upwas just the beginning of building a new life. Williams can now list everything she owns on one sheet of paper, her monthly housekeeping bills amount to about eight dollars, and it takes her approximately ten minutes to clean the entire house. It’s left her with more time to spend with family and friends, and given her freedom to head out for adventure at a moment’s notice, or watch the clouds and sunset while drinking a beer on her (yes, tiny) front porch.
The lessons Williams learned from her aha” moment post-trauma apply to all of us, every day, regardless of whether or not we decide to discard all our worldly belongings. Part how-to, part personal memoir, The Big Tiny is an utterly seductive meditation on the benefits of slowing down, scaling back, and appreciating the truly important things in life.
About the Author
Dee Williams was born and brought up in Rotherhithe in East London where her father worked as a stevedore in Surrey docks. Dee left school at fourteen, met her husband at sixteen, and was married at twenty. After living abroad for some years, Dee and her husband moved to Hampshire, close to the rest of her family. She is the author of eight hugely popular sagas set in Rotherhithe.
“Visitors to [Dee Williams’] property may be forgiven for thinking someone had taken up residence in a beautifully built pine-and-cedar toolshed out back….[an] affecting memoir…she writes in The Big Tiny of finding a centeredness and peace in her little house, of being less fearful, more alive. Some of the best passages are when she describes the sensory experience of being inside: smelling raw cedar and knotty pine; listening to the weather.”
—Steven Kurutz, The New York Times
“[N]o one makes the idea of living in a home the size of an area rug more appealing than Dee Williams…Williams’ inspiring memoir will resonate with anyone on a quest to downsize, de-stress, let go or feel at home…an endearing, funny writer…[The Big Tiny] is a book as intimate and draw-you-in-close as Williams' little abode. She reveals her fear and fearlessness, allowing readers to feel like visitors across her tiny table, knees touching, her dog by your side.”
—Janet Eastman, The Oregonian
“In The Big Tiny, Dee Williams creates a portrait of humanity through her own compelling experience. That she has written about home and life with such humor and vulnerability, and in her own unique vernacular, makes her story all the more universal.”—Jay Shafer, author of The Small House Book
“Williams has built an engaging and inspiring how-to/memoir that goes beyond the DIY perspective.”
“The Big Tiny is irresistible. Dee Williams is as much fun on the page as she is in person. Comic, silly, and soulful, she takes us on her journey to simplify her life and along the way tunes in to our own inner desire to pare down to our nearly naked selves.”—Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide and Truth Like the Sun
“The Big Tiny is a beautifully written narrative, one that goes beyond happiness and living simply. The power of Dee’s words will touch your heart, make you laugh, cry, and change your life.”—Tammy Strobel, author of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)
“The Big Tiny is comedic, eloquent, and damn informative all at the same time. If Dee Williams’ story hasn’t inspired you to reevaluate your life already, this book just may be the swift kick in the pants you need—the final awakening blow all rolled into one biblio-burrito of bad-assness.”—Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, HGTV host and honcho of Relaxshacks.com
“Dee Williams aims for happiness 85 percent of the time, but I think you’ll be 100 percent happy with the wisdom she shares in this beautiful book.”—Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup