Tiny Seaside house fulfilled couple's big dream

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SEAGROVE BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - On a small two-lane road, in a quaint community, lies a tiny house… built by a couple with big dreams.

“And I just wanted something to keep the rain off of me and this sure fits the bill, and yet allows me to be near the beach because I’ve got that sand between my toes all the time,” said John Walden.

The 68-year-old Walden and his companion Mary McGuigan finished building the diminutive house in Seagrove Beach a year ago.

“The properties around here are very, very expensive and I didn’t want to build something that basically I’d rollerblade around and never use,” said Walden.

They use every bit of this approximate 300 square-foot home. It features a queen size bed, a table and chairs, a kitchen area, and a full bathroom complete with an old fashioned tub. Outside it features a stackable washer and dryer and a shower!

“It’s more like, for a lack of a better description, like a glorified studio, or like I think you even mentioned to me, you said like a motel room,” said Walden.

But a home like this is obviously not for everyone.

“Number one, you got to like the person you’re living with," said McGuigan. "You have to get along. You have to enjoy each other. Number two is getting rid of all the unnecessary things. Whatever you need is what you have. And it’s a lesson on need and wants. And number three, it’s outside. You go outside. We have the beach, we have the parks, we have the paths, we have the trails. It’s about being outside here.”

So the big question so to speak: Does the small living quarters drive the couple stir crazy?

“Not at all," said Walden. "As I mentioned earlier, if you’re outdoors a lot, which we are out and about, that’s not the problem.”

The tiny house, as you might guess, dwarfed by million dollar homes on all sides, does stand out. Just ask the big crowds it draws.

“Yea, hello!" said McGuigan. "It’s funny because you’ll see the cars because the traffic will get backed up here. And the windows go down and the cell phones, the iPads come out, you could see people taking pictures, but we love it.”

“And it’s interesting they all come on the property one time or another whether you’re here or not," said Walden. "And even if you’re here they wander around the building, peep in the windows or knock on the door, take pictures or drive their car up the driveway.”

John talks about one comment that stands out.

“One of the nicest comments I had was from a lady, an elderly lady, who walked by and she stopped and she said, you know, she said, it’s like a little Seaside, and that’s what I was trying to do.”

The key to minimalist living according to John and Mary: Letting go.

“You’ve got to get used to purging," said Walden. "And you’ve got to take it to a scale that you can’t believe.”

“Mama brought me up that it’s all just stuff," said McGuigan. "We just get rid of the stuff.”

And this is the stuff dreams are made of, big dreams, with little regret.

“I’m so glad we did it, said Walden. "The area is so beautiful. I can live like I said before in a cardboard box and be up here. But to have this lot and have this proximity to the beach and Seaside is just the cat’s meow.”

Walden said his gas, power, water and sewer bills combined are less than his cell phone bill. He also said he wants to build more units on his quarter-acre property and interconnect them all.