The “Tipi”, a cozy A-frame cottage

The "Tipi", a cozy A-frame cottage in Belgium. |

Reader Inne Van Engeland and her partner are enjoying the small house life in a tiny A-frame cottage. We’ll let her tell you more……


This is our small house near the city of Leuven in Belgium, we call it ‘The Tipi’. We built it temporarily, until we save enough money to built our definitive house. Rent in Leuven is very high and this way we don’t have to pay anything as long as we live in it. (You can’t do this randomly, you have to ask permission at City Hall and follow lots of regulations, but our plan was approved.)

The "Tipi", a cozy A-frame cottage in Belgium. |


We bought it from people who did the same, but it needed some fixing up. In about two months time and with the help of some friends and family we dismantled it entirely, built it up again and fixed it up with pretty much all recycled materials. After we are done with it, we hope someone else does the same.

We were a little scared that it would be too small and that we wouldn’t get all of our stuff in. I sew, Vincent plays guitar and we adopted a three-month old puppy just before we moved in in February. But it works! The two of us and dachshund Hank love living in our small wooden castle. It’s cozy, easy to clean and we have everything we need. I love my walk-in closet, Vincent loves sitting in the couch and being able to reach the fridge for a drink. It was also a good occasion to get rid of stuff we didn’t really need but had been moving along with us for several years.

The "Tipi", a cozy A-frame cottage in Belgium. |

In our city we are slowly getting known as ‘the couple who lives in the tipi’. Vincent has lived here all his life but I am new, so people always have something to talk about to me. I like that. We also love the reactions we get. Because we started building it in December, people initially thought we were building Santa’s Village. Till today we see cars drive by slowly when they pass and pretty much every day there are people who stop to ask us about the Tipi. So you can say it’s a very ‘social’ way of living.

The "Tipi", a cozy A-frame cottage in Belgium. |

alternating tread stairs

If there’s something we don’t like, it must be that it can get very warm in our little house, especially on the top floor where we sleep. We got a mobile air conditioner from a neighbor (as a housewarming present), but we don’t like putting it on when we are home because it’s a bit noisy and we easily get a cold from it. Luckily the summers in Belgium are short and not that extreme, so it’s only for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile we are planning to start building our permanent house, but we don’t have any stress about it. We love living in our Tipi, so we don’t need to hurry. We can take our time to plan, compare and choose materials and ways of building. That’s a great extra. The city allows us to live like this for 5 years. We would recommend this to everyone.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Click a thumbnail to view a larger photo, then click on the photo to advance to the next one.

Photographs by Inne Van Engeland and by Dorien Buys for Louvintage.

Text copyright 2014 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.