Building a small house on a large piece of land takes both restraint and a unwavering confidence in an overall vision. Aimee Kirk and her husband lacked neither when they embarked on this endeavor in early 2017, prioritizing a small, minimalist house that would not distract from its beautiful natural surroundings. They wanted to retain plenty of outdoor space for her children to grow up in and utilize.
Aimee and her husband built the house from the ground up in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California where they met and have lived their whole lives. Their modest 2 bedroom house makes up in warmth and an open, airy atmosphere what it lacks in physical space, proving that bigger is not always better. On a 6-acre apple orchard, their quaint farm-style house truly looks as if it has always meant to be there.
As a kindergarten teacher and mother of two, Aimee’s limited free time is spent running a lifestyle/family blog, The Homegrown Apple. Check out more of the space and hear from Aimee about the biggest challenges and rewards throughout this process below!
Photography by Jodi Mockabee.
Aimee and her husband met in the fourth grade in the same small California mountain town where they live and built their home. He is a correctional counselor at a prison and Aimee is a kindergarten teacher at the school her kids attend.
“We built this house with a minimalistic tune. We’d been spending the better part of the last five years pairing down our belongings in hopes of living a simpler life. We bought our six acre property about three years ago and decided to build a smaller house that we could afford so we could be living in the property while our children were young and could enjoy the outdoor space. When we designed the space, I wanted it to be as open and bright as possible so it would feel bigger than it actually was. We kept it all white with lots of windows to let in light. The space has farmhouse bones with a heavy Mid-Century Modern and minimalist vibe.”
Aimee’s goal was to create a bright and open-feeling space that was clutter-free yet retaining a warm and welcoming vibe. Aimee’s love of cooking and baking also meant she needed the kitchen to feel like the center of the home and be really special.
“Since we built the house from the ground up there were bound to be challenges along the way. Since the day we broke ground we came across daily obstacles which my husband, who was the general contractor, had to tackle himself with his subcontractors. The cabinets were ordered incorrectly and had to be reordered, the floors we really wanted didn’t work with our heating system so we had to choose something else, the window company sent us the wrong windows…I could go on and on but in the end, we were able to smooth out all of the kinks and came through with a beautiful finished product!”
“My favorite thing about the home is the open concept floor plan. Our old house had a wall that separated the kitchen and when my kids were toddlers, I always dreamed of having an open living space. Now that we live here it’s exactly what I hoped it would be. It really brings the whole family together. He kids can be playing in the living room, my husband working at the desk and I’m cooking in the kitchen and we’re all together and we all feel connected.”
“Our house wouldn’t be the home that it is without all of our beautiful pieces from West Elm. They really brought a blank slate to life and the feel I was hoping for in our home.”