OJAI, Calif. – About 80 miles away from the Beverly Hills mansions and downtown LA highrises, Fil-Am Vina Lustado’s happy home is tucked away in the forest.
At 140 square feet big dreams happens in a tiny house in Ojai, CA.
“I really do think I’m totally living in luxury here. I have a fireplace. I have really nice windows. I think I’m living in a palace,” joked Lustado.
Every inch of this cottage is well calculated into a fully functioning-sustainable home, with a kitchen and a bathroom, and a pair of lofts that become bedrooms.
“This feels real comfortable for me. It’s like being in the womb. It’s like outdoor camping luxury style,” said Lustado who also runs and owns Sol Haus Designs.
The home runs off the grid; powered by propane and the sun. The water that comes from Ventura County’s line is eventually recycled, breathing life into a nearby grapefruit tree. At 20 feet tall, it can feel spacious, and well ventilated, thanks to the windows. Many of the furniture have hidden storage compartments, and can be used in multiple ways.
The Quezon Province born Lustado moved to the U.S. at age seven but her humble childhood is engrained in the maple wood home.
“Where I was born in a bahay kubo with this one room, and a kitchen and a living room and I was born literally on the kitchen floor with the bamboo just beneath me,” she recalled. “I just think that simple lifestyle of not needing much always stayed with me.”
A tiny home like this can cost less than a $100,000 using recycled pieces and a helping hand from her carpenter husband. The home took $40,000 and one year to build.
“Affordability was one of the main things that was a driver for the project because I didn’t want to get into mortgage or loans, large loans to build a project,” she said.
As the tiny house movement booms, some are hoping to replicate Lustado’s dream home. She has been in constant with a mobile home factory, but ultimately would like to bring her project back to her native Philippines.