GIBSLAND — Almost on a whim, Dawson and Wanda Anglin joined the tiny house movement when they traded their 2,700-square-foot house in town for one they built. The new house has only 500 square feet.
They also gave away or sold all their possessions collected during 41 years of married life.
Yes, without a lot of forethought, the Anglins joined the trendy tiny house movement you've probably read about.
"Simply put, it is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in," said the website thetinylife.com. The typical tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet, said the site.
Want to see one for yourself?
Well, visit the Anglins' contemporary, green and purple digs at Folly Ranch at The Pines.
It will be open to the public March 3 at the 20th Jonquil Jubilee, which will feature other gardens and a million jonquils all over Bienville Parish. The jubilee is headquartered in Gibsland, the "Jonquil Capital of Louisiana," so named by act of the Louisiana Legislature.
Other activities include garden tours, quilts and crafts to see, and a talk by Author Shelly Redmond called "Skinny Louisiana in the Kitchen."
The Anglins moved to Gibsland from Shreveport, where Dawson delivered mail downtown and in the Southfield area, in 1995 when he was named postmaster. Wanda, who is an artist, worked for Reliant Energy.
"We always thought we would go back to Shreveport, but we feel in love with the town and the community " said Wanda, who is 68.
She and Dawson, 67, talked during an interview on their screen porch, several feet from the large pond — the center, really, of the property and where Merganser ducks and blue heron gather and have families.
A house in the country had been a lifelong dream of Dawson's, so when he retired in 2014 and heard 42 acres near Gibsland might be available, he tracked down the owner and drove out to see it.
"When I topped the hill on the property, I said, 'Wow,'" Dawson recalled of his first visit to the 42 acres with a three-acre pond along Coffee Road. "It was such a majestic site."
But a mess.
Blackberry brambles filled the "island" in the middle of the property, where 5,000 bulbs were planted this fall.
After a big cleanup, the Anglins worked on the area where their tiny house now stands, thinking it would become a guest house.
But as the decision to turn the guest cottage into their home grew. Plans for the 1,900-square-foot house on the hill disappeared.
"We decided when we moved we would build something different. I was looking for calm," Wanda said, indicating that even the house on the hill would have been something different.
"Ultra modern" is how Dawson described what would have been.
As Dawson measured for the tiny house, he identified the living space and discovered it was almost exactly how much space they used in their house on town.
"I measured the space in town and it was three rooms that we lived in," he said.
Dawson drew the plans for the tiny house, and the couple did all the work they could, though professionals were in and out when necessary, Wanda said.
"We did everything we were capable of doing," she said.
And the cottage for guests turned out to be a friend's camper.
"A Shasta, the model Mallard. My dream is to own one," Wanda said.
A look at the their tiny house:
Dawson pointed out that the house has no ducts house and that walls and ceilings are insulated, warmed by a heat pump.
The Dawsons share the house with three dogs who have their own lime-green dog houses with round port hole-inspired openings. An array of fowl inhabit the pound, and wild animals visit the property.
When you go, also take note of the Yarn Bombing," afghan squares wrapping a tree when you enter the property. And yard art such as orbs that roll around under a pine tree and a giant spider at home under it.
Although the Anglins certainly planned to downsize, they did not specifically have a tiny house in mind.
"We had nothing to lose. We could still build the house on the hill," Wanda said.
But, after a pause, she added, "We would never go back. We are so happy with what we have."
What: Jonquil Jubilee
Where: Gibsland, the Jonquil Capital of Louisiana in Bienville Parish.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3.
Breakfast: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with the Jonquil Jubilee Pancake Breakfast at Gibsland Lions Club building. Cost is $5.
Special event at noon: Speaker Shelly Redmond will discuss "Skinny Louisiana in the Kitchen" Gibsland City Hall.
Special note: A million jonquils are planted in Bienville Parish. The driving tour will take you to special gardens and other events.
Admission: $10 for a map for the jubilee.
For more information on the event: (318* 843-6228. Web site: [email protected].