“My life has been a series of unfortunate events,” Michelle ‘MJ’ Boyle says as her video begins. Two divorces, losing two houses, and working as a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, she found herself totally without a retirement plan. But then she found the tiny house movement. She built her first tiny house for her to live in, but is continuing the journey building more houses that she plans to rent for retirement income.

And actually seeing the house is an eye-opener. Hers is eight and a half feet wide by 24 feet long— and she built most of it herself, right in the driveway of the home she was renting at the time. There is a not a single bit of space that goes unused. Many elements, like the stairs, double as storage. The kitchen, her favorite room, has a particular charm with its retro fittings. And unlike a lot of tiny homes that you see, that look sparse and almost sterile, this one actually has a homey feel. Cozy and personalized, Boyle has really made it her own. She calls her design theme ‘modern nostalgia’ and you can really see it in the elements she picked to decorate with.

To get a look at what these tiny homes actually look like and how they can work, you can check out the whole video:

So many people don’t have enough money saved for retirement and aren’t sure how to support themselves with rising costs of living. Tiny homes give people an alternative, sustainable way of living that maximizes independence and autonomy. You can see why they’re catching on— and Boyle shows that you can actually make them your own. Tiny living doesn’t have to feel punishing, instead it can feel like freedom. If you’re looking for a change of pace, you may want to give it a try.