Happiness Is a Scandinavian-Inspired Tiny House With a Greenhouse and a Porch Swing
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Happiness Is a Scandinavian-Inspired Tiny House With a Greenhouse and a Porch Swing

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By Laura Mauk
Elsa is a 323-square-foot tiny house complete with a pergola-covered porch, a swing, and a greenhouse that’s sure to make plant lovers swoon.

Mary Susan Hanson, Randy Hanson, and their daughter Melodie Aho launched Olive Nest Tiny Homes because "we love the idea of simplifying life," says Aho. In 2017, Randy developed a piece of property in Greer, South Carolina, that became a tiny home community. Shortly after the development was completed, Aho suggested to her parents that the three of them design and build their first tiny home. "We’re a small company and we do about one house a year," she says. "We sell only what’s already built, and we think of each design as a piece of art that you can live in."

Elsa, the company’s latest home, comprises 323 square feet of living space on wheels. Randy added another 85 square feet of exterior space by attaching a smaller trailer—which he outfitted with a swing beneath a pergola and a greenhouse—that expands the home and ties it to nature and the outdoors. "We wanted to soften the look and the experience and extend the living space with something useful," Aho says.

Elsa is clad with standing-seam metal and cedar shiplap and features an attached greenhouse and porch with a pergola and a swing.

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The greenhouse has glass walls and cedar decking.

Olive Nest Tiny Homes outfitted Elsa with cedar shiplap, standing-seam metal exterior siding, and a standing-seam metal pitched roof. "The look is simple and earthy," Aho says. "We’re of Scandinavian heritage and are drawn to Scandinavian style and design."

A swing hangs from a pergola on the front porch.

Sunlight bounces off white-painted shiplap walls in the kitchen and the sleeping loft; the flooring is from Pergo.

The interior also displays an understated aesthetic—the walls and ceiling are clad in white-painted shiplap. Fourteen windows flood the living areas with sunlight—including the sleeping loft, which accommodates a queen-size bed and is tall enough for standing. "We used lots of windows and kept the ceiling high for an open, airy look," Aho says. Double-sided artworks by MSusan hang in the sleeping loft, providing privacy and separation from the rest of the house.

The living room sofa, from Ikea, pulls out and sleeps two. The wood drink holders on the sofa arms were crafted by Randy.

The sofa pillows are from Target.

The sleeping loft accommodates a queen-size bed. Original artworks by MSusan are double-sided and help to separate the space from the other areas of the home.

Windows fill the sleeping loft with sunlight, making it feel spacious and airy. The bedding is from Target.

In the kitchen, quartz counters and white cabinetry are paired with unpainted floating shelves and a bookcase made of maple. Shelving beneath the stair treads provides additional storage, and the living room sofa pulls out to sleep two people. "We put storage everywhere we could," Aho says.

Quartz counters top white-painted cabinetry in the kitchen.

The light-filled kitchen make the open-plan home feel larger than it is.

The designers used live-edge wood slabs to craft the stair treads, a pivoting bar, and the counter in the bath. "We included the bar for more seating or to use as a workspace," Aho says. "The live edge is natural and gives a relaxed, homey feeling."

The custom live-edge bar counter and the stair treads were made by Randy.

Custom leather-and-brass pulls access shelving and storage beneath the live-edge treads of the staircase. 

Fourteen windows provide sunlight and views for the tiny home.

But for however homey the interior is, we can’t stop thinking about swinging under the shade of a pergola beside a greenhouse teeming with flowers and lush plantings.

An attached greenhouse ties the cedar-and-metal tiny house to nature.

The interior of the greenhouse is filled with brilliant florals.

A planter filled with florals and greenery borders the exterior of the greenhouse.