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.
Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
Lighting Design: Jaymarc Electric