Rebuilding A Girls Dream Home After Tragedy

Categories: Life Stories

Tiny House 1.jpg

Suzannah Kolbeck, left, and her daughter, Sicily, worked together to build a tiny house. It started as a project for school, but the focus -- and lessons -- changed after the accidental death of Dane Kolbeck, Suzannah's husband and Sicily's father.

Marietta, Georgia -- As the school year came to a close, 12-year-old Sicily Kolbeck found herself still without a project. It was a key requirement at the small, independent school she attended just outside Atlanta. If she found the right one -- something big and passion-driven -- it could set the course for her entire next academic year.
She thought maybe she could start a natural makeup line or dive into some type of research.
Or she could just keep wasting time online.
As she clicked around, she stumbled into the idea of tiny houses -- dwellings that pack the conveniences of modern homes into a couple hundred square feet. She found a rabid community around them, blogs and documentaries filled with DIY builders and eco-lovers and folks who lived happily with less.
This could be it, Sicily thought. She'd hardly swung a hammer before, but maybe she could build a tiny house.
She remembered "renovating" the loft in their old barn to make it homier, and how she once turned a massive TV box into a personal playhouse, complete with a doorbell and place settings at the table. Tiny houses became a bit of an obsession, and just in time for school.
"This was the only idea I had," confessed Sicily, who recently turned 14.

Her parents didn't blink. It was perfect. It didn't matter that Sicily was a child. She craved independence and a space of her own, she said -- something that would be all hers.
Sicily would be the architect, builder, fund-raiser and client.

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