- Associated Press
Sunday, March 26, 2017

TUNICA, Miss. (AP) - Charla Lofton has been working “every day for nine weeks straight” to get her tiny house ready to travel around the country. The Tunica County resident hasn’t chosen a departure date, but figures it will be soon.

Her first stop will be Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she grew up.


“My friends from high school want to see this,” Lofton said as she stood on the porch of her tiny house. “They can’t believe it.”

Lofton purchased the tiny house from an 81-year-old man in Bevier, Missouri. She said she had spent eight months looking and researching online before she found the perfect structure.

“Kimberly Patton is the one who got me started. She says she didn’t but she did,” Lofton said.

Immediately, Lofton learned that what you see on TV about tiny homes is misleading.

“What they don’t show you is that they take the tiny house, load it up on an 18 wheeler and put it on a lot somewhere. I studied on this hour after hour. My idea was something that would move, something not stationary,” Lofton said.

The gem she found was being stored in a barn, just waiting for her. Lofton said the previous owner told her he bought it as a fixer upper project.

“I knew it needed a lot of cosmetic work, but I had no idea how much,” Lofton said. “After it got here, I just sat and cried for two hours.”

Once the initial shock wore off, she was determined to see her tiny house repaired and refreshed inside and out.

Lofton said the interior was all gray and “looked like death.” The outside featured a weathered red door, paint that needed attention, a tin roof and not much else.

“So I painted and painted and painted,” Lofton said.

The red door, along with parts of the railing, the porch ceiling and floor and other accent areas, are now a brilliant blue. She painted much of the naked wood white, brightening up the outside.

Just above the home’s entryway is a special reminder from a friend, whose father was in World War II. The plaque is painted with the stars and stripes and announces that the occupant of this tiny house is proud to be an American. Completing the exterior are two chairs, a small table and steps that can be moved indoors off the patio when the house is on the move.

Inside, Lofton has included several personal touches. A “Welcome Friends” sign was cross-stitched by her sister Ava, who passed away 31 years ago. Scott Rhines provided a Ski Mississippi poster, and Camille Leatherman gave her a Highway 61 painting by local artist Pat Bibb.

Lofton said she also received help from a friend on the couches in the den area.

“These are three layers of memory foam and Brenda Knighten sewed these cushions,” Lofton said, noting that the couches can also serve as beds. Underneath the cushions and plaid dust ruffles are two storage areas.

“I can put appliances under here or clothes. I don’t need much, but I would say this has more storage in it than most,” Lofton said.

The den area then segues into a kitchen that includes a microwave, coffee pot, mini crockpot, hot plate, toaster oven and intricate tilework along the sink.

“This was here,” Lofton said of the tilework. “I just had to scrub it and scrub it and seal it.”

She also spent two days cleaning the 1970s era refrigerator/freezer.

“You should have seen the inside of it before,” Lofton said.

Lofton said the bathroom is also a great improvement over what it once was.

She installed wallpaper, touched up paint on the cabinets, changed out fixtures and picked out a shower curtain and bath mat for the area. The bathroom does include a sink, toilet and bath tub with shower.

The tiny house also has a dining room table. Lofton said the chairs fold out and go in a nearby closet when they are not in use.

On the wall near the table and in the kitchen are shelving units designed to keep things in place.

“Nothing moves,” Lofton said, adding that most of the shelving she put in herself.

“I borrowed my neighbor Tron’s (Kimble) drill for weeks. He had to come over and borrow it back and he did help me bolt in some things,” Lofton said.

Directly opposite the shelving is a ladder leading up to a loft. The loft includes an extra-large twin bed, two storage areas, a closet and a perfect view of the the tiny home’s first floor. Lofton points out where she has caulked and installed molding throughout the structure.

“There is always going to be something else I can do in here, but I turned 66 last week. I was trying to get finished by then. I really wish you could have seen the before and after. Everything now is cute and clean,” Lofton said.

Powering the cute and clean tiny house will be a generator that she ordered from Freight Harbor. She will pull the structure with a Ford pick-up truck that she found on Christmas Eve in Kentucky.

“I took the truck and trailer up to the arena to practice, and the truck is supposed to be set up for the automatic back ins,” Lofton said. She said she doesn’t intend to rely on that and aims to get more practice in before making a long trip.

Lofton said that after visiting Chattanooga, she’ll head west.

“I’d like to go to Montana and Wyoming,” Lofton said. “I’ll just go on an adventure and take my time.”

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Information from: The Tunica Times, https://www.tunicatimes.com


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