About three-quarters of a mile south of Fairhope’s County Road 32, down Fish River’s sinuous path sits a tiny house, nestled among the trees and perched high on pilings. Stumbling upon the bright blue home is like finding a little treasure, a gem uncovered by those traversing the calm, lakelike watershed.
That’s how Nichole and Michael Brenny felt the first time they saw it. The couple purchased the structure, which was formerly a boat shed, completely renovated it and turned it into a short-term rental, their third such place.
“We call it ‘Bass-kin’ on the River’ because Fish River is good for bass fishing,” Michael explains. “Plus, it’s a play on ‘basking in the sun,’ which has a relaxing connotation.”
With the recent boom in tiny house popularity, paring down, while seemingly ideal, might feel daunting. But Michael reminds us it’s all about the basics.
“I think part of the appeal of tiny houses is simplicity,” he says of the furnished 250-square-foot home. “You get just what you need while you are busy experiencing life.” Experiences like exploring the river, campfire-sitting and kicking back at the end of the day.
The Brennys certainly made it easy to do that. A down-filled sleeper sofa and a cushy queen size bed are just two cozy comforts in this home away from home. Wood paneling complements the rustic surroundings, and 12 well-placed windows bring the outdoors in while providing ample light. And the patter of rain on the tin roof is the perfect soundtrack for lazy summer afternoons.
Wee places like the Brennys’ are reminders that thousands of square feet aren’t required to alleviate a ton of stress. And the little blue gem on Fish River is proof that you don’t have to travel far — or make “big” plans — to satiate the need for a quick escape.
3 Reasons to Love this Tiny House
IN THE WOODS
In small spaces, sticking with the same wall treatment throughout, such as wood paneling, keeps the interior sleek and draws the eye toward the real showpiece — the view outside. Windows allow for stunning vistas of the river, and because the house is hoisted high, they also provide a peek of neighboring treetops. This is luxury tree house living at its best.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
The great outdoors is calling, and in the south, the call is heard year-round. Whether roasting marshmallows in the summer or snuggling ‘round in the winter, fire pits are a great way to increase usable square footage. A bench, scattered stump seats, logs and pillows add a touch of charming, rustic coziness. Throw in a grill and a picnic table, and there’s no good reason to go inside.
Sitting at the water’s edge is nice, but exploring it by watercraft is even better. Fish river offers 9 miles of navigable water and is teeming with bream, bass, catfish and trout (in the winter). Having a well-maintained spot along the shore to launch a kayak or canoe allows for a new adventure each day. And here’s a tip from Michael Brenny: paddle against the wind first for an easier return trip.
Looking for more? Here are a few spots a stone’s skip from Fish River:
“The park’s beauty reminds me of a scene out of a movie,” says Michael Brenny of the picturesque launching spot. Used in the 1800s, the Fish River ferry transported people from shore to shore. 16346 Honey Road
Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog and Nature Trail
Stroll the boardwalk and catch the carnivorous pitcher plant’s summer emergence. 14075 Fish River Road
Big Daddy’s Grill
Walk, drive or kayak for a fresh seafood lunch or dinner, served right on the river’s edge. 16542 Ferry Road
Click here to explore the rental options for Bass-kin’ on the River