December 2, 2018

The Tiny Home of Maud Lewis

The home of Canadian painter Maud Lewis.

Maud and Everett Lewis' house, in rural southwest Nova Scotia, was small. I have seen estimates ranging from 90 to 170 square feet, a tiny, tiny home by any measure. 

To make things more challenging, the home had no running water, no power, and was far from neighbours. They lived in the house (cottage? cabin? hut? shed?) from 1938 to 1970.

Wait, there's more. Maud Lewis was affected by rheumatoid arthritis, and her hands eventually became bent and crippled. 

Mr. Lewis grew a small garden behind the house, dug for clams, and caught fish in tide pools, which he peddled in the area. He also cared for his wife as she was unable to assist with chores. She could barely hold her paint brushes.

Not only did they live without most everything we take for granted today, they lived without many of the things people back then possessed.

And yet, Maud created classic Canadian folk art that was whimsical and full of joy and colour. People that knew her, said she was a happy person, but was most happy while painting.

Three Black Cats - one of my favourite Maud Lewis paintings.

What the Lewis home lacked in size and amenities it made up for in sheer artistic delight. Every surface was covered with splashes of bright paint depicting flowers and animals, birds and trees.

While the artist never ventured any farther afield than her immediate locality, she lived a vital life, produced much beloved art, and contributed to her community in a way that put it on the art lover's map.

All in 90 to 170 square feet.


  1. Oh my god, it's beautiful. And I LOVE the cat picture. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This is gorgeous. What a beautiful life that was clearly full of meaning. How spoiled we are with what we have...even those of us living simply now. I do find this really inspiring, thanks for posting it.

    1. I think about how spoiled we have become. When stuff and luxury become the goal, the people get soft. Every society that has descended into decadence and excess has ended in the same way - tragically.

      I am inspired by the simpler, harder working ways of those who came before us. Chances are good that we will be returning to some of those ways, perhaps sooner rather than later. I see that food is expected to increase in cost this year, somewhere around 4%, vegetables and fruit even more. Gardening skills, and being willing to work hard to make food grow, will be important.

      I suspect that a simpler, harder life is ultimately more fulfilling in the long run. Lots of time to be creative and express your inner artist... which is also hard, but joyous, work.

  3. Anonymous12/03/2018

    Beautiful tiny house! The cat picture is adorable!

  4. How delightful and inspiring!

  5. Amazing. Bloom where you are planted. Having RA myself I cannot imagine her pain. We have great drugs now with great prices.

    1. Good drugs are hard to find, but nice when they are discovered. We have managed to alleviate a lot of suffering over the years... while creating more in other areas.


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