Gina Bramucci: Balancing Roots and a Life on the Road

Gina Bramucci Tiny House

After spending seven years working for an international aid organization in Uganda, Darfur, and Central Africa, Gina Bramucci wanted to find a way to also cultivate closer relationships with her parents and large extended family in Portland, Oregon. She would be traveling back and forth between Africa and Portland several times a year, and needed a home that could help her feel rooted in the U.S. while she was there.

At the same time that Gina was looking for a flexible housing situation, her friends Joan Grimm and Rita Haberman were dreaming up a pocket community on their property. They had started by convincing a friend to buy the house next door, and conjoining their back yards. The group realized that a tiny house would serve Gina’s needs, budget, and keep her close to her friends and family. So Joan and Rita invited Gina to make her sometimes-home in their yard, and Gina commissioned PAD to design and build her tiny house in 2011.

For Gina’s life in Portland, living in a custom-designed, 130 square foot space is a great fit. During the design process with PAD, Gina emphasized her interest in having children and making the space flexible enough to accommodate additions to the family. This led to unique design solutions that suit her needs, like double doors on the side of the house for a more spacious interior, and a bathtub/shower combination that’s friendly to little ones. Gina’s interest in a flexible space that could grow with the rest of her life has recently paid off, as her family has begun to grown in around her. Click here to read more about the plans for Gina’s House – The Sweet Pea Tiny House.

Gina says: “I craved roots. I had been moving from one country to another – living and working in Africa while working with an international aid organization – for several years. It was time to find a way back home.

Oregon gave me my sense of place and a return to family. But I knew my work would continue to take me far for weeks or months at a time; and I needed a home to fit an unpredictable lifestyle.

“Going little” – a concept introduced first to me years back when a friend, Dee Williams, built her own tiny house – made sense on many levels. It meant I could have a lighter impact on the earth. It was all the size I needed. Most importantly, it offered space in a community, with close friends (Rita Haberman, Joan Grimm and Lisa Pate) who started offering and encouraging me to make the “little” move the minute I planted my feet back in Portland.

Everything about the little house I have today feels intentional – from the wood panel siding that was salvaged from my grandparents’ old beachside home, to the design that allows my growing family to fit and enjoy the space, to the “POD49” community of support around us.

Life continued to offer the unexpected. While responding to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 I met my partner, who is French. Today we live much of the year in France, near his six-year-old daughter, and are expecting a baby. But the little house in POD49 allows us to stay rooted in Oregon – to keep circling back to my place, community and home.”

Click here to read more about the story of POD49 and Gina’s tiny house on PAD’s blog.



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