I am SO STOKED for today’s Small Space Squad home tour… because it is SO unexpected and cool. Meet Zac Ruiz and his adorable family, aka Den For Our Cubs. They live in a safari-style tent and I am so beyond obsessed. And not just normal obsessed… no, I’m full-on head-over-heads for their charming home, gorgeous aesthetic, and darling family. Let’s take a tour, shall we?
Home Tour: Inside the Cozy & Rustic Home of Den for Our Cubs
Who: Den For Our Cubs, aka Zac Ruiz, Wife Katie, and 2 boys, Fox (5) and Grizzly (2)
Where: Four Corners, New Mexico
Number of years spent living small: We’ve been living tiny for over 2 years now!
To start, tell me your story about how you ultimately ended up choosing a small space?
That whole story was a 9 year process really, so I won’t go into extraordinary detail, but at some point in everyone’s life you start looking at your current life and you starting thinking about where it will take you in 10-20 years. Ours was a dead end. We had no vision and what seemed like no way out of our current life. I don’t think living in a 2 bedroom apartment surrounded by millions of people and endlessly busy freeways is anybody’s dream. So the easiest solution was to just pull the trigger and move out of state. Fast forward 3 years and we now have so much clarity on life and vision for the future. The tent was the absolute best option for us as it was very affordable and was able to be built quickly!
What is your biggest challenge in your small space?
I don’t really think we have any challenges or hardships. I like to call them inconveniences. In the summer it’s definitely hot inside, but that’s easily remedied by leaving, or hanging out under the trees in our yard while the kids play in the kiddy pool. I usually end up in there, too. Most of the inconveniences have simple solutions!
What is your favorite part about living small?
The tent for us was part of the escape from that redundant California life, and has been exactly what we’ve needed to get a fresh start on life. We’ve learned what is truly needed to live.
What is your number one hack for living small?
Don’t complicate things. I don’t know if that’s an actual hack, but it speaks so true to me. I think tiny living scares people because they have so many “what if’s.” I didn’t know crap except that we would have drinking water, a bed, and a toilet. Everything else is a luxury really.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “minimalistic” or feel guilty about buying things you don’t “need” for your home?
Not at all. If you’re into Enneagrams like my wife, I’m an 8, so I’m not really too concerned with others’ opinions, possibly to a fault. We do our life. That was part of the journey for us leaving CA, everyone was telling us to stay, but we stated by that decision to move, that we were going to start doing what works for us and our family and not what others thought was best for us. I had one guy that made a statement that my mountain bike cost as much as our home, which is true, but that’s why we do it, so we can have those liberties!
What have you learned about yourself by living small?
A lot of good and bad things, to be honest. I think living in a tiny space with loved ones can amplify the good side of you, and the bad side as well. I’ve found I’m more handy than I thought through the whole process and am much more willing to try new things. Because what’s crazy than moving across states to live in a tent.
What’s your number one storage hack?
Don’t have a lot of stuff. Problem solved! But seriously, I built our tent design around storage, or floating bed frame fits a lot of stuff underneath and our walk in closet has more than enough room for all of our closes, I think design is key with storage!
Who is your biggest small space inspiration?
Theres an endless amount of Inspirational IG accounts out there with so many different styles of living! I think inspiration is good, but you’ve got to blaze your own trail, too. That was part of the reason for the tent, it was kind of an unknown if it would work, which really made me want to do it. As far as design, we really just went with what was on hand and going to be the cheapest!
What do your friends and family say about your choice to live small?
They thought we were absolutely insane 2 years ago, but they all understand now seeing how we get to live our life and the freedom we have. I don’t think any of them would live this way, but they get it!
You can find even more Small Space Squad Home Tours here:
Photography by Den for Our Cubs, used with permission.
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