Victor and MaryPat Leger have added a tower resembling a lighthouse to their tiny house in the Gouldsboro village of Birch Harbor. A visual artist, Victor plans to create a studio in the upper part of the tower that has an expansive view. PHOTO BY JACK DODSON

House too small? Add a tower



GOULDSBORO — Victor and MaryPat Leger were at their main house in Connecticut, trying to figure out how to add to their second home in Birch Harbor. They set up a scale model of the tiny house on the dining room table.

The Legers settled on a two-floor tower that resembles a lighthouse, looking out over Birch Harbor.

“It’s inspired by that look,” Victor said. “It’s not going to have an actual light spinning around in it… We wanted something in keeping with the aesthetic.”

The Legers are both artists, but Victor has worked as a carpenter and MaryPat is an architect, so they make regular changes and improvements to both their homes. Victor said it was inevitable that he and his wife were going to expand on the miniature dwelling when they bought it in 2015.

“We spent about a year, year and a half looking at it, drawing different ideas,” Victor said.

The addition is slightly off center from the main portion of the house because the original tiny home was not fully parallel to the road. The Legers’ tower fixes that, fitting the building more naturally into the shape of the driveway around it.

As an artist, Victor plans to use the upstairs portion as a studio and storage space. He paints mostly outdoors, but the expansion will help him work more in Maine.

The upstairs has a great view, helping his work in painting landscapes.

“There’s no obstruction in any direction — the view is 360 degrees,” he said.

Another issue is that family and friends come to visit, so with more space they’ll be able to accommodate people.

A tiny house is typically between 100 and 500 square feet, according to TheTinyLife.com, a commercial website focused on promoting minimal lifestyles. The movement is meant to highlight simple living, reduced environmental impact, saving money and stress reduction.

Victor said it only takes a few minutes to find a lost item or to clean the whole home, and more space brings more stress.

Now that his kids are grown and moved out of his Connecticut home, Victor wishes he could cut off entire portions of that house to minimize, as well. But he also said he’s attached to that place.

Victor said the new structure essentially quadrupled the size of their home, but their research showed it was still technically considered a tiny house.

But he said the definition doesn’t really matter to them.

“In the big picture of things,” he said, laughing, “we’re fine with not calling it a tiny home anymore.”

Victor said he and his wife watched a lot of reality television shows like HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living” and “Tiny House Hunters” to get ideas for their Birch Harbor home. They plan to keep a lighthouse- and marine-inspired aesthetic inside the house once they finish the project.

The project, he said, will hopefully be completed by the end of summer 2018.

Jack Dodson
Jack Dodson began working for The Ellsworth American in mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.

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