Home, Sweet Tiny Home
How a couple lost all and learned to live (happily) with less than they’d ever imagined.
For Ren Marasco, October 13, 2007, was a wonderful, low-key 31st birthday. She, along with her husband, Natale, and several friends, had spent the evening at a local pizzeria sharing old stories and jokes over a bottle of red and a margherita pie. At 9 p.m., she was still in high spirits, excitedly chatting with her mom on the phone while Natale drove them home. Then, as they turned onto their street in rural Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, Ren thought she saw smoke. Suddenly her stomach dropped.
"I knew something terrible had happened," says Ren, now 33 (pictured here with Natale, 48). Moments later, her worst fears were confirmed: Their house, a 1,400-square-foot ranch that they had just finished renovating, was in flames. Natale burst out of the car to check on their two dogs (they had escaped through the dog door and were barking out in the yard). Meanwhile, Ren called 911, and soon hook-and-ladder trucks arrived. Despite the efforts of more than 70 firemen over the next three hours, the house was reduced to ashes.
Shortly after 1 a.m., the couple took refuge at a friend’s home, where they spent a sleepless night. "It felt like the flames were burned into my retinas," says Ren. "We had stared at the fire for so long that I couldn’t see anything else when I closed my eyes."