Teacher tries tiny house living

French educator at GBHS reveals microscopic abode to the public


KATE FERNANDEZ/GraniteBayToday.org

GBHS French teacher Madame Guerné’s tiny house features a surprisingly large kitchen.

Minimizing a bedroom is one thing, but minimizing an entire house is quite another.

The tiny house trend has grown immensely in the past few years, inspiring many to leave behind a majority of their belongings in favor of a minimalistic lifestyle.

The Granite Bay community was not exempt from this trend, and in 2016 Lynne Guerné found herself with an armful of blueprints for the house that she would soon be building herself.

Guerné, who has been a French teacher at Granite Bay High School for 21-plus years, was able to build her own tiny house, including designing the interior and then furnishing the home in her own contemporary style. She moved into her new home in June.

While the process extended for three years, “it was probably more because there was planning prior to beginning construction,” she said.

“I went to a couple of workshops to learn about the process of building a tiny house, and then I had to order materials and those sorts of things as well.”

And while there were definitely plenty of ups and downs, Guerné is happy to finally be in the home of her dreams. 

I did do a little bit of the Marie Kondo, ‘what sparked joy’ kind of a process, but I also just kept things that were practical.

— Lynne Guerné

“It was interesting because I thought it was going to be some sort of surreal thing but … it felt very normal for me to be here,” Guerné said. “It wasn’t at all weird.”

But to get to this point, plenty of sacrifices needed to be made.

If it wasn’t obvious from the name, a tiny house is considerably smaller than a regular-sized home, and usually even smaller than a camping trailer.

Usually to be considered a tiny house the home must be under 500 square feet, but on average most tiny homes are smaller than that, and some recommend 200 square feet as a good starting point for a tiny home. 

To live in a space like this, owners need to rid themselves of a majority of their belongings.

“For the most part, things have to serve more than one purpose,” Guerné said. “I did do a little bit of the Marie Kondo, ‘what sparked joy’ kind of a process, but I also just kept things that were practical. I did keep some things that were sentimental, and it depended on what they were.

“Like clothes, for example, they have to be things that I will wear all the time, I can’t afford to keep things that I’ll maybe pull out of my closet.”

However Guerné wasn’t alone in this process, and she had plenty of friends to help her along the way. 

“When I saw her overcome every little problem that came along the way and then ultimately have a house that she could live in, I was ecstatic for her!” said Jill Cova, one of the Spanish teachers on campus who helped Guerné at different times in the process. 

Another one of those friends was Celine Geneve-Brown, who is the other French teacher on campus, and who has been teaching with Guerné for the past several years.

When she initially told me of her thoughts for this undertaking, I was fully impressed by her vision but more importantly by her solid confidence in her ability to get it done,” Geneve-Brown said. “It takes some serious guts to take on such a massive task and furthermore to do it single-handedly is no small feat!

As her close friend, I would like to think that I supported her emotionally through the good and the difficult portions of her journey to completing the build, but you would have to ask her,” Genève said. 

At the end of this process, Guerné is happy to be in a home that she loves, and that she’s proud of. 

It has definitely been a tumultuous journey, but at the end, “it was definitely a personal growth opportunity for me,” Guerné said. “I certainly learned a ton about myself.”