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Happiness Is the Simple Life

In this day and age of enormous homes, two cars in the driveway and each child with their own iPad, it was refreshing to meet Lynsi and Sam Underwood, a couple who are the designers and builders behind in Texas, at the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, CO. The design of their tiny home mirrors their personal belief: life is better the simpler it is.

But they didn’t always think like this.

“I used to work seven days a week for six years as a project manager building homes and buildings,” said Sam. “Those were important years that the kids were growing up and I was missing it.” Sure he was working to provide for his family, but it got him thinking, “What’s the point of working all the time if I never get to see them?”

So Sam quit his job. They got rid of their $1,200 monthly car payments. And now? “We share a car,” said Lynsi. “And it’s fine.” To pay their bills the couple mows lawns together, which eliminates the need for a gym membership. “Working together also makes us closer,” said Sam, who decided to put his skills to better use designing custom built tiny homes to help others live simpler and happier lives.

It’s also a family business. Their son Wyatt, 12, who loves video games and The Three Stooges, handles all computer needs. Does he feel deprived of anything? “Not at all. I have everything I need and so much I don’t need,” said Wyatt, his braces glistening, who often goes through his closet getting rid of stuff. (A kid after my own heart.) Their 14-year-old daughter Sammi, a dog lover, oversees the social media for the family business including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

After quitting his job, the family could no longer afford lavish vacations or keep up with the Joneses. Do they feel ashamed? “Not one bit,” said Sam. “We might make less money than our neighbors, but we’re more happy. We no longer stress about life or bills and we spend a lot of time together as a family. Who gets to do that?”

Not many.

“We instill in our kids that life is more than material possessions,” said Lynsi “and that happiness is not tied to finances.”

Sam and Lynsi have been together 15 years and look like newlyweds. “Everyday is a vacation.” Sam smiled at his wife. “In all our years together, we’ve never exchanged gifts.”

“We write letters instead.” Lynsi smiled back at her husband. Did I mention they’re romantic?

“They’re joined at the hip,” said Sam’s mom, who was also on hand to lend support at the Jamboree.

From the never-ending long line waiting to look inside their tiny house model, I’m sure their lives won’t stay simple for long.

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