‘One peaceful place’: Midcoast man builds tiny house by hand

7 years ago

In a small clearing off a sleepy dirt road in Thorndike, something surprising is tucked behind a screen of trees: an emerald-green lawn with a handmade tiny house sitting on it that juts up to the sky.

The house, the lawn and the other myriad homesteading projects happening in the clearing are the product of one man’s imagination, rabid work ethic and ability to make something cool out of mostly reclaimed and recycled materials. Vinny Marotta took advantage of a recent sunny, 80 degree day to work on his raised bed garden and on the installation of a temporary pump for his well. Despite the heat, the sweat trickling down his face and the swarming blackflies, it was apparent Marotta was exactly where he wanted to be.

“I’m happy when I’m here,” he said. “I think I traveled so much and spent so much time on the road, I like to be in one place. One peaceful place.”

His life wasn’t always this way. Marotta, 35, grew up in suburban New Jersey but never quite fit in there. He didn’t really want to go to college, either, but he found out about Unity College and got interested, though not necessarily because of academics. Instead, it was Maine’s rivers and lakes he liked because he was “really into fishing.” Marotta came to Maine to check it out and has called the Pine Tree State home ever since.

“I took to it pretty quick,” he said.

At Unity, he studied park management and environmental studies and after graduating scored a seasonal job working for the Maine Island Trail Association. He has worked as the summer caretaker on Jewell Island in Casco Bay ever since. He loves his job, but for years longed to have a fixed place to go when he wasn’t on the island.

“I would come off the island, sit in my Jeep and call friends to house sit,” he said. “I wanted some land.”

In 2013, he had saved up some money and was looking around for land to buy. He found a 5-acre parcel in Thorndike that was affordable and started spending evenings on the island sketching the home he wanted to build there. Marotta, who also is a carpenter, wanted to keep the house on a 10-by-10 foot footprint so he could avoid the hassle of getting a building permit.

The County is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “‘One peaceful place’: Midcoast man builds tiny house by hand,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Abigail Curtis, please follow this link to the BDN online.